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LIVE from the Camino Caminho Nascente from Tavira - Spring 2021

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
Wendy and I are in Tavira on the Algarve coast of Portugal and we’re excited to begin walking the Caminho Nascente tomorrow!

Our original plan for this spring was to walk the Mozárabe/VdlP just after Easter, but that wasn’t possible because of restrictions in Spain and the Portugal/Spain border closure. We came up with a few other plans for Spain for later in the spring but in the end, there was too much uncertainty so we decided to just walk in Portugal instead. As was the case with our CP last autumn, a primarily Portuguese camino makes sense for us again in these COVID times because we already live here, we don’t need to travel far to get to/from the camino, we’re familiar with the current virus situation and restrictions (which have been largely lifted), we have public and private health insurance etc. So another Portuguese camino it is!

The Caminho Nascente is a recently created camino from Tavira to Trancoso that is about 500km in length (and not to be confused with the camino of the same name that links Fátima with the Camino de Santiago). Our plan is to switch from the Nascente to the Caminho do Este at Guarda, two stages from the end, and walk another week or so to Chaves and the border with Spain. If the border is open by then, we can link up with the Sanabrés to reach Santiago. If not, we will return home to Lisbon and we will have walked the length of Portugal, if nothing else!

There’s very little information available on this camino (e.g. just one thread on this forum out of 55,000+ total threads!) but we have found a couple of helpful sources that have allowed us to map out a rough stage plan. I’m not sure if the entire Nascente is way-marked but at least some sections are and I have GPS tracks on my phone as a backup. For accommodation, we’ll look into options a few days in advance while we’re walking. It wasn’t hard to book places for the first few days (mostly budget hotels plus one hostel) but I assume it will be a bit more difficult once we move into more remote areas.

Our first stage tomorrow is about 26km due east from Tavira to Vila Real de Santo António, just across the Guadiana river from Spain. From there we turn northwards for the long journey to (hopefully) Santiago.

I’ll provide updates here and photos on Instagram. As part of Wendy’s Galego learning project, she is going to vlog about the camino on her new YouTube channel: Wendy Speaks Galego.
 
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Isca-camigo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Various ones.
I look forward to following you. Various groups waymaked the route from Evora a couple of years ago, so you may have fairly descent ( or not) signage from there.

Bom Caminho
 

SkyDancer

Camino obsessed
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Wendy and I are in Tavira on the Algarve coast of Portugal and we’re excited to begin walking the Caminho Nascente tomorrow!

Our original plan for this spring was to walk the Mozárabe/VdlP just after Easter, but that wasn’t possible because of restrictions in Spain and the Portugal/Spain border closure. We came up with a few other plans for Spain for later in the spring but in the end, there was too much uncertainty so we decided to just walk in Portugal instead. As was the case with our CP last autumn, a primarily Portuguese camino makes sense for us again in these COVID times because we already live here, we don’t need to travel far to get to/from the camino, we’re familiar with the current virus situation and restrictions (which have been largely lifted), we have public and private health insurance etc. So another Portuguese camino it is!

The Caminho Nascente is a recently created camino from Tavira to Trancoso that is about 500km in length (and not to be confused with the camino of the same name that links Fátima with the Camino de Santiago). Our plan is to switch from the Nascente to the Caminho do Este at Guarda, two stages from the end, and walk another week or so to Chaves and the border with Spain. If the border is open by then, we can link up with the Sanabrés to reach Santiago. If not, we will return home to Lisbon and we will have walked the length of Portugal, if nothing else!

There’s very little information available on this camino (e.g. just one thread on this forum out of 55,000+ total threads!) but we have found a couple of helpful sources that have allowed us to map out a rough stage plan. I’m not sure if the entire Nascente is way-marked but at least some sections are and I have GPS tracks on my phone as a backup. For accommodation, we’ll look into options a few days in advance while we’re walking. It wasn’t hard to book places for the first few days (mostly budget hotels plus one hostel) but I assume it will be a bit more difficult once we move into more remote areas.

Our first stage tomorrow is about 26km due east from Tavira to Vila Real de Santo António, just across the Guadiana river from Spain. From there we turn northwards for the long journey to (hopefully) Santiago.

I’ll provide updates here and photos on Instagram. As part of Wendy’s Galego learning project, she is going to vlog about the camino on her new YouTube channel: Wendy Speaks Galego.
How amazing! I read this and then checked my e-mail and there was a newsletter from the Nomadic Vegan talking about her upcoming Camino with Nick!
It’s a small nomadic world! 😃
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Bom Caminho! I have fond memories of a childhood visit to Tavira.

I found a site that shows the Caminho Nascente starting in Alcoutim, but on the IGN site, I have seen something that starts in Tavira, and follows what looks like a similar route...

Is the route to Trancoso the one that's indicated on the IGN map? If so, then it looks like, you could go as far as Trancoso to join the Camino Torres, toward Viseu / Lamego. And from there up to Chaves... ?

If you are able to cross into Spain and join the Sanabres at Verin, you might choose to slide across from, say, Allariz to Cortegada and end your camino with another very obscure route (actually, not yet an official camino) - The Caminho da Geira e dos Arrieiros. Discussed here:

Good luck. I look forward to reading about your adventures.
 

Isca-camigo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Various ones.
not yet an official camino) - The Caminho da Geira e dos Arrieiros
Depends on what you mean by official, the Cathedral and because of that the Pilgrims office recognize the route, which means you can get the Compostela after walking it. The Xunta have not yet declared it official from their point of view, but it seems they are edging that way with recent photos and quotes of the Camino Geira on their websites.
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Oh, I had misunderstood! You must have mentioned the Nascente somewhere, and I was puzzled to think you would be going for a few days around Fátima!

I had totally forgotten that Tavira is the start of its own camino. I was there in 2018 and not only did I see an arrow outside the Igreja de Santiago (the Matamoros version, no less), I also got a long informative lesson from someone in the church about the caminho and how they were trying to promote it. I posted some pictures here. Somewhere, somewhere, I have that brochure, but it sounds like you are well taken care of!

Wishing you a wonderful caminho! Hoping the weather cooperates and that it doesn’t get too hot. Some of this terrain can be kind of punishing in the wrong weathr.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
First 2016
Latest Camino Frances Jul-Aug 2020
Wendy and I are in Tavira on the Algarve coast of Portugal and we’re excited to begin walking the Caminho Nascente tomorrow!

Our original plan for this spring was to walk the Mozárabe/VdlP just after Easter, but that wasn’t possible because of restrictions in Spain and the Portugal/Spain border closure. We came up with a few other plans for Spain for later in the spring but in the end, there was too much uncertainty so we decided to just walk in Portugal instead. As was the case with our CP last autumn, a primarily Portuguese camino makes sense for us again in these COVID times because we already live here, we don’t need to travel far to get to/from the camino, we’re familiar with the current virus situation and restrictions (which have been largely lifted), we have public and private health insurance etc. So another Portuguese camino it is!

The Caminho Nascente is a recently created camino from Tavira to Trancoso that is about 500km in length (and not to be confused with the camino of the same name that links Fátima with the Camino de Santiago). Our plan is to switch from the Nascente to the Caminho do Este at Guarda, two stages from the end, and walk another week or so to Chaves and the border with Spain. If the border is open by then, we can link up with the Sanabrés to reach Santiago. If not, we will return home to Lisbon and we will have walked the length of Portugal, if nothing else!

There’s very little information available on this camino (e.g. just one thread on this forum out of 55,000+ total threads!) but we have found a couple of helpful sources that have allowed us to map out a rough stage plan. I’m not sure if the entire Nascente is way-marked but at least some sections are and I have GPS tracks on my phone as a backup. For accommodation, we’ll look into options a few days in advance while we’re walking. It wasn’t hard to book places for the first few days (mostly budget hotels plus one hostel) but I assume it will be a bit more difficult once we move into more remote areas.

Our first stage tomorrow is about 26km due east from Tavira to Vila Real de Santo António, just across the Guadiana river from Spain. From there we turn northwards for the long journey to (hopefully) Santiago.

I’ll provide updates here and photos on Instagram. As part of Wendy’s Galego learning project, she is going to vlog about the camino on her new YouTube channel: Wendy Speaks Galego.
Is this not the Via Lusitana?

