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Fatima to Santiago, any info on the next 3 days to coimbra.

Discussion in 'Camino Portugues' started by mikevasey, Sep 27, 2011.

  1. mikevasey

    mikevasey Active Member Donating Member

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    Hi Folks,

    I am in Fatima, its our 5th day since starting in a little place called Merceana, which is 34km from Azambuja. It is a very beautiful way mostly trail untill you get on the route from Lisbon which is about 8km from Azambuja, and even there we discovered there is the possibility of trail walking rather than dual carriageway, but im am not going to say any further on that because it also has the potential to be very dangerous if you are on it on at the wrong time and place, bulls and trains. Will tell Laurie(Peregrina2000) about it and let her decide, there must be a reason it has not been mentioned before.

    I had planned to go via the Tomar route but was persuaded to go via Fatima. Cant really tell you where or how we got here i have no map, guide book, nada. Stayed in a place called Alqueana last night, it should have been about 28km from Santarem, but my poor old legs keep hinting at about mid 30's,including getting lost ?times. Arrived at about 7.40pm, had my torch out just in case.

    Vey hot, very sunburnt, carrying 3 litres of water, lots of drinking but very little product, probably means i am suffering from sun fatigue or whatever the correct name is for it. Got blisters on my left foot so decided to stay tomorrow, rehydrate and let my foot heal and try to find out about what happens for us next few days. I really dont have a clue, so if anyone can help. The only thing i do know is that they dont allow arrows or markers in the area of Fatima, there has been quite a few yellow arrows in the last couple of days and some quite creative messages in bright yellow, but in the last few km,s into Fatima someone or persons had been painting over them, it may take a while on leaving before we hook up with them again. Maybe i should just look for the silver paint where someone has gone over the top of them.

    Having a great time!

    Bom Caminho!

    Mike

  2. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Well-Known Member Donating Member

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    Wow, Mike, bom dia! How good to hear from you. It sounds like you are having quite the adventure, but how the heck did you get over to Merceana for your start? You must love being a trailblazer, that's all I can think of!

    I take it that you are planning to walk from Fatima to Coimbra, and that means that you will be walking "backwards" on the Caminho de Fatima. I know it is marked, but it's marked in the direction towards the Fatima destination, so you will have to be very much on your toes. The other option would be to get over to Tomar somehow and then you'd be back on the Caminho de Santiago. (And would be able to visit that very nice town, with its monastery way up on a hill).

    But, however you do it, enjoy it! Hope the weather on the Iberian peninsula cools off, because there are a lot of very hot thirsty pilgrims all over the place. All the best to you, bom caminho, Laurie

  3. Anniesantiago

    Anniesantiago Well-Known Member Donating Member

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    Oh Mike! So happy to hear from you! I hope things cool down soon and you feel better. Rest... it will be there tomorrow, huh?

    Bom Caminho!

  4. mikevasey

    mikevasey Active Member Donating Member

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    Thanks Laurie and Annie,

    Before I started this camino I was fretting about how much time I had and the distance i was going to have to walk, but now I have started to it does not really seem to matter, it seems like the spirit of 'what will be will be' has got me in her grip.

    My friend is laid up in bed, he was keeping to himself how tired he was feeling, he would just answer with an 'Ok' when I asked him, so hopefully the day off will sort us both out.

    I was filling some postcards out and I realised that on the map on one of them was Ansiao, I think one of the Fatima routes connects there from the Camino de Santiago, it is 44km from Tomar, I keep looking at the map on the postcard, Fatima seems to be more north and closer to Ansiao, it is a very small straw, but untill a bigger one comes along I will take it. I did a 43km day on the Frances, it was at the absolute limit of my strength and it hurt, and i had a very strong need to do it because of meeting a very lovely girl in Santiago.

    This has had a camino feel from the start for me, I was going to start in Lisbon, but I had contacted one of the Fatima associations a few weeks back because i saw that they had got a building dedicated to pilgrims on one of the Fatima branch routes, I did not hear anything back so I forgot about it. Then a couple of days before i was due to fly in Lisbon I saw on their Facebook site they were asking for help to come along and tidy up the Albergue before the foreign pilgrims came, I was too embarrassed not to start there now. I am so glad we did. We had very warm hopitality and the 1st day was really beautiful trails untill Porta da Luz(14km), were they are in the process of turning a building into a proper Albergue, at the moment it has one bunk bed, which they got for us, 2 outside toilets, no shower, we had to shower in someones house, and donativo. They will try to build proper kitchen facilities in it this year and also want to build showers outside, but as with everything at the moment in Portugual money is tight, so it will be little by little. Along this route it is marked with the blue arrows of Fatima and the yellow arrows of Santiago, the contact we had for the Fatima group has walked 3 times from SJPDP so it means a lot to him as well. Have met several pilgrims on the main route,69 year old Mary from Kilkenny, who we first saw outside of Azambuja, she has gone via Tomar,an Australian couple just as we were getting into Santarem, they werent walking but will be going up to Porto to start from there, but there was big hellos as they saw us stagger into town, wish we could have talked to them more, but Mary was really suffering from the 33km stage and it had been very hot. And then as me and Phil were leaving(coming back in reality) Santerem we met a Portuguse couple who guided us for that day, A big thanks to Pedro and Raquel, they were going to Fatima.

