Estrada Real - Brazil - April 2014

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ConRAD
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Estrada Real - Brazil - April 2014

Postby ConRAD » 6 Oct 2013, 6:59pm

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As part of a longer term cycling journey, I shall start next week the round trip of Portugal starting from Faro (Algarve) and heading North along the border with Spain, then to North-West up to Viana do Castelo on the Atlantic coast and finally South down to Lisbon.
This one is intended to be the first leg of a two stages cycling project aimed to follow, at least ideally, the route of Pedro Alvares Cabral officially claimed to be the discoverer of Brazil.
In my planning the second part will take place on April 2014 along the historical pattern of Estrada Real (Brazil).
Coming back to Portugal is there anybody that already cycled this Country and that can advise?
Thank you in advance.
Corrado
Last edited by ConRAD on 26 Feb 2016, 6:23pm, edited 3 times in total.
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JMaude
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Re: Seguindo a rota de Pedro Alvares Cabral

Postby JMaude » 6 Oct 2013, 8:42pm

Hi Corrado,

I cannot offer you any direct experience of the route you are suggesting, but whilst doing some research for a possible trip that covers a section of the route I have found a good websites that might be useful:

Pedal Portugal - includes outline details of a number of routes:
http://pedalportugal.wordpress.com/

Crazyguyonabike is also a good resource and there is a couple riding to Lisbon at the moment:
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=1 ... 12556&v=eR

Meanwhile, I shall keep an eye on any information you receive via this forum.

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ConRAD
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Re: Seguindo a rota de Pedro Alvares Cabral

Postby ConRAD » 7 Oct 2013, 5:37am

Thank you for the answer.
Indeed I already had a look to the site "pedalportugal" that unfortunately appears now not to be active anymore.
Nevertheless as far as the central part of Portugal is concerned I've got inspiration from their "Castles Route".
Interesting also the second link, I'll go through it in the details to look for any possible useful hints.
One important question now is to have a clear picture of "cyclibility " of certain roads.
For sure roads classified as "IP-Itineràrio Principal" are definitely not allowed to bicycles as well as highways classified as "A-Autoroute".
What about roads classified as "IC-Itineràrio Complementar" ??
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iviehoff
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Re: Seguindo a rota de Pedro Alvares Cabral

Postby iviehoff » 7 Oct 2013, 10:04am

You won't find cycling up the coastal strip in the vicinity of Porto very much fun, it's all very heavily built up with busy roads and if there are quiet ways through the maps aren't very good at finding them for you, and the signposts certainly won't help you, except occasionally to get to the next village. Several times I flew into Porto Airport and had great fun cycling into town, sometimes illegally cycling on the motorway as I just couldn't find a way through, even with a city street map, though these days you can use the metro to get out of the airport. From Aveiro northward you can get on a suburban train that can get you into and past this busy conurbation, which is much more built out than the region around Lisbon. Coming in the other direction, I didn't find leaving Aveiro much fun either until we'd got an hour or so away from the place: though being completely unable to find our way out of town onto minor roads we asked a cyclist who directed us just onto the road we were trying to avoid, clearly having a different understanding of "small road" from me.

What has happened in Portugal is that large new roads have been built mostly leaving the original road system there. So you can follow the old roads. it is just rather challenging to do so as the signposting of them is designed to discourage you doing it. And the maps rarely make clear just what is going on. I have ended up climbing over barriers onto A-roads, cycled a short distance along them, and climbed over barriers to leave them, because I could see where I wanted to be a short distance away, but couldn't work out how you were supposed to do it, all the while the signposts being very unhelpful, and the maps not having sufficient detail or accuracy. Maybe if you have a portable internet device you can zoom in on the satellite photos.

I'd look for a nice cycle route rather than trying accurately to follow this itinerary accurately, as there is lovely cycling if you deviate somewhat. It would be great shame not to visit the area of the Geres NP which is very lovely. Also I find Tras-os-Montes a lovely area. The east of Portugal is in general lovely cycling, but don't follow these lines too accurately, you'll find nicer routes a little distance away.

As far as I can tell IC routes are mainly concepts rather than being the road numbers. So whether you can cycle on them depends upon what classification each road piece has. See http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Itiner%C3% ... mplementar I'm assuming you read Portuguese.

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ConRAD
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Re: Seguindo a rota de Pedro Alvares Cabral

Postby ConRAD » 7 Oct 2013, 12:23pm

iviehoff wrote:...

thank you for the answer.

