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Live - Camino Portugues CP from Lisbon - Sep 2020

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Day 1: Lisbon to Alverca do Ribatejo (~36km!)

This morning @Wendy Werneth and I walked out our front door in the São Bento neighbourhood of Lisbon, about 30 minutes by foot from the Sé (cathedral), to begin the Caminho Português. Starting a camino from home has always been something that has appealed to us and considering COVID-related circumstances, this is the camino that makes sense for us this year.

It was fun to start the camino by walking through our adopted home city, past places that were very familiar to us in Alfama and then unfamiliar places as we headed further away from the city centre. Parque das Nações, the 1998 World Expo site, is an area we have only been to at night for events so it was fun to check that out.

F85E0B70-C96F-462A-AACD-BCF78DC8CEDF.jpeg

After the Vasco da Gama bridge, the camino follows a dirt track along a river for a few kilometres which was nice, and there was some more path walking later on but also a lot of road and cobblestone walking throughout the day.

97497668-472F-4D01-BB5C-53A85ED1CE26.jpeg

We had hoped to ease slowly back into the camino rhythm with a fairly light first day but the albergue in Alpriate is closed and we had to continue further to Alverca do Ribatejo which made for a super long day (36km according to my iPhone health app).

Accommodation in Alverca is hard to come by during the week because manual labourers from further north stay here and work in Lisbon. Alfa 10 was full, the restaurant A Lanterna across the street has accommodation but was also full, and we finally managed to get a room at Silvina Ferreira Guesthouse for €15/p with private bathroom (in a closet) which we were very happy with after a day that took us almost 12 hours door-to-door.

Onwards and upwards!
 
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OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'CP, Frances,Norte,Salv/prim;Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, Vdlp 2019>Táb/ Prt Levante 2020
Hi Nick & Wendy
Big first day!
The pic of the riverside path looks great.
I hope you can find accommodation as you go and I will be following your thread.
It’s good that you have each others’company since the pilgrims will probably be ‘light-on’ right now?.
stay safe
& Buen camino
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Wow, so great that you are walking!!!

Lovely pictures as always, I will follow along with great interest and “envidia sana.” Does Portuguese have the same term to describe what I am feeling?!

It looks to me like the riverside path has really been cleaned up. It was an obvious illegal dumping spot when I walked — is that all a thing of the past?

Hope that this longer stage didn’t provoke any plantar fasciitis. Fingers crossed for Wendy.

Bom caminho, looking forward to following along. Laurie
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Thanks for all the replies and encouragement!
It’s good that you have each others’company since the pilgrims will probably be ‘light-on’ right now?.
stay safe
& Buen camino
Yes, I think they will be! We saw one peregrina in the morning in Lisbon but didn’t see her again and didn’t get a chance to talk to her. If she’s Portuguese it’s possible she’s going to Fatima and not Santiago.
Lovely pictures as always, I will follow along with great interest and “envidia sana.” Does Portuguese have the same term to describe what I am feeling?!
I had to look it up but ‘inveja saudável’ seems to do the trick! (Healthy envy for those who didn’t pick up the meaning.) Though I’m sure some level of ‘saudade’ would cover it too!
It looks to me like the riverside path has really been cleaned up. It was an obvious illegal dumping spot when I walked — is that all a thing of the past?
Wendy noticed some dumping in one spot in the distance on the slope of the hill to the right of the path but other than that it seemed pretty cleaned up. There were a few local cyclists on the path too.
Hope that this longer stage didn’t provoke any plantar fasciitis. Fingers crossed for Wendy.
She was hurting by the end but overall she did super well! A combination of new exercises and foot baths (she is carrying a collapsible one) worked wonders in our training walks so she’s optimistic.
Are you walking to Santiago?
We hope to but we’ll have to keep monitoring the COVID situation in Spain and make a call closer to the time.
 
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lindam

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, VDLP, Invierno, Portuguese, Madrid, Ingles, Fisterra, Muxia, Catalan/Aragones/Loyola Norte
Great to hear tales of your first day: quite an epic stage with 36km of walking. Yes, something to be said about walking a Camino right from one's own doorstep. We have done that twice from where we live in Barcelona. With plans for our local fall Camino having been cancelled, not sure yet if we will delvelop an alternate option. In the meantime, I will look forward to your posts and read them with envy. Enjoy!
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2016)Primitivo/Fin/Mux (2017) CP Coastal/Hospitales (2018) Inglés/Fin/Mux (2019) del Norte
Hi Nick and Wendy
I'm really going to enjoy your daily updates. I was planning to start in Lisbon on September 11th but finally succumbed to COVID concerns yesterday and cancelled the trip. I now think that I'll get to virtually make the trip which will greatly ease the agony of cancelling.
My plan called for me to take the Fatima detour at Santarem for two days and then bus back to Tomar to sight see for a day - I didn't want to miss either city. It certainly be a day I think I will miss the most.

Bom caminho and stay safe

Charles
 
Camino(s) past & future
C Inglés June 2019
To do: C Primitivo June 202x :(
Thanks for the update and very nice pictures. Visited Parque das Nações last year. My wife loved to make a ride in the cable car and have lunch in one of the many restaurants.
I wish I could walk in your shoes 😉
I think that a lot of people thinks the same 👍
Keep us updated and some lovely pictures when possible, so we are walking virtually with you...
🍀Carpe Diem 🌞
 
Camino(s) past & future
Vol Pilgm office 15
CF 16+17
Vol Pilgm House 18
Kerry&Ingles 19
Portuguese X2020 (2021?)
I will enjoy your Camino very much. I was just days from leaving for Lisbon last March when the lockdown happened here in California.
Such a long first day can be daunting, but you seem to have good spirits and attitudes of acceptance to overcome the adversities.

Be Well and Buen Caminho
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Day 2: Alverca do Ribatejo to Vila Franca de Xira (~11km)

Yesterday really wrecked us and we set out this morning feeling very sore. Our stage plans were thrown off by the Alpriate albergue being closed so today we were left with the choice of another long day (~31km) to Azambuja or a short one (~11km) to Vila Franca de Xira. In true camino spirit, we aimed for the long one but ended up opting for the short one.

The first section to Alhandra was uninteresting road walking but Alhandra is a nice little town with a bustling square. Between Alhandra and VFX, there is a new pedestrian/bicycle path along the river with quite a few murals (including one of a pilgrim!), and this was a very pleasant stretch to walk on.

08D8CD43-4700-4280-9248-376CFC5A7DA1.jpeg

Vila Franca de Xira is also a very nice town, with a lovely riverside park and some nice colourful buildings. It also has a very handsome cemetery and a bullring dating from 1901. I’m not a fan of bullfighting by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a striking arena in typical Iberian red-and-yellow style. The neoclassical look recalls Roman amphitheatres and reminded me of an interesting recent conversation with @Pelegrin about how bullfighting is traditionally more prevalent in the Romanised areas of Portugal (centre-south) than the Celtic areas (north). This bullring is the first one I’ve seen in Portugal.

E4B23B20-F63B-4094-9EF8-1C7A2819B6A1.jpeg

In VFX we’re staying at the Vila Tejo (near the train station, possibly marked as Pensão Ribatejo on Google Maps). The owner Mariano is very friendly and is knowledgable about pilgrim matters such as the trail outlook and up-to-date accommodation options in the coming days. Pilgrims receive a discount - we paid €15/p - and free clothes washing (in the style of Bodenaya on the Primitivo!).

It was nice to have the afternoon off and we will continue to Azambuja tomorrow. The albergue is closed but there are other budget options.
 
