CAMINO PORTUGUESE – DAY 2

Verdelha de Baixo – Azambuja

28 March 2018

32.4km

When a tired body and a great bed gets together … it turns out to be the best end to a hard day! We slept like babies and felt ready for our second day on the Portuguese Camino.

We realised, from yesterday’s experience, that should we walk more than 30km on a single day, we will have to start early. With that in mind, we started to walk before 7:00 – while it was still dark – to cover today’s distance.

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Leaving Verdelha de Baixo early morning – our bicycle lights came in handy to be visible to traffic!

We skipped breakfast at the hostel this morning and quickly made a stop at a garage/café in Alverca to enjoy a coffee and pastel de nata (I can eat these Portuguese custard tarts for breakfast, lunch and dinner!)

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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. While we walked through an industrial area at first, we could not wait to get back to the river again.

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Walking next to the busy N-10. Fortunately, it was still early morning and traffic only picked up as we left the main road

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With the industrial area behind us, we crossed the main road over the rail bridge at Alhandra

A stunning walk at the riverside:

Just after Alhandra, we were happy to be back at the riverside. We found 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!

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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, while on the left we could see the most beautiful murals! So much beauty surrounded us! I just had to stop at every mural to take a photo – it was really wonderfully done.

Amazing murals at 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, runners 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.

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We had a stunning view of the river

Just before we got to Vilafranca de Xira, the impressive bullring appeared on the other side of the rail track. In front of the bullring was a mural painted of the same bullring – pretty amazing!

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A photo of a mural of the bullring …

Villafranca de Xira:

Vilafranca de Xira is, according to our Brierley guidebook, a colourful town that prides itself in its bullfighting history. We took a walk through their beautiful municipal gardens … and wished we had more time to explore the town. Unfortunately, Azambuja was 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 turned inland along a dyke. And then … around a corner we had our first view of the red chairs – a very familiar sight on the Camino. We just had to immediately stop there for a cup of coffee!

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The sight of red chairs on the Camino means it’s time to stop for a coffee!

Lunchtime in Vila Nova da Rainha:

We reached Vila Nova da Rainha at around lunchtime. We knew the last 6km to Azambuja was next to the main road and we were actually not looking forward to that. What better way to get renewed energy with good old hamburgers and chips!

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Lunchtime in Vila Nova da Rainha

And what a (unpleasant) 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 speeding by … something we did not enjoy!

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The 6km stretch next to the highway that took us into Azambuja – the less attractive side of the Camino

We are finally in Azambuja:

By the time we reached Azambuja, we were ready to just get to a bed. We found our way to the albergue Abrigo Do Peregrino, but a note on their door indicated they were closed (no reason for this, but probably because we walked outside the popular Camino season).

As we walked back down the street, we saw a sign of a “recidential” and asked for available accommodation.

Accommodation – Azambuja:

Residencial Flor da Primavera

They had a double room available on the 3rd floor. For the hefty price (that’s now for a Camino pilgrim) of €30 for a double room, we checked into Residencial Flor da Primavera.

We were happy to have found a place to sleep after another long and hot day. After a glorious shower, 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 bought light snacks for the evening.

The first blisters (of many):

After close inspection of my feet, I noticed 2 blisters … ha, and that after I was hoping for no blisters on this Camino! I cleaned the blisters and Berto got hold of the Merthiolate bottle to inject this into my blisters. After holding my breath for a couple of seconds for the intense burning sensation to stop, I was hopeful that the blisters will be only red dots in the morning.

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Merthiolate in my blister … oh, the life of a pilgrim 😉

We enjoyed a few snacks and even watched some television from the comfort of our bed, before we called it a day! Tomorrow, another 30km day is awaiting us!

Click here for Day 3 …

4 comments

      • I am not sure if it is just Portuguese drivers who are like this, I think it may be a continental European thing. I went cycling in Normandy and Brittany many, many years ago and it was pretty terrifying.

        I thought the French were very fond of cyclists with the Tour de France and all that but they don’t treat them very well on smaller Breton / Norman roads.

        Obviously I survived it so no harm done and it was a great trip despite getting sunstroke that far North in mid-March, if you can believe that.

        Liked by 1 person

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