I met a lady walking this route just outside Trancoso in 2019. There is an existing Forum resource and also a yellow guide in German (I have this somewhere as I was planning to do this before Covid intervened).


Bom Caminho
 
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Isca-camigo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Various ones.
They are slightly different, don't ask me where🤔, but I suspect the major difference is the last few stages into Spain, whenever I have seen the list of places given in the Via Lusitana for etapas start and finish then it usually names of places I am not as familiar with as much when I look at the Camino Torres and the Caminho Portuguese Interior, which if they were the same would all match up at certain places.
Edit.
Here is a link to the German guide and a map of their itinerary.
Looking at their map they probably have the more remote entry into Spain.
 
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amancio

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
I am extremely jealous, JungleBoy!!!!! I have been to Tavira (Santa Luzia) a few times and, yes, I have seen yellow arrows near Cacela Velha and some blue and yellow sign marks in some street in Tavira.
PLEASE !!!!! keep us posted on how it goes, I LOVE Portugal!!! And the idea of crossing the whole country to Chaves is indeed very attractive.

Bon Caminho!
 
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auburnfive

Active Member
Hello Nick
In March of 2017 I spent 3 weeks in Tavira. One day, I noticed a Camino sign in a window in the town centre, and was connected with a fellow who had worked on the project. We met up at the hostel there, and ended up walking a day on his route with him. Very knowledgeable guy about local plants, history etc, a bit of a character. He said they were working towards the route being officially sanctioned, and hoping local economies might benefit. When I mentioned this forum as a way to get the word out he reacted very negatively, not sure why. I will dig through my old email, and if I find his contact will send you a pm. Otherwise, the window was close to the old cathedral, where we started our walk that day.
will watch your posts with interest, as I’m headed back to Tavira hopefully next spring
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
Thank you all for your lovely messages of support!

I found a site that shows the Caminho Nascente starting in Alcoutim
That site (which is very helpful) comes from the local authorities in the Alentejo and Ribatejo and unfortunately they’re only interested in the stages in those areas. This map from the same site shows that it starts in Tavira but they use dotted lines until the point that the Camino crosses from the Algarve to the Alentejo.

60AEB90B-A597-474D-B256-0051F05D0F71.png

Oh, I had misunderstood! You must have mentioned the Nascente somewhere, and I was puzzled to think you would be going for a few days around Fátima!

Wishing you a wonderful caminho! Hoping the weather cooperates and that it doesn’t get too hot. Some of this terrain can be kind of punishing in the wrong weather.
I was also a bit confused a while back until Rodrigo clarified it here.

Weather at the moment is low 20s Celsius so looking good at this stage!

Hello Nick
In March of 2017 I spent 3 weeks in Tavira. One day, I noticed a Camino sign in a window in the town centre, and was connected with a fellow who had worked on the project. We met up at the hostel there, and ended up walking a day on his route with him. Very knowledgeable guy about local plants, history etc, a bit of a character. He said they were working towards the route being officially sanctioned, and hoping local economies might benefit. When I mentioned this forum as a way to get the word out he reacted very negatively, not sure why. I will dig through my old email, and if I find his contact will send you a pm. Otherwise, the window was close to the old cathedral, where we started our walk that day.
will watch your posts with interest, as I’m headed back to Tavira hopefully next spring
Thank you for this. The camino office opposite the church of Santiago is currently closed because of the pandemic although they are accepting email queries. We have the guidebook they have produced (for the Alentejo stages) and already had our credenciales from Ivar so we’re all set!
 
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Isca-camigo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Various ones.
I will be living my Caminho vicariously through yours, this is one of my definitely wishlist ones, an unexpected excitement in my day. + tell me to get lost if I start making suggestions to often but my 1st one is don't forget about the Caminho da Raia variant from Mertorola, now you definitely would be the 1st contemporary pilgrims I have read of who have gone this way.
Bom Caminho
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
+ tell me to get lost if I start making suggestions to often but my 1st one is don't forget about the Caminho da Raia variant from Mertorola, now you definitely would be the 1st contemporary pilgrims I have read of who have gone this way.
I appreciate the suggestions! Do you have any more information about the variant?
 

amancio

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
Hello Nick
In March of 2017 I spent 3 weeks in Tavira. One day, I noticed a Camino sign in a window in the town centre
I think we must have been walking on the same lane! There is something about Tavira, something special
 
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Isca-camigo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Various ones.
I appreciate the suggestions! Do you have any more information about the variant?

Nope, but there is some stunning places on that route, as there is on the main route. It is definitely more remote, possibly more hilly as befits a border area if that appeals to you and some places have a unique mix of Portuguese and Spanish language going on, I thought about this way in 2014, but felt I was way over my head with all the research I would have had to do, so I opted for Montpellier on the Chemin Arles instead.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
First 2016
Latest Camino Frances Jul-Aug 2020
I appreciate the suggestions! Do you have any more information about the variant?
I visited Elvas along time ago. It is a must if you are a connoisseur of artillery forts as it is a fine example of the Trace Italienne, and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The town was attractive but quiet as I recall.

It did feel that it had lost its sense of purpose with the disappearance of the frontier under Schengen.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
Day 1: Tavira to Vila Real de Santo António (~26km).

It was fun but tough to be back on camino again as the 26km felt like five more, but we made it in the end!

Today was the first time I have walked east for any significant amount of time on camino, as a curiosity. Within an hour or so of leaving Tavira, we were on country paths and had seen salt ponds, vineyards, olive trees, wild flowers and a lot of orange groves, including one being harvested.

Cacela Velha, which @amancio mentioned upthread, was a highlight. It’s a tiny cobblestone village with a church and a fort (both closed unfortunately) and spectacular views over the coast below.

05F4E57D-2B30-4837-8C90-6A21DBAA2355.jpeg

In the afternoon we managed to make a short detour off the path to the beach as we will not see the ocean again on this camino unless we make it to Finisterre!

Vila Real is across the river from Spain and has a lot of accommodation options. I had seen it listed as the typical end-of-stage stop on the first day but it is not technically on the camino as the arrows bypass it. But we will pick the arrows up again early tomorrow as we walk north. It will a shorter day than today which will help us ease back into the rhythm of the camino.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
+ tell me to get lost if I start making suggestions to often but my 1st one is don't forget about the Caminho da Raia variant from Mertorola, now you definitely would be the 1st contemporary pilgrims I have read of who have gone this way.

I visited Elvas along time ago. It is a must if you are a connoisseur of artillery forts as it is a fine example of the Trace Italienne, and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The town was attractive but quiet as I recall.

Now I understand from looking at the map that the Raia variant is what I’ve been calling the Caminho do Este.

To summarise, the two caminos follow the same route to Mértola and then diverge, with the Nascente going via Beja and Évora while the Este/Raia runs further to the east through Moura and Elvas. We chose the Nascente for various reasons, including that it was said to have shorter stages and less road walking, and that the district of Moura went back into lockdown a couple of weeks ago. So the upshot of all this is that we will not do the Raia and will miss Elvas this time, but we have been there before.
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
How amazing! I read this and then checked my e-mail and there was a newsletter from the Nomadic Vegan talking about her upcoming Camino with Nick!
It’s a small nomadic world! 😃
I just realised I never replied to this. Yes, the Nomadic Vegan is my wife @Wendy Werneth. You’re probably the only person who saw both messages - small world indeed!
 
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DevereUx

Devereaux
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept-Oct 2018
This is wonderful!
This is the route I'm thinking of doing in November!
So, thank you so much for your posts!
Looking forward to follow you.
Bom Caminho
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
JungleBoy,

Your posts and photos are great. Thanks for sharing so much useful info.

Perhaps this new bridge
might be a future stop for another trip to Arouca.

Bom caminho.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
Day 2: Vila Real de Santo António to Almada de Ouro (~18km).

Today was a really nice (and short!) stage with sunny but not hot weather and a fair bit of appreciated trail walking.

After setting out from Vila Real this morning, we walked on a windy bicycle path through wetlands and saw five flamingoes in flight, among other birds.

