DAY 5


GOLEGA – TOMAR

31 MARCH 2018

32.1km

During the night, we both woke up after hearing a downpour of rain … I’ve prayed for some good weather today!

As we’ve got up early morning, Berto took a walk outside and came back with the good news that the skies were clear! I was relieved to hear this, because I did not want to have another day like yesterday.

But then … as I’ve put my hiking shoes on, I’ve noticed that my left leg, just above my ankle, was slightly swollen. I remembered the itchy painful feeling of yesterday … I hope this will not hindered me in my walking today.

However, I could feel this would turn out to be a difficult day. When Berto asked me how I felt, I said that I don’t even know how to describe it – it was itchy, yet painful. I really struggled for the first 10km and have not taken one single photo on the first stretch of quiet country lanes. Fortunately, it was flat and the terrain did not challenge us too much in difficulty.

Once we’ve got to Sao Caetano, we’ve strolled down the tree-lined avenue and took some photo’s of the beautiful old buildings alongside the Rio Tejo. Sao Caetano, according to our Brierley guide book, is known as the Land of the Templars (“Terra de Templarios”) with a Templar cross in the peaceful hamlet.

Quinta Cardiga in Sao Caetano on the banks of Rio Tejo

We’ve walked another 3km on farm tracks. Normally this would be a great time to put my thoughts on hold and enjoy the peace and quietness … but my foot bothered me tremendously. So much so, that I was thinking of “alternative transport” other than my own two feet!

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The peaceful route on our way to Vila Nova da Barquinha

As we’ve arrived in Vila Nova da Barquinha, I saw two dogs standing on a roof barking in our direction. I’ve seen this now a couple of times where dogs got onto the roofs … must be a Portuguese thing!

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Two dogs “welcoming” us into Vila Nova da Barquinha

When we’ve got to the railway station, Berto asked whether I would rather like to take the train to Tomar … I was thinking about it for a moment, but then decided to carry on. In retrospect, it was maybe not a good idea, but after two Ibuprofens, the pain subsided for a while and I’ve actually enjoyed the rest of the walk.

We’ve tried to find an open café for some coffee, but it was nowhere to be found. A woman tried to explain to us that it was still too early (well, it was already 10:00), and said we will find another café further on … which we did not! Fortunately, we had enough water and snacks to keep us going. In their defense, it was Easter Sunday and this might explain why it was so quiet in the small towns.

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A national monument, Igreja Matriz (16th century Parish church) in Atalaia

The road took us now through a woodland onto forest tracks. It was amazing that we did not see anyone else – no pilgrims or any other people. We’ve read that some of the Camino waymarks might have been removed due to tree felling and that we should be vigilant. Although we’ve encountered some steep up hills, it was a beautiful track.

Walking through a woodland on a steep up hill

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We’ve kept our eyes open for the Camino waymarks in the woodland

I was really happy that I did not take the train in Vila Nova da Barquinha, because I would then have missed this beautiful path. The pain tablets seemed to do their work and I loved this piece of landscape we were passing by.

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This was a very steep up hill, but well worth the view from the top

We’ve passed through the tiny village of Grou and 2km later arrived in Asseiceira. We had another 10km to cover to get to Tomar and decided to have something to eat before the last stretch. After a big Portuguese roll with cured meat and cheese with coffee, we were heading towards Tomar.

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A simple bench gets new meaning with a beautiful tiled background

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Public laundromats in Asseiceira – not sure whether these were still in use

Outside Asseiceira we’ve seen a farm stall next to the road. We could smell the fresh fruit and Berto bought two oranges. It was as sweet as nectar – wish we’ve bought more!

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Fresh fruit on sale next to the road

The Camino route has recently changed in order to avoid the busy N-110 and we’ve followed a narrow hiking trail alongside the railway. Unfortunately, we had no other choice as to walk the last 2.5km next to the narrow and busy N-110 … I never enjoy this part of our walking!

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I had to take a photo of this local supermercado – Spar. This is a very well-known shop back in South Africa (it’s only a stone throw away from our house back in Cape Town) and we’ve felt right at home!

Tomar is a beautiful medieval pilgrim town with a population of about 21,000. It was Easter weekend and the town were quite busy with tourists visiting.

Accommodation – Tomar

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We’ve found Hostel 2300 Thomar in the center of Tomar and got a double bedroom for the night.

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The view from our balcony at Hostel 2300 Thomar

It was great to have sunny weather today after our day in the rain yesterday. After doing our laundry, we’ve headed out to one of the restaurants in the street below our hostel. Lots of people were out in the streets and restaurants and we’ve enjoyed sitting in the sun with a cold beer after a challenging day (at least for me).

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A beer in the sun after completing yet another 30km day

Back in our room, as I was lying on our bed, I’ve noticed that my left leg has now a significant swelling. There was a redness around my ankle and I could still not figure out what the problem could be.

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My left leg/foot is swollen and I don’t know why …

We were sitting on our balcony until late that evening. Berto made the calculation that we have walked 167km in 5 days! No wonder my body was protesting!

With this in mind, we’ve decided to take a rest day tomorrow. It is after all Easter and this might be a good idea for my swollen ankle to get better.

Categories: Portuguese Camino (April 2018)

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