    Got to go now and have a scout around town to see if I can find any indications of where to go in the morning.

    Bom Caminho

    Mike

  5. mikevasey

    mikevasey Active Member Donating Member

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    Just had one of those camino moments. Left the internet place and ran virtually straight away into a French Gentleman with a backpack, he has a guide, Lisbon-Fatima-Porto-Santiago. So after a introduction, I get a pen out and start copying what I need to do. Ansiao is 47km(bloody postcard) but the next stage for me is Caxarias 19km, then Ansiao 27.9Km.

    Mike

  6. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Well-Known Member Donating Member

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    Hi, Mike,
    So glad you found a way to get to Ansiao. I was just looking back through the guide and see that your reconfiguration of the route means that you have managed to avoid those two eucalyptus forests where I got lost, so that's a real plus. :)

    Hope you get a chance to visit the Roman villa at Rabacal, and make sure to eat some of the town's very good cheese! Bom caminho, Laurie

  7. mikevasey

    mikevasey Active Member Donating Member

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    It was waymarked with blue arrows and yellow arrows, you have to have patience if you havent seen any for a while, we are talking 1 or 2 km.The 1st day was about 70 % road walking, mostly on quiet roads. Caxarias has the option of a firestation or a hotel the lovely and slightly sureal Manlovo. The 2nd day was straight out of your worst dreams about walking the camino. Just think road walking,100%,with about 70%of that on busy roads with no where to really jump. I think I know how we got lost, the yellow arrows were sprayed by cyclists, that would account for them being on the other side of the road, we came to an option before Almoster with several yellow arrows pointing right, this route took us several km to Alvaizere, for cyclists this is really not a problem, but for walkers on a very hot day it was a killer.

  8. jadidmasihi

    jadidmasihi New Member

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    hi. i'm sorry my post would be off topic but this is totally related:

    how can I go to Fatima from Santiago if I will walk and how many estimated days would it take me?

  9. mikevasey

    mikevasey Active Member Donating Member

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    Hi I would suspect it would take around 17-20 days. The route joining back up with the the Camino de Santiago I took from Fatima was given as 47 km but it was more like 55 -58km. That rejoined in Ansiao which was 47km from Coimbra and that in turn was around 360-370km by the central route to Santiago. In the last few weeks I have seen photos put from one of the Fatima associations in which they have been waymarking the route from Viana do Castelo to Fatima taking the route via Coimbra and then Pombal, they have waymarked it with both yellow and blue arrows, blue pointing the way to Fatima and yellow to Santiago. I looked at the map and if these markings have taken place then it might take 20-30km out of my estimates and I suspect there would be more options of finding accommodation for the night. I dont have the details at hand at the moment but when I find a link to the photos I will post them here.

    Mike

  10. Diogo92

    Diogo92 Active Member

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    Olá Mike and fellow pilgrims.

    I can tell that the last information's provided by Mike are true: the associations and some municipalities are making new and fresh marks for both ways: Fatima and Santiago (Blue and Yellow). Mostly because many people that wnt to Fátima complained that most of the ways where not marked in a proper way. Since the Portuguese Caminho starting from Lisbon get also "famous", we are doing a 2 in 1 process.

    We are also improving our network of Albergues here in Portugal, but most average towns have Hotels or Motels with some qualitie and cheap for everybody.

    Best Regards
    Diogo

  11. mikevasey

    mikevasey Active Member Donating Member

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    Thanks Diogo

    I have a couple more questions if you could answer them, I got the impression from some other photos that I have seen that Grijo monastery is allowing pilgrims to Fatima and Santiago to stay overnight and that on the Caminho between Sao Jao de Madeira and Grijo the Fatima amigos had developed a different way which took in more country walking.A big thanks for any info or related info you could provide.

    Mike

  12. Diogo92

    Diogo92 Active Member

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    Hello Mike

    I will try to contact some people to see if your questions can be answered properly.