As far as cycling along the coast is concerned I was actually suspecting that Portugal is a little bit of a mess.
Now, while cycling, I don't have internet with me, neither I do carry paper maps as I normally prefer to have preloaded on my Montana 600 as a minimum three maps of the place I’m visiting: osm maps, velomaps (that give altitude information as well) and one garmin original city navigator map. Then, having the possibility to quickly swap from one to the other one at a simple touch, I normally manage to find the good road.
Not always unfortunately: recently indeed I had either the bad experience to find myself on a motorway close to Budapest and another time in France trying to get out of Montceau-les-Mines!!!
Now, coming back to what is allowed and what is not, according to the official web site of Estradas de Portugal *
, my understanding is that only “Autoestradas” classified as “IP-Itinerario Principal” are strictly forbidden.
The other “Autoestradas” classified as “IC-Itinerario Complementar” are not forbidden to bicycles, though not very much recommended from a point of view related to “fun”.
... well, let me see, I'll try to be as much as careful I can :shock:

* Nos itinerários principais é proibida a circulação de peões, velocípedes e veículos de tracção animal.
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andrew_s
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Re: Seguindo a rota de Pedro Alvares Cabral

Postby andrew_s » 7 Oct 2013, 3:59pm

ConRAD wrote:my understanding is that only “Autoestradas” classified as “IP-Itinerario Principal” are strictly forbidden.
The other “Autoestradas” classified as “IC-Itinerario Complementar” are not forbidden to bicycles

Michelin appear not to know the difference (unlike Autovias/Autopistas in Spain), but least Google Maps seems to know which are what.
It may be a case of checking Google Maps and taking a list with you.

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ConRAD
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Re: Estrada Real - Brazil - April 2014

Postby ConRAD » 26 Feb 2016, 6:27pm

ConRAD wrote:... in my planning the second part will take place on April 2014 along the historical pattern of Estrada Real ...

ESTRADA REAL [ BRAZIL - APRIL 2014 ]

- the whole trip is documented HERE

Estrada Real is the name that identified the whole complex of those rural roads that at the time of colonization of Brazil by the Portuguese Crown were opened in the process of exploration and economic exploitation of the enormous resources of that new land.
In the second half of the seventeenth century, contextually to the economic crisis of sugar cane and the expulsion of Dutch settlers from those areas (in 1654) it turned-up necessary to find new resources and more attractive economic interests.
This brought many entrepreneurs and business operators, especially in the São Paulo area and more particularly Portuguese mestizos with indigenous known at that time as Bandeirantes, to organize a series of expeditions (bandeiras) in those inland areas that later would become the nowadays states of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais.
The "lower part" of Estrada Real which connects the historical town of Ouro Preto to the Fluminense area on the Atlantic coast was commonly regarded as Caminho Velho and was mainly used to collect and transport the gold firstly to the town of Paraty, then to Rio de Janeiro and finally to Portugal.

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The trip step-by step

- 09.04.2014: Mariana
- 10.04.2014: Mariana - Ouro Preto, 12km/H496m
- 11.04.2014: Ouro Preto
- 12.04.2014: Ouro Preto - Conselheiro Lafaiete, 56km/H1296m
- 13.04.2014: Conselheiro Lafaiete - Prados, 92km/H1691m
- 14.04.2014: Prados - São João del Rei, 38km/H362m
- 15.04.2014: São João del Reis - Carrancas, 84km/H1455m
- 16.04.2014: Carrancas - Cruzilia, 61km/H1137m
- 17.04.2014: Cruzilia - Pouso Alto, 64km/H842m
- 18.04.2014: Pouso Alto - Cachoeira Paulista, 78km/H797m
- 19.04.2014: Cachoeira Paulista - Lorena, 19km/H70m
- 20.04.2014: Lorena - Cunha, 66km/H950m
- 21.04.2014: Cunha - Paraty, 59km/H1067m
- 22.04.2014: Paraty
TOTAL : 14 days - 629 km - H10163m

