Date: 2 April 2018
Walked from: Lisbon (Cathedral)
Walked to: Alverca do Ribatejo
There are some walks you do that are so special, you just want to walk them again. In the case of the case of the Camino de Santiago, having walked the French route in October, I’m now giving the Portuguese Way a whirl. The fact that Portugal also happens to have an excellent reputation for its food and wine has nothing whatsoever to do with my decision making at all. Nope. Not a thing.
It wasn’t the most auspicious of starts; your walk on any of the Camino routes to Santiago starts with a stamp in your credential – a sort of passport for pilgrims that gives you access to cheap accommodation along the route. I needed to get mine from the cathedral in Lisbon. And it didn’t officially open until 9.30am (when the chap with the all important stamp turns up) so I had a late start considering I had 20 miles to cover today.
Still, while the rain did a lot of threatening this morning it largely contented itself with spitting enough that I would stick my raincoat on… and then stop as soon as I did. And as far as walks out of big cities go, it was pleasant leaving Lisbon, with it’s lovely tiled buildings (and some striking street art) and it’s modern waterfront area alongside the Rio Tejo. Another highlight of the day was the 5km Praia dos Pescadores route alongside the river and wetlands between Póvoa and Alverca do Ribatejo. Quite lovely, and pretty well used by the locals, which was great to see.
I had a couple of Camino encounters today; a few locals determined to ensure I didn’t walk the wrong way (there was no evidence I would have done, but it was very kind of them), and just four other long distance walkers: a very different experience from walking the French Way that I did in October. This is supposed to be the second most popular of the pilgrim routes to Santiago, but I think that popularity comes to the fore from Porto – and probably for the last 100km into the city. In the meantime, I suspect it will largely just be me and the locals. And if the warm welcome and terrific €8 three course meal I had at dinner tonight was anything to judge the rest of my trip on, I’m happy with that!