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JabbaPapa

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Day 174 - - Same place

Well, that didn't happen.

Bloody pain is just about starting to become manageable, but an 11AM start to a 15K day on tarmac in this hot weather is quite out of the question.

I may have been overly lapidary about the Albergue here, it's a pleasantly organised one ... and I have an impression that the breakfast is included, except I wouldn't know as it seemed to consist entirely of stuff that I can't eat (wish things were not so pretty much every day). But that would actually justify the higher price.

Can't even make it to Mass though, so that's that.
 
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JabbaPapa

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Day 175 - - Gallegos de Argañán

The end of my Camino Torres / Francis Way

I managed an early start after basically just getting into bed at 4PM. The Albergue at Ciudad Rodrigo really is too expensive, and that was bad, given that I ended up needing two nights there, which leaves me cashless 'til tomorrow morning. Else I'd have just about pulled through, from the little tienda here.

The way here looked like tarmac on the mapy.cz map, but in fact it's mostly dirt road. I would have loved it as a faster hiker, but in this weather I ended up still out there in the heat of the afternoon.

It was another trail over ridges and crests between valleys, with pastures above given over to cattle farming, though the first few K out of Ciudad Rodrigo were on a flat country tarmac road through farms and hamlets.

I continue to be having trouble with getting past the 10-12K barrier, and that's not just the heat, but also the handicap - - though clearly I've had some good days too. Frustrating, but oh well.

I managed to get a lift for the final 3K though, so I did 12K of the 15 - - and I am very glad to see from the app that the Portuguese villages seem generally to be closer to each other than the Spanish.

I was glad for the lift, though clearly I could have walked those 3K, as I was starting to worry about sunstroke.

The Albergue here is free, not even donativo, but really it's more Refugio de Peregrinos than Albergue. 1 larger bed, a small camp bed with two mattresses, so the other could go on the floor, and another larger mattress against the wall for the same purpose. It's stark and simple, especially after the touristy place in Ciudad Rodrigo. It may also be my last Pilgrim accommodation for a while ...

I think it's about a 10K today, which I'm grateful for.
 

JabbaPapa

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I'm somewhat close to what must be the geographic halfway point of this Camino. Symbolic halfway is at Fátima, but it's about a 2,300 K from there to home, and I've walked further than that already, as it's a shorter distance via SJPP and Lourdes, than to have come this way via Perpignan and the Catalàn Way.
 

JabbaPapa

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Days 176 & 177 - - Fuentes de Oñoro

I am Hors Piste !!

And OK, let's recognise it :

I am half way !!!

The walk yesterday was not overly hard, a pleasant dirt track over mild ups and downs, and amidst pigs and cattle. And more down than up.

It helped a great deal that there is a petrol station just a couple of K before the pueblo, as it provided not only a place to rest, out of the Sun, but also some kind people who helped with a Euro or two as I awaited last night's payment.

And shade against the heat 'til it abated.

Then a K or two into the pueblo, where I was stopped by two gents in a car for an offer of something to eat, somewhere to sleep, cerveza and tinto ...

Which turned into another rest day, but this time for religious and spiritual reasons, not physical.

And my, but it is fantastic to sleep in a proper bed !!

I have popped over the border to Portugal a couple of times, but I am still in Spain. Though I'm sleeping just a couple of hundred yards from the other country.

Clothes have been through the washing machine, I have got some cash out, incoming cervezas are ongoing, and I am being well fed, though they are still having some difficulties with the dietary restrictions, especially why the beer is so important.

Jesús did make some lovely oxtail stew, and I like him a great deal, though I am a loner and he a collegiate extrovert.

But when I say it's half way, it's that the others, Carlos and his family, gave me a Marian welcome in strange echo with the entire motivation of this pilgrimage, all those years ago, when I was still thinking that my hiking days were over.

Nope.

Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, pray for us.

There's some purpose to this, and I have not the faintest idea as to what it may be.

Ave Maria, Gratia plena, Dominus tecum.
Benedicta es inter mulieribus,
Et Benedictus Jesus fructus ventri tui.
 

JabbaPapa

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Days 178 & 179 - - Fuentes de Oñoro

I am still in Spain !! And yes, still the same place.

This hadn't happened to me in nearly 30 years of these silly Caminos, but I have been welcomed long term for a full rest. Not two months or so as some other very long-range pilgrims I've met have described to me, but in any case unprecedented in my own experience.

I like this place, and I think in part because it's a borderland similar to the one where I live myself.

I was happily able to attend the Holy Mass yesterday evening, though overall it ended up being a rather full day, and it tired me out too much for a morning departure today.

Jesús who is putting me up is a good man, and clearly he saw my need for a bit of a longer rest, and chose to offer it to me. And truth is that the recent hiking stages were rather longer than I really wanted, as witnessed by the several rest days I needed to grab therein. He is providing for a need that I didn't even realise myself as being a real one.

And this is truly my half way point - - Hooray !! - - in so many different ways, and I would not at all be surprised if it turns out when I'm home and can measure these things properly, if it turned out to be geographically as well.

Getting started this morning was anyway impossible, because I only opened my eyes at about 8:30, 5 hours later than my usual habit, so that by the time my medicines were in me and being metabolised, which takes over an hour, heat of the day was up, and that's that.

It's good though that it's a few degrees cooler down here than up in those mesetas !!

I was anyway able to work out, more or less, my next steps, which have to be towards Guarda.

That's still a good deal of DIY 'til I get there, but that can be worked out day to day.

My apprehensions about Portugal are anyway all gone !!
 
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JabbaPapa

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Days 180 - - Hooray !! - - and 181 - - Freineda ; Malhada Sorda

I am in Portugal !!

It's hard to write anything when your body and brain are roasting.

I had an overly late start out of Fuentes de Oñoro, and Spain, as Jesús needed me to wait for him to see the bull-running in Pamplona on TV. Also because I myself needed a first experience with Portuguese beer in a normal place, not one of the border ones.

First impressions, both yesterday and today, of the dust roads and trails in Portugal are good. They have maintained their traditional piled stone walls, and here at least there are many trees to give shade, as well as walls and big rocks to rest upon, and in the shade if so needed.

The hiking trail today, a bit of the GR22, was particularly impressive, generally very well waymarked, having the qualities described above, and from the map indications, refraining from making insane detours around traditional routes.

Choosing this route of course means that no, I'm not going via Guarda, as that would have been an overly lengthy and difficult detour. The geography here is made of ridges and valleys, and it would have been a bunch of up and down.

Instead, I'll be switching to the Côa Valley route tomorrow, though I might vary out of it as needed, down to Sabugal, then head out from there to the Nascente. Possibly again on the GR22.

The BIG problem is heat wave number 2. This week, temps are varying locally between 34°C and 39°.

Now, those are temps close to those that forced my stop in 2019 - - but there are significant differences. Mainly that the 2019 weather was not a heat wave, but a Saharan Anticyclone event that lasted from May to September. Second, night time temps are 5° lower. Third, they're going down a bit in about a week's time.

And I've generally been lucky that I've been on shorter stages in these heat waves, whereas the Catalàn ones were and are both lengthier and more exposed.

Though yesterday and today were still a 12K and a 14K.

But I'm back in my heat wave trick of hiding from it in a bar all afternoon.

There's Super Bock beer where I live as it is full of Portuguese, both bottle and draught, but it seems the export stuff is a bit lower quality or something, in any case I find that I do like it better here. Maybe it just doesn't travel well ?

I am sleeping outside again, as I have yet to work out otherwise, and this heat makes all things more difficult.
 

JabbaPapa

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Days 182 & 183 - - Porto de Ovelha ; Badamalos

I am in a bed !!

I am walking very short days as a protection against heat wave 2 - - so a 5K+ yesterday, and a simple 5K today.

First one was nearly all tarmac, not bad, through a rocky landscape, and nearly all downhill. I escaped from the heat in the village Association bar, and whilst someone made genuine attempt to get me somewhere indoors to sleep, I ended up in the riverside chapel that I had noticed earlier when I crossed the bridge.

A local shepherd did eventually offer me a bed to sleep on, but by that time I was well tucked in, so I regretfully declined.

Walk today was great, ideal trail in the shade of the trees, and if not for the insane heat, would have been a 10K not a 5K. But a passing shepherd told me that the village bar was a restaurant too, as I got in the heat came up, and that was that.

Lunch was fantastic, she called it a pot-au-feu, but really it was a potée. Including some of the sort of well stewed veg that I can actually eat !!

The black pudding piece was outstanding.

But even before that, as I was still drinking my pre-lunch beers, the lady of the place, who is a French speaker, offered me a bed and a shower, and so here I am.

And it's another ultra short day tomorrow, and I think that's my norm 'til this bloody heat wave lifts.
 

JabbaPapa

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Days 184 & 185 - - Valle Longo/Valongo ; Rapoula da Côa

It's hot !!

Maybe yesterday I should have pushed the extra 1.5K to Seixo do Côa, but I didn't.

I am glad that I did not push the 4.5K to Valongo the previous day though, as the start of that trail was on a very exposed fire brigade path cut through the mountain, and I would have broiled alive ...

This Côa river hiking path is very beautiful though, and without the insane heat, would provide me with what I consider to be the ideal hiking conditions - - excellent dirt track, or pathway, or riverside path, or freshly gritted cobblestone, or li'l tarmac country lane, all placed within an environment of both stunning mountain or river natural beauty, and farmlands divided mainly by traditional piled stone walls.

Villages 5 to 10 K apart from each other, bars in every one, and whilst the mountain part of it does require some climbing, it's not harsh, and it is in an environment of multiple places of shade and opportunities to rest on big rocks are frequent.

There are many French speakers, which shouldn't really surprise me, as the Portuguese historically often go to work in France. Many of them do so where I live myself.

It is a pleasant change though for the French to be more reliable than the English (or Spanish).

Though I must admit to have completely forgotten the habit of Portuguese cooks, both home and professional, to always make sure to serve you more than you can possibly eat - - but it had been 30 years or more since my last Portuguese meal !!

I slept outside the bar last night, which was in the shade from the street lights, and OK especially after the bloody flies went off to sleep.

Tonight though, I am promised some better sleeping arrangements by the Junta, and I will be sleeping indoors, hopefully in a bed.

The Pilgrim's Menu today was some steak and eggs, but prepared with garlic and mushrooms, half steak half veal, with a soup entrée and some watermelon dessert. Tinto and water. Beers before and after.

