VERDELHA DE BAIXO – AZAMBUJA
28 MARCH 2018
There are not a lot of things in life that’s so satisfying as when a tired body and a good bed gets together! We’ve slept like babies and felt ready for our second day on the Portuguese Camino.
We’ve realised, from yesterday’s experience, that if we walk more than 30km on a single day, we will have to start early. With that in mind, we’ve left just before 7:00, while it was still dark, to cover today’s distance.
Leaving Verdelha de Baixo early morning – our bicycle lights came in handy!
We’ve skipped breakfast at the hostel this morning and quickly stopped at a garage/café in Alverca to have coffee and pastel de nata (I can eat these Portuguese custard tarts for breakfast, lunch and dinner!)
A nice way to start our morning
The first 3.5km were on or close to the busy N-10 and we had to carefully negotiate our way in the early morning traffic. We’ve walked through an industrial area and could not wait to get back to the river again.
Walking next to the busy N-10. Fortunately, it was still early morning and traffic only picked up as we’ve left the main road
We’ve left the industrial area behind us when we’ve crossed the main road over the rail bridge at Alhandra
Just after Alhandra, we’ve got to the riverside. There awaits a beautiful new riverside path that almost reminded of an athletic track! It was interesting to see that the one side was marked for walkers and the other side for cyclists – no confusion of who needs to be where!
The beginning of the new riverside path at Alhandra – who would have thought: The Camino on an athletic track!
The river was on our righthand side and on the left the most beautiful murals! So much beauty surrounded us! I just had to stop at every mural to take a photo – it was really tastefully done.
Amazing murals on the side of the path next to the river
More of the creative murals
This was such an amazing stretch of pathway to walk. There were walkers, joggers and even a group of elderly people that were making use of the exercise equipment next to the river. With some benches next to the pathway, there was the opportunity to relax with a view over the river. This was a surprise to find on the Camino, but one we thoroughly enjoyed.
We had a stunning view of the river
Just before we’ve walked into Vilafranca de Xira, we’ve seen the impressive bullring on the other side of the railtrack. In front of the bullring was a mural painted of the same bullring – pretty amazing!
A photo of a mural of the bullring …
Vilafranca de Xira is, according to our Brierley guidebook, a colourful town that prides itself in its bullfighting history. We’ve walked through their beautiful municipal gardens. We wish we had more time to explore the town, but Azambuja was almost another 20km further and we had to continue to get there before late afternoon.
The municipal gardens of Vilafranca de Xira
At the railway station of Vilafranca de Xira, we’ve turned inland along a dyke. And then … around a corner we’ve had the first sight of the red chairs that are so familiar on the Camino and immediately we had to stop for a cup of coffee!
The sight of red chairs on the Camino means it is time to stop and have a coffee!
We’ve reached Vila Nova da Rainha at around lunchtime and thought it might be a good idea to stop for something to eat and drink. We knew the last 6km to Azambuja was next to the main road and we were actually not looking forward to that. So, what better way to get renewed energy with good old hamburgers and chips!
Lunchtime in Vila Nova da Rainha
And what a way to walk the last 6km to Azambuja! Our guidebook calls it “slogging” … you literally walk next to the busy highway with big trucks and cars passing by … something we really did not enjoy!
The 6km stretch next to the highway that took us into Azambuja – the less attractive side of the Camino
By the time we’ve reached Azambuja, we were ready to just get to a bed. We’ve walked to the albergue Abrigo Do Peregrino, but a note on their door indicated they were closed (no reason for this, but probably because we’ve walked outside the popular Camino season).
As we’ve walked back down the street, we saw a sign of a “recidential” and asked for available accommodation.
Accommodation – Azambuja:
They had a double room available on the 3rd floor. For the steep price (that’s now for a Camino pilgrim) of €30 for a double room, we’ve checked into Residencial Flor da Primavera.
We were happy to have found a place to sleep after another long and hot day. After we’ve showered, we walked all the way back to the entrance of the town to get our clothes washed at the laundromat. On our way back to our room, we’ve bought light snacks for the evening.
After close inspection of my feet, I’ve noticed 2 blisters … and that after I was hoping for no blisters on this Camino! I’ve cleaned the blisters and Berto got hold of the Merthiolate bottle and inject that into my blisters. I’ve hold my breath for a couple of seconds until the intense burning sensation stopped – hopeful that the blister will only be a red dot by tomorrow morning.
Merthiolate on my blister … the life of a pilgrim 😉
We’ve had a few snacks and even watched some television from the comfort of our bed, before we’ve called it a day! Tomorrow, another 30km day is awaiting us!