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jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
I was planning to start in Lisbon on September 11th but finally succumbed to COVID concerns yesterday and cancelled the trip.
I was just days from leaving for Lisbon last March when the lockdown happened here in California.
I’m sorry to hear that both of you had to cancel but hopefully you will be able to do it in the not-too-distant future. We are really only able to do this now because we live in Portugal, which means we don’t have to travel anywhere to start, we already have private health insurance and are in the national public health system, we can get home easily if something goes wrong etc.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I thought that Vila Franca would be the best option, since there’s nothing between there and Azambuja. I remember the lovely feeling of crossing the RR tracks in Azambuja and being off asphalt. If memory serves, there is some Roman road right there, but I might be wrong about that.

Alverca, Alhandra, Alpriate, Azambuja, what’s with all the A towns?

So glad to hear all is well.
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Alverca, Alhandra, Alpriate, Azambuja, what’s with all the A towns?
They are likely all derived from Arabic. The ‘al’ is usually a giveaway (being ‘the’ in Arabic) and ‘az’ works too as the ‘l’ can be lost in translation (e.g. azulejo which comes from the Arabic al-zulaij or similar).
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Day 3: Vila Franca de Xira to Azambuja (~20km)

We were prepared for an uninspiring stage today based on what we had read, and that turned out to be true. There was a lot of road walking and industrial sections, more so than the first two days, and not much of interest at all. But we were feeling less sore and more energetic than yesterday so we walked in good spirits and we feel lucky and blessed to be on this camino given the events of this year.

At the junction entering Vala do Carregado, we took a right (the camino turns left) and did a six-minute detour to a shaded area with benches on the river (called Parque de Merendas on Google Maps). On a day like this with no other real highlights (except for the tomato patch soon after!), it was well worth it.

5D27C3BC-0304-4392-8ABF-FD4CD3CF01FB.jpeg

F4813B74-ADD6-4965-821F-86CFCF6EBEE9.jpeg

The albergue in Azambuja is closed. We are staying at Casa da Rainha which is a lovely place and we got a €7 genius discount on Booking.com, so we’re paying €38.

Weather-wise, it’s starting to heat up. We were lucky on our long first day that the maximum temperature was 27 degrees Celsius. But by the time we got to Azambuja today it was 35 degrees (38 now). It is supposed to hit 37 in each of the next three days but we have short stages planned for two of them and will leave early to arrive at around lunchtime and avoid walking during the hottest part of the day at around 4pm.
 
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jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
I thought that Vila Franca would be the best option, since there’s nothing between there and Azambuja. I remember the lovely feeling of crossing the RR tracks in Azambuja and being off asphalt. If memory serves, there is some Roman road right there, but I might be wrong about that.
According to your own guidebook (😆) the Roman road is after Azambuja and we will walk on it tomorrow. Exciting!
 

Joyce Dunn Rogers

Cleveland Flats
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
Camino Portugal 2021
Day 1: Lisbon to Alverca do Ribatejo (~36km!)

This morning @Wendy Werneth and I walked out our front door in the São Bento neighbourhood of Lisbon, about 30 minutes by foot from the Sé (cathedral), to begin the Caminho Português. Starting a camino from home has always been something that has appealed to us and considering COVID-related circumstances, this is the camino that makes sense for us this year.

It was fun to start the camino by walking through our adopted home city, past places that were very familiar to us in Alfama and then unfamiliar places as we headed further away from the city centre. Parque das Nações, the 1998 World Expo site, is an area we have only been to at night for events so it was fun to check that out.


After the Vasco da Gama bridge, the camino follows a dirt track along a river for a few kilometres which was nice, and there was some more path walking later on but also a lot of road and cobblestone walking throughout the day.


We had hoped to ease slowly back into the camino rhythm with a fairly light first day but the albergue in Alpriate is closed and we had to continue further to Alverca do Ribatejo which made for a super long day (36km according to my iPhone health app).

Accommodation in Alverca is hard to come by during the week because manual labourers from further north stay here and work in Lisbon. Alfa 10 was full, the restaurant A Lanterna across the street has accommodation but was also full, and we finally managed to get a room at Silvina Ferreira Guesthouse for €15/p with private bathroom (in a closet) which we were very happy with after a day that took us almost 12 hours door-to-door.

Onwards and upwards!
Thank you for sharing your Lisbon to Santiago de Compostela Camino.
I was also planning on doing the same Portuguese Camino route in September this year (not to be for U.S. people, though).

I will be very interested in hearing all of your journey!
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF14(21?)
Aussie Camino15
WHW15
CP16
CdelN Fin/Muxia18
GGW StCuthWay HadrWall CotswoldWay19
Nick & Wendy, thank you both for your very interesting posts about your Caminho Portuguese. We are really enjoying looking at them everyday. It's bringing back a lot of wonderful memories from our walk from Lisbon to Santiago in April/May, 2016. The tomatoes were only being planted when we walked!!
Please take care and keep safe and well.
Bom Caminho
Anne & Pat
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Coming to this late. Thanks for posting, Nick - it's great to get on-the-ground descriptions of how things are right now. And I'm loving your photos! I hope the heat is not too intense, and that Wendy's plantar fascia behave themselves.
Buen camino to you both!

(An aside...those spoiler alerts...clever. Thanks for expanding my tech horizon.)
 

Kch

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
French Camino competed (2019)
Portuguese Camino maybe (2020)
Wonderful thread🙂... thanks so much for posting. I will be a loyal follower! Sounds like you are enjoying it! Nice to have company as well with so few people around. Stay safe .. Buen Camino
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
I had to look it up but ‘inveja saudável’ seems to do the trick!
That's the expression I would be using, then ☺

Thank you for sharing your journey, @jungleboy !

We had planned to walk from Lisbon starting on 21 May, but our borders closed (Australia), and we're still in lockdown in Melbourne. I had planned to walk towards Cascais and Sintra, and then follow parts of the Caminho do Mar and the Trilho das Areias to Nazaré. We would have then cut across to Fatima and from there to Tomar, where we would have joined the Caminho Português.
We'll do this next year, se Deus quiser!

Bom Caminho!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I have been wondering why anyone would label their photos "spoiler alert."
Hi, Albertagirl,
I know that Nick personally does not like to see pictures of places where he hasn’t yet walked. (So he would very definitely not enjoy AJ’s virtual threads, where we bombard him with pictures ;)). The tag is there in case you are like Nick and don’t want to spoil the surprise of what awaits you.
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Thank you to the most recent batch of encouragers! It’s nice to read your lovely and supportive comments, especially given the ‘Stay home!’ talk in some other threads.

It's bringing back a lot of wonderful memories from our walk from Lisbon to Santiago in April/May, 2016.
Glad to jog those memories! If you have any top tips for the road ahead, please share!

I hope the heat is not too intense, and that Wendy's plantar fascia behave themselves.
Thank you! The heat is OK, it doesn’t feel as hot as it is and there was an occasional cool breeze on the trail today. The pattern at the moment is that it’s about 20 degrees at 8am, hits 30 degrees at about midday and then keeps climbing from there (currently 36 degrees at 3pm).

Wendy was doing it tough on day two after the long first day but things have improved in the last two days. The exercises and foot baths are working and when she can walk on dirt paths and not asphalt or cobblestones that makes a big difference.

We had planned to walk from Lisbon starting on 21 May, but our borders closed (Australia), and we're still in lockdown in Melbourne. I had planned to walk towards Cascais and Sintra, and then follow parts of the Caminho do Mar and the Trilho das Areias to Nazaré. We would have then cut across to Fatima and from there to Tomar, where we would have joined the Caminho Português.
We'll do this next year, se Deus quiser!
That will be a wonderful camino! The northern spring would be a great time for it so hopefully the Australian travel ban is lifted before July which is the current rumour. If/when you get to do it and if you want to meet in Lisbon before you set out, feel free to get in touch.