The hike today was superb, up into a mountain riverside strewn with huge house-sized boulders, and it's a bit of a shame that this trail will only ever be a tertiary Camino route, either for a few people living nearby on their Way to Santiago from home, or the extreme oddballs like myself.

But it's straightforwardly a GR hiking trail. And I think in most cases, you'd need either a tent or a bike. Or both.

Today was a 7-8 K anyway.

Health-wise, I'm finding that I can start to get going with a lot less morning beer than previously, and my knees and ankles are hurting less. Obviously a large part of that is the shorter days, but not all of it, and this does seem to be a positive change.

I'll quit this trail tomorrow though, as the next part of it is lengthy and overly hilly. Normally, the 10K+ to Sabugal would be easy, but heat wave yadda yadda yadda ...

37°C now, down from 39° earlier.

Ah well, thank heavens for these bars !!
 
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VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
I have just caught up with a "backread" of this remarkable thread. I am frankly in awe! Buen Camino! (or whatever it is in Portuguese) seems very inadequate.
How you manage to find open bars at every turn amazes me.
You have kept me up way past my bed time!
 
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JabbaPapa

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Day 186 - - Same place

The sleeping arrangements would have been perfect, clean bunk beds, great shower, easy place to wash clothes, had a bunch of kids not decided to have a very noisy party next door, with their zoomer fake "music" until 4AM, I honestly have no idea how anyone can bear to listen to that monotone and tuneless electronically-modified garbage, but I was forced to anyway.

The evening had started well enough, with Holy Mass and the shower, but that unwanted "concert" ruined my sleep, so that I drifted off finally at about 5, then woke up far too late for any realistic start in the heat.

Oh well, Pilgrim's Menu anyway was ribs.

And I'm in a bed tonight as well.

The pueblo has a little shop, but they're closed for holidays.

The Municipal is unfortunately in a network black hole, 1.5G or something, so the only place I can connect is in the bar-restaurant.

Well, catching up on some reading.

Looks like there's a third heatwave incoming, just a few days after this one ends, which I'm not exactly thrilled about.
 

JabbaPapa

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Day 187 - - Sabugal

Took me half an hour more than usual to get started, then I had yet Another bloody belt problem, so that cost me another half hour to get the temporary fix done. I am so tired of this, all I need is a simple narrow leather belt and I have a great belt buckle for it, but after years and years still not seen a single one on sale, and so this keeps on happening.

Grrrrrrrr ...

Took the tarmac today, though most of the 2K end of it was trail, probably 8K total.

Was quite slow, so it's good that this heat wave is calming down.

Heat only really started rising at about 11AM, an hour later, and there was the odd cloud cover.

So that when I hobbled in, towards 2PM, the heat while up, was several °C lower than the past week, and whilst very high, was somehow bearable.

Phew !!

Not sure I like this place, as they seem to be doing their "best" to turn it into one more tedious tourist trap. Which always turns things superficial.

I'm not trying to sleep indoors, though I should better try with the priest at least, because my late start and arrival have just put me out of the mood for it, and just sitting about here in the air conditioning with no thought to such matters feels more appropriate.

But tourist traps always make me nervous, as I grew up and live in one.

Still, I *have* this evening discovered Super Bock Stout, and I do much like the low alcohol and non-IPA nature of the beverage !! Plus its capability to be drunk much slower than the lager, and its better resistance to room and higher temperatures.

A simple and tasty ordinary stout, so much easier than some loony "extra-hoppy" facile IPA junk !!
 

JabbaPapa

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Day 188

NO IDEA why not, but I did not walk this morning.

Not heat, not tiredness, not pain. It just didn't happen.

Still thinking about it.

I have OTOH worked out a new, faster, shorter and easier route out of these hills, much of it waymarked.
 
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JabbaPapa

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Day 188 - - Caria

I am on the Nascente !!

Just don't ask me how, I haven't a clue.

I began the morning chug-a-lugging beers, and very pleasant it was.

After a while, I asked where to eat - - answer, along the road and to the right.

Which is where I went, and it was very nice. Steaks.

Then I started chatting with someone, loner as I am, we ate, and then he insisted on bringing me forward on my Way. And so he did.

I seriously wanted to go another way, but here I am. The Camino is always about accepting what is given. Not forcing your own notions onto it.
 
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JabbaPapa

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I'm annoyed in a way - - the route I had worked out this morning was rather excellent. Quickest route from these uplands down. Waterside track and all. But when the Camino provides, what can you do ??
 

JabbaPapa

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Day 189 - - Peraboa

Well, someone's looking out for me anyway, and I certainly wasn't given the hangover I had this morning ...

This unsought "detour" has actually taken me exactly where I needed to be.

Which is to say right next to the Zêzere valley, which has a hiking trail pointing in exactly the right direction, and cutting downstream right through the mountains. Which I hadn't known about from the fact that I've been selecting my routes day to day, and I hadn't looked at the map of this area with sufficient attention to detail.

The trail runs fairly parallel to the Caminho da Beira Fátima Way, and I guess there's a chance for some Pilgrim Albergues along the route - - and there's one in Ferro for tomorrow, BTW. :cool: There may have been one in Caria too, really wish I'd known, but the surprise of finding myself there put these matters out of my mind.

The weather is much better anyway, though I'm too "tired" to have made it to Ferro today ; but then given that I found out about the Albergue there at the Junta here, it's probably for the best.

I need some more fact-finding, though I do have a printed map of the Camino routes in central Portugal, so that's a good start.

Somehow it's a bit of a shock to no longer be completely DIY !!

I wrote yesterday anyway that the Camino provides ; and that it's taken me away from my projected route, which was wrong, and onto the proper one is a biggie.
 

JabbaPapa

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Day 190 - - Ferro

I am in an Albergue de Peregrinos !!

And I have passed the number of days walking on my Stage 2, though not the distance I walked on it I think.

But dunno.

I had slept behind the church in Peraboa, and after cervezas I made my way here, getting the way wrong once because the yellow arrows only point one way, though it ended up as a 1K detour, not a catastrophe.

Little country lanes between traditional stone walls for the most part, and easy walking with few sections more exposed to the Sun, which felt a little hotter today.

The Albergue is an adapted 1950s house, with the good and less good that entails, but mostly there is a proper 1950s bath tub, i.e. long enough and big enough for even my size. Water ended up being tepid, but in this heat it was a sheer positive.

My Nascente ends here, but from the little I've been on it, my impression is that efforts are being made to make it a more welcoming Camino for pilgrims. Apart from the Albergues here and I think at Caria, there's another one planned at Peraboa apparently.

I had been hoping for a menu, but there was a little shop instead. They did have some cured ham in the Portuguese manner, and that was sufficient, a great big thick slab of it.

There's a waymarked trail out from the village to the Zêzere trail, so it'll be that way tomorrow, unless it's a dud.
 

JabbaPapa

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Day 191 - - Covilhã (suburbs)

Well, heatwave 3 seems to be starting, so I'm back to hiding from it in a bar.

It's a motel bar, but they've no beds free, so it's outdoors again. The nearby campsite is closed for what looks like covid, so no joy there either.

They do have a cheap lunch menu here though, so that's good.

Hiking this morning was fine, the typical country lanes again, and all downhill to the river, but no more than a 5-6K again. But I'm all too aware of my susceptibility to sunstroke, and as to luncheon questions, I'd say a pilgrim's menu in the hand is worth two in the bush ...

Temps do seem to be a bit less hot in Western Portugal, but it's a matter of getting there to benefit from them.

Still - - I have finally reached the home stretch of the first of my Pilgrimages on this Camino, and that is super cool.
 
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JabbaPapa

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Day 191 - - Tortosendo

OK so I am not sleeping outside.

The guy at the motel told me to come up here, and go to the second roundabout. Here, I found the Missionaries of the Divine Word (in their Seminary), and they have offered me a room to sleep in, to stay in to rest tomorrow, and I was able to attend Holy Mass this evening.

Hooray !!

It ended up being a 10K, but I do have the start of a little heat fatigue, so yet another rest day is the thing to accept.

The bed is great, I have my own bathroom and shower, and it's a blessing to have found this place instead of roughing it.

And yes - - the Camino provides.
 

JabbaPapa

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Day 192 - - Same Place

I am starting to feel normal again.

That took me a couple of litres of beer, plus lunch, and the not walking.

The priests here are being kindly and welcoming and helpful, but as usual when you aren't one of them there's a certain distance to it. Mostly I think from the divergence in vocation between a missionary priest, in this instance, and a Lay foot pilgrim, but then on my Ways this is hardly the first time that I have come across this sort of benevolent Christian incomprehension.

There are some clergy and Religious and Laity who do understand that there's no qualitative difference in Pilgrimage terms between one going on foot, and one going in a Parish or Diocesan group by transport, and that all are pilgrims, but most look with a mix of strangeness and disquiet upon those of us who choose a longer, harder, and especially more solitary road towards the same Sanctuaries.

But still, to accept and love each other despite all those differences is a major part of what it is to be a Catholic Christian, and despite any incomprehension, this is what we do.

Not coincidentally nor surprisingly, these are in the core values that we share among ourselves as peregrinos and hospitaleros. Not My way or My camino, but Ours, in sharing and in respect and in love, no matter how solitary or communal the pilgrimage of each should be.

--

The weather seems to be shifting somewhat, and anyway the heat here seems, in my own sense of it, to have some similarities with that of Provence, and the Var. The low mountains anyway look similar, the villages are similarly close, and the country lanes are not unfamiliar in character either.

The cricket song is no stranger to me either.

I do wish this heat would end though, so that I could at least attempt to make some less snail pace advance on this Camino !!
 

JabbaPapa

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Days 193 & 194 - - Vales do Rio ; Peso

It is getting very hot again, though the mornings are a little cooler.

Yesterday was a 10K on tarmac, beautiful views of the valley, and mainly downhill. I did my usual hiding from the heat in a quite pleasant bar, where towards the end I watched a football friendly on the smartphone, between our local team AS Monaco and Porto, well their B teams - - only to my horror to realise when it was over, they played at Coutada which is the next village across, and had I known I could easily have walked there in the heat to see it live !! AARGH !!

Oh well.

I slept out in the fields, then walked maybe a 3K+ this morning, then didn't want to move further. I tried, but no go.

But the small supermarket here is also a small bar, so I got some ham and cheese there for lunch, and hid there 'til now. Close to 8PM and it's still rather hot, so staying put may have been the wise move.

