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    • Day 6

      Day 2 Verdelha to Azambuja

      September 10, 2023 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 68 °F

      Day 2 - Verdelha to Azambuja. 10 September. Started 6:07 am. Stopped 2:45 pm. 30.5k/18.9mi. Walking time 6h7m. 40,866 steps. 1,427 calories.

      Great weather for walking. Clouds kept temperature down. Long day for walking. Took a route that was marked & then not marked, which ended up with me on the wrong side of the railroad tracks! Could not see a way around ‘legally’ & safe, so back tracked 3.5 km. The town was right there! So instead of 6k to where I would spend the night, with the backtracking, it was 13k. I was beat, so did the smart thing & took the train the last 6k.

      Seeing a few more pilgrims - 4 on the path & 5 in the town we were all sleeping. Didn’t get the chance to walk with anyone. Maybe tomorrow.

      That was my day! Enjoy the journey. Bom Caminho Photos have captions.
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    • Day 4

      Etapa 2: Azambuja

      January 7 in Portugal ⋅ 🌙 9 °C

      I’ve arrived at the first real Albergue that I’ll be staying at. The a very minimalist hostel and are only for Pilgrims. I presented my credential in order to stay and received a stamp. It is one large dormitory room with shared showers and bathroom. I have a 30 hr rain sound playlist downloaded in case of any loud snoring 😅

      This Albergue, at least, is almost entirely self operated, with the caretaker arriving after someone who’s arrived slightly before me sending him a WhatsApp message from a QR code on the door. He took everyone’s credential, everyone’s cost of 10 euros, explained where things were, and then left to pick up his son from the Lisbon airport. At least from what I see tonight, there seems to be about 10 Pilgrims in my bubble which apparently quite a few for January!
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    • Day 4

      I Hope the 1 Star Review is Accurate

      January 7 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 2 °C

      Today’s route had a review of 1 star starting with ‘quite boring’. While it was mostly along dirt and asphalt, I truly hope the review is an accurate comparison to other routes because it actually was a gorgeous walk. A well deserved break too at only 12 miles.

      The day began in chill and fog through the outskirts of Franca de Xira where it seems like the local Sunday morning thing to do is cycle or jog because I must have passed at least 300 people doing either in the first mile. As the sunlight finally broke through around midday, I rested for a while beneath a truly towering highway bridge when compared to walking entirely through flat farmland for the 5 miles prior.

      As I continued on, I met up with a pilgrim named Jenny (pretty sure) from South Korea who spoke no Portuguese, very little English and who was on her fifth Camino. She had stopped at what seemed like the end of the path as there was a fence on all sides except from where we’d came. I’d gotten a recommendation yesterday to use the Camino Portuguese map on AllTrails so I pulled that out to look and it marked the path as continuing straight but on the railway line. We walked closer towards the rural wire-mesh fence bordering the rails and sure enough someone had cut through part of it and placed a blue and gold arrow indicating the way. There was a small path that we followed together just far enough away from the tracks to feel safe. Eventually, we approached a railway station. We tried to navigate around the station but it was completely fenced off by way of the tracks. Probably to prevent people from getting on to the tracks in the first place.

      Really the only option was to scale the platform from the tracks side. It was maybe 4 ft off the ground so I threw my pack over the top, grabbed on to a safety rail for would-be passengers and hoisted myself up. (Thank you rock-climbing gym). Jenny was having a little more trouble with the hoisting bit. So I turned around to offer a hand which I think was really more of a motivator than actual assistance.

      As we were both strapping back into our packs, an automated voice sounded followed several seconds later by the blaring of a horn and a powerful rush of wind as a bullet train raced passed us on the very tracks that’d we’d been standing on. As it passed, we both just stared at each other with eyes wide and mouths completely open while also half laughing in what turns out to be the very universal expression of “Holy crap I’m glad we both survived”.

      As the shook faded away and relief rolled in, the sky seemed more blue and the birds more chirpy. We exited the station to again see the golden scallop shell of the Camino indicating that we had somehow in fact taken the correct way.

