Chronicles Of The Flat Tire


No I will not talk about my 25 year old neighbor that everyone keeps insisting to invite her to the cinema. Neither I will talk about the queen Victoria that ruled over Great Britain in the 19th century.

I'm talking about Vitoria-Gasteiz. The first problem when Rodrigo and Afonso will have when they arrive there is how to call the name of the town... It's Gasteiz if you are talking to a basque person, Vitoria if you are talking to some other Spanish person... more or like Derry and Londonderry in Northern Ireland. They might end with their tires flattened if they call the wrong name.

Vitoria is the perfect subject when you are in the final question of "Who wants to be a millionaire" and you got the following question: "What is the capital of the basque country. A: Bilbao B: San Sebastian C: Vitoria D:None of the above" because it is not the capital but it has the title Home of Basque Communities. The right answer would be D, Basques have no capital concept (Madrid is the capital and Basque country is not a country just a region).

Another thing that will help amuse this trip is that Rodrigo and Afonso will not be able to be 30 kilometers away of anything while in Basque territory, neither 40, 50 ,60.... the Basque numeration is different from any other in Europe, the numbers are base 20 so 30 kilometers would be twenty ten, 40 will be two twenty, 50 -> two twenty ten and so on. Due to two of the Basque regions are in France, the French incorporated this rule in their numeration and that's why you say 80 as "quatre-vingt" (in Belgium and Switzerland there is still the concept of "octante" as eighty).

PS: Beethoven dedicated his Opus 91 to Vitoria. The music is known the as "The Battle of Victoria" in honour to the Napoleonic Battle that took there.

Filipe Santos

Ponte de Lima

The Northern Portuguese landscape is known for it's high mountains and deep valleys. After they enter the country after crossing the river Minho, the same river that gives the name of this region they will face the magnificent Arga mountain range and also Soajo mountains. With 825 and 1416 meters high this is the historical defensive wall against the Spanish invaders, it's quite impressive if you think that the highest mountain in hole Great Britain is Ben Nevis with 1344 meters.

After they cross this range of mountains, either by bike or by ambulance because the path is rough, they will enter in the heart of the Minho. A green region with Atlantic weather, where it rains a lot (not like England a lot but a lot for Portuguese Algarve average) and also a place where you can find the truly Portuguese traditions. As soon they pass the mountains they will arrive to an ancient medieval bridge that will guide them to Ponte de Lima. By the way the name of the town literally means "Lima Bridge" being Lima the river that crosses underneath it. Somehow it's history is parallel to some other bridge towns like ... Hebden Bridge.

In Ponte de Lima they will be able to eat some of more traditional Portuguese food, and I'm not talking about Cod Fish, I'm talking about Rojões (Pork meat with blood, potatoes and pickles ) and Papas de Sarrabulho (I can't describe it ... like a soup but it has meat... blood and cumin). They will be able to dance the most traditional dances like the Chula and the Vira! It's always a good time for parties there.

Ponte de Lima is also one the Europe's places with more mansions per square kilometer and if they got lost and end up in the lagoons area they might be lucky and observe some wild animals like the European Otter.

Ponte de Lima it's a great place to bike through.

Filipe Santos


While in the path of Saint James, Rodrigo and Afonso must pass through the second most important town in the Camiño. Yes second being Santiago itself the first. And why is Chartres the second most important town? Yes you just got it! Because of the tiles.

I'm not kidding, this small town, just outside Paris, has the only remaining feature that once was common over European towns that where part of the path of Saint James. A labyrinth inside of the cathedral!

Can you picture Rodrigo and Afonso roaming by bike in the northern French plains, at distance they start to distinguish a huge, very tall building, a cathedral! 3 hours later they arrive to the town..

Not kidding here either, for centuries this where the tallest buildings in the world, there was a race in northern France to see which town had the tallest Cathedral. Most of the towns went bankrupt and when they did they invented a crusade to invade south of France and steal money, Beziers population was totally wiped-out for sack and this was the the place where the famous words where pronounced "Tuez-les tous, Dieu reconnaîtra les siens" (Kill them all, God will know His own) and in Carcassone Christians where allowed to keep the clothes they had in their body, everyone else was killed, everything else was sacked. With the money generated by this crusade huge Cathedrals where erected.

... when they arrive to the center of the town they will enter the Cathedral, get they bicycles stolen , and wander through the labyrinth, that represents the wander of the soul in this humane world, till they find the center and then they can finally return to their voyage... by foot... or bus if they didn't left their wallet in the bike.


3 places that they will miss, or not, because they didn't look at the map


When you ask a mathematician the shortest path between two points he will always say to you it's a straight line... well this you mean that Rodrigo and Afonso will follow the A2 to Dover, while if they took the A20 they would pass through the beautifull Ashford and if you read the Domesday book about Ashford...

Taxable units: Taxable value 1 unchanged units. Taxed on 1.0.

Value: Value to lord in 1066 £3.5. Value to lord in 1086 £5. Value to lord c. 1070 £3.

Households: 2 villagers. 15 smallholders. 3 slaves. 1 priest.