I know that Nick personally does not like to see pictures of places where he hasn’t yet walked. (So he would very definitely not enjoy AJ’s virtual threads, where we bombard him with pictures ;)). The tag is there in case you are like Nick and don’t want to spoil the surprise of what awaits you.
This, and also it makes the pages load more quickly if the photos are behind spoilers, which is useful for me at the moment in rural Portugal and maybe for others! I don’t actually write ‘spoiler’, that is automatic!
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Day 4: Azambuja to Quinta da Burra (past Porto de Muge, ~16.5km)

Roman roads, wild flowers, more tomato fields, our first vineyards and a scorpion (edit: apparently a less exciting crayfish) - it was all happening on the trail today! It was a much nicer walk than yesterday, with less road walking, no industry and a large part of the walk on a dyke next to the river.

593DD9F5-C11B-4C9E-A18F-588AEBA354B3.jpeg

03415F9A-2D7A-4163-AA5E-316135A2D38E.jpeg

I’m quite fascinated by the tomato cultivation of the past two days and especially today. I don’t think I’ve ever seen huge tomato fields like this. Today we saw probably a dozen trucks completely filled to bursting with tomatoes. There are stray tomatoes on the side of the road every few metres, some fresh and others that look like they’ve been there for a while. They’re all shrivelled up and ... hey presto, sun-dried tomatoes!

Quinta da Burra is a great place to break up the long stage to Santarém. It’s a renovated farmhouse and our room is an old horse stable. It’s going to be a fun place to spend the night! Prices are €20/p including breakfast, and donativo for dinner.

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Wendy Werneth

Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés from SJPdP (2017)
Camino Primitivo (2018)
Camino de Madrid (2019)
Kumano Kodo (2019)
I had planned to walk towards Cascais and Sintra, and then follow parts of the Caminho do Mar and the Trilho das Areias to Nazaré.
As one of our training hikes for this Camino, @jungleboy and I walked stage 1 of the Caminho do Mar, but we did it backwards, from Sintra to Cascais. It was a lovely walk, and fun to start in the mountains and finish at the beach. The elevation change would be more challenging going the other way, though!
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
They’re all shrivelled up and ... hey presto, sun-dried tomatoes!
Haha. Did you dare try them?

And no worries, @jungleboy . That's a crayfish, not a scorpion. Maybe he strayed from the river to sample the tomatoes. ☺ ;)

You're giving us all a lovely vicarious camino. Thanks...
Continued bom caminho, you two!
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Haha. Did you dare try them?
Not yet but tomorrow we have a 13km stretch with no services of any kind so that could be the time for it!

And no worries, @jungleboy . That's a crayfish, not a scorpion. Maybe he strayed from the river to sample the tomatoes. ☺ ;)
Oh, that’s less exciting. He looked pretty scary though! Haha, I bet it was the tomatoes (or the grapes)!
🍅 🍇
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Oh, the memories. Great description, Nick!

Will you be staying with Mario in Santarém? Santarem Hostel. I met him many many years ago when I was in Lisbon and he had just opened his hostel, not knowing anything about the Caminho. He’s a wonderful guy and has helped out a lot of peregrinos over the years. Give him an abraço from me if you see him.

After you’ve had a chance to walk around, I’ll be interested in hearing your reaction to that highway sign you see as you drive north on the A-1 announcing Santarém as the Gothic Capital or some hyperbolic statement like that. But it is a nice little place, no doubt.
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Will you be staying with Mario in Santarém? Santarem Hostel. I met him many many years ago when I was in Lisbon and he had just opened his hostel, not knowing anything about the Caminho. He’s a wonderful guy and has helped out a lot of peregrinos over the years. Give him an abraço from me if you see him.
Unfortunately he’s booked out as are many places in Santarém tomorrow given that it’s a Saturday night. We just reserved a room at the last budget central place left on Booking!
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
A few observations on pilgrim numbers and COVID-19 issues:

We have seen six other pilgrims in four days so far. The ones we’ve spoken to are a French couple who are at the farmhouse with us now and another couple we met yesterday but didn’t see today (the man was Galician, not sure about the woman as she didn’t say, but possibly Japanese). We didn’t speak to the other two and haven’t seen them since days one/two.

Face masks have been mandatory in all shops in Portugal for the last four months so wearing them is nothing new for us (we have camino ones from Ivar’s store so it’s almost fun to wear them!). On camino we also wear masks while walking through towns but not while we are away from people on the trail (they are not mandatory outside). Hand sanitiser is widely available upon entering shops/restaurants even in these small towns.

Albergue closures are inconvenient but understandable. Looking at our outline, day nine (Areias) looks like it might be the first time we stay in one, if it’s open. Given the low pilgrim numbers, we might have albergues to ourselves anyway if/when we find one that’s open - until Porto, at least.

Knowing that the CP from Lisbon is not a hugely popular camino to begin with, I don’t think the COVID situation has detracted much if at all from our experience so far. We’re enjoying being on the trail and having a few (masked and socially distanced) interactions with locals here and there, and being able to speak Portuguese obviously helps. The staff at all the lodgings we’ve stayed at have been very friendly which has also helped!
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF14(21?)
Aussie Camino15
WHW15
CP16
CdelN Fin/Muxia18
GGW StCuthWay HadrWall CotswoldWay19
Hi, Nick and Wendy. Don’t know if you are planning to stay in Golega? We really enjoyed our stay there. We stayed in the Lusitanus, which is part of an equestrian centre in Golega. There is a restaurant quite near at the other end of the Equestrian Arena, which is upstairs and overlooks the arena and is also called Lusitanus. It was very good. There is also a much more expensive Hotel Lusitanos, we didn’t stay there!
We found Golega very interesting.
Will try to think of some other recommendations as you go along.
Keep safe.
Bom Caminho
Anne & Pat
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Hi, Nick and Wendy. Don’t know if you are planning to stay in Golega? We really enjoyed our stay there.
Thanks for the tips! We have also heard good things about Golegã from others. We haven’t decided yet whether to push on all the way there tomorrow (~31km) or stay in Azinhaga (~24km), which is supposed to be not as nice and doesn’t have budget accommodation. So we’d like to make it to Golegã but we probably won’t decide until we reach Azinhaga and see how we’re doing. Forecast is for highs of 39C/102F tomorrow so that might not bode well for the longer option!
 

jkontheway

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2018)
Kumano Kodo (2019)
Portugues (2020)
Loving these updates! It's another hot day in Lisboa so hope you are staying cool! Has the path been well marked so far?

I'll be starting from Porto in exactly a week from now! I don't think you guys will be there by then, right? :)
 

Trish K

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Nov/Dec (2017)
Camino Norte (2019)
Camino Primitivo (2019)
Camino Portuguese (2020)
Thanks so much for these updates. It's helping me think through my strategy. Good to know up-front that the albergue in Alpriate is closed, so I'll put a few more miles into my training ready for a long day 1. I think I might also book accommodation in advance for Alverca, as I will also be arriving on a week-day.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
or stay in Azinhaga
If you stay in Azinhaga you can see Saramago’s house. I remember thinking how genius springs up in all sorts of unremarkable places. I won’t paste a picture, since I know you don’t like that, but it is such a humble little place. Not very different than Salazar’s birthplace in Vimiero, actually (not on any camino I know of) but look at the differences in terms of their contributions to humanity!
 

Mycroft

Active Member
Coming to this late. Thanks for posting, Nick - it's great to get on-the-ground descriptions of how things are right now. And I'm loving your photos! I hope the heat is not too intense, and that Wendy's plantar fascia behave themselves.
Buen camino to you both!