At Castro Marim, there’s an old windmill, a chapel and two forts. The area around the windmill is nicely presented and worth visiting. (Incidentally, I counted more than two dozen modern wind turbines on the other side of the Guadiana river in Spain, and none on the Portuguese side - although we did pass a second traditional windmill, completely in ruins, later on.) Castro Marim would be a good first night alternative to Vila Real, although there appears to be only one place to stay (Casa Rosada).

C844C347-E91C-42EC-A930-0CCB281FCF5C.jpeg

The rest of the stage alternated between the road and dirt paths in the countryside. There appeared to be some reasonably new rerouting of the camino off the road and onto these paths, with signposted way-marking and not just painted arrows. As we move away from the ocean, the landscape in these parts is dry and rocky with none of the orange trees that we saw so much of yesterday. Instead, we passed a lot of (mostly wild) olive trees and cacti, some of which were flowering.

AFF19C63-552D-4734-A8BE-306362EE3CC0.jpeg

We’re staying at Casa da Paz in Almada de Ouro. It’s not technically open during the pandemic but the owner Anne made an exception for us. It’s a beautiful property with a pool and although it’s more expensive than what we usually pay (€55/double), we’re very happy to be here with almost all afternoon to rest and walk down to the river a bit later.
 

kenwilltravel

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal (2018)
Portuguese Coastal, with Spiritual Variant (2019)
Wendy and I are in Tavira on the Algarve coast of Portugal and we’re excited to begin walking the Caminho Nascente tomorrow!
Hi jungleboy. My wife and I live in Tavira (although we're in the States at the moment) and will be following your adventures with great interest. We have done a tiny part of this Camino from Tavira to Cacela Velha, which is quite lovely as you mentioned. I'll be particularly interested to learn what kind of lodgings you discover along the way. Boa sorte!
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
Caminho Nascente Day 3: Almada de Ouro to Alcoutim (~24km).

We are really enjoying this camino so far. There’s so little information about it that we have no idea what’s coming each day and everything is a surprise!

95572204-5350-4F09-A4E9-E055F5BE4674.jpeg

The first third of today’s walk was in beautiful countryside on dirt paths surrounded by pine forests. One of the dogs from last night’s B&B came with us for company and walked nearly 10km before we eventually had to call his owner to come and pick him up! The rest of the day was spent walking close to the Guadiana river, mostly on the road - which wasn’t busy but a lot of asphalt walking eventually takes its toll - with occasional welcome detours onto dirt paths.

Today’s main surprise was a Roman villa at Montinho das Laranjeiras. There wasn’t much to see (just foundations about a foot high) but one of the buildings in the complex was a Visigothic church (part of which is pictured below). It’s so rare to vestiges of Visigothic rule in Portugal so I was pretty happy with this find!

E26DA547-5F90-4FEC-85D0-3B14E71DC7F3.jpeg

Food-wise, there wasn’t much in the way of shops (none) or restaurants (a couple of riverside cafés that mostly seemed to sell beer) during the walk today, but we managed to buy bread at one of the cafés and cobble together a basic lunch with some supplies we were carrying with us. Tomorrow might be more of the same except we have fewer supplies now!

Our overnight destination, Alcoutim, is a lovely village in a beautiful setting. The houses are whitewashed with orange tiled roofs, there’s a castle, and there’s a similarly attractive village just across the river in Spain (pictured below). There is one hotel in the village and another about 1km further north. We’re in the village, paying €40 for a very nice room with great views over the castle.

CFD88380-CAAE-4E98-AFB5-A67570B56FFB.jpeg

The brief Algarve section of our camino is now over and we’ll cross into the Alentejo early tomorrow.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
Hi jungleboy. My wife and I live in Tavira (although we're in the States at the moment) and will be following your adventures with great interest. We have done a tiny part of this Camino from Tavira to Cacela Velha, which is quite lovely as you mentioned. I'll be particularly interested to learn what kind of lodgings you discover along the way. Boa sorte!
Thanks for following along! Booking lodgings has been fairly straightforward so far. All have been budget hotel or B&B-type places, although tomorrow we’ll be in some kind of hostel/albergue in Mesquita. Once we get past Mértola in a couple of days’ time, I think it will become more difficult, e.g. for one village, the official guide says, ‘the local parish council will guide us to the available local accommodation’.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
Caminho Nascente, Day 4: Alcoutim to Mesquita (~16km).

Today was a spectacular day, one of the most beautiful nature days I’ve experienced on any camino.

I often say that the camino is not a hike, and it’s not - but today was definitely a hike! The entire walk was on trails, mostly single-file and often quite overgrown, with no villages or settlements of any kind the whole way (just a few random individual houses). We didn’t see another person for the first 3+ hours.

For most of the day we had beautiful views of the Guadiana River below. The scenery was hilly and rugged, with wild flowers and wild olive trees everywhere. It’s hard to capture just how gorgeous it was in photos but here are a couple:

CB72F1DD-C20E-43BC-B3BD-5FDAB66ECCE4.jpeg

8926A657-B074-49DD-B5A1-0E0467972B9E.jpeg

Way-marking has been very good and was again today, although on one occasion we couldn’t find the right path for about 20 minutes until we retraced our steps. It wasn’t a lack of signage but just that the path was so overgrown to be barely discernible. We hacked our way through it and eventually got back on track. Still, it took us over five hours to walk the 16 kilometres because there were a lot of ups and downs and it the hiking trails weren’t conducive to a usual camino pace and rhythm.

We are now in an albergue (yes, really) in a tiny village called Mesquita. In the last two years, the villagers have done a remarkable job transforming the village into a camino destination. Apart from the four-bed albergue, there’s also a restaurant and the camino is being heavily promoted with pamphlets and sign boards provided by the Alentejo government (the same thing as you can see in digital form here). The village had a population of 16 when this project began and it was dying; now it is being revitalised, new people are moving to the village, and I think it’s an outstanding initiative and shows what the camino can do for an otherwise isolated village. Even though this camino is virtually unknown, the GR15 hiking trail also passes through Mesquita so weekend hikers can also make use of the albergue and restaurant. As you can see, I’m really impressed!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Thanks, @jungleboy, gorgeous views of the Guadiana. Your post triggered a vague memory of a place we had stayed in the Alentejo years ago, near the Guadiana. And I found it! Casa de Terena. Don’t know if you will still pass Terena, but it is a very nice spot.

And I am even prouder of my aging memory to say that I remembered that we had spent a morning, followed by a picnic, at the abandoned fort on the river nearby, Juromenha. Unfotunately, I have never been able to find all the pictures I took when I transitioned from film to digital camera. There were about four years before I went to my phone, and I know they are somewhere, but oh well! Anyway, Juromenha is kind of like Quinta da Cardiga but on a much grander scale.

It is a wonderful diversion to read your account of this walk. Lucky you! Bom caminho, Laurie
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
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Português 2020
Anyway, Juromenha is kind of like Quinta da Cardiga but on a much grander scale.
Sounds lovely. I just looked it up and it’s on the Caminho Raia.

To attempt to summarise this again (and hopefully get it more or less right this time!), there are three southern caminos being promoted by the Alentejo/Ribatejo governments and Portuguese tourism: the ‘Central’, starting from Faro and eventually joining the main CP in Santarém, the ‘Nascente’, starting at Tavira and heading north through Évora and ending at Trancoso, where it joins with the Torres, and the ‘Raia’ (previously known as the Este, e.g. on the Wise Pilgrim map), also starting in Tavira and following the same route as the Nascente until Mértola, and then heading further east through places like Elvas and going all the way to Chaves where it joins the Portuguese Interior. The current guide available for download only deals with the first of these two routes. The map, again (with an Alentejo focus):

0D548769-A138-4607-9891-8412EADC06BE.png

The lockdown in Moura (on the Raia) has apparently now ended so we could still take this route but we’re pretty set on the Nascente for shorter stages / less road walking. Plus depending on how we choose to manage it after Trancoso, we might be able to walk the entire CPI too which would be a big bonus.
 