There's the proper A team Porto-Monaco tonight, I'll watch that, and it's playing in Porto not one of these villages.

There are a few options to sleep out, but I'm on a park bench and may not wish to move.
 
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Take it easy in the heat and onward when you are able. Continuing buen camino, @JabbaPapa!

But still, to accept and love each other despite all those differences is a major part of what it is to be a Catholic Christian, and despite any incomprehension, this is what we do.

Not coincidentally nor surprisingly, these are in the core values that we share among ourselves as peregrinos and hospitaleros. Not My way or My camino, but Ours, in sharing and in respect and in love, no matter how solitary or communal the pilgrimage of each should be.
All religions are ultimately about this. Yes, incomprehension aside. It is a challenge sometimes!
 

JabbaPapa

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Days 195 & 196 - - Barco

Yesterday turned out quite horrid, though the hiking trail itself was rather beautiful. Just that I should definitely have taken the tarmac.

I started out late from going to sleep late, just for starters, and then I had bloody belt problems AGAIN, half an hour or more to do yet another temporary fix.

The trail then did not really follow the river, but was more like a crest's edge trail, with some significant climbs and descents of the sort that normally I would scrupulously avoid, but yesterday I didn't.

Plus it's a longer walk than the tarmac, even without the extra difficulty.

So then from the lateness, length, and difficulty, I ended up hiking in the heat of the day, which was worse than it has been yesterday, which led to some initial sunstroke symptoms, though at least they only started after the trail entered into a more shaded section.

But then from hopping from shade to shade and resting until I could carry on a few hundred yards, it ended up taking me about two and a half hours to walk the final 3K, not to mention realising that I would need to halt here 24 hours just to prevent an actual sunstroke.

Plus it prevented me getting in early enough for lunch, though I have just made up for that today - - roast chicken legs with eggs. Yummy.

So that's now two afternoons of hiding from the heat in this bar. The one with the food.

The other one is actually nicer, but this one has the phone charging sockets, and the boss is pleasant enough.

I slept at the football ground (that's "soccer" for any yanks or English locals), which was well enough, and so tonight as well.

But I did well anyway not to walk today ; this morning at sunrise the Great Ball of Fire was bothering me a bit, despite the relative coolness, my knee was hurting overmuch, and I needed a few extra hours after my sleep to feel rested.

But I am getting towards being about 100K from the main Portuguese Caminos, a little more from Fátima, and I am close to having "only" 2,500K left for my walk to home.

Heatwave 3 carries on apace, though it's supposed to end in the first week of August.

Next two stages anyway are at the bottom of the valley, so that's good. Though I am starting to have slept outdoors a bit too much. I did have clean things to put on this morning, but the absence of a simple shower is starting to be an annoyance.

The landscape however is quite glorious, and if this Camino route were properly developed, it could be brilliant !! As things stand though, I am doubtful that the Fátima Way element of it has even been waymarked.

Likely several days ahead before I'll be in an Albergue de Peregrinos again ...
 
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JabbaPapa

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It is strange to be sleeping outdoors in the exact same place a second time.

The wind is up again this evening, so I'm guessing it's a normal occurrence. And that it will be quite cool again in the pre-dawn.

The mountains here look a lot like Pyrenean outlier mountains, more than foothills, but less than the higher mountains themselves. Anyway, the same rolling wave aspect, that seems so gentle until it's time to get up into them.

I have been glad for this rest day forced by the risk of more serious sunstroke, though Ideally I would have preferred to do without either of them. Especially as the next hike is an easy one.

Though the corollary, of course, to the Camino provides ; is, the Camino decides.
 

JabbaPapa

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Day 197 - - Ourondo

Today ended up being one of the worst hiking experiences in my life, and I am very close to conceding defeat to the GRZ, and getting a taxi, which would be an absolute first.

The beginning and end of it were fine, simple and ordinary dirt roads.

But there was a half kilometre of nightmare hiking in the middle, and I have lost all confidence in this trail being a reasonable one for pilgrimage purposes.

I seem to have been the first person up there in many months, at least, if not years. That portion of the trail is so poorly maintained that there were dead branches, tree boughs, dead trees strewn haphazard all over the trail, not to mention all the undergrowth to fight through, the roots in the middle of it to stumble over, the bramble fronds to rip you to pieces, and that's just the more pleasant elements.

Often, it wasn't even a path, just some vaguely cleared part of the slope, with a near-cliff on your right, and a precipice on your left, the way often no wider than your boot. Not to mention the earth under that boot so dessicated by drought it was dust, providing no real support, locations where the "path" had collapsed so that you needed to advance crab-like on all fours, dragging your backpack along behind you, all the while dodging brambles, fallen trees, and the precipice, and of course then you get some more sunstroke symptoms, and need to find places to perch precariously amidst all of this in enough shade for it to pass.

This trail is simply too hard for me to endure in the combination of my disability, the heatwave, my tendency towards sunstrokes, and honestly my age - - last time I came across such difficulties was on the 2014, and they just didn't affect me so badly.

So I am almost certain to give up this particular trail, though certainly not this Camino !! Nor am I considering making another halt.

The only good things about that half a K from Hell is that there was a great deal of shade from the trees, as well as a good breeze which took the edge off the heat. But I do now need to be a lot more careful, I can't risk any more sunstroke onset in any location where there is no such shade.

Annoying, but health concerns come first.
 

JabbaPapa

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Day 198 - -

Taxi it is.

Both bus lines go in the completely wrong directions, and whilst this route is probably a bit less awful for the next few villages, that would just kick the can down the road, to little general purpose ; whereas one of the first things I found here last night was a big sign saying : taxi, call this number.

I did, and he ranted at me a while, which I understood not a tittle or jot of, though on reflection I think he was concerned that the locals need him more than I do, so instead he can take me just after lunch time.

The real issue is that from a certain point, there are no workable tarmac alternatives.

And I cannot subject myself to the randomness of a trail that I already know is insufficiently well maintained, I'd guess "because of covid", and so over two years of no maintenance in its less traveled portions.

Some of the branches that I had to push aside yesterday pretty much broke instantly just from touching them, which is the clearest evidence of this complete neglect.

It looks to me that the best option for travelling this route would be by kayak, with a camping car support vehicle and designated driver. Maybe biking, provided you had a guide book to tell you things like "avoid this section like the plague".

OTOH, I do seem to be reaching a point where the climate is shifting from Portuguese inland to western Portugal, as temps in this village are a few degrees lower than they were in Barco.

I really wish that I weren't forced into this, but I am. Oh well. The Camino decides ...
 

JabbaPapa

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Day 198 - - Oleiros

I am on the Caminho da Beira !!

Sleeping outside again, as there are still no Albergues de Peregrinos, but at least there's a supermarket open here, so I can get some cheaper munchies.

Temperatures are a few degrees lower, though there's still a way to go before I'll be within the Atlantic influence proper.

Taxi was a bit more expensive than I had hoped, but I did change the destination to bring the price down to just about affordable.

I guess I'll see now for certain if this Camino is waymarked or not.
 
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JabbaPapa

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Day 199 - -

Still haven't moved, my hip joints are hurting a bit too much.

Even though it's significantly cooler. There are however days when just the normal quantity of beer doesn't work because the osteo-arthritis decides to have a flare-up. Likely it's all the sleeping outdoors causing it this time.

When this happens at home, I basically just stay in the house, else go down and up again by bus for beers and tinto to try and kill it. Doesn't always work.

OTOH the weather really is cooler, so it's by no means impossible that I could get a move on this afternoon. Doubt it at present though, as I am in the midst of the bloody arthritic pain, and the beer appears to be working as ineffectively as the anti-inflammatories, but we'll see. If I do need yet another bloody rest day and night here, it will certainly be out towards the right direction, instead of behind the church.

Curses !! Foiled again !! I had been so hopeful to make some advancement !!
 
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JabbaPapa

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So I'm not having the best series of days I've had on these silly Camino Ways ...
 

JabbaPapa

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OK so no go today, temps are lower, but still too much for me to hike in, not in the afternoon after the pain going down.

More chicken and egg.

Seems they come at the same time !!
 

Kazibar

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It's still looming very large, despite this sudden shift from the scale of dream, then vague project, now material planning.

I need to follow a carnivore diet, and I've been wondering how to manage that once I begin to be far away from my magical Portuguese butcher shop, which will be on the morning of Day One ...

Might be in el cheapo sausages that I'll find the solution ; my diet might suddenly become very chorizo and cheese-like once I'm out beyond my front door ...

Meanwhile, I'll have to start getting into a bit more of a routine of several walks a week -- I'm walking faster than I have been anyway since 2014, possibly even starting to approach, maybe even exceed the pace that I had when I started on that 2014 ?

I anyway also need to work to extend my max daily walking distance, still too low.

Though I'm still quite unsure of my carrying capacity stamina-wise (and speed-wise), here and now at least

It's a Winter Camino anyway, and apart from the quick local crossings of the Alps which even on the extremely rare occasions of snow here involve centimetres not metres, that'll be four serious winter crossings of mountain ranges ; Pyrenees twice.

In a dream Camino I'd have a pair of Altai skis for those purposes ... :p

heh -- onward and forward
Well, starting to unpack and repack, and the start of the Mediterranean Spring weather is making a HUGE difference in what I'll no longer be carrying -- towards I'd guess about 2.5 to 4 kilos out of the pack and sitting instead toasty at home.

My pack suddenly seems huge compared to what I'll need to carry, now that the Winter section of this Camino is 2 months behind.

Still, size 14+ army boots, military sleeping bag, woollen pilgrim cape are of course constant in their mass.

Medicine seems to be both more and less, more right now, but gram by gram and day by day that will diminish both in volume and weight.

This injury, apart from killing 8 weeks' worth hiking, has at least brought my pack back into reasonable package, plus stopped my adventure into the less reasonable weather -- though I'll always be glad in memory and experience for the at least a good section of Winter Camino. Something I had wanted since 1993, and now it's become memory rather than fantasy. No snow at all though GGRRRRRR !!!

Yet the Provençal Way is amazing once you're outside and past sprawling Nice !!!

This Camino really is metamorphosising itself into simultaneously the combination of all my past successes and failures, yet something also entirely 100% novel and new and strange.

But crikey !! I really do hope it won't force me into patronage of the silly Jacotrans !!!

Next stages to Arles anyway, likely at least to Montpellier, then see how the thigh behaves onwards to Perpignan and over the Pyrenees than beyond.