    Probably those kind of new ways are not marked yet, but I will try to know something about it.

    Best Regards
    Diogo

  13. ekas

    ekas New Member

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    Greetings! I'm a long-time reader, first-time poster myself =) Reading this propelled me to act because I did the Santiago to Fatima route in July 2012 and thought maybe my experience could help. You should give yourself three weeks for this trek from Santiago to Fatima. I would divide the journey into three rough phases for you.

    From Santiago to Tui (technically Valença since the albergue in Tui specifically sets priority for people going north and redirects you to Valença if you are heading south) you have 5 stages (though I did this in 6). Along the 'Spanish' portion of the Camino Portugues blue arrows for Fatima are scarce and hard to come by. When you leave the center of Santiago you will see arrows/signs for Fatima for a while, but they don't persist long after you leave the area of Santiago. Roughly the stages are: Santiago > Padron ~24km; Padron > Caldas de Reis ~19km; Caldas de Reis > Pontevedra ~23km; Pontevedra > Redondela ~18km; and Redondela > Tui~30km (though I split up the last stage by stopping in O Porriño which is exactly halfway between Redondela and Tui). Due to the lack of blue arrows these distances are... 'flexible' if you get lost. Along this route the albergues are run by the ACAG.

    The second phase consists of northern Portugal from Valença to Porto. Once you cross the border into Portugal the blue arrows begin to appear and are far more frequent. This phase is also divided into 5 stages by most guide books, though I did it in 6 days. Valença > Rubiães ~17km; Rubiães > Ponte de Lima ~19km; Ponte de Lima > Barcelos ~33km; Barcelos > S. Pedro de Rates ~16km; S. Pedro de Rates > Porto ~37km. I was told by many pilgrims going north to avoid the 'central' route into Porto as it is very 'urban', so I opted to go west from S. Pedro de Rates to Povoa de Varzim and from there follow the beautiful coast into Porto (where you don't need blue arrows when all you have to do is follow the boardwalk south!); however, finding lodging along the coast is more difficult. Also there is no albergue in Porto so you have to find lodging on your own.

    The third phase is more or less central Portugal from Porto to Fatima, and this phase is the hardest (going south). The amount of pilgrims on the Camino Portugues gets increasingly lower as you go south, so running across pilgrims going north is rare (and to locals you are more of a strange site). That being said, the route south of Porto is not very well way-marked in either direction (though when I was walking it last year there were areas where the blue arrows were freshly painted). However, there are also many old blue arrows which lead you along older routes that more often than not lead you into the highway. Sometimes you reach intersections with several arrows pointing in different ways (I followed the fresher-painted ones).

    My own stages differed from the guidebooks here since I had no map or guide-book myself and more or less just went south towards Coimbra first and then towards Fatima. The stages are Porto > Grijo ~18km (I went to Espinho because following the boardwalk is easier than looking for arrows); Grijo > Sao Joao da Madeira ~18km (I went to Oliveira de Azemeis since its only 8km more - coincidentally I got there on the day of a meeting of the Portugues Pilgrim's Association); the next stage is Sao Joao da Madeira > Albergaria-a-Velha ~26km; Albergaria-a-Velha > Agueda ~15km; Agueda > Mealhada ~25km; Mealhada > Coimbra ~22km. After Coimbra you are in the final stretch with the following stages Coimbra > Rabaçal ~28km; Rabaçal > Ansião ~ 15km; Ansião > Fatima ~36km (I stopped in Ourem just north of Fatima to break up that last stage).

    South of Porto albergues cease to be (though there are two new ones in Agueda and Mealhada) so you either stay with the Bombeiros or in hotels/motels. Also south of Porto I ended up following the highway (rather dangerous) more often than I'd like simply because the blue arrows are hard to come by (hopefully this has improved) or older blue arrows lead you to the highway. Simply put, going south is hard, but south of Porto its much harder as there is less infrastructure to support pilgrims. I don't mean to discourage you, but the Camino to Fatima is not an easy walk like the Camino Frances. At any rate, I hope this helped =)

  14. Diogo92

    Diogo92 Active Member

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    ekas, thank you very much for your response.

    It was very good, because I couldn’t obtain any response from any association at these time (and I even phoned them!). So Mike (mikevasey), sorry my friend, I will persist to see if your question could have a proper answer, but appears that you already have a good one ;)

    When I get the responses to the emails and phone calls, i will post them here.

    Best Regards
    Diogo

  15. mikevasey

    mikevasey Active Member Donating Member

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  16. susiew

    susiew New Member

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  17. ekas

    ekas New Member

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    It's south of Porto roughly along the A1 highway.

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