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peregrina2000

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there are three southern caminos being promoted by the Alentejo/Ribatejo governments and Portuguese tourism: the ‘Central’, starting from Faro and eventually joining the main CP in Santarém, the ‘Nascente’, starting at Tavira and heading north through Évora and ending at Trancoso, where it joins with the Torres, and the ‘Raia’ (previously known as the Este, e.g. on the Wise Pilgrim map) also starting in Tavira and following the same route as the Nascente until Mértola, and then heading further east through places like Elvas and going all the way to Chaves where it joins the Portuguese Interior.
I hope the tourism agencies are prepared to sink the kind of money it will take to get THREE caminhos really up and running through their region. Especially if this effort is being undertaken from the top down without a few stalwart diehard local peregrinos like Ender was for the Salvador or the Via Lusitana was for the route from Lisbon. Can you sense whether this effort has any organic, bottom-up momentum, @jungleboy?
 

jungleboy

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Is the route to Trancoso the one that's indicated on the IGN map? If so, then it looks like, you could go as far as Trancoso to join the Camino Torres, toward Viseu / Lamego. And from there up to Chaves… ?
I somehow missed this earlier, but a Portuguese guy from Trancoso mentioned it in the Portuguese language FB camino group and that’s our new plan, yes. The current debate is whether to take a bus backwards from Lamego (or sideways from Trancoso) to Viseu to be able to walk the ‘full’ CPI.
 

jungleboy

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Can you sense whether this effort has any organic, bottom-up momentum, @jungleboy?
Great question. The Algarve has so much tourism already, and is so far from Santiago, that it’s a bit hard to see either bottom-up or top-down momentum for the camino. The Alentejo is at the core of this project so that’s where the initiative probably needs to come from. In Mesquita, definitely. We spoke for a long time today with César, whose parents are from the village and who is the driving force behind its rejuvenation. But when I asked if there were similar projects elsewhere in the Alentejo, he said no. I’d guess that any bottom-up momentum, at least in this early stage, will be to promote individual towns/villages rather than the camino as a whole (although that has flow-on benefits for the entire camino). In any case, hopefully we’ll see more positive signs in the next few weeks in the Alentejo.
 

DevereUx

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Camino Frances Sept-Oct 2018
Caminho Nascente, Day 4: Alcoutim to Mesquita (~16km).

Today was a spectacular day, one of the most beautiful nature days I’ve experienced on any camino.

I often say that the camino is not a hike, and it’s not - but today was definitely a hike! The entire walk was on trails, mostly single-file and often quite overgrown, with no villages or settlements of any kind the whole way (just a few random individual houses). We didn’t see another person for the first 3+ hours.

For most of the day we had beautiful views of the Guadiana River below. The scenery was hilly and rugged, with wild flowers and wild olive trees everywhere. It’s hard to capture just how gorgeous it was in photos but here are a couple:

View attachment 99233

View attachment 99234

Way-marking has been very good and was again today, although on one occasion we couldn’t find the right path for about 20 minutes until we retraced our steps. It wasn’t a lack of signage but just that the path was so overgrown to be barely discernible. We hacked our way through it and eventually got back on track. Still, it took us over five hours to walk the 16 kilometres because there were a lot of ups and downs and it the hiking trails weren’t conducive to a usual camino pace and rhythm.

We are now in an albergue (yes, really) in a tiny village called Mesquita. In the last two years, the villagers have done a remarkable job transforming the village into a camino destination. Apart from the four-bed albergue, there’s also a restaurant and the camino is being heavily promoted with pamphlets and sign boards provided by the Alentejo government (the same thing as you can see in digital form here). The village had a population of 16 when this project began and it was dying; now it is being revitalised, new people are moving to the village, and I think it’s an outstanding initiative and shows what the camino can do for an otherwise isolated village. Even though this camino is virtually unknown, the GR15 hiking trail also passes through Mesquita so weekend hikers can also make use of the albergue and restaurant. As you can see, I’m really impressed!
Wonderful photography! Thanks so much.
 
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None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
I look forward to following you. Various groups waymaked the route from Evora a couple of years ago, so you may have fairly descent ( or not) signage from there.

Bom Caminho
We were in Flor de Rosa, north of Alter de Chao (itself north of Evora) for a weekend a couple of autumns ago. The town was very small and very quiet and I'm an early riser, so I wandered around a bit. I saw a variety of waymarks for the Caminho, including ceramic ones. And I think the whole Ribatejo tourism complex is helping to fund infrastructure for this caminhos.

See their website (possibly already posted elsewhere)


...and its beautiful video. The lands look just like this! Rolling plains and cork trees...


It's a big district. At the very northwest, it concludes with the Quinta da Cardiga, just south of our town, Vila Nova da Barquinha.

Bom caminho!
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
Great question. The Algarve has so much tourism already, and is so far from Santiago, that it’s a bit hard to see either bottom-up or top-down momentum for the camino. The Alentejo is at the core of this project so that’s where the initiative probably needs to come from. In Mesquita, definitely. We spoke for a long time today with César, whose parents are from the village and who is the driving force behind its rejuvenation. But when I asked if there were similar projects elsewhere in the Alentejo, he said no. I’d guess that any bottom-up momentum, at least in this early stage, will be to promote individual towns/villages rather than the camino as a whole (although that has flow-on benefits for the entire camino). In any case, hopefully we’ll see more positive signs in the next few weeks in the Alentejo.
From my stumbling reading of some of the Portuguese-language news websites over the last year or so, I get the impression there's a lot of regional funding available for towns who want to get involved with this initiative. They feel they're left out of the big international tourism boom (pre-pandemic) to Portugal, which so far has focussed on the Algarve, Lisboa, and the Porto area.

I get the impression a number of towns are using the downtime when some of their employees have extra time to work on infrastructure that supports the caminhos. With funding from the provinces/states/districts (?not sure which) and the national government, and perhaps some EU euros as well.
 

jungleboy

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Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
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Madrid 2019
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Caminho Nascente Day 5: Mesquita to Mértola (~24km).

Today was so interesting, for completely different reasons than yesterday.

We spent most of our walk away from the river on a plateau, with more sweeping but less spectacular views than yesterday. Much of the landscape was long, golden grasses and wheat stalks, with a few pine or olive trees here and there. There was absolutely no shade all day, but with a maximum temperature of 24 degrees Celsius, it was fine. A month or two from now, this would be a very hot and difficult stage.

What made the day so interesting was the isolated and remote villages that we passed through. Almost all of them had a communal village oven (no longer in use, such as the one below), one had a communal grill, several had communal washing facilities etc. Many houses were abandoned and one village was down to a population of two - both old men.

734AAD50-8CA5-49B2-B7DC-2DD1F9A555BC.jpeg

We passed through several villages but there were no shops or places to eat and just one café with drinks for the entire stage. We were very fortunate that a bread van entered one village just as we did, so we lined up behind a handful of villagers who each bought several days’ worth of bread. We bought one loaf and made simple sandwiches for lunch later on with some spreads and fillings we already had with us.

At another village, a ‘ludoteca itinerante’- a mobile activities centre provided by a local church organisation - was there when we passed through and we talked to one of the ladies running it for a while. In her van she has books, audiobooks (‘for people who can’t read or who can’t see anymore’), a tablet with Internet access, paints and other tools for crafts etc and she drives all over the district visiting the (old and often lonely) people who live in the villages, giving them things to do. It was very interesting talking with her and reminded us of the bibliobus that we visited on the Camino de Madrid.

Eventually we left the villages behind, rejoined the river and got our first glimpse of Mértola, which dramatically revealed itself with this view:

29E3C8CA-2EA6-4332-A3E5-4EE0FB859FE6.jpeg

We have been to Mértola before but we’re taking a rest day tomorrow anyway to visit and revisit some of the town’s attractions (castle, church with a mihrab etc). Mértola has a strong Islamic heritage by Portuguese standards and I’m looking forward to rediscovering that, although unfortunately the Islamic Museum is closed for refurbishment at the moment.