(An aside...those spoiler alerts...clever. Thanks for expanding my tech horizon.)
So I have a lmited tech horizon and wonder how those spoiler buttons are created--will someone tell me, please?
 

jsalt

Jill
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
I’m quite fascinated by the tomato cultivation of the past two days and especially today. I don’t think I’ve ever seen huge tomato fields like this. Today we saw probably a dozen trucks completely filled to bursting with tomatoes.
My first camino was the Portuguese in 2012. The tomatoes were being planted in April/May, and the planters (all women) sat on the back of these machines – two to a machine:

TomatoPlanters1.JPG

TomatoPlanters2.JPG
 

Wendy Werneth

Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés from SJPdP (2017)
Camino Primitivo (2018)
Camino de Madrid (2019)
Kumano Kodo (2019)
If you stay in Azinhaga you can see Saramago’s house.
Yes I know, this is something I've been looking forward to on this Camino! I hope I can muster the energy for a quick visit even if we end up just passing through.
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Day 5: Quinta da Burra to Santarém (~14km + a sneaky 7.5km extra walking around Santarém)

An uneventful but short and pleasant walk today. Most of it was on a quiet dirt road which was good for feet but dusty when a car or truck drove past. We saw more tomatoes, vineyards and corn fields. It’s the tomato harvest at the moment and this short video taken this morning shows how they do it, a process that I was a bit mesmerised by!

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We arrived in Santarém before midday and with hotel check-in not until 3pm, we had lunch and went to the Portas do Sol park to rest in the shade on the grass with cider from the kiosk there - a great way to while away some time.

We had to meet a friend who lives here for drinks/dinner, so we didn’t have much time for sightseeing, but it’s easy to get here from Lisbon so we’ll come back one day. At least we got to admire a few churches from the outside in the late afternoon light.

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The albergue in Santarém is closed and the two hostels were full when we started looking yesterday, so we stayed at Tagus Host for €37 including breakfast (it’s on Booking.com). There was a bit of confusion around check-in time but otherwise it’s a decent place, and there’s a kitchen (edit: not sure you can actually cook in the kitchen, but breakfast is included).
 
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jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
It's another hot day in Lisboa so hope you are staying cool! Has the path been well marked so far?
The heat has been OK so far but tomorrow will be a test with a longer walking day. The path is very well marked. I think they have redone the markings in the last 2-3 years. It’s not faded painted arrows on curbs anymore but clear, consistent signage that is adaptable for different situations (sides of buildings, road sign poles etc). Here’s an example (the first logo and blue arrow being for Fátima):

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I'll be starting from Porto in exactly a week from now! I don't think you guys will be there by then, right? :)
Not a chance! We’re probably nearly two weeks from Porto. Bom Caminho!

Good to know up-front that the albergue in Alpriate is closed, so I'll put a few more miles into my training ready for a long day 1. I think I might also book accommodation in advance for Alverca, as I will also be arriving on a week-day.
Bom caminho! Good idea on both fronts. We probably made it a bit harder for ourselves on day one by not starting super early (8-ish), walking an extra 2km in Lisbon from our front door, and lingering for a while at Parque das Nações so we could have lunch there. Once you get past Alpriate, the camino doesn’t take the most direct route to Alverca, so you could use a map app and get there more quickly but that would mean walking on busy roads (highways, essentially) so we chose not to.

So I have a lmited tech horizon and wonder how those spoiler buttons are created--will someone tell me, please?
Above the text box, one of the tool buttons is three dots and a down arrow. If you click/tap it and choose Spoiler, it will create the spoiler. You then have the option of adding a title and then you insert what you want as the spoiler between the tags that will appear in the text box (the cursor will automatically go to this spot). So, between the ] and the [.

¡Suerte!
 
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jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
After you’ve had a chance to walk around, I’ll be interested in hearing your reaction to that highway sign you see as you drive north on the A-1 announcing Santarém as the Gothic Capital or some hyperbolic statement like that. But it is a nice little place, no doubt.
Let’s just say that I admire the optimism of the person who came up with that slogan, but that I don’t think Paris is shaking in its boots just yet! 😆
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Day 6: Santarém to Azinhaga (~21.5km with a shortcut!)

We set out from Santarém at sunrise (just after 7am at this time of year) and it was lovely to walk through the historic core of the city at this time and see the day’s first rays of light shining on the Tejo river.

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From Santarém to Vale de Figueira, the trail was mostly on dirt paths through vineyards, which was lovely. We also saw the biggest olive grove of this camino so far just before Vale de Figueira, giving us 2/3 of the ancient Mediterranean triad by 10am (I don’t think we’ve seen any wheat fields this whole camino yet).

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Between Vale de Figueira and Azinhaga, the trail is mostly dirt paths through cornfields and these were the hottest conditions of the camino so far. There is some way marking confusion here. It looks like the old markings took pilgrims via Reguengo de Alviela and Pombalinho, which is a big detour. New markings take a more direct route to Azinhaga but there is an even more direct route that you can take if it hasn’t been raining (prone to flooding, apparently) that takes about 3km off even that more direct route (and over 5km off the 26.9km quoted in the Village-to-Village guidebook!). See this map below and follow my green line for the shortest route through the corn fields (this involves going straight at one point rather than following arrows to the left).

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We reached Azinhaga just after 2pm and intended to continue to Golegã despite the heat but we met an Italian pilgrim who said he had called the two albergues and the inn in Golegã and all were full/closed. We called them too and found that the Albergue das Ademas is closed while the other two did not answer. So we are staying at Casa da Azzancha in Azinhaga which is not cheap at €55 for a double and €40 for a single. In non-COVID times they charge €25 for a dorm (not worth it for a couple anyway) but they’re not doing that now. In any case, it reached 39 degrees Celsius by the time we got to Azinhaga so it’s nice not to be walking in that heat on what is supposed to be an unpleasant stretch of road walking to Golegã. Instead we get to enjoy that tomorrow morning!
 

GirlOnTheMove

Kaitlyn
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugués (2021)
Hi Nick and Wendy,

What a lovely Caminho you’ve had so far! I came a little late to this thread but was happy to binge read your first 6 days. My boyfriend and I have just booked our flights so that we can start the Caminho from Lisbon next June (God willing - we are coming from Toronto so hopefully all is well in Canada and Portugal at that time).

So happy to hear that the Quinta da Burra is open!! Did you book your stay in advance or did you arrive the day of? Not sure if booking in advance is an option so I’m curious!

Thanks for your updates and can’t wait to read more about your travels!!
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Thank you @GirlOnTheMove! I hope you’re able to have a great caminho next June! And I’m glad this thread is binge-worthy! 😆

So happy to hear that the Quinta da Burra is open!! Did you book your stay in advance or did you arrive the day of? Not sure if booking in advance is an option so I’m curious!
We contacted the owner (Paula) the day before. She responds best to WhatsApp messages so try her there a bit in advance just to be sure. It’s a lovely place to stay and breaks up an otherwise long and not super interesting walk between Azambuja and Santarém, so we recommend it!
 