I'm still freaked out by the fact that the socks I've been wearing daily for 4 months or so have no other odour than that of honest & good boot leather ...
Sorry but unless you’ve been told to do it by your medical doctor, you do not need to follow a carnivorous diet. You might strongly prefer to, but that’s not a need. NeEd is, if I don’t do this, illland in hospital.
 

Kazibar

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It's still looming very large, despite this sudden shift from the scale of dream, then vague project, now material planning.

I need to follow a carnivore diet, and I've been wondering how to manage that once I begin to be far away from my magical Portuguese butcher shop, which will be on the morning of Day One ...

Might be in el cheapo sausages that I'll find the solution ; my diet might suddenly become very chorizo and cheese-like once I'm out beyond my front door ...

Meanwhile, I'll have to start getting into a bit more of a routine of several walks a week -- I'm walking faster than I have been anyway since 2014, possibly even starting to approach, maybe even exceed the pace that I had when I started on that 2014 ?

I anyway also need to work to extend my max daily walking distance, still too low.

Though I'm still quite unsure of my carrying capacity stamina-wise (and speed-wise), here and now at least

It's a Winter Camino anyway, and apart from the quick local crossings of the Alps which even on the extremely rare occasions of snow here involve centimetres not metres, that'll be four serious winter crossings of mountain ranges ; Pyrenees twice.

In a dream Camino I'd have a pair of Altai skis for those purposes ... :p

heh -- onward and forward
Sounds like mostly Avery low carb diet.
 
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JabbaPapa

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Sorry but unless you’ve been told to do it by your medical doctor, you do not need to follow a carnivorous diet. You might strongly prefer to, but that’s not a need. NeEd is, if I don’t do this, illland in hospital.
You have exactly no idea whatsoever about my personal health matters, and no understanding that this dietary discipline, boring as it is, is a necessary not a choice.

I do not tell others what they should or shouldn't eat.

And your contribution is aggressive and unfortunate.
 
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JabbaPapa

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Day 200 -- Hooray !! -- Mosteiro

Tarmac today, winding through woodland. It's called the "old" main road, but it's quite modern.

Can go no further today, though the temperatures are down, and I think it's partly because humidity is 50%.

There is only a little association café here, and that's literal, as the lady there serves only coffee and soft drinks. And opens only between midday and about 2PM. I had Cokes, the sugar should help compensate a bit for the lack of food,though I did have a last chunk of sausage in my pack.

But she tells me there are bars in the next two villages I'll be going to.
 
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Day 201 - - Carvalhal

Heatwave 3 version 2 is a lot worse than the v1 ...

The morning hike was lovely, little country lane in well shaded woods. There was a deal of up and down, but not aggressive, not stark.

That took me to Vale de Souto, where after some messing about I finally found the bar, and my first cold beers in a couple of days.

An eclectic trio of vacationers was there, speaking English, which led to I think my first conversation in the language with native speakers in about two months !!

Had some ham, then thought that I could get to the next village easily enough, but the heat made it tough. Eventually, I just lay down to rest by the side of the road, and whilst I could certainly have hiked the last K after sufficient rest in the shade, though I honestly think it could have taken me up to 90-120 minutes, someone picked me up and dropped me off at the bar here.

Where as usual I escaped from the heat with beers.

Now I am prepared to sleep in the porch of the old village school, which is a great place and without annoying street lamps.

There is fiesta in the next village tomorrow, and Mass, so despite the heat, that will be fun.

I have also discovered the truth about the waymarkers on this Camino, which is that there are none, but they will start to be set down in September.
 

JabbaPapa

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Day 202 - - Figueiredo

I slept indoors !!

The hiking yesterday was super hot, including because it was nearly all uphill tarmac, so I was grateful to get into the village at last, and for a quick two cool ones.

Then I took refuge in the small village bar, a family establishment, until their lunchtime, that I spent doing some clothes washing. Meanwhile I had befriended the young man of the family, an English-speaker, who it turned out at Mass is also the leader of the Parish Choir, and very good at that rôle. The Feast Day Mass was well attended, and led to a procession - - but I was rather surprised, and pleased, when just as Mass was ending the priest called me to the front, and after a quick chat, he formally introduced me to the Parish as a Pilgrim, and welcomed me to the Parish and the village, at which point the Congregation applauded.

Very touching.

After the procession, I went back to the bar for a while, instead of to the Fiesta area because of the heat, but eventually in the evening I got some roast choriça, would have had the chicken but the lady at the bar had provided me with a small cod preparation, and then many people bought me beers.

I had asked the young man about anywhere to sleep, and he arranged for permission to put me up in a small parish prayer hall, first time since reaching the Camí Catalàn proper that I've slept on the floor like this in a church facility, which happens a lot more frequently in France.

But this one has air conditioning !!
 

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Days 203 & 204 - - Sertã ; Cabeçudo

This is now my longest stage, as I have walked for longer than I did in 2021.

Yesterday I certainly wasn't planning on getting to Sertã, but Jorge, the gentleman who had rescued me from the heat on Saturday, was driving by as I was walking, he stopped to ask me how I was, one thing led to another, and he gave me a lift to town.

I had a decent lunch, and then drank far too much beer whilst hiding from the heat. I had all of that in a place by the river, next to a Mediaeval bridge that the Caminho da Beira is dead certain to cross, and confirmed, no waymarkers.

The river is very beautiful there, though the town is somewhat marred by the central restaurant, where I did not eat, being essentially a fast food place, albeit significantly better than those usually are (though they had literally nothing that I can eat), as well as a main bar in the same style. The place over the bridge is much nicer, for both purposes. I had a couple of good chats, with a Camino-curious travelling Dutch couple, and a former and future English pilgrim, who is planning one last go at it, home to home (he lives in Tomar).

I woke up much later than usual, from the excess of beers, and so ended up being stopped here by the heat, and by good fortune right on top of the village bar/shop. A few cokes to settle my stomach, a bit of food from the shop, and not too much beer.

The next place isn't far, but I was glad to be able to avoid walking in these temps.

Which are actually starting to improve somewhat, anyway the full heat of the day started later than it has been.

Starting out yesterday BTW from Figueiredo I came across a full bottle of 2018 Rioja tinto, a Tempranillo, from the Fiesta, just abandoned by someone, and I still have half a litre of that in a little bottle in my backpack.

Tomorrow will be an even shorter hiking day, as day after tomorrow I'll be crossing the Zêzere, with even a tiny stretch back on the GRZ, and will need to set out from the next town for that. Then hopefully on Friday I'll reach one of the more established Portuguese Caminos, and even more hopefully get to an Albergue de Peregrinos.

I did see my first Caminho de Fátima sign today, which is a large Police sign warning foot pilgrims to wear a high visibility jacket on this main road (many of the local pilgrim groups from the villages can start their daily walking long before dawn), though a little annoyingly the sign induced me onto that main road and away from the better smaller one that would have been more agreeable, and somewhat shorter.

The heat is becoming rather tedious, though I am walking towards an area with lower ones, and supposedly heatwave 3 will end next week. But it's starting to be quite frustrating not to be able to get any walking done in the afternoon, and the absence of any Albergues to rest in but instead this sitting about in a bar is also getting a bit old.

Oh well, AS Monaco's first official match tonight, Champions League qualifier against PSV Eindhoven, which could go both ways. Fingers crossed, and Daghe Munegu !!
 
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JabbaPapa

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Day 205 morning - -

Weather's definitely changing, fog/heavy mist this morning, it's even a bit chilly !!
 

mspath

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Day 205 morning - -

Weather's definitely changing, fog/heavy mist this morning, it's even a bit chilly !!
JabbaPappa,
That chill must feel great! Here in France on the Aisne river all is oppressive and will be 36 by noon. Enjoy that cool and Carpe diem.
 
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Day 205 - - Cernache do Bonjardim

A short and good day.

All tarmac hiking, 4K max, but I stopped at a bar-restaurant coming in, and my body told me "cheat day needed", so I had some battered whitefish, don't think it was cod, with a mixed rice preparation side, and an unusual (for me) salad, which I almost never eat, can't usually, though I do like it.

And the usual hiding in the bar from the 35°C today ... But the heat is rising later, and ending earlier. Even got some Ks in the big black pilgrim cape up to 10 AM !!

Then a matter of trying to charge this communications thing a bit, and the woman in the second bar suggested I ask about sleeping at the fire brigade, but no go as the place hadn't been prepared (very late at this point, as I had spent some time route planning and other stuff on the interwebs), but then Miguel the fireman suggested asking the priest, I asked please do it for me, and now here I am on a bed, cool ones and fruits in the fridge, alone in the Presbytery, all I need, and it's brilliant.

And cool ones in the fridge ...
 

JabbaPapa

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Day 206 - - same place

It became clear overnight that I wouldn't be able to get going, and generously the priest allowed me to stay another night. I rested the whole morning, got some clothes washed, and he even invited me for a lunch (turkey and eggs).

And Mass in the evening, which was great.

Things got easier after it turned out he speaks French.
 

JabbaPapa

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Day 207 - - Dornes

Almost a normal day, though the heat of the afternoon is still problematic.

Fog again at the outset, so it seems to be a frequent occurrence in these parts, I'd guess from the river/reservoir.

And a nearly all tarmac day, downhill, apart from one short stretch of sharp downhill trail on the GRZ. First ripe blackberries !!

As the heat of the day was starting, just past the long bridge across the river, the petrol station turned out to be the location of a bar-restaurant, so that after some cool ones, I had a cod lunch and a certain amount of tinto.

After closing time, and sitting with a couple more cool ones, the manager told me me of the priest here, so I walked a few K extra in the late afternoon, which is what I mean by almost normal, in that it's finally cooling down enough to make that start to be possible again.

Anyway, apart from the inevitable extra beers getting in, the church here has a small hospitality venue, currently hosting a group of youngsters in their sleeping bags. Which arrangement I would of course have been perfectly happy with, instead though the priest provided a very pleasant bedroom with a large comfy bed.

Then later, the month's money came in (Hooray !!), so I was able to get myself a plate of roast pork at the local, then crash in to sleep.

The river/reservoir is rather beautiful here, as it's still rather mountainous, so that the hillside drops dramatically into the water, much as it does into the sea in the Alpes-Maritimes where I live. Dornes is particularly lovely, being a mediaeval village located on what has functionally become a peninsula.