Ploughland: 4 ploughlands (land for). 2 lord's plough teams. 3 men's plough teams.

Other resources: 2 mills, value 0.5. 1 church.

Lord in 1066: William.

Overlord in 1066: King Edward.

Lord in 1086: Mainou.

Tenant-in-chief in 1086: Hugh de Montfort.

Cap Ferret

Remember the article where I talked about Arguin? Cap Ferret is on the north side of the Arcachon bay. Described as "a land between two oceans". They will not visit this magical place, a straight line of sand in the middle of the ocean, lots of pure nature, birds and wildlife... just because they would loose a day just to go back. Rodrigo and Afonso, if you see the sign "Bienvenue to Cap Ferret" go back, you are in the wrong direction.


This word in spanish means... the moon. But it is not. Rodrigo and Afonso, I warn you! If you ever reach this region, in the west of the Cantabric mountains, you are not in the moon! It is what it's call an homophony that ended up being written in the same way. In the other way you are in trouble, not because there is a town called trouble but because if you reach Luna the only way out is through the mountains... very high mountains.



Most of might be thinking right now: "You must be crazy, they are not going to pass through Italy!". I'm not talking about the Italian city but the second city that Rodrigo and Afonso are going to visit while in France.

Bologne has a special relation to Portugal as, at one point at history it could become part of Portuguese territory. Everyone knows the history of Eleanor of Aquitaine, when she married the king of France then France annexed Aquitaine, but when she got divorced then the Aquitaine region changed to the crown of England, one of the sparks that years later would start the 100 years old war. D. Afonso the third was named the Bolognese, not because of the Italian town but this Bologne. He was not supposed to be king, his older brother became D. Sancho the second and married Matilda II Countess of Bologne just to have some land. The only problem is that Matilda was already too old to have children and when Afonso became king he had to marry someone else in order to have an heir to the throne, therefore divorced the Countess and lost the right to claim that region... This would turn the trip to Portugal a bit shorter....

Nowadays Bologne is recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, a great place to visit but I bet they wont have the time for that.



The good news is that Rodrigo and Afonso will not be cycling in Australia where anything crawling that they pass by the road can kill them.

The bad news is that neither they will cycle in Ireland where, thanks to St Patrick, there are no snakes of any kind.

This is the list of poisonous snakes that they might find on their way:

From Britain to the north of France they will might found the Common European Adder. This small (60 cm) adder can be very very sneaky be aware of it!

From the north of France till the Pyrenees they will find the European Asp. With 65 cm this viper byte not only can be very painful, but also about 4% of all untreated bites are fatal.

From the Pyrenees to Portugal they will find the Seoanei Viper. With 70 cm they will might cross with this viper while crossing some water paths.

Near Porto they will enter in Lataste's Viper territory. Also known as Horny Viper due to the horn they have in their nose. There used to be so many of this vipers in Portugal that there are places named like "Campo de Viboras" (Vipers Field) in portuguese toponymy.

PS: Portugal used to be called Ophiussa in ancient times, this would translate to something like Land of Serpents

PS2: I known... there are no vipers in Australia!



After I've talked about the finish line last week I'm going to talk of the starting point... The starting point is not London... it's another city ... Westminster. You say there is no difference between Westminster and London they all belong to "big London", I say yes there is, for example the Queen lives and can go everywhere in Westminster but she needs to ask permission to enter the city of London.. luckily and because she is a woman all the best clothe and shoe shops of Oxford Street are on her side of the town.

Another thing is that this is not a tour between Big Ben tower and Clerigos tower. Big Ben it's the bell, the tower is just called Clock tower (recently they re-baptized it as Elizabeth tower)!

But, in good faith, I hope that Rodrigo and Afonso are in good shape for this trip and they make it at least to the end of the bridge just in front of the Clock tower, because it forbidden, by law, to die in the House of Parliament. And in the event that you give up before Dover and you decide to take a cab please check that they carry a bale of hay. All London taxis are "Hackney Carriages" registered and in the olden days this means "Horse-drawn". Regulations stated that no horses should go hungry and therefore insisted that all horse- drawn carriages that were registered as "Hackney Carriage" (mainly Taxis) should carry a bale of hay. That rule has still not been changed hence still applies. Fortunately it is not enforced.

I would like to propose some bets to people reading this. We could bet the place where they will give up on the trip. I bet 10 € they won't make it even to Ha-Ha Road.

Last but not the least: Today some guy just finished, in 2 months, by bike, Lisbon -> Baku, that's more than 3 times Westminster -> Porto.... (



Why Cycling Between Towers is not Cycling Between Capitals?

Porto is a great town. Portugal name came from it, it is the junction of Porto + Gaia (city on the other side of Douro River anciently named as Cale). But if Porto is so great that even named the country why it was never the capital?

By the way neither Lisbon is the capital of Portugal, in order to have a capital the person in charge needs to declare it, and the last declared capital is Coimbra. Back to Porto...