Five days in, this camino has been absolutely brilliant so far. Let’s hope it continues!
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
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Português 2020
See their website (possibly already posted elsewhere)

Yep, this is the main resource we’ve been using. At the moment their guide includes the Central and Nascente with the Raia ‘coming soon’. We’ll be interested to see if the Raia guide adjusts the stages to make them shorter than the current suggestions (which include some 40km days) and how far north they take it. The Raia is the rebranded Caminho do Este, which was launched in 2010 and went to Chaves on the northern border with Spain. Once the Nascente was launched, the two shared some stages. The official map that I have posted several times in this thread now shows the Raia joining back up with the Nascente at Alpalhão, still in the Alentejo, and they don’t continue the map in detail beyond the Alentejo. Since the Alentejo government/tourism office is the big driver of these caminos, maybe they’ll be content with the Raia being a shortened version of the Este and no one else will be interested in developing the northern stages further. In any case, I’m all in on these southern Portuguese caminos all of a sudden and would love to walk all three!
 

jungleboy

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Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
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Madrid 2019
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Did you have a map, download or other info on the sections from Tavira to Alcoutim? Thanks
I am doing some testing with Wise Pilgrim per his recent thread about crowd sourced guides, so I have a test app with GPS tracks. But that’s really just to check the accuracy of the tracks; the arrows are as prominent as on major caminos so wayfinding was not difficult. There are also pretty good information signs for historic sites (e.g. churches in Tavira, the Roman-Visigothic site, Alcoutim castle etc). Places like Castro Marim, Alcoutim and Tavira (obviously) are also in tourist guide books.
 
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jungleboy

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Caminho Nascente Day 6: A rest day in Mértola but I’m still on track for 10,000 steps!

Even though we’ve been here before, Mértola was an obvious choice for a rest day as it’s a beautiful town with a rich cultural heritage from the late Roman, Visigothic, Muslim and reconquest eras with connections to the Order of Santiago. We saw several things that we hadn’t seen the first time and enjoyed a relaxing day so it was definitely worthwhile. This is a ‘big-sky’ shot of the castle that I took this afternoon.

8ABB762D-6400-4109-8D4D-FEC5503D26C8.jpeg

We pre-booked accommodation up to this point and it was quite straightforward, though from now on, it might become a bit tricky. For tomorrow in Amendoeira da Serra, we called the town’s ‘Centro de Recolhimento’ (Reception Centre) today and they said they will provide accommodation for us. We have no idea what the accommodation will be like or even what the main role of these Reception Centres are but they are apparently common in the Alentejo and I think we’ll be dealing with a few more of them in the coming days.

Finally, today was the hottest day of the camino so far (max of 28 degrees Celsius) and the next four days are forecast to have similar temperatures. That’s still very manageable but I sense this is definitely not a camino for mid-summer!
 
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Kanga

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Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I am enjoying your walk. With those temperatures I'd have to tape my feet against blisters.
 

jungleboy

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Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
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Português 2020
Caminho Nascente Day 7: Mértola to Amêndoeira da Serra (~27km).

Today was another good day, although not as great as our previous two walking days, and we’re still really loving this camino.

The first 11km or so was road walking, firstly on the main road out of Mértola and then on a secondary road. After the village of Corte Gafo de Cima, we walked on a dirt road for the next 11km or so and that was the most enjoyable part of today’s walk. It was a very remote walk surrounded by overgrown grasses, oak and cork trees and probably the most wild flowers we’ve seen so far (purple and yellow today). This photo is a decent representation of this stretch.

BCE9451D-D9EE-4A15-9963-53AD3DA54F5F.jpeg

We only passed two villages all day and at the second of these, Mosteiro (Portuguese for monastery), we were lucky to be able to go into a very old church, either late Roman / Paleo-Christian or Visigothic depending on the source. The official guide describes it as ‘one of the oldest churches in Portugal, built during the Visigothic period’. Apart from a modern ceiling, the rest of the interior of the humble church seemed unchanged since early medieval times so I was delighted to be able to go inside (we called ahead yesterday to ensure we could get the keys). It isn’t anywhere near as elaborate as Wamba or São Frutuoso but it was very atmospheric and yet another surprise of this camino!

0CC497CB-AC83-48FC-8236-207346FB6D58.jpeg

The accommodation in Amêndoeria da Serra, 3km further on from Mosteiro, is nicer than we could have imagined. The ‘reception centre’ is just the village bar (as it is in Mosteiro, where you can also apparently stay the night). The accommodation is next to the school, which is no longer in use as the village is down to about 40 inhabitants after previously having about 400. There are two dorm rooms and a private room, which is ours. I don’t know what the original purpose of the accommodation was but assume it was for school camps or even as a type of boarding school for kids from other villages. We’ll try to find out tonight at the bar, where they are making us dinner!

EC6DB5E0-5D33-451F-A434-578ED6E9AF4D.jpeg
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
I am enjoying your walk. With those temperatures I'd have to tape my feet against blisters.
Thank you! I haven’t had any blisters so far and while Wendy had the beginnings of two a couple of days ago, they didn’t really develop and are basically gone now. Unfortunately she rolled/twisted her ankle on a very uneven cobblestone-like surface near the end of the stage today and it has swollen up a bit and was quite painful for her at the time. She managed the last 3km OK so we’ll see how it is tomorrow morning.

As for the weather, I really love blue sky so I’ll take whatever temperatures go with that rather than cooler and overcast/rainy. Last year we had 12 straight days of mid-30s+ on the CP including 39 degrees Celsius one day and that was bearable for me, and we’ve got a ways to go to get to those levels again this time!
 
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Zac123

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Be careful after the Cabeço de Vide (sulfur baths) and after Alpalhão (before Nisa) with the cows and oxen that graze. After Alpalhão we were attacked by the bulls.
I also inform you that after Alter Pedroso, I advise you not to follow the path on which you are marked (follow the road). There is a closed and high gate, which is very difficult to get through.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
What fun, and what an adventure! Your descriptions and photos of the lovely remote villages of the Alentejo make me homesick for rural Portugal. The people are so kind and so hospitable, and the countryside is so beautiful. Thanks!
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
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Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
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Be careful after the Cabeço de Vide (sulfur baths) and after Alpalhão (before Nisa) with the cows and oxen that graze. After Alpalhão we were attacked by the bulls.
I also inform you that after Alter Pedroso, I advise you not to follow the path on which you are marked (follow the road). There is a closed and high gate, which is very difficult to get through.

Amazing to actually have tips from someone about this caminoThanks for the heads up, we’ll keep these things in mind.

What fun, and what an adventure! Your descriptions and photos of the lovely remote villages of the Alentejo make me homesick for rural Portugal. The people are so kind and so hospitable, and the countryside is so beautiful. Thanks!

The last couple of days have been extremely rural and yes, it has been beautiful and everyone has been very nice to us!
 

Rick Steffens

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Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances
Wendy and I are in Tavira on the Algarve coast of Portugal and we’re excited to begin walking the Caminho Nascente tomorrow!

Our original plan for this spring was to walk the Mozárabe/VdlP just after Easter, but that wasn’t possible because of restrictions in Spain and the Portugal/Spain border closure. We came up with a few other plans for Spain for later in the spring but in the end, there was too much uncertainty so we decided to just walk in Portugal instead. As was the case with our CP last autumn, a primarily Portuguese camino makes sense for us again in these COVID times because we already live here, we don’t need to travel far to get to/from the camino, we’re familiar with the current virus situation and restrictions (which have been largely lifted), we have public and private health insurance etc. So another Portuguese camino it is!

The Caminho Nascente is a recently created camino from Tavira to Trancoso that is about 500km in length (and not to be confused with the camino of the same name that links Fátima with the Camino de Santiago). Our plan is to switch from the Nascente to the Caminho do Este at Guarda, two stages from the end, and walk another week or so to Chaves and the border with Spain. If the border is open by then, we can link up with the Sanabrés to reach Santiago. If not, we will return home to Lisbon and we will have walked the length of Portugal, if nothing else!

There’s very little information available on this camino (e.g. just one thread on this forum out of 55,000+ total threads!) but we have found a couple of helpful sources that have allowed us to map out a rough stage plan. I’m not sure if the entire Nascente is way-marked but at least some sections are and I have GPS tracks on my phone as a backup. For accommodation, we’ll look into options a few days in advance while we’re walking. It wasn’t hard to book places for the first few days (mostly budget hotels plus one hostel) but I assume it will be a bit more difficult once we move into more remote areas.

