Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Camino Portuguese - Day 12 - Sāo Joāo da Madeira

23 km. A hard terrain of mostly tarmac and steep slopes.
As usual morning was good. Left the albergue after the self service breakfast as 8 am (their local bread was fantastic).
Just love seeing small plots of land with at least 10 different plants growing besides the house. Further up, a French pilgrim was worried about her friend not showing up. I said I think I saw her backpack still at the albergue before I left so she should be out soon. Pretty soon all 4 of us plus her bunched up with the same answers even though we left the albergue separately. At least it ia a good time for a photo-op. Then it was followed by walking besides a train track for a.small stretch. I thought it was a derelict track and walk on it the whole time before I realized that the signal lights at the crossing was on. The track is operational! Shoot, I could be hit by a train, then it's bye bye Camino and more....
After that it is all on the road, weaving and crossing the track left then right. Too many industrial areas after that, one can feel the density of people and cars increasing. That and the hot weather before noon makes the walk hard. Towns/cities like Olivera de Azemeis and Sāo Joāo da Madeira are on top of hills making it even harder. I was ahead after the first break. We I got into Sāo Joāo da Madeira there was a big hospital and a huge mall together in the same complex. Decided to have lunch there to let the others catch up. Didn't feel awkward entering the mall with a backpack, hat and all. Actually I did but pretended not to care. The restaurants are actually like a food court next to the cinema. Had a nice local trendy speciality burger. It's either that or burger king or Chinese. The cineplex are showing 'Ready player one', 'Pacific Rim 2' plus a few others. Heck, if they are not here I may well cool off further watching a movie (kidding). It's just over a km further where the lodgings are. Not many choices here in Sāo Joāo da Madeira. Just the Solar residencial or the hotel A.S. Sāo Joāo near each other. Ricardo turned up before I got to there. Then as we were at the residencial, the ladies turn up. Great timing. Turns out it's cheaper at the hotel 39.5 euros for a double instead of 45 euros at the residencial. The ladies got a room while Ricardo and me shared one. 7th floor, highest for me so far in Portugal. Overlook the Solar Residencial and the square. Many others including Jim later stayed at the residencial. The 3 French guys managed to find a cheaper old folks residence which I tease them later during dinner for looking the part (which they probably do since they said they are in their 60s).
This is a sad day. It's 35 km to Porto, broken into two days 20 and 15 km so as to have more time in Porto or just one 35 km push. I would like to either do it in one day as per my schedule, but if it is only hard tarmac, industrial areas hard road and fast cars the other option is to take a bus with Carolina tomorrow to Porto, making it a non walking day. Carolina has to meet her friend the day after in Porto to walk together. Lucia and Ricardo will walked the 2 short days to Porto, Jim too. The family is breaking up. 😭
There was still the dinner and the breakfast tomorrow to say goodbye.
Another big gathering for dinner at a simple local joint, With the 4 of us, Jim and the three musketeers. 😂
Too much food for me today as there I normally lunch is usually just a mix and/or of a small sandwich at the bar, pastries, raisins, nuts, banana, orange, oat bars, etc.

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