Porto was a special town in Europe during middle ages. During feudal times peasants worked for lords and their fate would be destined by the thoughts of these so called lords. If the lord was pissed about another lord having a better bull, would send an army of peasants to a certain death (this happened in Ireland... and probably in several other places). But not in Porto. Porto was a free town, no noble could stay in the city after the sunset. And there was not a Duke of Porto ( this title was create recently in 1833). This was a city boiling with power of justice between villagers. The first Noble to be able to stay in the city during night time was the King John I in 3 of March of 1394, and this was only because his wife was about to give birth to Prince Henry, the Navigator.

The down point was that people could not be represented in the royal court and so Porto was always out of big decisions. His representation was in charge of the local bishop but many of bishops where also from noble families...

When the English engaged the 100 years war they found a problem, in order to moralize troops you need wine, that cannot be produced in England... France would not sell it, Spain was France ally and the solution was to import wine from Portugal. Porto became the major center of commerce and the city boomed...

But I bet that Rodrigo and Afonso will never get to Porto, as they approach from north they must pass by their parents house. And I know Rodrigo and I'm certain that he will stay asleep in his warm cozy bed rather that finish the tour.



As you may know Rodrigo and Afonso want to visit Finisterra... but will they do that?

For starter what is Finisterra? It was the most western point of the world in Roman time... Finis terra means literally where the world ends. This is because, apparently, they where not fans of Eratosthenes and thought that the earth was flat.

But the Romans were not that good finding the end of the world and there are 3 Finisterras in Europe.

The most eastern one is Pointe de Corsen,Finistère and its in the tip of France, just above Asterix village.

The second one is Land's End in Great Britain.

The third one is Finisterra cape in Spain.

But the great news is that Romans really suck in geography and Spanish Finisterra is not the most western point in Europe. If Rodrigo and Afonso really want to go to the end of the world in their trip they should go to Cabo da Roca near Lisbon, and that would add more 600 km to this trip. They must do it!

P.S.: Finisterra is also a great music by Mago de Oz but I think I'm just a big fan...


Ancha es Castilla

Most of you might know this expression as the great Mago de Oz song ( but it is also a very common expression in Spain that means you have the freedom! The origin of it comes when the kingdom of Castilla was being formed and was occupying a vast area in the Iberian Peninsula that was uninhabited, so people would so that Castilla was so vast that there where places that you could do anything, legal or illegal, no one would ever know about it.

I recalled this expression after I read the interview in Antena Lusa (some posts below), and being revealed that Rodrigo and Afonso will take the St.James path (the Camiño) in Spain. Though they not explain which one ( there are several ) I reduced to two options the Northern and the French. The French one will make them pass through a desert, believe me crossing from Burgos to Leon in pure August will be a hard task to do, it's 180 km in temperatures that average 38 degrees celsius. The other choice it is more fresh but there is also a problem... in three stages of the path (between Bilbao and Castro Urdiales) there is only one inn per stage (and probably they are already full), either they make it in one day or they risk sleeping in the hay.

Any path they choose surely Castilla is too 'ancha' (sparse) and they will not easily cross it.

PS: I'm glad they managed to be able to tweet the voyage, I'll gladly count the times they tweet "We're Lost", "Need water" and "Help, please come rescue us"



Most of you might know it as the Portuguese fort built in the coast of Mauritania in 1445... Then the Dutch took it, then the British, then the Dutch, then the French, the German, the French again, then Dutch again and finally French till they realized they were fighting over a fort in the coast of the Sahara desert and it was simply not worth and abandon it...

But Arguin is also the place in France, just outside Bordeaux, where you can find the highest dune in Europe, with 110m in high, the Dune du Pilat (I utterly refuse to translate this to Portuguese) I challenge Rodrigo and Afonso to climb it on their passage through Aquitaine, it's just 2.7 km of sand in a spectacular scenario. If you sleep near Bordeuax it's just a two hour ride to the dune... Of course they will recovering from a hangover because of the wine they drunk the night before so make it four hours... and 1 more hour for them to search for the car keys and then realize they are on bikes.

Well if you decide to pass trough there at least don't forget your bikinis...



Hi Everyone

I was looking to the map trying to figure the itinerary and one thing occurred to me: They have to cross the Seine somewhere! Unless they want to go around it, but that would mean they would have to travel almost to Source-Seine near Dijon and that would add more 700 km to their trip.

What I propose here is that they take the route to Le Havre and cross the Seine through the bridge of Normandie. As you can see in the photo they will loose their lungs just by seeing the bridge. But don't worry it has a bikeway and the tool is completely free.

The alternatives are boat ( that would be cheating), the pont de Tancarville (that is more dangerous, no bikeway) and some other bridge more than 50 km away.



Hi Everyone

As a non-paid content producer my job here is going to be a great one! I'm going to try to demoralize Rodrigo and Afonso from making this trip, and it's going to be easy! It's not easy to make a 6000 km trip ( It's 6000? right? I didn't check that out! I've notice someone wrote 2000 down there in the wall but he would be thinking in imperial units).

Another thing is that they asked me to produce some facts about places that they are about to visit in this trip. Their main problem here is that when I asked Rodrigo about places they where going to visit he responded France... and Spain !!!!! All of this is in a very bad english!