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09-APR-2014: From here, Mariana, in the heart of the Minas Gerais mountainous region, today officially begins my journey along the so called Caminho Velho of Estrada Real
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10-APR-2014: Mariana - Ouro Preto, 12 km / H496m
After a delightful evening in a local churrascaria listening to some of the top hits of the most genuine “musica mineira” divinely interpreted by Paula Fernandes, today, April the 10th, the day starts with an excellent breakfast truly based on the most authentic local tradition with sweets and the inevitable pão de quejo, a delicious sort of baked bread and cheese.
It’s half past seven and, with a temperature of 27 °C and a fantastic weather, I’m plenty of time to stop in the main square of the town, known as Praça Minas Gerais, just for a few shots prior to definitely take the direction to Ouro Preto.
After a few miles of gentle slopes road, I decide to stop along the route to visit the now exhausted gold mine known as Minas da Passagem. After the visit, at a certain point not too far away from Ouro Preto, a guy with his girlfriend, I’d guessed, makes me sign to stop … just to ask me where I was from and so far frankly confessing that he too was dreaming to become one day a cyclist ... perhaps in the aim to start to go around the world ... more or less as myself !!!
Once in Ouro Preto it wasn’t difficult to find an accommodation in the centre, despite most of the places were already fully booked because preparing to celebrate the 21 of April as the anniversary of the death of Tiradentes, a national hero, here considered the true historical leader that started such political movement that would have conducted Brazil to its impedance from Portugal (Celebrações da Inconfidência Mineira, 21 April 1792).

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11-APR-2014: Ouro Preto
Ouro Preto, the heart of the Baroque in the Minas Gerais region, definitely in the past, at the time of the colonization, one of the most populous cities of Brazil and a strategic point of the entire area for activities related to the exploitation of diamonds and gold. Very interesting a thorough visit to its rich heritage museums (Inconfidência,Casa dos Contos,Casa dos Inconfidentes,Museu do Oratorio) where the whole story of colonization is definitely well documented and offered to the visitor.

BRIEFLY:
Around the year 1789 the conspiracy for independence from Portugal attracted here in Ouro Preto many people belonging to the army and the circles of priests, intellectuals and poets. Joaquim da Silva Xavier, known by his pen name as Tiradentes, became the most visible and enthusiastic exponent of this independence movement. Three persons who had joined the uprising, however, betrayed the cause and revealed the plans to the government. The rebels were arrested in 1789. The legal proceedings against the conspirators were implemented from 1789 to 1792. TheLieutenant Colonel Francisco de Paula Freire de Andrade, Tiradentes, Jose Alvares Maciel and eight others were sentenced to the gallows. Seven others were banished and condemned to live in the African colonies, and the others were acquitted. During the trial, the Queen Mary (Maria I of Portugal) commuted death sentences in call for all except for people whose activities were deemed particularly serious. Tiradentes assumed full responsibility for his actions and the creation of the rebel movement. He was imprisoned in Rio de Janeiro and hanged on April 21, 1792. His body was torn to pieces, then sent to Ouro Preto in the captaincy of Minas Gerais, to be exposed in places where he had spread his ideas. The anniversary of his death, precisely on April 21, is celebrated as a national holiday in Brazil.
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12-APR-2014: Ouro Preto-Ouro Branco-Conselheiro Lafaiete, 56km-H1296m
After very warm greetings by the guests of the small hotel where I spent the last two nights I started to cycle for an interminable steep road prior to Ouro Branco and then Conselheiro Lafaiete. A journey of little satisfaction, with a few photographic opportunities, all paved, busy and definitely boring. I was hoping to see something better at the Casa de Tiradentesabout 8 km after Ouro Branco ... but I found it completely abandoned, a decidedly ungenerous treatment for who has passed to the history of Brazil as the major architect of its independence from Portugal !!!

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13-APR-2014: Conselheiro Lafaiete-Queluzito-Casa Grande-Lagoa Dourada-Bandeirinhas-Prados,
92km-H1691m
Very tough day today: apart from a few short stretches of asphalt, for the rest only dirt tracks, rocks allover around and above all a long infamous climb.
Despite to have a very detailed reference track loaded onto my GPS (… before leaving I always thought of it as a totally reliable one .. !!!), I found myself more than once on trails ending-up into the nothing, along colapsing stretches of mud and landslides, from time to time into private properties closed by gates, fences and barbed wires, often on sections of a path simply impassable !!! For the rest gentle pastoral landscapes, lush vegetation and silence, the most beautiful silence I’ve ever heard.
At the end of the day, pretty tired and by now definitely late in the deep dark of the evening I eventually arrived to Prados where I hardly could find the “hotel” booked the day before.
After a quick shower, I still nevertheless had the strength to go to the centre of the village roughly two miles walking from where I was !!! Along the streets, in front of the churches a lot of people and music everywhere ... it’s the Holy week I was told (… maybe because Easter?), this is Brazil I thought !!!
“Little detail” about my dinner in Prados: as I’ve said above, that evening in the town it was going-on a sort of a religious celebration. Thousands of people everywhere, stalls of all kinds, a deafening din. Looking around for a place where to have dinner I eventually sat at a table of a not properly appealing lanchonete (a restaurant) and asked for something to eat. In a very tiny open space facing the main square there were two giant modern TV sets broadcasting at the same time two different news and music programs. On top of that other music coming from all around, people talking shamelessly aloud and undefined nuisance noises..
At a certain point, no more than a couple of meters from where I was, stopped a car with two bold chaps who, without hesitation, opened the car rear trunk where there were a minimum of a 10 megawatt stereo set that they switched-on at the maximum volume !!! Terrible, everything started to vibrate, tables, dishes … even the fork and knife in my hands !!! … that’s Brazil I thought, again !!!

