Thursday, April 19, 2018

Camino Portuguese - Day 7 - Rabaçal

Another long day around 32 km on the road. Started at 7:30 am (after self service breakfast) which is better than 9 am the day before. At least I should end an.hour and a.half earlier today assuming similar distances.
I was wrong to say that those who chose the Fatima way will join back in Tomar. It is actually at this sign on the path before Ansiāo, with the blue and yellow arrow in opposite direction. Wonder if many will continue here from Fatima or will most just go to Porto and continue there.
Saw Ricardo right before Ansiāo (12 km mark) before noon. He ran out of water (temperature rises very fast from the morning today) and he was anxious to get there to a cafe to buy water. Just as we were entering Ansiāo, we bumped into Ryan walking towards us (he was gone when I woke up, probably started 6:30?). He was distraught and was looking for a dog. Apparently a black dog walked with him the whole of the 12 km in the morning. He went in the butcher in Ansiāo to buy some chopped meat but the dog had already disappeared when he got out. He love dogs and was almost in tears. I told him on my Camino del Norte I had a smaller dog walking with me for 6 km. In my case the dog stopped walking with just outside the next town, bark at me twice and turned back. Despite the distance, I think the dogs are okay. They already know pilgrims walking a particular path and some enjoy having the company to walk. I guess the bunch of uncooked raw meat is going to waste....
Before the second stop a water wheel. Basically a pump to draw out water from a well. It works after many rotations. My app says it is a drinking place. Not sure if the water is drinkable though.
Everyone except Ricardo (he makes.very short stops if ever) gathered at the second stop in Alvorge. First me, then Ryan, then Julie, finally the Italian ladies which by then it was time for me to go. The bar owner made sure everyone signs his guest book and was proud to show me entries of 200 and 45 pilgrim groups that passes by his little town.
As I was leaving the Italian girls told me to go to the second lodging in Rabaçal for today's stop 6 km further. I told Ryan the same but when I got the small town of Rabaçal, Ricardo shouted for me from the first cafe/lodging. I checked the place (10 euros, no covers, have to use our sleeping bags) but it was great! Washing machine for 2 euros (shared by both Ricardo and me), drying line outside (I arrived at 4:10 pm with the Sun still glaring  so no need to pay more for the dryer), incredibly a swimming pool (those small elevated ones), and the cafe even serves food in the evening. A one stop shop! Ah, the convenience. Decided to stay there instead. Didn't use the swimming pool though. Later we when over to the second place to check on the girls. The girls pays the same price but no washing facilities. They took their clothes over our place to do their washing and also the dryer instead. So nice to have nice smelling machine washed clothes!
Julie came later and after having look around stayed here too. Ryan is over with the girls but no.answer when I called out for him. Hope he is not mad that I switched places. Thought he would come over for dinner with us but he never came. He must have ate at the only other restaurant in town. There is French old man with us. He came up from Fatima. Didn't see anyone else from the alternative route. Ricardo and I in one room and Julie and him in the other room that has more beds. Today it's just the four of us here. Again, great dinner for all of us except Ryan. Collected the laundry from the cloth line and ready to wind down the day.
I love the last few days, small villages and great view despite the distances. Love that they have everything in a self-sustaining mode. One sees small olive patches, a few houses thathas their own mandarin orange and lemon tree, small plot of land for vegetables, a couple of sheeps/goats in enclosed garden for them to graze, chicken coop, etc. Can't get more organic than that...
Tomorrow, potentially another 30 plus km to Coimbra, the university town...

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