      We walked together for maybe another half and then I went on ahead. I took a selfie and the road and you can see Jenny (pretty sure) as a small speck behind me if you look hard.
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    • Day 3

      3. Etappe

      July 12 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

      Der Wecker um 6.00 Uhr hörte ich gar nicht, zum Glück war ich ja nicht alleine, sonst wäre ich den ganzen Tag in der prallen Sonne unterwegs gewesen. Kurz haben wir alles zusammengepackt und sind Los. Leider begann die Reise wieder mit einem langen Abschnitt auf der Hauptstrasse. Ich spürte meine Leiste noch von gestern und die ersten Blasen an den Füssen machten sich bemerkbar. Wir machten eine Pause und es gab Frühstück. Nach dem Frühstück weiter über einen Bahnsteg. Zum Glück gab es einen Lift, denn die Treppen um auf die andere Seite zu gelangen, waren für meine Leiste sehr schmerzhaft. Es ging weiter und nach ein paar kurzen Pausen gelangen wir auf einen schönen Ackerweg neben den Bahngleisen. Die Temperaturen waren heiss, zu unserem Glück war es ein wenig windig. Kurz nach dem Mittag erreichten wir die Stadt. Nach einem kleinen Picknick, legten wir uns kurz hin, da die Herberge erst um 15.00 Uhr öffnete. Da wir die Herberge nicht reservieren konnten, gingen wir anschliessend direkt dort hin, als sie öffnete. Zum ersten Mal seit Mittwoch trafen wir noch andere Pilger. Die meisten, wie wir auch, waren aber nicht so redegewandt, da die Temperaturen einfsch zu hoch war. Wie jeden Tag wuschen wir nach dem Duschen unsere Kleidung und zogen los um das Frühstück für den nächsten Tag einzukaufen. Nun ist Erholung angesagt, das es morgen weitergehen kann. Fotos haben wir heute nicht viele gemacht, der Weg war einfach nicht so "fotogen".Read more

    • Day 5

      On The Road Again.

      March 20 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

      Was a day of lots of road walking. My feet really feel it tonight. A really nice albergue here in Azambuja was a welcoming respite. Walking along the highway, it says to always walk on the left side as back home. On a bridge, there was an arrow on the other side of the road pointing down a set of stairs, so I crossed over the to the other side. I went down the stairs as indicated, where there was another arrow pointing down a tunnel under the bridge back to the side I was on. Then another arrow pointing up a set of stairs to the landing that I was originally on. I thought boy, I could be here awhile. Just a few pic's today.Read more

    • Day 7

      Camino Day 2 - to Azambuja

      April 27, 2023 in Portugal ⋅ ☁️ 88 °F

      We decided on a short day, only 12 miles. A couple reasons:. To get a good sleep and adapt to the physical routine, and because it was 91 deg when we stopped hiking and there was zero shade. The next 3 days look to be 20 mile days .

      Today we met up with our Portuguese friends again. They are on a 5 day trip to Fatima. They range in age from 33 - 58 and are all from the same church. This is a true spiritual pilgrimage for them. They tried to convince us to go to Fatima first and then on to Santiago but we don't need anymore extra miles. We won't see them again as they were going farther today and will shortly veer off of our path. Bom Camino!

      We have met the other Americans. Jason is from Florida and we met him at the restaurant last night. We may or may not see him again. He had a plan and walks much faster than us. Today we met two ladies from California as we were leaving the cafe we stopped at, Allison and Jaz.

      I am thankful for:
      - those walking poles!!! When my legs get tired, they are a little extra support.
      - GPS. We follow the camino trail of yellow arrows but sometimes they are hard to find. It is nice to know you are on the right track or if you are off of it before you have gone too far.
      - flowers, animals, and things that I said, "oh, we have that at home!" We are really not all that different
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    • Day 2

      Day 2 Alverca do Ribatejo to Azambuja

      April 2, 2023 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 59 °F

      Total distance: 18.99 mi. We started off just as the sun was rising with our new friend, Scott from Canada. It seemed the three of us were in good spirits and ready for another day on the Camino, which considering I had yet to have any coffee was pretty good! We figured we’d find a place for coffee soon enough, but no such luck until 4.45 miles down the road. The Boia Bar in Alhandra was a much welcomed sight by then. An hour later, fueled by coffee and pasteis de nata, a popular Portuguese custard-filled pastry, we were back on our way. It turned out to be a long , warm day. By the time we arrived at the Alburgue (Pilgrim hostel) in Azambuja, we were ready for a good night’s rest.Read more