Apart from that, it's basically a forest area, roads and trails winding in and out through the valleys and hills.

Hopefully today I'll reach the "official" Camino trail, though no idea if I'll be able to go so far as to the next Albergue de Peregrinos. But that is now actually within walking distance, or would be without this still horrid afternoon heat. And it's a bit of a later start again ...
 
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JabbaPapa

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Day 208 - - Areias

I am on the Caminho Português Central !!

Tarmac all the way again. A tiring day, although the weather is definitely getting cooler, heatwave 3 seems finally to have ended.

It was a bit of a climb out of the Zêzere valley, not bad really, but sweaty. And with far too much beer, at the start, the middle, and the end, which tends to happen first day of the month's money. The midday stop wasn't unpleasant, had some ham, but it still would have been better to get a move on which afternoon heat still prevented 'til 5PM. Still, I made it here, which is a big thing, as I have now walked from the Francès to the Português. Hooray !!

The lady at the bar kindly made me some little bits of meat, though clearly it would have been better had I been able to put more in my belly before all of the boozing instead of after.

Ah well, just one of those days ...

Saw my first pilgrim in over a month, she was NOT talkative, said not a word really, and I am so much out of practice I even forgot to wish Buen Camino. Still, it's a start of some sort of return to a Camino normalcy I guess ?

Short day today, hope I can find a proper Pilgrim Menu, as I need one.
 
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JabbaPapa

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Day 209 - - Calvinos

I slept extremely poorly, in the village public toilet, and the morning was a horror of snail-imitative slowness.

Horrid that is, until I reached Ceras, and stumbled upon a party in progress, serving to clear out the remains of the food left over from the previous day's Village Fiesta. Now I had endured some tummy troubles from food in the morning, but even so, the fourth time they asked me if I wanted to eat something, it finally clicked that "no" was not an acceptable answer to the question.

Meeting pilgrims on the trail had anyway cheered me up somewhat, the Dutch peregrina being particularly pleasant though she's ending in Porto this time, and then in the village, the two pieces of meat, a bit of tomato and onion, cerveja and tinto, didn't just provide sustenance on this part of the Caminho where it seems to be hard to obtain, within my food restrictions anyway, but it provided the sort of companionship that had been lacking.

Though my pain from the bloody handicap was worse than usual.

But I headed out after 3 PM, and then the gentleman who not only speaks French but has visited where I live stopped to give me a lift over the last couple K to Calvinos, and introduce me to the Hospitalero.

Couple more cool ones, and then my !! Simply to be in a basic, clean, and normal Albergue again after all of this time is amazing.

I am sharing it with a Canadian pilgrim walking with his son, and we also shared cerveja, tinto, and stories, and it is so greatly refreshing to have that back again !!

Good times are back again.
 
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Day 210 - - Tomar

I am on the Caminho de Fátima Nacente !!

The Camino was longer than I had estimated, so I reached the Hostel here with just 20 minutes to spare.

I also couldn't start 'til 9 AM, as I didn't open my eyes before 7, then the two hours needed to get ready but mainly for the medicine to start working and get the pain down.

It was tarmac in the morning, trail in the evening. The length of the trail was the bit that I underestimated, apart from that it was easy enough. Saw a few pilgrims in the morning, more bikers than hikers.

I stopped for a pilgrim menu, cod, which I am eating a fair amount of, as whitefish is the only type of sea fish that I can tolerate within the crazy food restrictions (although I WILL eat pulpo !!). Pleasantly, even the salad here is feasible, as it's a combination of tomato, cucumber, onion, olive oil and vinegar, which are in the exceptions column too.

I might come back this way when I head out from Fátima, we'll see.

There were a bunch of pilgrims and some others in the Hostel, but I generally don't much like staying in them, plus I needed to get out for a few cool ones, so I ended up not really talking to anyone. Might have happened at breakfast, but there was nothing I can eat.

Waiting for the meds to kick in again, and for the supermarket to open, then heading out.
 
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JabbaPapa

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Day 211 - - Fungalvaz

And liable to be Day 212 as well, because the knee is acting up again, and even without that, I am tired and hungry.

I got out too late AGAIN from Tomar, else I would not have needed to stop for a bit of a rest in Brasões, where the Association bar was only open for two hours.

I made a bit of a wrong turn out of Tomar, though it didn't lengthen the way, but the heat is right up. Not really a heatwave now though, just the normal hot Summer weather.

The walking overall is pleasant along here anyway, even the tarmac sections making their progress between hamlets and little hills, a Roman aqueduct, woodland and water, often shaded and gently sloped.

Mid afternoon anyway, as the shade lengthened enough to be decent to walk in, leaving the Camino on my left, and hooray it is waymarked, blue arrows one way, yellow the other, to Longra on the tarmac, to its own Association bar, that I just could not walk onwards from.

Had some cokes to get some sugar and stuff in, and surprisingly not even one full beer, then one of the younger locals said hello, perhaps happy to show off some English, and one thing leading to another, a co-worker friend of his gave me a lift over the few K here, I got the Hospitalero on the phone, and here I am. And in need of a rest day, last one was about a week ago.

The Albergue here is great though, looks like the old Presbytery or possibly the old church school, ten beds upstairs, proper kitchen, decent shower, all you need. It's a Donativo, recommended donation 5€.

Part of the tiredness comes from a combination of the fairly long day into Tomar, only got in at 8:30, and not eating at all yesterday, from not really being hungry after the previous day's copious menu, but it's hitting me now.

If I had slept outside at Longra, the short few downhill Ks into Fungalvaz would have been fine to do this morning, but the trail out of here is too much for me in this state, and there's no meaningful tarmac alternative as there was yesterday, but only a different route, about the same distance, and in the wrong direction.

So I guess I'll have to just call Joaquim in a while and explain things.

Edit - - just did and it's fine. Seems like there's going to be another pilgrim here too.

I will almost certainly be returning back this way in a few days, as the other routes seem not to have any Albergues de Peregrinos, though I've not yet fully investigated things for the Carmelite Way. Somewhat surprised there's nothing in Ourém at least.

I probably won't bypass Tomar, though it is a temptation to do so, including because I did discover a small café-restaurant there when I had gone out for beers that evening, which combined not being touristy, with looking inexpensive, simple, and good enough. And I guess some Tomar that were more than just beer, sleep, and hike out might be nice, though it's mostly just another cute tourist trap place from my own perspective - - but the more residential and ordinary parts of the town aren't so bad.

But yes, it does seem that the best Caminho Português option from Fátima will be back the way I came.
 
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JabbaPapa

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OK there's nothing on the Carmelite Way out of Fátima either.
 

JabbaPapa

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Day 213 - - Lagoa de Furadouro

A couple of Swiss pilgrims came to stay in Fungalvaz last night, Lisbon to Santiago via Fátima.

Though I slept well and long, so that we ended up with little conversation - - though I must say, the rest day was welcome.

And I did manage to set out at not much later than 7.

Took trail not tarmac, and in hindsight OK for the current goal, because whilst the Camino here is mostly pretty easy, there are a couple of stretches that my knees and ankles would rather not repeat, and so I will.

Still, up there I did meet the first peregrina walking in the same direction as me since leaving the Francès in late May !!

Fast girl, young, travelling light, in Fátima tonight.

I did miss a blue arrow, but decided instead of going back a hundred yards or so, to carry on down to the tarmac, then walk up it into the village. Not too bad, though the heat of the day was starting to rise.

Got into the village, where they are preparing next week's Feast days, guys gave some cold water and a couple of beers, then to the Association Bar, to hide again from the heat, though it is lessening.

A meat dish and beers, many of those ; then I had something I hadn't eaten in 50 years, snails in the Iberian manner, so dozens of small ones in a bowl. Amazing after all this time !!

The Association guys are letting me sleep outdoors outside their HQ, which is great.

Won't be coming back to Tomar on the same route though, even though it would be great, because I do want a lot more tarmac not trail like today, so I shall make a great big detour from one village
 
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Day 215 - - Fátima

The walk yesterday started out easily enough, generally flat, and mostly on little country roads.

Then after a bit, I switched to the Via Carmelita, which started out the same way. Anyway, I saw the new Fátima Way waymarkers for the first time, and they are far more professionally laid down than the traditional painted blue arrows.

And then they led into a final couple of K up to the edge of the city which are a hard sports hiking trail, and I needed to get down on hands and knees again, and once to even carry my backpack up beside me, right at the top, where you have to navigate basically a bunch of concrete blocks just piled on each other like giant stairs.

I have no idea why these trailmakers insist on trying to force foot pilgrims onto paths for sports hiking, not even long distance.

Anyway, up there I had an overly expensive meal of steak and eggs, nice enough, then walked into the city with just a couple of extra stops for beers.

It was a joy to walk into the esplanade before the Basilica, though a quieter one, more like the walk into Lourdes than the one into Santiago.

After a while I got myself into the Hostel, which was full of many non foot pilgrims, for a big event. Tonight, looks like just 3 or 4 of us, and it took some convincing this morning to be able to stay tonight.

All of that crowd was a bit of a put off though, I'm sad to say, and crowds generally give me anxiety, so that I ended up just wanting solitude and rest, and now that all of those extra people have gone home, I found it in the new peace and quiet in the Hostel, although I did grab myself a better and cheaper pilgrim menu of some mutton stew on the way back.

The temperature is suddenly a lot cooler though, so I can get some more personal stuff done in the morning before heading out, Marian or otherwise, including some shopping, then we'll see how far I get.

I do now anyway know about some trail options to totally avoid, as well I think as an easier alternative, in the other direction anyway, to Fungalvaz - - and if this weather sticks, walking in the afternoon may become possible again.

There is an underlying peace though in Fátima, despite the crowds and the commerce and the tourism and everything. The place where I ate that mutton was a lovely small restaurant that could have been in any village, in sharp contrast to the otherwise touristy surroundings.

Glad to be starting again in the morning.
 

JabbaPapa

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Day 216 - - Outeiro das Matas

I am on the Way of Saint James !!

Really, my second Pilgrimage started this morning, and in character it is already quit different to the first, which was honestly the hardest one I have ever done.

I was refused Holy Communion at the first Mass in the Basilica, for very silly reasons. I have my disability, and so need to walk with my stick, but with my hands occupied they insisted that I should take Communion in the hand, which quite simply I cannot do.

Temperatures are WAY down at last !!

A wind is blowing from the Atlantic, and suddenly it's about 10°C less heated.