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Wendy Werneth

Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés from SJPdP (2017)
Camino Primitivo (2018)
Camino de Madrid (2019)
Kumano Kodo (2019)
If you stay in Azinhaga you can see Saramago’s house. I remember thinking how genius springs up in all sorts of unremarkable places. I won’t paste a picture, since I know you don’t like that, but it is such a humble little place. Not very different than Salazar’s birthplace in Vimiero, actually (not on any camino I know of) but look at the differences in terms of their contributions to humanity!
Now I'm curious to see your photo @peregrina2000, because after asking multiple locals it seems that Saramago's house (or more precisely, his grandparents' house where he was born) no longer exists. A branch of the Fundação Saramago was established in Azinhaga in 2017, but the building it's in is not his house but rather an old elementary school. I wasn't able to go inside because it's closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed posing with his statue, and there's a lovely walkway along the river with tile panels featuring quotes by him about the town.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
it seems that Saramago's house (or more precisely, his grandparents' house where he was born) no longer exists
Wow, that’s too bad. I walked by in 2004, I think, and saw the plaque outside. It must have been on a main street, because I hadn’t known he was born in Azainhaga. So I wouldn’t have gone walking around to look for it. Wonder why it was knocked down — doesn’t seem like the town has had a lot of booming redevelopment! But it does sound like the town is justifiably proud of their native son. Neither the statue nor the walk was there when I walked by.

Love the masks! Bom caminho to you both, and thanks so much for the updates! Laurie
 

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Wendy Werneth

Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés from SJPdP (2017)
Camino Primitivo (2018)
Camino de Madrid (2019)
Kumano Kodo (2019)
Wow, that’s too bad. I walked by in 2004, I think, and saw the plaque outside. It must have been on a main street, because I hadn’t known he was born in Azainhaga. So I wouldn’t have gone walking around to look for it. Wonder why it was knocked down — doesn’t seem like the town has had a lot of booming redevelopment! But it does sound like the town is justifiably proud of their native son. Neither the statue nor the walk was there when I walked by.

Love the masks! Bom caminho to you both, and thanks so much for the updates! Laurie
I didn't see this plaque, but one local did tell me that there is one, but that the house there is not the house he lived in, but rather a newer house built on the same spot. I don't know when the house was torn down. But if the one in the photo is not it, I imagine it was pretty similar. He definitely came from very humble beginnings.
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'CP, Frances,Norte,Salv/prim;Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, Vdlp 2019>Táb/ Prt Levante 2020
Hi Nick & Wendy
Really enjoying the ‘back seat’ view .. And will follow you as far as Sdc if it’s possible.

Re your method of inserting pics.(using spoiler method )
it really is easier at this end (on my iPhone) to open them this way. Instantaneous!!
I have been wondering why anyone would label their photos "spoiler alert."
This, and also it makes the pages load more quickly if the photos are behind spoilers, which is useful for me at the moment in rural Portugal and maybe for others! I don’t actually write ‘spoiler’, that is automatic!
Above the text box, one of the tool buttons is three dots and a down arrow. If you click/tap it and choose Spoiler, it will create the spoiler. You then have the option of adding a title and then you insert what you want as the spoiler between the tags that will appear in the text box (the cursor will automatically go to this spot). So, between the ] and the [.
Thanks for the instructions —. I love learning these tips -


Bom Caminho
Annie
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Day 7: Azinhaga to Vila Nova da Barquinha (~17km)

This was possibly my favourite day so far. We set out before dawn to catch sunrise over the church of São João da Ventosa - ‘St John of the Winds’ (of the Windy Lady?) - in the corn fields just outside Azinhaga. It was a beautiful sight!

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The road walk to Golegã wasn’t great but it didn’t take long and it wasn’t hot at that stage, so it was OK. Golegã seemed like an interesting town but the timing just didn’t work out for us in terms of being able to stay overnight there. The Manueline portal of the church is stunning and would be best viewed/photographed in the afternoon with the sunlight shining on it.

We continued on and had a picnic lunch at the Quinta da Cardiga which was a great setting (especially after yesterday when a picnic on a dirty ground under a tree in the corn fields was the best we could manage!).

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We then detoured slightly off the camino to reach Vila Nova da Barquinha, a nice town on the river, by 1pm with the temperature at 35 degrees (it reached 38 by 4pm). There is a Templar interpretation centre that we’ll visit a bit later and hopefully a drink in the park awaits after that!

Lack of accommodation options due to COVID closures is starting to be a bit more of a factor and that’s what led us here. The albergue in Asseiceira is closed. Casa da Patriarca in Atalaia is closed. The albergue in São Caetano is private and theoretically open during the pandemic but today of all days is the first day of their holidays so they are closed; I don’t know when they reopen. We are at the Barquinha Riverhouse (also called Art Inn), paying €50 for a business-like double room with breakfast.

In any case, it’s so great to be on camino again and a privilege to be doing it now when so many others are unable to.

Edit: There is a Templar castle - Castelo Almourol - on an island in the Tejo just over 5km from Vila Nova de Barquinha, in the opposite direction from the camino. We’d really like to visit it but can’t really do it from here without taking a rest day because there’s no currently open accommodation options between here and Tomar and we can’t visit the castle and make it all the way to Tomar in one day. There are good train connections to the castle from Lisbon so we might save it for another time, but it would have been great to visit it while on camino.
 
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jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
A random aside: in the last couple of days, we have seen a few fields of sunflowers that are unfortunately well past their prime. It’s a bit sad to see droopy sunflowers! Today it was even worse as we saw a huge field of black and brown sunflowers all facing the ground. Somehow, it was weirdly photogenic!

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lindam

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, VDLP, Invierno, Portuguese, Madrid, Ingles, Fisterra, Muxia, Catalan/Aragones/Loyola Norte
A random aside: in the last couple of days, we have seen a few fields of sunflowers that are unfortunately well past their prime. It’s a bit sad to see droopy sunflowers! Today it was even worse as we saw a huge field of black and brown sunflowers all facing the ground. Somehow, it was weirdly photogenic!
I've often seen such fields of sunflowers while walking various Camino routes as I prefer to walk in the autumn. I have wondered why the plants are left like that without the seeds having been harvested. Any ideas?
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
I've often seen such fields of sunflowers while walking various Camino routes as I prefer to walk in the autumn. I have wondered why the plants are left like that without the seeds having been harvested. Any ideas?
In order to harvest the seeds, the flower has to dry on the stem until head turns brown, the leaves turns yellow, the petals die.
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Day 8: Vila Nova da Barquinha to Tomar (~21km)

We set out early this morning and quickly rejoined the camino after the (very slight) detour to Vila Nova da Barquinha. Wendy is into street art so she enjoyed the pieces by Violant and Vhils before Atalaia. After Atalaia, the trail goes through eucalyptus forest for a while which was a welcome change from the corn fields of recent days. Later we walked on a dirt trail near the train tracks for a while but a fair bit of the camino between Asseiceira and Tomar is on the road.

Of course, Tomar is one of the jewels of the CP. We have been twice before so that took a bit of the excitement away from it, but we were able to visit the 12th century church of Santa Maria do Olival for the first time, and it’s always nice to soak up the old town atmosphere. I would advise pilgrims who are in Tomar for the first time to take a rest day to fully appreciate the Convento do Cristo, which is arguably the most impressive historical site on the CP, as well as the synagogue and other churches.

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There is no albergue in Tomar. There is a hostel (Hostel 2300) where pilgrims often stay, but we found more economical double rooms at several other places on Booking.com and are staying at Pensão Luanda for €36 with breakfast (though only starting at 8am; they’re going to bring us something tonight so we can leave earlier in the morning).
 

nick1896

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés from SJPdP: 2018-2019
Nick and Wendy, thanks for sharing this with us. My plan was to start on 20th September from Lisbon and walk to Porto, so of course I'm following this with interest. I have 13 days for this. However I am having second thoughts now, seeing that there are so few albergues open and not many pilgrims. It seems that it would be better to start from Porto and walk to Santiago (or even to Spanish border twice, 2 different routes, depending on the Covid situation at the time). I already have the flights to Lisbon and return from Porto, so I'd prefer to start in Lisbon. Still about 1 week to make my mind up.

Thanks again, keep us posted and Buen Camino.

