Easter 2019 – Day 2 – The long way to Portugal

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This was the second day of the trip, but the first day on the road. The route took us from Madrid, through Spain, and down to Southern Portugal.

Approximate time out caching/traveling: 12,5 hours
Total driving distance: 722,7 km / 449.1 mi
Total caches found: 12
Total DNF: 3
Famous places visited: None
Most memorable cache: GC5P8BN Kilowatt
Biggest surprise: How early we arrived at the hotel
Weather: Sunny, partly cloudy
Temperature range: 10-27°C

Brand new car

After checking out of the hotel, we just had to walk ~50 meters to the rental car pickup area. We got the keys, and soon enough discovered that we had gotten a brand new car! It only had 10km on it. And yet, they had somehow managed to already put multiple damages on it – damages they failed to mention. Luckily we found someone that could check, and sign the paper for us.

We stopped by GC2B0HH Baraxa – Un lugar tranquilo, to get the first cache in Spain.

Castle on the hill

There’s a lot of small castles in Spain, and one of them was right along our route – so one of the next planned stops was GC3GBE1 Castillo de Maqueda. The Spanish road network was surprisingly good, and the traffic surprisingly light. So we were almost alone when we parked right next to this view.

First DNF

The first DNF of the trip came already at the next stop, GC1MV92 La Batalla de Talavera – 1809. But we were prepared for that, since the previous logs indicated some kind of problem here. The area around GZ was really nasty, but at least we got to see this otherwise nice little rest area.

A couple caches later, we stopped to find a cache near what’s supposed to be the World’s largest tomato, GC4W9FJ Capital Europea del Tomate.

Highway to the hills

After driving on the highway long enough, we exited onto smaller country roads. Hills all around us, and lots of nice scenery to look at. Just like that, we found ourselves in the middle of nowhere. And it almost felt like we were on a different continent (almost like how we think Africa might look like). But after all, Africa is just “over there” when we’re as far south as we are now.

In the beginning, we had the road almost to ourselves. Sadly, that didn’t last. And compared to the highway, where people stayed well below the speed limit (can’t really understand why), they were all well above here. The roads were narrow, and the shoulder wasn’t even big enough for a bike. Rest areas didn’t exist, and there was really nowhere to stop. No wonder we had to drive so far to get to the next cache!

Finally, a place to stop

The scenery along the road was really nice, so we would have liked to stop several times. But that simply wasn’t possible.

When we finally arrived at GC37190 Cerro Colorado, it was clear that we were not the only ones that wanted a place to stop. A muggle car arrived at the exact same time as us, and they parked right next to the cache! Then another car, and another, and they just kept coming. It was almost as if this hole in the ground was Grand Canyon itself – at least if we were judging based on the visitation.

The first muggles that arrived, those that parked right on the cache, decided to eat their lunch here. And they spent 30 minutes doing so! Since we had traveled all the way here, there was no way we were leaving without finding this cache! So we just had to wait. As soon as they left (it really did take 30 minutes), we found the cache. At least we got to take a good look at the local Grand Canyon 😛

Narrow roads

From here, the roads only got smaller. And the traffic got worse. And to make it even worse, the road we were supposed to drive on, wasn’t built yet. So we couldn’t do much else than follow the road we were already on. We did a quick stop at the next random cache along the road, just to verify that we were headed in the right direction. We were, and not too long after, we finally got back to the highway.

Portugal, here we come!

We eventually made it to the border, where we were greeted by huge signs telling us to pay the road toll. The Portugal welcoming committee consisted of a row of toll machines. But after driving a bit, we understood why they needed this. Knowing the speed limit in Portugal was hard, very hard. It was almost like they couldn’t afford the signs. But Spain had excessive amounts of speed limit signs, they should have shared some with Portugal!

Early arrival

But luckily for us, the hotel could afford signs – otherwise we might not have found the way. The hotel was in the middle of nowhere, along some of the narrowest roads we’ve ever seen (we’re from Norway, that says a lot!). But that came with some nice sides as well, it was so quiet and peaceful here! And also a very nice hotel.

Since we had also traveled in time to get here (we didn’t even have to go 88mph), we arrived quite early. Even though we spent way too much time getting our first DNF in Portugal…

Just one more!

Since we had time, we decided to give GC5P8BN Kilowatt a try. We tried a couple times, but couldn’t really find anything. So we asked for help on Slack. And once again, the cachetur.no ambassador team proved that cachetur.no really does have the best support in the entire geocaching world! With their help, we managed to find the cache 😀 A very nice way to end this caching day! Thank you!

We spent the rest of the evening at the hotel, getting something to eat and enjoying the sunset.