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14-APR-2014: Prados, Bichinho, Tiradentes, Trilhos by Maria Fumaça, São João Del Rei, 38km / H362M
Definitely a quiet bit of a route today; small villages scattered all over around, the usual climbs of course .... and, above all, a big headache about tomorrow stage (…)

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15-APR-2014: São João Del Rei-Itutinga-Carrancas, 84km-H1455m
The idea of having to cycle more than 80 km under a pretty heavy rain and, what’s worse, mainly along a sort of red mud roads with an estimated climbing of over 1400 meters didn’t appeal to much to me !! Furthermore, unfortunately, as far as I could understand, there weren’t credible alternatives. So, today, it’ll be a pure and total improvisation stage!!!
After 40 km of BR-265, at the height of Itutinga, I preferred to abandon the main street and take on the left the MG-451 in the direction of Carrancas.

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16-APR-2014: Carrancas-Fazenda Traituba-Cruzília, 61km / H1137m
At seven-thirty in the morning, at the time of the departure, a dark black sky wasn't promising anything good.
Despite these initial inauspicious predictions however the sky very slowly started turning-up serene and with a mild temperature of 25 ° C I could succesfully conclude this stage in the most beautiful possible way.

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17-APR-2014: Cruzília-Baependi-Pouso Alto, 64km / H842m
Today I must say that at a certain point I had to, or better, I simply preferred to "defect" the Estrada Real opting for the busiest but much more “fluent” and "civil" asphalt (...). Apart a reasonable traffic, the way showed to be quite awesome, with affordable slopes, several shaded stretches and definitely beautiful views.
Arrived in Pouso Alto in the early afternoon, I immediately rushed into a small pousada (hotel) where, thanks to a still warm and bright sunshine, I took advantage for cleaning the bicycle and washing the essential.

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18-APR-2014: Pouso Alto-Sao Sebastiao do Rio Verde-Itanhandu-Passa Quatro-Cachoeira Paulista, 78km / H797m
Nice bit of a road today, not too tough, half dirt paths and half asphalt. Unforgettable the single-track along the dismissed railway to Itanhandu and the suggestive views through the Serra da Mantiqueira up to the heights of mount Cruzeiro.

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19-APR-2014: Cachoeira Paulista – Lorena, 19km / H70m
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20-APR-2014: Lorena-Guaratinguetá-Cunha, 66km / H950m
I was supposed to take advantage of my room in the centre of Lorena for a relaxing sleeping night but starting from midnight till dawn, to celebrate Easter as they explained to me later, they started with fireworks first, then with a large brass band, eventually with a megaphone shouting to the crowd ... in short, a nightmare!!!

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21-APR-2014: Cunha – Paraty, 59km / H1067m
Today, April the 21st, here in Brazil is a national holiday. They do celebrate "O dia da Inconfidencia" which coincides with the death of Joaquim da Silva Xavier, better known by the name ofTiradentes, here historically considered the greatest architect of the movement of disobedience to the Portuguese crown that would take a few years later to the independence of Brazil from Portugal (September 7, 1822).
The route, starting from the hotel where I spent the night in Cunha is pretty much a tremendous uphill till the boundary line between the states of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro where, among other things, all of a sudden the asphalt ends.
From this point on, at 1500 m.a.s.l., it follows a trait of a road that I would define, from my point of view, simply glorious.
A crazy 20 km descent along a winding and terribly muddy road till to reach the sea through the so-called Mata Atlantica da Serra do Mar; all around an awesome and lush vegetation, humidity that could tarnish my glasses even though I was constantly moving, oozing rocks on all sides and finally to end-up with the sighting of the sea and the Bay of Paraty.

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22-APR-2014: Paraty

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