Nick
 
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jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
My plan was to start on 20th September from Lisbon and walk to Porto, so of course I'm following this with interest. I have 13 days for this. However I am having second thoughts now, seeing that there are so few albergues open and not many pilgrims. It seems that it would be better to start from Porto and walk to Santiago (or even to Spanish border twice, 2 different routes, depending on the Covid situation at the time).
Yes, that’s a bit of a conundrum. We have now seen 10 other pilgrims in total in nine days, so there aren’t many. It seems like there are more private albergues (which are more likely to be open) after Tomar, so a middle ground solution could be to take the train from Lisbon to Tomar and then start walking, which at your proposed pace would get you 5-6 days past Porto. Or if you end up going straight to Porto, we might be there at the same time. Bom caminho, whatever you decide.
 

jkontheway

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2018)
Kumano Kodo (2019)
Portugues (2020)
Nick and Wendy, thanks for sharing this with us. My plan was to start on 20th September from Lisbon and walk to Porto, so of course I'm following this with interest. I have 13 days for this. However I am having second thoughts now, seeing that there are so few albergues open and not many pilgrims. It seems that it would be better to start from Porto and walk to Santiago (or even to Spanish border twice, 2 different routes, depending on the Covid situation at the time). I already have the flights to Lisbon and return from Porto, so I'd prefer to start in Lisbon. Still about 1 week to make my mind up.

Thanks again, keep us posted and Buen Camino.

Nick
Nick - I'm starting my Caminho from Porto on Saturday so can keep you posted on how busy it is! I'll start a separate live thread on this forum once I get started. :)
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Look at that blue sky! It gives Castilla a run for the money. Just lovely, Nick. I LOVE Tomar. Did you happen to pass by any of the women sitting on the side of the road? I have gone by some a few times and it is always awkward, but the last time, the woman sitting there gave me a big smile and a thumbs up. I felt so sorry for her and her plight.
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Look at that blue sky! It gives Castilla a run for the money. Just lovely, Nick. I LOVE Tomar. Did you happen to pass by any of the women sitting on the side of the road? I have gone by some a few times and it is always awkward, but the last time, the woman sitting there gave me a big smile and a thumbs up. I felt so sorry for her and her plight.
We didn’t see the women but the entry into Tomar was a bit of a disaster with huge roadworks going on affecting several streets. So if that’s where they normally are they may have been displaced.

Meanwhile, the Iberian sun + whitewashed/sandstone buildings creates the deepest blue skies you can imagine! Yesterday I had to adjust my exposure compensation back a few notches or else the sky was too dark!
 
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jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Day 9: Tomar to Heart Way Pilgrim House (near Vila Verde, ~21km)

Today was the best day so far! We set out at about 7:30am from Tomar in surprisingly chilly conditions (12 degrees Celsius) even though another hot day awaited us. From the outskirts of Tomar there are several possibilities; a recent sign pointed one way during good weather and another way during rain (due to possible flooding). We took the good weather option and soon found ourselves in the first ‘real’ (non-plantation) forest of this camino which was very pleasant. Shortly after we walked among eucalyptus trees and olive groves and picked some perfectly ripe figs for a mid-morning snack.

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After the Ponte de Ceras, we came to a fork in the road. The local authorities in Ferreira do Zêzere have put a lot of effort recently into way marking and information signage. Even though the left fork was the most direct route for where we were going, we took the right fork because it seemed a lot more interesting. We soon reached a Templar dam, a perfect spot for a picnic lunch, and later saw two Visigothic graves, all of which are well signed and easy to find. These historic places were the biggest surprise of the camino so far because I’ve never seen mention of them anywhere.

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When planning our day yesterday, we had hoped to reach Cortiça, but the Quinta da Cortiça albergue is closed. Instead we’re at the Heart Way Pilgrim House near Vila Verde / Areias and it’s a really cool place with hammocks, sangria and cosy rooms.
 

lindam

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, VDLP, Invierno, Portuguese, Madrid, Ingles, Fisterra, Muxia, Catalan/Aragones/Loyola Norte
Enjoy the sangria and those beautiful figs! I continue to look forward to your daily updates. We walked this route during the fall of 2017 and have many great memories of the splendid scenery and warm people along the way.
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Sorry to sound ungrateful for all the beautiful pictures so far, but would you mind posting a pic or two of the visigothic graves? Like you, I have never heard anything about them!!
I should have known this request was coming! We just found out that the trail/signs were only introduced six months ago.

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The second of the two graves is the easiest one to take photos of.

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jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Day 10: Heart Way Pilgrim House to Ansião (~24.5km)

We had a wonderful stay last night at Heart Way (the first albergue for us on this camino), enjoying Liede’s hospitality, kindness and cooking. We set out at about sunrise this morning and walked straight into a eucalyptus forest, a nice way to start the day.

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The rest of the day had nice scenery, although nothing ‘new’ - a lot of eucalyptus and olive groves - but thankfully that also meant that there were more fig trees, and picking ripe and delicious figs has become a favourite activity on this camino!

There was quite a lot of country road and cobblestone walking, mostly between Cortiça and Alvaiázere, which was hard on the feet, so we were happy to arrive in Ansião by mid-afternoon and be done for the day. We’re staying at the Adega Típica, a decent deal at €35 for a nice double with private bathroom.

Onto Rabaçal and hopefully its Roman villa tomorrow!
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Day 11: Ansião to Rabaçal (~19km)

We left Ansião just before sunrise and were treated to a spectacular lighting up of the sky as we walked out of town.

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We walked under a cloudy sky for the first time since leaving Lisbon but the day was short and the trail was mostly dirt paths through the countryside (including traces of Roman road), so it was a pleasant and easy stage.

I was pretty flabbergasted to read in @peregrina2000 and Johnnie Walker’s guide a couple of days ago that the mosaics at the Roman villa in Rabaçal are covered in sand for protection and that the guide will sweep the sand off so you can see them! The 2020 update is that this is still the case, but the mosaics are only uncovered for 10 or more people because the sand sweeping itself is destructive. Since we were only seven (along with some domestic tourists), the guide wouldn’t let us see the mosaics, which was a disappointment. But it was still interesting enough to visit the villa and tomorrow we’ll visit a better Roman site at Conímbriga (although we’ve been there before).

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The albergue at Rabaçal is open and it’s €10 for a bed or €15/p for a two-bed room, which is what we opted for.
 

jsalt

Jill
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
Is that the albergue next to the museum? (There are 2 albergues in Rabacal.) Wow, still only 15 euros for an ensuite twin-bed room.

The other albergue sells the local cheese, which is where I was staying in October 2018 on the night of THE storm.

The electricity was out the whole of the next day (so no coffee in the morning 🥺), but I gorged on figs the whole day from the trees that had fallen across the path :D.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Another couple of beautiful pictures.

I don‘t know how to do the spoiler, but don’t cast your eyes on the attachment if you are holding out hope of seeing the Rabaçal mosaics some day. Hope it’s ok to post it.

When I was there, the guide swept off the sand just for me, though he would only uncover one of the four seasons in this paticular mosaic. I think this is fall. Incredibly well preserved, this seems to be a project crying out for some funding. And if memory serves, the mosaics in Conínimbriga are all exposed, though some have a rooftop covering, but nothing enclosed. Not sure why there’s such a difference.

Did the guide drive you out to the villa?

Sounds like a very nice day!
 

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jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
I don‘t know how to do the spoiler, but don’t cast your eyes on the attachment if you are holding out hope of seeing the Rabaçal mosaics some day. Hope it’s ok to post it.
Of course, I saw plenty of photos of the mosaics at the museum and around town! Meanwhile the guide said it might be another 4-5 years until they get a roof covering! And he walked with us to the villa as we said we were pilgrims on foot. It’s less than 15 mins from the museum so it was fine. Conímbriga today!
 

