Sleeping, Eating and Drinking
May is out of season in Spain and Portugal and if the weather is not nice, you will be often the only guests in tourist accomodation. Like in previous years, we preferred private (rural) accomodation. In Galicia this type of lodging is evolving and easy to find due to the excellent web page of turgalicia.es that offers GPS data for all registered accomodation. Sometimes home-cooked dinner is offered by the hosts, but this is less common then the Table d'Hotes in France and we often had to go to nearby restaurants. Private accomodation in Portugal is fairly unusual and slightly more expensive than in Spain. Often we stayed in Residencials which is like a pension and the typical accomodation for native travellers who would never consider staying in Hotels because those are for (foreign) tourists - at least that's what we were told.
Here is an address list where we stayed.
It is difficult to nominate the one and only best accomodation. Many were good - the best were probably the following three...
A Casa da Eira Cerreda near the Rio Sil, Spain
The hosts Alfonso and Suzanne made us feel at home immediately - Suzanne is German and also did cycling tours in Spain in previous times. Therefore she knows exactly what a cyclist cares about, and she and Alfonso were perfect hosts. Since there is no restaurant nearby and we announced our coming too late to be included in the family's dinner plans, we were given the spacious appartment and were able to prepare our own pasta (a small shop is in the village). On the second evening we enjoyed dinner prepared by our hosts.
The appartment is in excellent shape and has much more space then you actually need (e.g., a dedicated reading room with an international library of books to lend), but usually you will stay in the double rooms which look also nice.
Casa Agricola da Levante in Vila Real, Portugal
Residencial do Rita in Rio Caldo (near Geres), Portugal
In the little restaurante of the residencial we enjoyed very good, if not the best dinner of our trip, which was cooked by Mamma herself. The portions were huge even for hungry cyclists. The Bacalhau was delicious! Jack and his wife speak excellent English such that you can chat and easily feel welcome. The rooms are simple, but okay.
The worst rooms were ...
You don't like strawberry jam? Bad luck, often it is the only kind that is offered for breakfast. Even supermarkets sell often only strawberry and apricot jam - maybe someone needs to discover and fill this market opportunity. If you do, kindly send some royalties to us for the idea... The breakfast in Portugal seemed to be a bit richer than in Galicia, but still not enough for a cyclist to survive several hours. :-)