Camino was lovely today anyway, kicking myself for having sought and then found an alternative.
 

JabbaPapa

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Day 217 - - Fungalvaz

I have now been walking for longer than I did in 2019.

It all seems to be easier after leaving Fátima. I'm walking a bit faster, my knees are hurting less (I even managed the walk here with a single dose of the anti inflammatory, a first this year), and overall it seems better both physically and spiritually.

Part of that is the lower temperature, although it is still warmer here by a few degrees than it was closer to Fátima. But it isn't that alone, a certain type of spiritual challenge that I had been constantly facing during the first 214 days of this Camino seems to have gone, somehow - - although I do realise that this could be a false alarm, and in a few days it might all come back again. But I am purely on the Way of Saint James now, and some of the difference seems to come from that.

I took the alternative route from Lagoa de Furadoura that I had found by accident on the other way, and it was much easier. Downhill tarmac to the bottom of a valley, then along an easy waymarked trail to here. The only slight difficulty was one stretch of it that is insufficiently cleared, so you do a bit of pushing through branches and ducking under fallen tree boughs, but mostly it's clear and easy, with really only the tarmac bit with the road traffic being less agreeable, but then towards Santiago all downhill and not a lengthy stretch. And as to that uncleared section, I should think it was just a better idea there to follow the path on the opposite bank.

Heading for Tomar this morning, I'll just follow the Camino, rather than the tarmac I got onto out of there first by mistake, and after deliberately.

It's been pleasant to have spent a total of three nights sleeping here in Fungalvaz, it really is a pleasant Albergue, as well as a most pleasant village. The restaurant is closed on Mondays though, sadly, so no pilgrim menu, but I just got into the Albergue and then simply didn't budge.

I am looking forward to another night in the similarly pleasant place at Calvinos. I might sleep out tonight though, as the Hostel at Tomar is rather expensive, and I don't think I can really make it as far as Calvinos. It's cooler, but not cool enough yet for that sort of attempt.
 

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Days 218, 219, 220 - - Tomar ; outskirts ; Calvinos

I am on the Caminho Português Central !!

Tomar the tourist trap managed to trap me, sigh.

The walk into town was mostly OK, in a climactic war between attempts by the cool, wet ocean breeze to blow in, and the hot, dry interior heatwave to stay put. Often, one side of a valley would be hot, the other side cooler.

I did manage to grab a pilgrim menu at the café-restaurant I had come across on the way there, steak and an egg, but I made the big mistake of changing my mind about the youth hostel, where two younger pilgrims decided to fill me with tinto, on top of what I had already partaken of, which was most pleasant at the time, but completely stopped me getting out of town in the morning.

Eventually at about 11AM I gave up trying, though I did know that I would manage at least some short distance, and got myself a steak lunch, then hang about in the place until I started to feel a bit more human again. Which happened at 7PM, so that's when I walked out.

I took the cyclists' variant, which I found far preferable, and eventually found an abandoned concrete farm cabin to settle down for the night in. Would have written at that point, except no network.

Tomar-Calvinos is not far, but both times and in each direction it's taken me longer to hike than it should have. Cyclists along the way, and a Dutch pilgrim staying here too, whom I have offered to make dinner for, though what I'm making I'll only be able to taste myself - - but I did have some ham and cheese earlier.

I do like this Albergue though, it's just so simple.
 
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Days 221, 222 - - Tojal ; Alvaiázere

Two rather hot days again.

The walk from Calvinos back to Areias, where I had first joined this particular Caminho was easy enough physically, just some moderately annoying stretches of downhill tarmac near the beginning, but the heat really did build up towards 10AM, although having walked the stretch before, I could at least more easily plan my resting points.

I did anyway need to spend another afternoon hiding in a bar from the heat, though I eventually got out at 7:30PM.

There was a small fire near Ourém, Areias being under the flight path of the Canadairs, and walking out, the Sun was setting behind the smoke, and I caught two faint whiffs of the smoke - - but it was dying down as I walked out, and the Canadairs left at higher altitude, with nothing left to do.

I made my way to the petrol station, as the only resupply point for the beer I needed yesterday, then went opposite to the restaurant to try for one cool one before finding somewhere to sleep, but the owners kindly offered me something to eat, yummy chicken gizzards, and some more to drink, and good conversation, so I ended up setting down quite late at that petrol station.

Walked out then in the morning, after coffee and cool ones again from the petrol station, and then tarmac in the heat, leading to more pleasant country roads in frequent shade from the trees.

I was given a lift for the final 2-3 K by a nice English lady, who seems to do so frequently for the pilgrims, then some cool ones, a very decent lunch of veal with pork belly, then into the Albergue for some much needed rest. It has a very elegant wax sello. A couple of other pilgrims stayed here too, but I didn't much exchange with them, as lying on the bed was simply too attractive yesterday evening.

Not sure how far I'll get today, as it seems that it will be a bit cooler, though there's some more tarmac. I will at one point have to renew my habit of walk in the morning, pause, then again in the afternoon, but we'll see.

One good development anyway - - it seems that just the one dose of the antiinflammatory in the morning is now sufficient. Hooray !!
 

JabbaPapa

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Day 223 - - Ansião

I am not sleeping outside Hooray !!

But today was a bit of a strange one.

I slept very well, and got out early enough, at 7:30.

First strangeness, my legs seemed to be working better than they have in months, so that despite the intrinsic slowness that they provide, not only did I get up to the top of the pass without any assistance from the painkilling virtues of flat, warm beer, but I got to 8K with neither beer nor any much pain.

To the extent that I even began dreaming of getting along further.

Also because the temps have cooled somewhat, now in the 20s °C instead of all of these weeks and months in the 30s.

But ankle did after all start whining, so I went in on the final bit on tarmac not trail, very beautiful regardless.

Found a pilgrim menu, steak, tomatoes, wine - - after a surprisingly open supermercado, so my backpack is supplied now for tomorrow.

I did try to get out and along after the meal, plus some extra beers to try and manage the pain stuff, but my body was having none of it, so it was back to the old hiding in a bar trick.

Then I tried to leave again, my brain can sometimes have slow I/O.

A gentleman from bar 2 suggested that I might perhaps sleep at the fire brigade (spoiler alert, nope) - - but from that point, I saw a nice park with a bar 3 on top of it, so I went to get a bit of a phone recharge, some beer, ice cream, and asked the young man if sprinklers were active in the grass. Apparently not.

But he took concern, chose to call about, and then someone got me a very nice room paid for at the Adega Tipica, just had a fantastic shower, the bed is super comfy and I haven't even got into it yet, but yet here we go - - the Camino provides yet again. And I would have been perfectly happy sleeping out under the stars and on the grass.

But my, there's no denying this is better.

Today nevertheless is the closest I've come so far to my old system of walk in the morning ; rest ; walk in the afternoon, since I think 2019. A bit last year maybe, but more forced.

Anyway, this does mean that tomorrow is short, looks mostly flattish, there's at least one resupply point about half way, so I can have a pretty serious rest without any need for hurry in the morning.

Still, the thing I'm most happy about is the seeming improvement in my legs. Beds shmeds. Healthier trumps all.
 

JabbaPapa

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Days 224, 225 - - Alvorge ; Rabaçal

Two hot days again, supposed to start cooling down from tomorrow.

The fact that I got in so late to bed the previous night led me to a 9:30 AM start yesterday, and to needing eventually hide from the heat in a bar, again, rather than get the last 3K done. But I got to Alvorge eventually, to find the donativo there with many pilgrims, all Fátima ones if I'm not mistaken, and really me too except l am walking from not to there.

Even more surprisingly, there were four other very long distance pilgrims, we almost never congregate in that manner.

The Camino here has a fair amount of up and down in the hills, so I've been choosing the tarmac option more than usual.

I needed some clothes washing a bit urgently, and it was still hot, so I did a short quick day today, to get in early enough for some food, and a proper cleaning day.

I am the only pilgrim sleeping in Rabaçal tonight, which is relaxing. It's a really nice place, not overly expensive. A small swimming pool, though it's more of a paddling pool really, but it was a bit too hot in the afternoon for me to want to do anything but stay inside.

Excellent bathroom and shower facilities !!
 

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Day 226 - - Coimbra

Well, Cernache was a total disaster.

The Albergues at Valada and Cernache are both closed, don't ask me why, plan B at Cernache was also no go, a few people gave me the runaround as it started to rain, and there is absolutely nowhere there to sleep outside protected from it, so my only real option then was bus into Coimbra, where it is too late to get into the Albergue, and the Youth Hostel is full.

But at least here I should be able to find somewhere outside but covered, and I have chosen to cheer myself up with a steak dinner (on top of all else, I had a lovely anxiety attack).

Sigh. All that after actually a pretty decent day's hike, a 14K or something, because the weather is finally somewhat cool again.

The one notable pilgrim I met was a Pole having walked Paris > Lourdes > Santiago > and off to finish at Fátima. Sweet. Lovely gentleman.

The hike was generally a gentle downward slope on little country lanes, which is one of my favourite hiking surfaces, and I made my way picking blackberries as I went.

The day was great ; it's just the arrival that's a mess, and even then only because of the complicating coincidence of the rain. Else, I would right now be settling in outdoors at Cernache ...

Oh well, the Camino provides, and the Camino decides ...
 

JabbaPapa

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Day 227 (morning) - - Coimbra

There is no way I will be walking today, yesterday evening's adventures have taken their toll.

That's all I have for now, the fatigue being as much moral as physical.
 
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JabbaPapa

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Day 228 (morning) - - still in Coimbra

... but I have at least started towards leaving the place.

It's wrong food woes again, which put my inflammation right up because of whichever autoimmune syndrome this is linked with, so the pain, depression, and so on which all result therefrom.

It even took me three hours to get from central Coimbra up to the Albergue yesterday morning, which is about 1.5K, although the one hour wait in the fresh air and some shade before it opened did help a lot.

And now I'm a bit stuck again, because although the 300g of ham that I had yesterday did help, the needed liquid complement to it is proving to be a bit more problematic at the other end, and so I need to find a more solid lunch again, and so it goes.

I had worked out how to manage this stuff in Spain, through steak and eggs, but it is proving to be more difficult in Portugal, including from the language barrier.

The Albergue is great though, and there were two other pilgrims. A French peregrina who started in Paris, then bussed to Lisbon from the French-Spanish border ; and a cycling fellow. I was the first pilgrim that Marie-Ange had really been able to have any conversation with since Paris, and the coincidence that I had been there and done that on my own Way from Paris, including the solitude, did help with the connection.

