Coimbra – Mealhada

5 April 2018


There were three things to be thankful for today:

  • I’m walking again – yup, me and my new hiking sandals are back on the Camino
  • It’s only 23.1km today … those long 30km days are over (at least, for now)
  • And … the sun is shining!

I couldn’t wait to get back on the road and we left Coimbra just after 7:00. My ankle was still swollen, but I was able to adjust the straps of my hiking sandal which meant that my “big foot” fit neatly into my sandal! Was it too soon to walk again? I guess I will find out soon …


Leaving Coimbra early morning

The first few kilometers were quiet and we hardly saw anyone (not even animals) … did we miss something somewhere? Maybe it was just way too early for people to be on their way – except for pilgrims, of course.

We’ve read that part of today’s walk will be along a road again, but the last 10km is a newly marked forest path (and without the forecast of rain, it could be a great walk).


Blossoms on a tree, a reminder that we are walking in the most beautiful season – spring

And then we came to the promised road that goes along the N-1. Luckily there wasn’t a lot of traffic and we could walk without looking out for speeding cars.

The dreaded road walk – at least it didn’t rain today and we could walk along the side without too many problems

Story time:

At Fornos we saw a café on the side of the road and decided it was time for coffee. There were some locals in the café and when they saw us come in they all went out. We soon found out why – no one could speak English! Berto ordered his black coffee without any problem, but when I ordered “café con leche” (coffee with milk), there was a loud conversation in Spanish/Portuguese! Finally the young man behind the counter also walked out, leaving us alone in his café. “What now?” we wondered.

An old man came in and tried to explain something in Portuguese, but we couldn’t understand him. We stood around, not really knowing what to do. A few minutes later the young man re-entered the café. He held up a bottle of milk triumphantly! That’s when we realised he had to go buy milk and had no idea how to explain it to us. I don’t know who was more relieved when we got our two cups of coffee – us, the young man behind the counter or the rest of the people outside!!


Enjoying a “café con leche” … more exhausted from the ordering process than from our walk

The road walk continued until Santa Luzia. Just outside the town there was an old Portuguese woman sitting on a bench watching us closely. Berto and I were walking on opposite sides of the road and I had the opportunity to take a picture just as Berto walked past her. The look on her face was priceless! I don’t know if she ever saw a modern pilgrim walk into her town – I’d love to know what her thoughts were!


The curious Portuguese woman outside Santa Luzia keeps a close eye on Berto

There was a bustle in Santa Luzia as the locals were doing their shopping for the day. A street market gave us the opportunity for a little “window shopping”.

The local street market in Santa Luzia

We saw many small towns on our way today. People were working in their gardens, either planting something or just clearing their fields. Most of these people were not so young anymore and I wondered if it was all the hard work that made the Portuguese live so long!


An old woman and her donkey busy working on her piece of land

After all the road walking it was great to reach the new route, the woodland track. I was just so glad it didn’t rain. It was such a lovely walk. And yes, even my hiking sandals did the job and my feet didn’t complain.

The new woodland track was great and we could smell nature as we continued our walk to Mealhada

Yummy, more Pastel de nata:

In Mala we saw a café and thought it was a good time to drink some more coffee … and to enjoy Pastel de nata!


What would a day be without my favourite, Pastel de nata?

The last 5km walk was really nice. We walked through more woodlands and even olive groves. As we got closer to Mealhada, the sky grew darker and it was colder. Could this perhaps be an indication for rain later?

Beautiful woodlands and olive tree orchards


We are getting closer to Santiago

Arriving in Mealhada:

Mealhada is located in a well-known wine growing area and with another 1km to this town, we saw the statue of the wine god Bacchus at the Rotunda.


The statue of the god Bacchus on a wine barrel as we entered Mealhada

Mealhada is also famous for its spit-roasted month-old pig dish called “Leitoes” (my apologies to the vegetarians). Already in Lisbon we were told to eat this dish in Mealhada and we will make sure not to miss out tonight!


The entrance at Mealhada – the tiled wall depicted their main dish

Accommodation – Mealhada:

We decided to sleep at Albergue Hilario, which is about 1.5km from the town center. But first we had lunch in the town center (a massive toasted samie we shared) and then walked on to our albergue.

It was great to see the Finnish couple there, as well as the Italian who rode with me on the bus to Coimbra.

That famous pig dish:

After checking in and doing our laundry, we walked to a bar with the Finnish couple for a couple of cold beers. Later that night we all went to a restaurant and had probably the most expensive meal of our trip … but hey, worth every Euro! The much talked about pork dish was delicious!


The fancy pig dish (well-known in Mealhada). What a lovely dinner!

I was happy. It didn’t rain and it was a good day on the road!

Click here for Day 11 …


10 thoughts on “CAMINO PORTUGUESE – DAY 10

  1. I’m really enjoying the theme/design of your blog. Do you ever run into any internet browser compatibility issues? A number of my blog audience have complained about my site not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Opera. Do you have any suggestions to help fix this issue?

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    1. Hi Clair
      Thank you for your comment. I’m glad you like our theme. We have not yet had any issues or received any complaints on how our blog performs in other browsers (but we are also still new to blogging). However, we are using the standard Safari browser of the High Sierra MacOS – and seems to work fine. We suggest you try another browser when you publish your blog content. I hope this helps.

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  2. Three tings to be happy about indeed and I am so glad to see you back walking your Camino. Actually I think it should be four things to be happy abput as that suckling pig looks absolutely delicious.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I always liked being up early in foreign cities before anyone was about. There is a whole different feel to it. Those tiled walls are lovely. Were you unlucky to have so much rain or is it common at that time of year?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Early mornings were always our favourite time on the Camino! Walking in Spring is actually the best time. Then it’s not so crowded and although the weather can vary from “half day sunny and half day raining”, we had a few cold fronts that mostly just turned into rain! So, I assume we were just unlucky … but in the end, we still had a great time!

      Liked by 1 person

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