    • Day 5

      Etappe 3

      May 12, 2023 in Portugal ⋅ 🌬 23 °C

      Mit einem sehr guten Frühstück im Magen starteten wir in den heutigen Tag und somit gestärkt auf den Weg zur Etappe Nr.3. Da es heute nur eine "kleinere" Tour zu bewältigen gab, gingen wir den Tag gemütlich an. Unsere Wegstrecke führte mehrheitlich einer Bahnlinie entlang. In "Vila Nova da Raihna" hatten wir dann die Wahl, entweder eine kürzere Route der Hauptstrasse entlang zu nehmen oder aber weiterhin der Bahnlinie zu folgen. Die Entscheidung fiel uns, in Anbetracht der gestrigen Erfahrung, leicht.! Wir entschieden uns für die Bahnlinie!
      Die 20Km, die wir heute zurückgelegt haben, haben wir mit Leichtigkeit bewältigt. Hier in Portugal sind die Berge (noch) eben, da lässt es sich zügig laufen. Morgen, wenn es dann nach Santarem geht, könnte es, da diese Ortschaft auf einer Anhöhe liegt, etwas anders aussehen!
      Die Herberge in der wir heute übernachten ist so, dass sich, ob man will oder nicht, unverzüglich ein Herbergenfeeling einstellt. Wir schlafen (hoffentlich gut) in einem Raum mit 6 doppelstöckigen Betten und einem kleinen Matratzen-Lager am Boden. Ich finde das witzig, Roland eher nicht! Das Haus ist übrigens  ausgelastet! Unser Herbergsvater ist sehr gesprächig und im Dienst seiner Pilger hoch motiviert! Also...was will man mehr?
      Bis bald.....
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    • Day 3

      Day Two

      August 26, 2023 in Portugal ⋅ 🌬 26 °C

      Having done my whole walk in the sun yesterday I decided to start earlier today in the hopes of getting a bit done before it got too hot. Also due to the condition of my feet I anticipated it would take me longer than it should.
      It wasn’t very scenic at all really, a great deal was along the rail line and had to cross over it four times!!! No mean fest when You’re scared of heights and edge’s!
      Due to the earlier start nowhere was open for breakfast, so I decided to hopefully find somewhere an hour or two in.
      I was obviously more aware of the conditions underfoot today.. cobbles, gravel and rutted dirt tracks… mmmm..
      I reached Azambuja in good time, popped into a pharmacy for some plasters and then went for some lunch and a beer to investigate the state of my feet.. they had been pretty sore, so I wasn’t holding out too much hope… three more blisters, two pretty large and one average, plus my big toenail turning black!! Not sure what’s going on as I’ve never really had blisters before and don’t know how or why I am now.. the only thing out of the ordinary is my rather heavy rucksack. Maybe it’s making me walk differently,
      Hobbled to my accommodation and have pretty much stayed put as it was too uncomfortable to bother going out in search of food..
      Apologies for too much blister info.. I’m off to bed now in the hope that something miraculous happens overnight…
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    • Day 3

      In the rail corridor

      October 18, 2018 in Portugal ⋅ 🌙 18 °C

      A rather dreary walk along roads and beside the rail line through industrial buildings, enlivened by a bit of felonious activity. I failed to see the turning arrow and continued along a rough path beside the railway line and eventually found myself locked into the rail corridor - main line with all kinds of trains rushing past! I definitely should not have been there. I wasn’t going back - but could not get out due to high walls. Continued until the next platform another 3km. Flung poles and pack up and scrambled on. Phew!

      Tonight I am in a good municipal albergue in Azambuja with lively company - and an enjoyable restaurant meal together. Lots of Italian speakers, so that’s a challenge for me. My first taste of pulpo, Portuguese style.

      Somehow I have grown the most enormous blister on one foot - I think my feet are baby tender from winter. My body feels pretty fit but obviously the cross trainer does not toughen the tootsies. So considering my options for tomorrow.
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