Our first stage tomorrow is about 26km due east from Tavira to Vila Real de Santo António, just across the Guadiana river from Spain. From there we turn northwards for the long journey to (hopefully) Santiago.

I’ll provide updates here and photos on Instagram. As part of Wendy’s Galego learning project, she is going to vlog about the camino on her new YouTube channel: Wendy Speaks Galego.
My wife and I are avid Camino walkers. We recently drove through Evoramonte, Castelo Branco, Castelo Novo and Fundão where we saw many Camino markers and yellow arrows. You should have an easy time through a lot of cities on the route. This is the first we have heard of this newish Camino and enjoy your daily postings. Happy tails.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
Caminho Nascente Day 8: Amêndoeira da Serra to Cabeça Gorda (~22km).

Today was similar to the second half of yesterday: we walked on a dirt road all day, passed only one village (with a tavern as its only service), enjoyed the scenery of oak trees, wheat stalks and wildflowers, and generally felt in a very remote area (we saw only one car on the road all day). There’s not really anything more to describe than that!

77A18CCC-D904-4B8E-B55A-42C4F9112275.jpeg

Cabeça Gorda is the biggest place we’ve been to except Mértola in three days of walking in the Alentejo, and it still only has a population of just over 1,000 people. There’s no formal accommodation but through the junta da freguesia (local council), we were put in contact with a man who has just recently started renting an apartment (we are the 5th or 6th people who have stayed here), charging us €40. It’s quite nice and perfectly adequate for our needs.

76F1C976-BEDB-40EE-B846-32409E45AD38.jpeg

Tomorrow we have a short day to Beja, one of the main towns of the Alentejo, so we’ll be able to do some exploring in the afternoon, although it’s slightly unfortunate that I have an important real world zoom call at 5pm.
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
My wife and I are avid Camino walkers. We recently drove through Evoramonte, Castelo Branco, Castelo Novo and Fundão where we saw many Camino markers and yellow arrows. You should have an easy time through a lot of cities on the route. This is the first we have heard of this newish Camino and enjoy your daily postings. Happy tails.

Thank you! The way marking has been excellent so far, so it’s good to hear that it should continue that way. To be honest we also hadn’t heard of this camino until about a month before we started it! I’ve been impressed with the work the authorities have done in putting it together so hopefully it will increase in popularity in the next few years.
 

MarcosdeParticuba

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Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2012), Piémont + Norte (2013), Plata + Mo(2014), Levante, Portugués (2016), Francés (2018)
Hola, just noted this thread (Thu May 6), remembering I picked up a 4-page folder, a couple of years back, while staying (for the third time) at Pousada de Juventude Tavira. Produced by Associacao Amigos do Caminho do Este de Portugal (A.C.E.P.)

walking baesuris santiago​

Tavira-Baesuris (Castro Marim)-Alcoutim-Mértola-Serpa-Moura-Monsaraz-Estremoz-Fronteira-Crato-Nisa-Castelo Branco-Castelo Rodrigo-Mirandela-Chaves-Verín-Ourense-Cea-Estación de Lalin-Puente Ulla-Santiago de Compostela : 952 km

This variant takes the Caminho da Raia at Mertola to Serpa, Moura, Mourao, Monsaraz, Alandroal and at Vila Vicosa - back to the Caminho Nascente from Reguengos de Monsaraz - at Estremoz. It crosses into Spain at Chaves to Verin joining the Mozarabe for 179 km in Spain to Santiago.

Telephone (English speaking) 00351 919 528 654

Their web site is updated with an entry on May 5, 2021.
https://walkingbaesurissantiago.blogspot.com/
 

MarcosdeParticuba

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2012), Piémont + Norte (2013), Plata + Mo(2014), Levante, Portugués (2016), Francés (2018)
These are (were) the stages suggested by Associacao Amigos do Caminho do Este de Portugal (A.C.E.P.)
 

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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
This variant takes the Caminho da Raia at Mertola to Serpa, Moura, Mourao, Monsaraz, Alandroal and at Vila Vicosa - back to the Caminho Nascente from Reguengos de Monsaraz - at Estremoz. It crosses into Spain at Chaves to Verin joining the Mozarabe for 179 km in Spain to Santiago.
Thanks for this. We are already past Mértola and opted not to take the Raia. Our original plan was to continue on the Este from Guarda as these stages suggest, but our new plan is the Torres and then the Portuguese Interior from Trancoso (the end of the Nascente) to Chaves and Verín.
 
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Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
I seem to be asleep, while pilgrims like yourselves are quietly making progress along the Camino, whichever route! Wishing you well, I know you are well capable of achieving your goal.
 
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Zac123

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Soon
Obrigado por isso. Já passamos de Mértola e optamos por não ir na Raia. O nosso plano inicial era continuar no Este da Guarda como sugerem estas etapas, mas o nosso novo plano é as Torres e depois o Interior Português de Trancoso (o fim da Nascente) a Chaves e Verín.

Thanks for this. We are already past Mértola and opted not to take the Raia. Our original plan was to continue on the Este from Guarda as these stages suggest, but our new plan is the Torres and then the Portuguese Interior from Trancoso (the end of the Nascente) to Chaves and Verín.
In the beginning of June I will complete the camino from Guarda to Lamego.
I already did the CPI, it is fabulous but very tough.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
Caminho Nascente Day 9: Cabeça Gorda to Beja (~12km).

A short day today which gave us the opportunity to spend some time in Beja, a ‘poor man’s Évora’ and one of the main towns of the Alentejo. Apart from an encounter with some very shaggy sheep and a lot of red poppies, there wasn’t much noteworthy about the walk this morning. There was a lot more agricultural production (mostly olive groves) than the last two days, when there was almost none. The walk was even shorter than we thought because it seems the official guide’s distances are always a couple of kilometres more than the actual ones.

16A8B8A9-A228-4073-8254-66BB35FAB987.jpeg

We’ve been to Beja before, but just for a few hours six years ago and our memories are a bit hazy. This afternoon I walked around town and enjoyed visiting the castle and several churches while Wendy rested her bruised ankle at the hotel. I wanted to visit the Visigothic Museum too but it’s inside a church and was closed - I will have to make a special trip from Lisbon another time to see it.

This is Beja’s cathedral (of Santiago!) seen from the keep of the castle:

6C2E9A76-DA2E-41A4-B8D4-67AE70DAF529.jpeg
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
I seem to be asleep, while pilgrims like yourselves are quietly making progress along the Camino, whichever route! Wishing you well, I know you are well capable of achieving your goal.
Thank you for the wishes, and you are not asleep at all! Not everyone can be on camino right now, but we are fortunate to live in Portugal which opens up the possibility.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
Caminho Nascente Day 9: Cabeça Gorda to Beja (~12km).

A short day today which gave us the opportunity to spend some time in Beja, a ‘poor man’s Évora’ and one of the main towns of the Alentejo. Apart from an encounter with some very shaggy sheep and a lot of red poppies, there wasn’t much noteworthy about the walk this morning. There was a lot more agricultural production (mostly olive groves) than the last two days, when there was almost none. The walk was even shorter than we thought because it seems the official guide’s distances are always a couple of kilometres more than the actual ones.

View attachment 99582

We’ve been to Beja before, but just for a few hours six years ago and our memories are a bit hazy. This afternoon I walked around town and enjoyed visiting the castle and several churches while Wendy rested her bruised ankle at the hotel. I wanted to visit the Visigothic Museum too but it’s inside a church and was closed - I will have to make a special trip from Lisbon another time to see it.

