This was the kind of ride I had pictured in my mind when we had thought of the project. We left the birthplace of port wine (Porto) after saying our goodbyes to Ivo and Daniel. We had spent the last 3 days with them and it was as if we had been friends forever. They tried convincing us to hold on a day longer- but we were trying to make up for lost time.
It was noon when we rode out of Porto. We had about 600 plus kilometres to reach Burgos. Just as we were leaving the city limits, magic happened. The sun peeped out of the clouds. It was already a lovely 23 degrees and the mellow sun poured its rays upon us. As if on cue, the countryside opened up and soaked up the gold of the sun- thus for nearly 400 kilometers of our path, we were moving past the gold-yellow of the Furze flowers. There was a gentle aroma in the air. It was as perfect as one can ever imagine: smooth tarmac, gentle curves, balmy sunshine and just the right temperature to make the experience complete.
There was something magical about this ride. This was not a day dedicated to adrenalin- it was dedicated to a soulful journey. It did not matter anymore that I was not on max speed permitted on the road… I found myself relaxing, taking more breaks than usual- and toying with gadgets, the GoPro orientation, et-all. I thought of the last weeks on the road, of all the new people we embraced as friends- and how it feels alright to be doing this than just chasing office deadlines.
Behind me, I could also sense Anu succumb to the magic of the day. Occasionally I would hear her crooning, she would often communicate with our established riding-signs and most importantly, she did not feel perturbed at an uncomfortable speed.
Perhaps I was too relaxed- because I missed a turn- and went off the toll road onto the country lane- a detour that cost us 2 extra hours. But that too was alright- after all we would ride through 20,000 kilometers; how does an extra hundred kilometre make a difference? Let it go- I heard myself say. And beneath the steady purring of the engine, the passage of time wqs marked by the changing digits in the odometer.
At that lazy pace I could see the landscape change, I could better appreciate the smells and colours transforming themselves as the light became more mild. The sun set about 200 kilometers before Burgos. And we pulled over to watch the fiery red catch the cumulus clouds and light them up one at a time. Ahead of us lay a meadow filled with cat-tail weeds. They too picked up the dying rays as they danced in the gentle breeze while the yellow furze marked the road with their distinct colour and aroma. We nursed the sun into the night sky and then set out for the last 200 kilometers. It was already past 8 of evening but we were in no hurry. Finally, we reached Burgos- at midnight, still riding at a relaxed pace, still with that steady grin stuck on our faces! This was truly a ride with a difference- a ride where we arrived more fresh than we started out, exactly 12 hours previously. Farewell Portugal… you have been magical.