Tomar – Alvaiazere
2 April 2018
0.0km (Bus day)
(But if you walk this stretch, it will be 33.2km)
Nope, no walking today! I can’t even get my swollen foot into my hiking shoe! Maybe if I had my hiking sandals with me, there would have been a chance, but now, the only other alternative is to wear my flip-flops and, as experienced on last year’s Camino Frances, that won’t do!
NOTE: My hiking sandals were originally in my backpack, but I took it out at the last minute before we left South Africa (to limit the weight in my backpack). This is now the one item I miss the most! I promise will never go on a hiking trip again without my hiking sandals!
I asked Berto to take the bus with me (something he won’t normally do, but I think he felt sorry for me) and we walked in bitterly cold weather to the bus station to buy two tickets for the total of €8 to Alvaiazere.
Time to test the public transport in Portugal
My hiking shoes tied to my backpack … and my toe socks works perfect on my swollen foot in my flip-flop!
The bus ride:
I was feeling a bit distraught because I could not walk today, but when there was a torrential downpour as we left Tomar, it sort of made up for that feeling. We were informed in our hostel yesterday that there were a couple of rainy days ahead … at least we’re missing the first day of this cold front!
How is it possible to reach your destination on the Camino within an hour with a bus, but when you are on foot, it almost takes the whole day?
Accommodation – Alvaiazere:
When we arrived in Alvaiazere, the rain was bucketing down and we had to run to our albergue, Albergaria Pinheiro. As we ran up the stairs to the albergue, Carlos, the owner of Albergaria Pinheiro, opened the door and welcomed us into a warm and cozy reception area. He was just busy putting wood in the fireplace and we immediately took place in front of the heat!
A welcoming fire inside Albergaria Pinheiro while it was raining cats and dogs outside!
Although it was not even 12:00 yet, Carlos immediately showed us to our room. What a kind host he was! The people of Portugal really impressed me with their kindness.
Our room in Albergaria Pinheiro
For the first time fellow pilgrims joined us in the albergue – a couple from Finland and two Italians. We were all sitting in the reception area in front of the fire and it was great to eventually meet other pilgrims on our Portuguese Camino. The Italians also took the bus, but the Finnish couple walked because they could not find transport after they left Tomar (shame, they were drenched).
Carlos had a ritual of stamping our credentials. He first served us a glass of port (that went off well in the cold weather) and then called each of us to put, not one, but FOUR stamps in our credentials.
Port from Portugal, served by Carlos in Albergaria Pinheiro
Four stamps from Albergaria Pinheiro in our credentials
The rain subsided for a brief moment and we visited the local supermercado to buy ingredients for dinner. We also paid a visit to the pharmacy … we found some needles, voltaren plasters and (more) pain tablets!
Shopping at the supermercado and the pharmacy
No walking tomorrow (for me):
Carlos told us that he lived in South Africa a long time ago and it was nice to share some stories about our home country with him.
He had a look at my swollen ankle and decided there and then that I would not be able to walk tomorrow. I (of course) agreed, but said I noticed there were no busses from Alvaiazere to Rabacal (the next stop on the Camino). Carlos then offered me a lift with his son who need to go back to Coimbra University after the holiday. Have I mentioned the kindness of the Portuguese people before?
My swollen foot – it now looks like a balloon!
We had a real pilgrim meal – bread, cheese and eggs – while Timo (the guy from Finland) joined us for a glass of red wine.
With the rain that still continued outside, we went to bed … thankful that we have a roof over our heads tonight!
Click here for Day 8 …