Trish K

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Nov/Dec (2017)
Camino Norte (2019)
Camino Primitivo (2019)
Camino Portuguese (2020)
Thanks for the continued updates. I'd never normally think about booking so far ahead, but with your info about closed albergues etc, I thought it prudent to get the best deals I could so I've now pre-booked my accommodation as far as Tomar (where I'll take an extra day to explore). I've gone for the free cancellation options - just as well with the ever changing Cover situation - UK has taken Portugal back off the exemption list today......
5 of the hostels I've booked have been €20 or under - so, yes, a more expensive Camino this year, but I'm happy to pay the extra and have the chance to make another Camino in this strangest of times.
 

Trish K

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Nov/Dec (2017)
Camino Norte (2019)
Camino Primitivo (2019)
Camino Portuguese (2020)
I am walking from Santarem on 5th October. This is all so useful, please keep it coming. Thanks
If all goes to plan I'll be a day ahead of you - due to arrive in Santarem on 4th - Buen Camino!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
The museum seemed to be a well-loved community treasure. I remember seeing a display of fossilized seafood shells, which indicated that the villa owners were able to get deliveries from the coast. :) The guide told me that many of the artifacts had actually been discovered by community volunteers — he told me he remembered working during summers as a kid with neighbors and an archaeologist out at the site.
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
I thought it prudent to get the best deals I could so I've now pre-booked my accommodation as far as Tomar (where I'll take an extra day to explore).
Sounds wise! As mentioned upthread, the entry into Tomar is a real mess at the moment but the town is great with a lot of attractions and you’ll enjoy your day off there. Bom caminho!
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Day 12: Rabaçal to Cernache (~19km)

It was a very eventful day on camino today! It seems like an age ago that we started before sunrise and saw a small wild boar on the trail about 15-20 metres ahead of us.

The trail was beautiful in some parts today, especially between Fonte Coberta and Poço. It was a sandy country trail through olive groves and vineyards that could have been Tuscany!

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Just before Fonte Coberta, we had a big surprise when we stumbled upon a donativo campsite run by Nicolau and Maria (who have read this thread and were waiting for us!). We spent about an hour there with them and their French guest Jean, who has made a lovely painted rock garden at the entrance to the camp. They are all free spirits with a positive and beautiful outlook on life and the spirit of the camino runs deeply through all of them. If anyone walking behind us has the chance to spend some time with them and approaches with an open mind it will certainly be an interesting and enriching experience!

Later on, we reached Conímbriga, generally considered to be the best Roman ruins in Portugal. We had already visited five years ago but Wendy couldn’t remember it so we went again. There are some beautiful patterned mosaics there as well as the restored fountain pond so it’s well worth visiting and is right on the camino.

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The trail from Conímbriga to Cernache was mostly uninteresting road walking. Because of our two long stops today we were still walking by mid-afternoon and it had reached 36 degrees by that point, but thankfully the temperatures are forecast to go down in the next few days. The albergue in Cernache is open and that’s where we’re staying but it’s quite basic. At the moment we are the only ones here. The albergue near Conímbriga is closed.
 

Wendy Werneth

Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés from SJPdP (2017)
Camino Primitivo (2018)
Camino de Madrid (2019)
Kumano Kodo (2019)
I'm just jumping in here to add that Nicolau and Maria have tents already set up for pilgrims at their donativo campsite, called Refugio Peregrino Nicolau, so you can still stay there even if you're not carrying a tent.

There's also a new albergue being built in Alvorge, which should be ready in a couple of months. I chatted with the owner and he hasn't yet decided on a name for the place, but it might be something like Lagar de Azeite. It's inside an old olive oil press, which he is restoring to be a type of museum, with the old machinery still intact.
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
It must be time for another COVID-19 update.

Unfortunately, new cases in Portugal have risen quite a bit this week, with an average of about 600/day over the last four days, including 687 yesterday (the most in a single day since April). Most new cases continue to be in and around Lisbon and Porto.

We continue to take the ‘usual’ precautions by wearing masks in populated towns (and indoors as mandated), using hand sanitiser regularly and social distancing where possible.

There have been more private albergues on the camino since Tomar and therefore more that are open. We have stayed in albergues three of the last four nights after not being able to do so at all in our first eight days. Still, we haven’t shared a room with anyone else yet (e.g. we are the only people in the albergue in Cernache tonight and the first pilgrims to stay here for six days) and I’m a bit apprehensive about that.

Not including some coming the other way in the direction of Fatima, I think our total pilgrim count in 12 days is at ~12. Based on @jkontheway ’s report from Porto, pilgrim numbers will increase significantly once we get there in a week or so. Maintaining social distance from other pilgrims is not something we’ve really had to worry much about so far but we will need to take care around that when the time comes.

In any case, we’re still really grateful to be able to walk this camino and are enjoying it despite the virus-related issues it has presented so far.
 
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jsalt

Jill
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
we are the only people in the albergue in Cernache tonight
I was also the only pilgrim at Cernache. I phoned the number on the door and the hospitalero gave me the key code – but it wouldn’t work. It took us a while to realise it was because the electricity was still out! (Trees had fallen across power lines in the storm the previous night.) He had to drive over and let me in through the garage.

Nothing was open, no shop, no bar, no café. I couldn’t make coffee in the kitchen as there was no electricity. The battery on my phone was way down because I hadn’t been able to charge it, so I couldn’t read my Kindle. I found a snack bar at the bottom of my pack for supper, and then gave up and went to bed!

The electricity was still off next morning, but when I heard the church chiming the hour in the next place I knew it must be back on again.

Cernache albergue in the morning, third house on the left:
1175.jpg
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
I was also the only pilgrim at Cernache.
Oh no, your night there sounds pretty terrible! Ours was slightly better. There is only one restaurant in town and all they had was veal and potatoes, so we went to the store instead and made PB&J sandwiches! All in all, it’s a pretty dour place to stay. It was our third choice to begin with and now we can see why!
 

Trish K

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Nov/Dec (2017)
Camino Norte (2019)
Camino Primitivo (2019)
Camino Portuguese (2020)
Just before Fonte Coberta, we had a big surprise when we stumbled upon a donativo campsite run by Nicolau and Maria (who have read this thread and were waiting for us!). We spent about an hour there with them and their French guest Jean, who has made a lovely painted rock garden at the entrance to the camp. They are all free spirits with a positive and beautiful outlook on life and the spirit of the camino runs deeply through all of them. If anyone walking behind us has the chance to spend some time with them and approaches with an open mind it will certainly be an interesting and enriching experience!
This sounds great - I might try and adjust my schedule to spend a night there!
 

Wendy Werneth

Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés from SJPdP (2017)
Camino Primitivo (2018)
Camino de Madrid (2019)
Kumano Kodo (2019)
Oh no, your night there sounds pretty terrible! Ours was slightly better. There is only one restaurant in town and all they had was veal and potatoes, so we went to the store instead and made PB&J sandwiches! All in all, it’s a pretty dour place to stay. It was our third choice to begin with and now we can see why!
Also, I don't know what the albergue kitchen was like when you were there @jsalt , but it's now been stripped of all utensils, pots, etc. There's not even a kettle, so making coffee would not be possible even if there was electricity. I did see oil, vinegar and sugar on the counter, though, so I get the feeling it wasn't always this way.
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Day 13: Cernache to Coimbra (~11km + ~7km more in Coimbra!)

It was a very short day today but even though we’ve been to Coimbra twice before, we didn’t want to miss out on spending some more time here, which turned out to be a great decision. By 9:15am we were already at Santa-Clara-a-Nova (which we hadn’t visited before), a very interesting monastery with Portugal’s largest cloister and the remains of Queen Isabel, who did the camino herself - something we discussed earlier this year in this thread.

