Last day! A pity. Today's ride is a loop northwest to Azenha do Mar then south to Odeceixe and back. I have a lie in and set off about 11, slightly worried that I will be cycling in the full glare of the noonday sun, but I feel much stronger and fitter compared to yesterday and eat up the kilometres.
The route goes back through the local village then turns left through large industrial-looking farms growing lettuce and berries under plastic awnings. It doesn't take long to get to Azenha do Mar, a small fishing port. A steep hill leads down to the harbour and I foolishly go down on the bike instead of leaving it at the top then have to wrestle it back up on foot.
The next 10K or so is a flat stroll past more farms on a near deserted road, a pleasant breeze and the shade of roadside eucalyptus making for an attractive ride. When the route reaches the main road again there is a long downhill of about 2.5k to Odeceixe, great fun albeit with the nagging worry that I'm going to have go back up it at some point.
I park the bike for a walk round the narrow cobbled streets of Odeceixe, which seems to be asleep. Perched on a hillside with an old windmill at the top and plenty of flowers around the whitewashed houses, it is an attractive spot.
I go on to the beach, which lies a couple of kilometres away, most of it uphill unfortunately. Again, the chain pops off in low gear, but I just about manage to unclip and not fall. It'll be good to get on my own bikes next week, which don't have this problem.
Flogging it uphill I arrive at the beach. The village is apparently popular with German, French and Portuguese tourists in high season but now there are barely a hundred people enjoying the sun. Perhaps 20 surfers are doing their best, but the waves are pretty small.
I start to go down to the beach for a swim but then consider the likely discomfort of being damp and sandy for the trip back and decide against it. Also, my bib shorts have a certain 'mankini' look about them which would probably not be appreciated. Instead I go back to the clifftop and eat the sandwiches I made earlier, watching the handful of surfers and their camper vans.
There is a one-way system on the road here presumably to reduce summer traffic. Annoyingly for me, it means a good climb then a roll downhill just to get back to where I was. The largely downhill ride from the sea along the river Seixe (it marks the border between Algarve and Alentejo) is another enjoyable section before I go through the village to tackle the 2.5km climb. It's a long slog, but a constant incline rather than a short sharp shock and I get back to the Azenha do Mar junction with little fuss, tired but energised at the top.
There is supposed to be a back road to the guesthouse, but what I assume is it looks like little more than a sheep track, so I just go back the way I came, adding a few k to an enjoyable wind-down route.
Tomorrow, it's the train from Funcheira to Faro and the plane back home. I have greatly enjoyed the week and will certainly be back to the region. Thanks again to Headwater Travel who organised it.