This is Beja’s cathedral (of Santiago!) seen from the keep of the castle:

View attachment 99583
I always think Beja is a much-underrated city, compared to Evora. Harder to get to from Lisboa, for sure. But wonderful things to see! Great that you both are getting a rest day. Back into the empty hinterlands tomorrow, I suppose. Bom caminho!
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
I always think Beja is a much-underrated city, compared to Evora. Harder to get to from Lisboa, for sure. But wonderful things to see! Great that you both are getting a rest day. Back into the empty hinterlands tomorrow, I suppose. Bom caminho!
Thank you! Yes, I enjoyed my afternoon in Beja quite a lot. As for tomorrow, I have no idea what’s coming - as usual on this camino! But I feel that it won’t be quite as isolated as the last few days were because there are at least some decent-sized places coming up (e.g. Cuba, Viana de Alentejo) before we reach Évora.
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
Caminho Nascente Day 10: Beja to Cuba (~18km)

As we’re now pretty used to walking in the Alentejo, there wasn’t anything especially noteworthy about the walk today. The exit from Beja was a bit industrial, but soon enough we were back in rural areas. It’s not as remote as it was a few days ago, though, as there is definitely more agriculture and the villages are much bigger. The landscape has been very flat the last couple of days, too, which meant that today we first saw Cuba when we were about 10km away, and walked with it in constant, tantalising view for the last 6km (‘Segovia on the CdM syndrome’). Wendy bought a brace yesterday which helped with her sprained ankle but her plantar fasciitis is causing pain at the moment so she was very happy to arrive and be done for the day.

Cuba has a frontier, Latin American colonial town vibe to it. We enjoyed walking around town in the afternoon and discovered, virtually by accident, a beautiful old bodega for ‘vinho de talha’, a combination red-white wine peculiar to the Alentejo. For 1/4 litre of this wine and some olives and bread, we were charged a grand total of €1!

0B1E12CB-CC57-4BFA-A11C-43AD88B7D9DA.jpeg

There’s also a Christopher Columbus statue (though currently covered up because of building work going on around it) and an interpretation centre to support the theory that Columbus was actually Portuguese, from Cuba, and not Genoese.

Our original plan for tomorrow was to go to Viana do Alentejo but as it’s about 30km, we’re going to break it up instead.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I am very sorry to hear about Wendy’s plantar fasciitis. Fingers crossed that it stays manageable or better yet, disappears!
I’ve never had vinho de talha ( in fact I’ve never heard of it!). I am not a wine connoisseur as you know but Alentejo wine usually strikes me as syrupy, if that’s an adjective. What was this like?

I am really enjoying hearing all about your walk. Bom caminho to both of you.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
I’ve never had vinho de talha ( in fact I’ve never heard of it!). I am not a wine connoisseur as you know but Alentejo wine usually strikes me as syrupy, if that’s an adjective. What was this like?
We had also never heard of it we’re also not wine connoisseurs either. Not syrupy or sweet, and it didn’t taste very strong. It’s hard to describe but I can tell you that it’s also known as petroleiro because of its petrol color! Hopefully this photo is a bit more charming than that image!

99F323CD-7D75-4722-881B-97162BF6CE59.jpeg
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020
Hi jungleboy and Wendy
I’m really enjoying ‘virtually’ walking with you both on this one. It feels more like the earlier caminos when we weren’t sure what to expect and were so with what felt like happy trailblazing! Encouragement for Wendy with her double handicap of ankle problem and PF.

it’s also known as petroleiro because of its petrol color!
This snippet made me smile / my first thought when reading the description was that it would ‘fuel’ your tank and give you power!

I’m so happy that some pilgrims (like both of you, living in Portugal) are placed where they can get ‘out there ‘ and report. . it really helps my mental outlook keeping the caminho/camino fresh by reading this type of forum input. It really is the ‘back to basics’.

Ps
( re your note on E1 ...for your fuel 🍷 sustenance) - if it’s possible without being too inquisitive; can you give us an update during this walk if you form an impression of how the locals in these further out regions are coping and keeping food to the table ?) It must be surprising for them to see pilgrims there.

Buen caminho
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
Caminho Nascente Day 11: Cuba to Alvito (~15km).

Rain! It had been forecast but it was still a bit of a shock that it started raining almost immediately after we started walking today, given the superb weather we’ve had for the entire camino. In the end, though, it wasn’t terrible. It rained pretty lightly on and off for about three hours, enough so that we needed to wear our ponchos but not enough to soak us and make us miserable!

After the rain stopped, the sun poked out in patches and the last 30 minutes into Alvito on a dirt path past olive trees made for a very pleasant town entrance and some cool storm light.

9DD7BCED-F6A8-443B-9872-967581911C3D.jpeg

We decided yesterday to stay in Alvito today rather than continuing further to Viana do Alentejo because of the weather forecast and Wendy’s foot issues. That turned out to be a great choice, especially as there was only one place available in Altivo to book online … and it’s in the castle!

The 15th-16th century castle has been turned into a Pousada, Portugal’s equivalent of Spain’s Paradores. We’re not usually splurgers, but this didn’t even feel like much of a splurge at a very reasonably-priced €78 for a double with breakfast. Check-in was not supposed to be until 4pm, but we contacted them in advance and played the pilgrim-rain card, and they let us check in when we arrived at midday (and switched our room to one in the main tower because it was already clean and ready for us!).

Our window is the bottom one:

9FB36304-BFC8-4BFA-BD2B-CB9CA6872A03.jpeg

443B83B1-607F-4424-BFE3-81B9508777E5.jpeg

The last few days have been quite slow going and that will continue tomorrow as the combination of more rain in the forecast and some accommodation logistics mean that we will only go about another 12km. But we passed 200km today, so we are making steady if slow progress towards Santiago.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
Hi jungleboy and Wendy
I’m really enjoying ‘virtually’ walking with you both on this one. It feels more like the earlier caminos when we weren’t sure what to expect and were so with what felt like happy trailblazing! Encouragement for Wendy with her double handicap of ankle problem and PF.
Thank you! Literally the second she sprained her ankle she was thinking how well the PF had been going that day. The ankle is manageable in and of itself but seems to be making the PF worse, so we’ve been taking it slowly the last few days.

if it’s possible without being too inquisitive; can you give us an update during this walk if you form an impression of how the locals in these further out regions are coping and keeping food to the table ?) It must be surprising for them to see pilgrims there.
I assume you mean coping with the pandemic? It’s hard to say and also to generalise throughout the region.

Some of the earlier Alentejo villages we passed through are very isolated with populations dwindling to just a handful, so the pandemic probably hasn’t had much of an impact but the villages are dying anyway. Plus there is no pilgrim/tourist trade or even commercial activity in most of these places to begin with. One village that is trying to revitalise itself, Mesquita, opened its albergue in Nov 2019, just in time for winter and then the pandemic, so unfortunately the timing was bad for them but I think there’s enough long-term vision in their thinking that it will still work out.

In some of the towns that have more to offer, it’s been a mixed bag. In Beja we had trouble finding budget accommodation because of some NATO military event, so that was a bit frustrating for us but good for the town that hotels were booked up. Last night in Cuba, several of the restaurants/taverns were closed even though it was Saturday night. But one that was open turned us away because we didn’t have a reservation and it was fully booked. Today in Alvito there were also several hotels/restaurants closed.

There are virtually no pilgrims on this route anyway as it’s pretty new and the pilgrimage culture isn’t as strong in Portugal to begin with as it is in Spain. We are treated kindly with a bit of curiosity. One nice thing to hear was that César from the albergue and restaurant in Mesquita had been in touch with at least two other accommodation providers further along so they were expecting us. But it also shows that we are a novelty in these parts - when arriving at accommodation we are starting to refer to ourselves as ‘the pilgrims’, given that there are no others!
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
Without speaking Portugues, I imagine this journey could be tricky.
Yes, I think so. It’s always a bit hard to tell what the English levels are of the people we’re speaking to in Portuguese, but off the top of my head, we’ve only spoken extensively in English to one Portuguese person on the whole camino and the rest of our interactions have been in Portuguese. Certainly the people we’ve dealt with in the tiny villages wouldn’t speak any English.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
Caminho Nascente Day 12: Alvito to Viana do Alentejo (~12km).

After our rejuvenating castle stay and late breakfast (by pilgrim standards anyway - 8am), we set out from Alvito and it started raining almost immediately. It poured heavily for about five minutes, soaking our shoes, but it was then reduced to very light rain and stopped soon enough. There was even some sunshine for the second half of our short walk, which was quite enjoyable. The only place we passed was a strange village called Água de Peixe, consisting of an old palace and lots of millstones lying around in a weirdly atmospheric way.

5B393AF0-ADCB-4654-8D0D-02AF8F710BF4.jpeg

Just as we were entering Viana do Alentejo, thinking the rain was behind us, the weather suddenly turned and we were hit with a brief hailstorm!