CB3C845B-D65D-494E-B0EB-B75D93E12370.jpeg

The other excellent religious complex we visited today that we hadn’t seen before was Santa Cruz, which contains the tombs of Portugal’s first two kings, a beautiful cloister and an ornate Renaissance choir stall, among other things. Both Santa Cruz and Santa-Clara-a-Nova have stamps.

34898356-ADC5-4C2E-B6BF-8077611D5115.jpeg

Coimbra’s albergue, at Santa-Clara-a-Nova, is closed. We are in the Be hostel (€27/double) and they had a room ready for us at 10:30am which we appreciated. It’s also nicely located almost directly across from the Church of Santiago! It is a beautiful late 12th-century Romanesque church that lights up in the afternoon sun. Unfortunately the church is closed during the pandemic.

EA922378-DF20-41A2-92F9-398A9CDD5AD7.jpeg
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Day 14: Coimbra to Sernadelo (~24km)

An unremarkable day today unfortunately, but that happens sometimes.

The path along the river leading out of Coimbra was blocked off at the train station and we had to detour via Avenida Magalhães, following the red marked path on the Wise Pilgrim map (usually indicating a previous/wrong way!), before passing a McDonald’s and then crossing under the railroad before picking up the arrows again.

AB84DCC9-F427-4DE8-8B2E-FF328DCEC108.jpeg

The first ~12km of the day was road walking through fairly uninteresting towns. The one highlight was a huge camino mural in Trouxemil that I posted about separately in this thread.

79340EC9-96C8-4102-81BD-B57A764D2C28.jpeg

Just before Mala, there is a ‘Fonte’ sign and an arrow pointing left. You can’t see the fountain from that spot but it is only 150m or so away. We went to check it out and while we were there, a local man drove up and filled up large bottles with water. He explained that it was a natural water source and that he himself had built the attached community clothes washing facility for the local government years ago (now unused). Given the relative rarity of available drinking water at times on the CP, this was a good find and we had our picnic lunch there too.

We are staying at the Residencial Hilário, an albergue of sorts at the end of Mealhada in Sernadelo. It’s €30 for a clean double room with bathroom. There’s an Intermarché (closed today for inventory, naturally!) and a Lidl at the start of Mealhada.
 

Isobeljc

Still walking
Camino(s) past & future
Frances “2017”
Aragones “2018”
Portuguese “2018”
Thank you so much for your posts. I have enjoyed them.
We started in Coimbra on the 11th October in 2019 and loved it.
Am looking forward to see if our virtual paths cross. We also stayed where you did in Sernadelo.
How times have changed, we shared a meal with an older South Korean man and a nice young Lithuanian man in their restaurant.
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Thank you so much for your posts. I have enjoyed them.
We started in Coimbra on the 11th October in 2019 and loved it.
Am looking forward to see if our virtual paths cross. We also stayed where you did in Sernadelo.
Thank you! We have a bit of a surprise detour coming up in the next couple of days so we’ll see where that takes us!
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Day 15: Sernadelo to Águeda (~22km)

Another day of largely road walking (and an industrial zone) but we got through it OK. We received more well wishes from locals today than probably any other day so far, so that helped. It is also not as hot anymore. Yesterday and today the max temperatures were 29-30 degrees Celsius after 12 consecutive days of at least 33 and often higher. It even rained very lightly for about two minutes this morning!

A68662F4-FF65-4448-9F97-5DD2F835A53D.jpeg

Avelãs do Caminho was the nicest town on the walk and it had a bit of camino spirit, including a poem! There isn’t much else to mention from the trail itself, but our end-of-stage town, Águeda, is quite nice. It has an umbrella sky project, which, while unfortunately heavily scaled down at the moment (presumably for COVID reasons), is still cool. There’s also quite a lot of street art. We also went looking for the pig statues @peregrina2000 mentioned but the park is closed!

3E736817-9F08-48AD-846A-CC759B4C6BA7.jpeg

The albergue in Águeda is not in the centre of town. I’m not sure if it’s open but in any case we got a double room for €35 instead at Hostel and Friends, which is central and very nice, so I recommend it.

Looking forward to the Marnel Bridge and Albergaria-a-Velha tomorrow!
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Meanwhile, from today, some new COVID restrictions come into effect in Portugal, although they are not major ones. They include (but are not limited to): gatherings limited to 10 people (or four at a restaurant near a school or in a shopping centre), most shops only able to open from 10am, no alcohol sold in shops after 8pm, no alcohol to be consumed in public places, and alcohol only served after 8pm at restaurants/bars if accompanied by a meal, public transport at 2/3 passenger capacity.

And a reminder to anyone due to start soon that wearing masks in shops and other indoor spaces and on public transport has been mandatory in Portugal since May 4.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
If you feel like a stroll, the municipal park up the hill is a green oasis, and when I was there, it was dotted with colorful pig statues for some reason (one of my favorite hidden items of interest second only to the hat museum :p ) I wasn’t sure if it was a permanent installation or a temporary exhibit, but there were lots of kids running around and yelling about each different pig they saw.

Glad the weather is improving!
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
We looked for the pigs but unfortunately the park is closed. :(

As for the weather, I didn’t mind the heat as it brought sunshine, blue skies and wonderful light with it. It looks like rain is coming in the next few days and the umbrellas of Águeda won’t be able to help us by then! ☔
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Day 16: Águeda to Albergaria-a-Velha (~16.5km)

We had originally planned to go another ~7km further to Albergaria-a-Nova today, but a shorter day made more sense once we decided to take a short detour off the camino tomorrow that we’re quite excited about. And in any case, we’re now more than halfway from Lisbon to Santiago, which is a nice milestone.

Today’s walk was again mostly asphalt, although it was a short stage so it wasn’t a big deal. We stopped to have some breakfast snacks on an island overlooking the Roman/Medieval (no one seems quite sure) Marnel Bridge, which was the highlight of the walk.

EDA3AE32-22C1-4B51-BA5A-F047FFCE469D.jpeg

The only other thing of note on the trail was a nice café in Serém called Casa Leonel, which has a stamp and photos of pilgrims on the wall.

Albergaria-a-Velha is pleasant enough but there’s nothing to really see despite it being founded in 1117. An interesting note regarding its name (per Portuguese Wikipedia) is that having an albergue for poor travellers was a condition of the town’s founding on donated lands.

The albergue is closed. If you’re going from Águeda to São João da Madeira in two days, it makes more sense distance-wise to stay the middle night in Albergaria-a-Nova, whose albergue is open. In Velha, we’re staying at the faded but adequate Pensão Parente for €25/double with pilgrim discount.
 
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jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Day 17: Albergaria-a-Velha to Albergue Moinho Garcia (~13.5km)

A few days ago we saw a sign for this albergue about 1.5km off the camino and it seemed like something not to be missed, so we rearranged our schedule to make sure we could fit it in. And we’re so glad we did!

The walk today was again a lot of asphalt (plus some eucalyptus forest) through non-descript towns, much as it has been since Coimbra. I miss the country roads and all the vineyards, olive groves and especially the fig trees that were so ubiquitous in the days leading up to Coimbra.

But now that we are at this albergue, we get to take a ‘vacation from our camino’, as Wendy described it. The lodging is in the forest at the location of two old water mills, one of which is in our room (the other one being in the dorm room). The stream with a little waterfall which you can swim under runs right through the property. It’s a great place to relax and recharge and I highly recommend it!

9A0DC4F0-2D61-4788-81FE-1F8A01C238D1.jpeg
 

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