Adventure

Cycling Europe 2019: Day 17 (Part 1), Coimbra to Porto

I’m sure the purists out there will heartily disapprove but, as I have to get back home to earn some money, my journey home from Coimbra will, alas, have to be aided and abetted by several train journeys – probably quite a few in fact – and one long ferry journey from Santander to Plymouth. As I type, I’m sitting on the first of those trains, a very quiet Intercity express from Coimbra back to Porto. Here’s the story of the morning so far:

Now… my ferry leaves Santander at 8.30pm on Wednesday evening. Realistically, I’ll need to be at the port by 7pm at the latest but I wouldn’t mind spending a bit of time having a look around the city – something I didn’t get the chance to do when I arrived in Spain at the end of August – so if I am able to arrive earlier in the day, or even the night before – that’s tomorrow evening – and camp back at the site where I stayed on that first night, so much the better. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; there’s a lot of land between Porto and Santander…

My tentative plan is as follows:

  • Arrive in Porto (on this train) at 09:46
  • Catch the 13:10 regional train from Porto to Valenca on the Portuguese side of the border with Spain, arriving in Valenca at 15:14
  • Cycle across the border to Tui and catch a train to Vigo, or, perhaps depending upon the weather as rain is on the horizon…
  • Cycle across the border to Tui and continue cycling to Vigo, a journey of around 30 km
  • There’s a campsite – Camping Playa Samil – on the coast just south of Vigo (about 8 km from the centre) which appears to be open
  • On Tuesday… regional Spanish trains (which you can use without dismantling your bike) link Vigo to León to Palencia to Santander… but I’m still investigating options for the northern coast route on the Feve narrow gauge railway. Is that a train too far?

Thoughts, comments and advice welcome.

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Categories: Adventure, Cycling, Travel, Video

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5 replies »

  1. Nothing wrong with mixing trains and cycling! The idea is to enjoy travelling, and I’m fine with whatever works. I’ve often taken ferries across rivers, for example, though purists might expect me to swim.

  2. Personally. I’d be getting the trains to Santander pronto ….then drink beer and have a good sightseeing tour before getting back into the staff room at school .

    As I wannabe long distance via Francigena old cyclist ….I now regularly put my bike in the boot and drive thru France & Switzerland into Italy: ..Lecco . Then cycle along the river Adda to lakes Como & Iseo . I cheat , you do the real thing Andrew …brilliant!

  3. I had the same feeling on my trip this year as I took the Eurostar from Brussells to London because I didn’t have time to cycle the whole way. But in the end, I justified it to myself by remembering that the Tour de France doesn’t actually go all of the way around France (anymore). They take trains and aeroplanes and it isn’t less of a race because of that. It’s not a watertight argument but it’s the best I have.

What do you think?