Alvaiazere – Rabacal

3 April 2018

31.1km (for Berto)
0.0km (for me – I’ve got a lift with Carlos’ son)

It’s a rainy day:

It rained continuously throughout the night and when we got up it was still raining. Berto walks to Rabacal today, while I ride with Carlos’ son. The Finnish couple and Berto decided to walk together, but the Italians said they would make another plan because according to them there was no way they would walk in this weather!

Berto walked the entire route in rain – sometimes just a drizzle, but most of the time it was hard and continuous rain. This meant he didn’t take any photos and so we can’t show you the beauty of the road.

He did mention that they mostly walked through olive groves and crop fields, which meant a lot of mud walking! I would have liked to have walked these paths (maybe not in the rain) but it was not meant to be this time.

A nice chat (and drive) in a car:

Instead, Carlos’ son (a third-year student at the University of Coimbra) took me to Rabacal in his car. We had a nice chat on the way – he told me how he likes to come back to Rabacal for weekends and holidays to help his father at the albergue. He was looking forward to getting his degree, but said he would like to work in a small town. I was happy to hear this because we have heard many times in Portugal that the younger generation is leaving their small hometowns to live and work in the bigger cities.

The same thing happens in South Africa also where children leave their towns/villages leading to ghost towns. Carlos’ son and I have one thing in common: Neither of us like big cities!

Accommodation – Rabacal:

Hostel O Bonito – Rua da Igreja, Rabacal

I arrived in Rabacal at around 10:00. It was still far too early to book into the hostel (Hostel O Bonito), so I walked into the adjacent café to enjoy a hot coffee.


Hostel O Bonito, our accommodation for the night


The swimming pool at Hostel O Bonito. I think during the summer this will be a good place to be, but today only the rain filled the pool!

The lady at the café offered me another coffee on the house (her apology for having to wait for a bed), which was unnecessary as it was still very early … such friendly and accommodating people.

The (possible) answer to my swollen ankle:

The “hospitaleiro” from the hostel looked at my foot and said it looked like something had bitten/stung me that I had an allergic reaction to … well, why didn’t I think of that! Suddenly the itchy feeling along with the pain makes complete sense!

She mentioned that in some pine forests there are pine caterpillars that one can step on and their larvae hairs can be irritating to human skin. And yes, I remembered the hikes through some pine forests and also that day we walked to Golega in the rain and saw all these caterpillars on the road we were walking on … could these be the culprits responsible for my swelling foot?

I immediately took an antihistamine tablet (fortunately I usually carry it with me for hay fever). I hope I didn’t do more damage by continuing to walk.


Our beds in Hostel O Bonito

The rain stopped for a moment and I wandered down the street of Rabacal. It is such a small town (according to Brierley’s guide their population is only about 1000). I took two photos that basically covered the town!

The small village of Rabacal

After it started raining again, I quickly went back to the café to drink more coffee. It was lunchtime and some workers came in to have something to eat and drink. It was the perfect place to observe the locals – something I love to do!


Locals enjoying lunchtime in the café at hostel O Bonito

The antihistamine tablet I had taken earlier caused drowsiness and I went to our dormitory to take a nap. Berto woke me up around 3.30pm when they arrived from the day’s walk, soaking wet! They were literally covered in mud and immediately took a shower and then went to find a hot cup of coffee.

What to do with wet clothes on a rainy day:

It was time to do our laundry again (remember, we only have 2 sets of clothes) and then turned to the dryer – the instructions on the labels of our hiking clothes clearly said “no tumble drying”, but we were about to either use the dryer or walk with wet clothes!

The little shop further down the street sold cheese and cured meats and together with fresh Portuguese rolls we had a delicious meal. The Finns shared the hostel with us, while one of the Italians had his own room next to us (the other Italian got transport that took him to Coimbra). With our red wine we retired to our dormitory where it was warm and dry.


Wine in bed


I have no ankle anymore – swollen from my toes to my lower leg

The “hospitaleiro” told me earlier that every morning at 9:30 a bus passes through the town on its way to Coimbra.

Berto will continue walking tomorrow, while I take the bus to Coimbra. I’m sure there will be a store that sells hiking sandals for my “big foot” to fit into – and then … hopefully I can start walking again.

Click here for Day 9 …


5 thoughts on “CAMINO PORTUGUESE – DAY 8

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