But this too passed and we spent a nice afternoon exploring the castle (with two churches inside) and historic centre of Viana do Alentejo. The castle receptionist was the one responsible for way-marking the Nascente in this zone, and he even had an official camino stamp for us!

28B9E314-5E5A-44AF-96AD-62A728972CD9.jpeg

After four consecutive short stages, the party’s over and we have a long one tomorrow. Boa sorte!
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I’m assuming that it’s a good sign that there was no mention of PF or ankles or any other podiatric part in today’s report. :cool:

Beautiful pictures as always. How nice to actually meet those who have painted arrows!

Good luck on the long walk tomorrow. Do any of the places you’ve stayed or been stamped keep track of pilgrim numbers? It would be interesting to know how many have come before you and Wendy. Bom caminho, Laurie
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF14
LePuy/CF(21?)
Aussie Camino15
WHW15
CP16
CdelN Fin/Muxia18
GGW StCuthWay HadrWall CotswoldWay19
Just noticed your thread this morning! We wish you both a very Bom Caminho. Your posts and photos are wonderful. We are very envious! Hope you both keep safe and well and enjoy every step. We really enjoyed following you both last year.
Anne & Pat
 

DevereUx

Devereaux
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept-Oct 2018
I'm curious if the accommodations where you've been staying are taking credit cards or if they are cash accommodations like much of the CF.
 

Zac123

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Soon
Caminho Nascente Day 12: Alvito to Viana do Alentejo (~12km).

After our rejuvenating castle stay and late breakfast (by pilgrim standards anyway - 8am), we set out from Alvito and it started raining almost immediately. It poured heavily for about five minutes, soaking our shoes, but it was then reduced to very light rain and stopped soon enough. There was even some sunshine for the second half of our short walk, which was quite enjoyable. The only place we passed was a strange village called Água de Peixe, consisting of an old palace and lots of millstones lying around in a weirdly atmospheric way.

View attachment 99822

Just as we were entering Viana do Alentejo, thinking the rain was behind us, the weather suddenly turned and we were hit with a brief hailstorm!

But this too passed and we spent a nice afternoon exploring the castle (with two churches inside) and historic centre of Viana do Alentejo. The castle receptionist was the one responsible for way-marking the Nascente in this zone, and he even had an official camino stamp for us!

View attachment 99823

After four consecutive short stages, the party’s over and we have a long one tomorrow. Boa sorte!
They are Roman stones belonging to olive mills for the production of olive oil.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
Caminho Nascente Day 13: Viana do Alentejo to Évora (~36km).

With no real accommodation options between Viana do Alentejo and Évora, we didn’t have much choice other than to do this in one day despite Wendy’s foot problems. We left VdA just after 7am and the first 10km to Aguilar were mostly on overgrown country paths past olive groves and with occasional encounters with cows.

CB3C76D8-CB6C-482F-9C23-9B5466DF1A42.jpeg

After Aguiar, though, we had to walk the next 15km on the main road leading south from Évora. The way marker we spoke to yesterday said his colleague in charge of this section tried to divert the camino from the road, but needed permission from five property owners to do so and while four gave permission, one did not and that meant the alternative path couldn’t be created.

The road was quite busy and we were basically forced to walk on the outside white lane markers, as that’s where the asphalt ends and beyond that were weeds, wild flowers and wild wheat stalks typically 1-2 feet in height and sometimes taller. This was probably the worst stretch we’ve walked on for an extended period on any camino given the traffic danger and long stretches of asphalt, which is terrible for Wendy’s PF.

1E50529F-891A-4CAC-8D7A-6C42ECFC7646.jpeg

Fortunately after about 6km we passed a tractor that had cleared the roadside weeds ahead of us. That made it possible to walk next to the road sometimes, but the ground was uneven and the base of the weeds plus the hay/mulch now on top of it meant it wasn’t easy to walk on these sections, so while Wendy hacked through it for most of the way I found it easier to stick to the road.

We ploughed through it and eventually turned off to a welcome dirt road for a few kms before the asphalt/cobblestone entry to Évora, arriving at about 6:15pm.

It was a tough day but we’re happy to have made it and we’ll have a rest day here tomorrow. We’ve been to Évora a couple of times before but as the capital of the Alentejo and the biggest town on this camino (I think), it has plenty to offer, even for two tired pilgrims!
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
Do any of the places you’ve stayed or been stamped keep track of pilgrim numbers? It would be interesting to know how many have come before you and Wendy. Bom caminho, Laurie
Not that we’ve been able to ascertain. The albergue at Mesquita had a guestbook and of those who had written in it since it opened in Nov 2019, Wendy thought there were only two entries that looked like they had been written by pilgrims (there is also a shorter hiking trail that goes through there that attracts weekend hikers). I previously read that about 75 walkers per year did the similar Caminho do Este (now rebranded as the Raia and possibly shortened). Obviously the pandemic has reduced the numbers even more but I think they are very low no matter what.

Just noticed your thread this morning! We wish you both a very Bom Caminho. Your posts and photos are wonderful. We are very envious! Hope you both keep safe and well and enjoy every step. We really enjoyed following you both last year.
Anne & Pat
Thank you for the support! Despite today’s challenging day it’s been a really rewarding camino so far and the unknown nature of it makes it feel like quite the adventure!

I'm curious if the accommodations where you've been staying are taking credit cards or if they are cash accommodations like much of the CF.
I’d say about 60/40 in favour of cash. If we can book places on Booking.com snd pay with card, we do, but in the villages and smaller towns that isn’t possible so we’ve been calling to make reservations and we’re paying cash at those places.

They are Roman stones belonging to olive mills for the production of olive oil.
Good to know, thank you!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
It was a tough day but we’re happy to have made it and we’ll have a rest day here tomorrow. We’ve been to Évora a couple of times before but as the capital of the Alentejo and the biggest town on this camino (I think), it has plenty to offer, even for two tired pilgrims!
I will approach tomorrow’s report with a very open mind. I have been to Évora 4 or 5 times and have never been able to muster any enthusiasm for it, though on my first trip we did have some great meals there, and I once stayed in the pousada which was nice but not too special. I know I sound like a spoiled brat. I keep hoping someone will show me the magic, because I must be missing something. No pressure. 😁

And I really hope Wendy’s feet are helped by the rest.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
Caminho Nascente Day 13: Viana do Alentejo to Évora (~36km).

With no real accommodation options between Viana do Alentejo and Évora, we didn’t have much choice other than to do this in one day despite Wendy’s foot problems. We left VdA just after 7am and the first 10km to Aguilar were mostly on overgrown country paths past olive groves and with occasional encounters with cows.

After Aguiar, though, we had to walk the next 15km on the main road leading south from Évora. The way marker we spoke to yesterday said his colleague in charge of this section tried to divert the camino from the road, but needed permission from five property owners to do so and while four gave permission, one did not and that meant the alternative path couldn’t be created.

The road was quite busy and we were basically forced to walk on the outside white lane markers, as that’s where the asphalt ends and beyond that were weeds, wild flowers and wild wheat stalks typically 1-2 feet in height and sometimes taller. This was probably the worst stretch we’ve walked on for an extended period on any camino given the traffic danger and long stretches of asphalt, which is terrible for Wendy’s PF.
I know the "powers that be" wouldn't like it, but I wonder if there would be a pleasanter route going northwest on the N257 from Viana de Alentejo and then northeast through Pomarinho on the N380 and on to Evora? That would give walkers an alternative of visiting the Cromlech, which is the (admittedly smaller, but still impressive) Portuguese equivalent of Stonehenge? The neolithic sites in this area are pretty amazing!

Last time we were in Evora, we rented bikes to explore out in that area; we were driven, with our bikes, out there and then biked back into Evora. The village of Valverde was very pleasant, and your day might be a bit shorter, staying there and then on into Evora. The Cafe Laranjinha in Valverde presented me with one of the best, most interesting salads I've ever had in Portugal (vegetarian alert!) and was full of locals, enjoying the menu do dia.

The highway (N380) was busy going into Evora, but doesn't sound nearly as bad as the one you ended up being trapped on.

 
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