To get to the north we decided to go by train rather than automobile or plane, relying on our previous travel experience to “wing it.” How hard could it be anyway? Most of the time it can be as simple as getting on the train, buying a ticket and figuring the rest out as you go. Sometimes you get it wrong, and in the case of traveling from Sintra to the northern city of Braga, we got it really wrong. Like we got kicked off the train wrong. Thankfully we took it all in stride and arrived only 5 hours later than expected. The more I travel, the less I worry about these situations. My motto is, someone will tell you if you are doing it wrong, otherwise act like you have been there before.

After the train debacle, we awoke the next morning to church bells and the sun filtering into our room. Gone were the sounds of Sintra’s busy streets, replaced by the quietness of rural north Portugal. We are staying in Quinta do Bárrio, a countryside villa on the upper end of Terras de Bouro, a small village that seemed to be blissfully frozen in time. After rebuilding our bikes, we find our guide Gomes on the street to commence our first day of riding. At the top of the shuttle wild horses are there to greet us, surrounded by a landscape that was quite unique. House-sized granite boulders littered the rugged landscape, drenched in sun and blue skies. It was a nice surprise, quite unexpected really, reminding me that I will never stop be amazed by the world, no matter how long I travel.


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