A pleasant lady.

The Summer heat is coming and going, hotter today again, and I really do wish now that it would just make up its mind and go on its way out once and for all - - and I do not miss the irony in relation to my own difficulties in leaving this place (but I will).

And I need solids to eat.

It is particularly frustrating that the cuisine in this part of Portugal, wonderful and tasty as it most certainly is, does not constitute the type of food that I absolutely need for my health.
 

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Day 229 - - Trouxemil

Heat, humidity, black dog.

Outdoors tonight, most likely in an Albergue bed tomorrow.

It was a tarmac day, actually pleasant enough while the cool of the morning lasted.

But black dog is being particularly unpleasant this time round.
 
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Days 230 & 231 - - Mealhada ; Aguim

I pushed myself to get to the Albergue last night, and reached it at 10PM.

Too late to wash my clothes and stuff, but the hospitalero did upgrade me to a room so as to avoid disturbing the sleeping peregrinos in the dorm room, so at least I slept comfortably, in great sheets, after an excellent shower.

But I'm more exhausted than anything - - although I have always hit this type of depression after about 3 months on the Camino, it's just that on every previous occasion that's been towards the end or during a return trip, whereas I have thousands of K ahead of me still, and 300 or whatever just to Santiago.

I'm slow again, and hiding from heat in bars, but a problem is that I'm going to run out of money for about a week, 'til next month's comes in.

Hiding in bars was more affordable when there were no Albergues to stay in, and fewer occasions for a pilgrim menu.

Didn't get out 'til 10AM this morning either, from getting to the Albergue so late, luckily the hospitalero was still working, else after all of that, I would have been outside again ; and tonight I clearly will be. Though I think there's an Albergue a few villages over, in hopes that it won't be closed for holidays or something.

I guess I'll call this stage of the Camino the Black Dog Phase, and what lies beyond it will be new territory for me, as I have never walked so long on any Camino as I have so far this year (number of days, that is, not number of K).

It's proving as hard to get through as the Sheer Loneliness Phase was, first time I had to walk through that one. Though I guess the fact that I started into Black Dog Phase 2-3 times without having to actually overcome it probably doesn't help, as my previous experience with it involved escape back home after the end of a Camino.
 

JabbaPapa

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Day 231 - - Aguim

I am sleeping in a bed !!

The husband in the bar where I was hiding turned out to be a French speaker, we got chatting, and when he understood how far I've walked plus the disability and stuff, first he offered to have me driven to the next Albergue, then he plied me with some beers and munchies, and then he called a friend, a retired French lorry driver, who has fed me some more, after a lovely shower, and he made up a bed for me, and Hooray !!

Still haven't been able to get the clothes washed, which is starting to be annoying, but tomorrow will be fine for it.
 

JabbaPapa

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Hope things change around for you soon, and the Black Dog wanders far from your path, not to return.
It's sort of calming down a bit, though I have just discovered yet another closed Albergue, and whilst there's possibly another one, I have little information about it ; it was open in 2019, but these days it seems not to mean very much, at least this far south from Porto.

I really do need to unstink my clothes, and that is not helping my disposition.

I saw some pilgrims this morning, but it was as if we were from different species in a way, though the tall blonde peregrina at least was wise enough to smile pleasantly and say Buen Camino.

I have every expectation that I'll be sleeping out again, and with stinky kit.

It's also that I haven't really been able to just rest and relax properly for too long, too much tension has been built up, and a proper rest day has been unfeasible for too long as well.

But it is still calming down a bit.
 

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Day 232 - - Avelãs de Caminho

OK the Albergue here is open, but I will have to wait until 5:30 + to get in. Apparently, you're supposed to reserve, though I'm not sure how, given that a contact number is impossible to find beforehand - - notwithstanding my own personal circumstance where I rarely know where I'll end up sleeping even as I start out in the morning, so could not reserve in advance regardless.

Some locals who eventually helped arrange it for me (the person responsible is working in town, and only gets back this evening) also got me some suckling pig for lunch, it'll be dinner too, two sandwiches but without the bread. Yummy.

It's probably *just* early enough to wash the t-shirts and have them mostly dry in the morning.

I couldn't have walked further anyway, so would have slept in this village in any case.
 
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JabbaPapa

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Well I'm in. A bit grottier than I hoped, though not too bad, and certainly not the worst place I've stayed. Clothes washing facilities seem once to have existed, and so I used the hand basin instead. Doubt the stuff will dry properly, but again, it's better than nothing.

Supposedly donativo, but it's €5, and either she forgot about sheets, or they've just not any clean ones. I doubt that many pilgrims stay here, even though the people in the village are great, and there are bars, restaurants, a little shop.

The Albergue could be a lot better, with not too much effort. It does seem OK for some larger groups, as they have some larger rooms and a number of mattresses suitable for the floor.

But I would not have even known of its existence had I not made a pretty specific internet search. I guess it may be catalogued on some Fátima Way printouts. It was quite silly of me not to take photos of the one that the Polish gentleman was using !!
 

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Day 233 - - Águeda

It felt like a short walk, though it was a 10K or so at least.

Mostly, it was my final day of last month's money, and I have five days to get through now.

I did however choose to use most of what was left for the Albergue here, though I needed some last minute help from an American peregrino for payment, which is unusual for me, as I would normally choose food over a bed.

But I think it was the right choice, as I ended up sleeping from about 5PM to 5AM !! So clearly, I needed this.

The place is quite comfortable, which obviously helped.

Some tough days ahead though, but I'll manage somehow.
 
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It's also that I haven't really been able to just rest and relax properly for too long, too much tension has been built up, and a proper rest day has been unfeasible for too long as well.

But it is still calming down a bit
Ah, good.
ended up sleeping from about 5PM to 5AM !! So clearly, I needed this.
Wow. You did need a rest. I hope your clothes dried, too!
Some tough days ahead though, but I'll manage somehow.
You never know what will fall into your lap. May it be sustaining.
 

JabbaPapa

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You never know what will fall into your lap. May it be sustaining.
I like to take a morning pause for a cool beer.

This morning, there was a large unopened can of Super Bock just lying on the ground at my feet, and just a few hundred yards away from the Albergue. Cool from the night and early morning temps.

The Camino does indeed provide.
 

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Day 234 - - Albergaria a-Velha

It is still a little hot, and the humidity makes it seem more so, but overall the weather and walking are getting easier.

A couple of people helped me along the way, so I was able to get some ham, a coffee, and some beers.

Mostly tarmac, main road ; then smaller ones ; and ending mostly on trail through eucalyptus woodlands.

The very kind hospitalera took €5, saying that the the rest could be made up for from the donativo that the Albergue sometimes receives, and well enough, as it is a quite pleasant one.

Only two of us, so we had a dormitory each.

The hospitalera also insisted on getting my clothes a proper wash, that they needed, and she gave them a machine wash, that is really the only way for the jeans in particular to get clean and also be dry enough in the morning.

She really is a very nice young lady, and she was rather concerned about my pain from the handicap, and it's actually quite rare for others to really see it for what it is, and that was pleasantly refreshing - - she did supplement that with some inappropriate nutritional advice, given that the only reason why I can actually walk a Camino is from having junked the normal advice and found what actually works for me personally, but again it came from a good and caring heart. But it's hard to really explain what does work for me, and what cannot work in this type of Camino situation.

The Albergue here is a great place, and I think that fewer pilgrims stay here because it doesn't let people reserve, even though it's one of the cheaper ones and perfectly comfortable.

Down to €2 again, but we'll see what the day brings - - four to get through now.
 
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Day 235 - - Branca

The heat has been lessening as the season has started to turn, and so my daily average has risen to a better 13K. Black dog seems to be mostly tamed for now, though he is still barking from time to time.

Several people helped on the way out of Albergaria a-Velha, so I had enough cash for the day, and my overnight stash has increased to €4.

The hike was a fairly typical mix of some tarmac, and some dirt trail through eucalyptus. I stopped in a bakery for a coffee and beer, then outside the supermarket in the centre of Branca, at the main road, for cheese and ham.

But the whole thing was a short 10K to the lovely Casa Cattolica donativo, three other pilgrims sleeping in the main house, whilst I had a small dormitory to myself.

In the evening, the hospitalero who is a long-distance winter pilgrim in the off season, gave a good dinner, most of which I couldn't touch, but he gave me some tomato and cucumber to prepare for myself, and I felt that a small amount of the pasta dish was safe enough. The conversation at table was most pleasant, though it did gravitate a little towards the experiences of the three long-distance fellows, the hospitalero, myself, and the German pilgrim who is walking from Le Puy to Faro, via Santiago. Though he was a bit quieter, as it is his first Camino.

The ladies graced the conversation with their charm, and perhaps it was a shame that the Australian who is on her fifth Camino, including having walked a VDLP didn't open up about her own experiences a bit more.

I love this place, and highly recommend it, and it's a shame that I can leave no donativo as I would very much like to.

Not sure how far I'll get today, and I will most likely be sleeping out, given that many places between here and Porto are closed. I may have two nights out before getting to the city.

We shall see - - three days left 'til payday ...
 
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Day 236 - - Oliveira de Azeméis

I really did not want to get stuck here, but a combination of a late start from not wanting to end conversations with Paulo, the Hospitalero both last night and this morning, and ending up with €20 or so in my pocket, led to me failing to push on any further.

It's a beautiful evening, so that sleeping outdoors will be no problem, and really I just wanted the normality of some expenditure, even though I had a good enough breakfast not to want nor need putting some of those €€€ into a pilgrim menu.

Not a particularly interesting day otherwise, though the weather is most definitely cooler now.

2 days left now 'til payday, and I guess I'll be in Porto for a first pilgrim menu when that happens.

Unless I get stuck again !!
 

JabbaPapa

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Day 237 - - São João de Madeira

Slightly late again starting, as I only woke up after dawn, and needed another hour after that for the medicine to kick in.

Seems it was a 15K+ though it felt shorter, and it was just me feeling slow over 10K. Tarmac all the way.

This is now the edges of Porto suburbia, and this is what the hiking will be like for a few days.

There seem to be more pilgrims again, and that's not even including the small groups of Portuguese families who are heading to Fátima.

Otherwise not much to report, though I am looking forward more and more to that pilgrim menu tomorrow.

