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J52 - Monday, December 7: Mesao Frio – Rio Mau

74.9km – 9H23’
Altitude 63m
Le Douro Valley is a pain in the neck and shoulders and we are fed up after a day of clutching the steering wheel: look to the right, look to the left, watch out someone is passing, watch out there is a turn, watch out there is a hairpin curve and a speed demon coming straight at us…Serge is beat and the drivers’ backs are killing them.
Twice Serge has to cling to the rock face…”I had cold feet” as he says.   Luckily our dear Mr. Georges sends us an illustrated almanac almost every day to give us a good laugh, because there are days which are more tiring than others and today is one of them.
Serge takes off slowly, in spite of himself, and says that he will need 11 hours to run his 75 km, but luckily his energy returns at the end of the morning.  At Frende, 10 km after departure, we enter the district of Porto.  It’s a good thing because the never ending loops give us the impression, as in Torrão, that we are retracing our steps.  After this city the scenery changes radically, there are no grape vines but rather trees: pines, eucalyptus, mimosas and broad-leaved varieties.
We have adapted to the Portuguese time zone and Serge leaves between 7:00 and 7:30 in the morning, which means we finish the stages in daylight, which we appreciate.
Fatima and César are back at km 50.  We expect them to join us tomorrow with a few runners because in Portugal December 8 is a holiday.
Tomorrow, Melres – Picoto – Esmoriz. We will leave the N 108 and reach the sea south of Porto.

Town : Rio Mau (district de Porto)

GPS : N°41.05027° W008.36132°