Date: 8 April 2018
Walked from: Tomar
Walked to: Alvaiázere
I took the day off yesterday so I could see Tomar’s Castle (first picture) and the connecting buildings, which look down over the town and house some of the most impressive art and architecture I’ve ever seen. Just amazing, and well deserving of its World Heritage Site status. I then largely sat on my arse for the rest of the day, enjoying doing nothing after walking over 100 miles in just five days!
Anyway, I was back on the road, refreshed and ready to go, for 6.45am this morning, leaving Tomar as the day broke. I like to get my walking in early so I have more time to relax, but I was also trying to avoid the heavy rain (currently doing its thing outside). I am delighted to say it had the good grace to hold off until I was at the friendly pilgrim hostel here in Alvaiázere; the fact that I only stopped once, for a cake and hot chocolate breakfast at the friendly cafe in tiny Soianda probably helped with avoiding the wet stuff – I was done for the day by 1.40pm.
Today’s walk was beautiful (if a little sodden in parts because of the recent rains), from the forest tracks past eucalyptus, oak and cork trees, to the many citrus trees busting with ready-to-pick lemons and oranges, to the final five kilometres on the cobble-stoned village roads that eventually led into Alvaiázere. The bit I didn’t love so much, on the aforementioned cobbled streets, were all the snarling dogs I had to navigate on my way past, including a particularly feisty gang of five smallish but very aggressive canines (If you’ve seen ‘Up’, think of the evil dogs, controlled by electric collar, who can only be distracted from their devious intent by squirrels). I channeled my inner dog trainer, walking backwards and shouting the most English possible ‘NO’ available (think 1940s stern upper-middle class matron, complete with tweed walking outfit – and matching hat and immovable perm) as I went.