I did meet an Italian in the evening, Vatican > Girona > Zaragoza > Logroño > Fátima, who walked basically the same way that I did between Monaco and Sahagún, and I think we've roughly walked the same K total, as my walk down to and up from Fátima is not that different to the extra between Rome and the Italian border, and the section from Santiago to here. He's probably done a couple hundred K more.

A lively gentleman, and looking forward to the end of his Camino and going home.
 
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JabbaPapa

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Day 238 - - Souto Redondo

An extraordinary day, among the best.

I had slept last night in good enough conditions, 3 walls and a roof.

Then walked this morning.

And I was able to wear the great big black pilgrim cape instead of carrying it, and my what a difference !!

Anyway the Autumn rains have started, and what a relief.

Walking along the main road road I did finally find somewhere for beers, but the outstanding best before this evening was when I entered a restaurant, fumbled for the few €€€ I had, but the boss just told me sit down there.

A brilliant cod lunch, chick peas which we carnivores eat happily, egg, olive oil, even steamed potatoes, most acceptable, most of a bottle of palatable tinto, cake, coffee - - and at time to pay, nope, on the house.

Such love !! And so lovely to get my first pilgrim menu of the month a day earlier than expected.

Only once before like this, on the 2000 to Rome In Liguria. Only a second time like this in 30 years, but it is humbling to be considered so, with such care and attention.

Then some more hiking in the rain.

And here I am now, after beers at a bar/mini-mercado.

Having said basically nothing of my situation, I nevertheless overheard the lady of the house explaining to one of her shoppers about my walking from home to Fátima, then Santiago, Lourdes, and home.

I am set down under the awning in front, well protected against any rain, and after some lovely soup and cheese that the lovely people here have so kindly provided, beside the basic shelter.

I love this country and these people.

And Hooray !! When I awake, I shall have cash.
 
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JabbaPapa

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Day 239 - - Grijó

I started very early, pre-dawn quite unusually for me, and despite it being only a 10K, I arrived at sundown.

But crossing over a ridge towards the end of the day, suddenly : there was the Atlantic Ocean !! Hooray !!

I had my early morning coffee and more beer than usual to start with at the petrol station, recharged phones and so on.

Walked to a bank machine, and settled down for a long lunch, sadly not a very good one.

It was all tarmac again, and from there I carried on making my usual pauses along the way. And after this couple of months in Portugal, I can definitely say that I am a Sagres man, not Super Bock. And also that I am now looking forward to getting back into Spain, as the Spanish food is easier for me, though the good Portuguese stuff is great. But it's just far too hard for me here to just get some ordinary and simple steak and eggs. The lower alcohol % Spanish cerveza will also be an improvement.

I will however miss the bacalhau ...

And I am happy that my remaining time in Portugal will be mostly on the coastal flat. Better for the knees and ankles that way !!
 

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Oh, and it was nice to sleep in an Albergue again, not outdoors. €10 and decent. Upstairs was packed last night, but just two of in the downstairs dorm.

I did taste some of the pasta that the others had made, purely because it had been made by an Italian, and so was worth the risk. Just a few mouthfuls anyway ... and no cramps, so all good.
 

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Day 240 - - Porto

Probably a longer day than I imagined, anyway I got in late, so will be sleeping out.

I do not like Porto, but then I dislike cities and tourist traps, and this place is both.

I did however walk for a bit with Tommasso, the Camino novice, which was great as he is only the second peregrino I've been able to walk with since start in 2019

Part of the trail seems to be Roman Road, but most was still tarmac.
 
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Day 241 - - Senhora da Hora

I am on the Caminho Português de la Costa !!

Sleeping out in Porto the previous night was rougher than usual, less because of some rain (not heavy, and the military sleeping bag plus the cape kept me quite dry), but mainly because it was the fourth time in five nights, and the one night in the Albergue in that time was get in at 8PM, too late to wash clothes, and to sleep not before 11.

I just woke up exhausted, and needed 3 to 4 hours to get enough strength up to walk the 5 to 6 K or so from central Porto out here, which took about three and a half hours.

The Albergue here is one of the better ones though, and getting in at 2:30 provided enough time to rest.

It's a donativo which expects €10, but it's clear that the actually indigent won't be turned away, assuming they are pilgrims.

The hiking through suburbs, city, suburbs was of course quite uninteresting, the only notable events really, beside the sad news yesterday from Balmoral, were getting to sample and compare some Port wine with some proper home made Madeira in the Madeira area, and a pleasant chat about theology, philosophy, Aquinas, literature and so on with a young American in a Porto bar where I was recharging my phone and myself prior to sleeping out that night.

The Madeira I found to be somewhat like a sherry, but more like a stronger and more liqueurish form of Port, I found some similarities with the French Banyuls wine.

Today is towards the coast proper, though there's a fair number of pilgrims, so who knows where I'll sleep tonight ? Well, no avoiding the September wave on the major routes ... I had called the main Albergue yesterday at 9:45AM, and they were already full for the night, which seems crazy to me, though it's not a bad thing on its own that I am anyway a little further along the way. And that there's not too much left of the suburbs proper to get through.

If I ever came back to Porto, for the city not a Camino, I would definitely come in winter, as off-season as possible, as it might very well be pleasant enough without this massive horde of tourists. Some very brief sections of the normal non-tourist central city seemed to suggest so, anyway.
 
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JabbaPapa

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Day 242 - - Somewhere near the airport

I really am starting to need a rest day.

Oh well, it's a dry night, and no rain is forecast. Didn't make it to the coast.

Unusually, I have had both lunch and dinner, and both were quite satisfying. Pork cutlets for lunch, steak and egg just now.

But the character of the Camino has definitely changed, North of Porto and getting closer to the Ocean. Comforting even, as it is not significantly unlike the French Riviera or the Côte d'Azur where I live, and the maritime and flatland influences are dominant, even on this wrong side of the airport.

Also no more Fátima blue arrows.

No idea about where to sleep, and it's nearly 10PM, but I anticipate no difficulty.

I met only one pilgrim tonight, a French retired gentleman, who did his Português quickly, but seemed to become personally offended by a combination of my walking with very little money, my sleeping outdoors, and my 242 days so far, as he seems to have finished his own Camino in less than two weeks. Though certainly I begrudge him nor any others their comforts, and all one need do is scroll back down the thread to see me revel in my own occasional comforts and luxuries.

But at that point in conversation, he anyway ran away quite swiftly.

The Albergue last night would have been a decent enough place for a rest day, except I really wanted to get myself out of Porto, which I do not regret.

Well, hopefully indoors tomorrow. Definitely the Coast though !!
 

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Day 243 (morning) - - Villa Nova da Telha

Almost past the airport.

The knees are absolute death this morning, but I am still hobbling along, somewhat anyway. Probably more inflammation than usual from eating much more than usual yesterday, but even at home, it would have been a cheat day, so there we are.

So I'll eat little today, did have some ham and sausage slices for breakfast at a small bar, but I will basically do a bar crawl from one beer to the next, and hope that keeps the pain in sufficient control to make it to the Ocean.
 

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Days 243 and 244 - - Labruge

Mattress on the floor last night, but a bed tonight. And I really needed the rest day, though I am still tired really.

So I've really just been running on automatic, and passing the time, so there's little to report beyond what I wrote yesterday.

It's one of those Albergues with the curious notion that a fixed price of €10 is "donativo".

Jam packed again tonight with people mainly on day 1, though it looks like there's still a bit of space on the floor tonight.

The area reminds me a lot of the South of France, where I live, though there's more farmland left here, and the crops are different.
 
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Day 245 - - Vila do Conde

Walking along the Ocean finally, so beautiful.

And it's the wet weather I like for it, as I love walking beside the sea with some grey clouds, wind, and rain.

The boardwalk is a great surface too, as I can often even walk on it without needing the stick, which even pottering about town at home isn't possible.

There are very many pilgrims, and the great majority are on day one or two, very often on their first Camino.

So whilst between Fátima and Porto I was one among a few, now I am more apart and different again.

The Albergue here opened at 3PM, but arriving at 3 minutes past the hour wasn't early enough to get a bed, but a mattress on the floor. Then I went out for some food, a rather good meal of stewed pork with eggs and some onion, it poured down with rain, and when I returned, somehow I was given an entire dormitory just for myself. The Camino can provide somehow quite bizarrely.

There are some similarities here with the stretch out of SJPP, in the reality mainly that so many pilgrims are just working out the basics, like carrying a bunch of useless stuff, exploring the social basics, not quite knowing what to make of the few of us who have been walking longer, and so on.

But for me, it's dominated by the beauty of the coastline, the loveliest I've walked along on pilgrimage, compared to the Rome and Provence ways, although the Estérel still remains quite special in my memory, and I will eventually be back there again. I love the flatness of this one though, so that from the knee problems, this is the one I prefer.
 

JabbaPapa

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One thing that does make a difference is being just in ordinary jeans and t-shirt, because when the normal Portuguese walk on their normal pilgrimage to Fátima, they just wear ordinary clothes too, so I'm being considered somehow like a more genuine pilgrim.

Illustrated yesterday by a man in a car, having just driven past a group of pilgrims, stopped by me, rolled down his window, and wished me a good walk.

Somehow, I fit in better.
 

JabbaPapa

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Day 246 - - Póvoa de Varzim

A short wet hike, and through streets rather than by the sea.

Mainly I've just been resting in the Albergue, which is fairly standard, albeit being a Parish Donativo. And packed full again, though not instantly at door opening time.

So the weekend wave is passing and also starting to spread out somewhat.

Many beginners, and so the conversation is dominated by blisters stuff. Sigh, but we've all been there.

It was somewhat comic though, waiting for the Albergue to open, to see all the people with their double socks strategies and so on with soaked boots and socks, and water blanched feet. Whilst people here in the threads continue to insist that traditional leather hiking boots are no good.

It's cold, dark, and wet out at the moment, and waiting for the meds to kick in anyway, and though it's likely a little longer today, it will still be a fairly short one,

It's still warm enough rain, so the big black pilgrim cape is still making me sweaty. It's always better for it in the cold rather than the wet.
 
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the conversation is dominated by blisters stuff. Sigh, but we've all been there.
Looking for something deeper than a conversation about blisters 100km or so out of Santiago on the Portugues may be a Quixotic lost cause. ;) At least it is grounds for compassion, no small thing in this miserable world right now.
May you have comfort of body and mind as you near Santiago, @JabbaPapa - buen camino!
 
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