I began early this morning. It was drizzling and continued on and off during the day, not what I really wanted on my 1st day. I had seen a little of Lisbon and saw more as I walked out of the city. I missed the tile museum as it was still closed as I passed by it. Portugal was the site of the 1998 world expo, and what was there then remains. There is also the Vasco de Gama bridge, which is 17 kilometres long.
The walk is 29.5kms, from Lisbon to Alverca. Some is on boardwalks along the Rio Tejo, but a lot is along the side of the N10 motorway. It is a long day. I will need to look my pack weight. One of the heavy items is medical items, which one takes 'just in case.' Another was technological items, and a 3rd was 'double ups' where I took 2 of something when I didn't need to.
It was a long hard days walk and I was developing a blister or two plus a couple of other problems. Then, about 5 kms from Alverca, the heavens opened and it poured down. Then, having finally arrived at Alverca, there was really nowhere to stay in the town and I needed help in finding somewhere to stay.
Today was sunny with no rain. Quite a bit was pleasant walking. The authorities have built broad walks along the river, and these are a real joy to use. The locals also us them and can be seen walking or biking along them. The distances along the early part are an average of 30kms, which is a bit for me. I called it a day a little before that and made my way to Azambuja. I arrived there early and looked for accommodation. I'm still having troubles with my feet, so want the rest on the day and tonight to be a relaxing one.
Today I began my journey to Lisbon, to walk the Portuguese Camino. This is often called the 'Royal Camino' as it was done Queen Isabel many years ago. Whereas the other Camino's go from east to west across Spain, this Camino goes from south to north, across much of Portugal.
I travelled from Wellington to Auckland, then to Dubai vis Melbourne, and then on to Lisbon, arriving there at midday on Sunday, 27th December, 27 hours actual, and about 33 hours in total.
Arriving at Lisbon, I weight my pack and found it was over 8kgs, which was more than I had expected. They say a 10th of body weight, but ideally it should be under 7 kgs. So I will to cut down as a heavy pack affects breathing and makes the going too difficult.
From the Airport I went straight to the Cathedral to collect my Credencial, which is like a passport that needs to be stamped along the way. That done, I found cheap accommodation in one of the main streets, overlooking the festivities below. Lisbon is in party mood, and the street was full of 'street theatre of one kind or another. There was also a lot of 'dining out' in the street, although it was reasonably cool. My 1st attempt at dining out was not all successful! I ordered a fish and finished up with 3 large boned sardines and vegetables! Not really
Something I would have again!
Today is another long day, from Azambuja to Santarem, a distance of 32.5 kms, pretty close to my comfort level. My feet are still with blisters and I had considered wearing my sanders, which I use when not walking. Let me introduce you to Colin and Sandy. When I signed in on Sunday, I noticed an Ausrralian couple had signed in earlier in the afternoon. I thought that it would be lucky if I actually met them. But the next night I met them at dinner at the Hester in Alverca I was staying at.
I met again yesterday several times today. Apparently there are 2 Italians a day ahead of us, and then there are many others on the Portuguese route.
Today's route is 56 per cent on paths or tracks and 44 percent on secondary roads. It began mainly on the former as I walked story distances between villages. They are built close to the River Tajo, a dominant river in Portugal. They have built a huge stop bank protecting the colleges. In 1978 the river actually rose 7.8 metres, endangering the towns, The distance between towns is important, as hopefully a new village will have a cafe, where one can get a stamp as proof that you are walking the Camino, a coffee and something to eat, use of the toilet, and a chance to refill water bottles - I have with me of 600 mill each. Twice today I met Colin and Sandy at one of these stops.
I began today at 7.30am and finished with a straight walk ( no cafe's) of 9.7kms, with a step climb to Santarem and the end. My feet were really painful. I'm staying at the hostel and am hoping for some improvement in my by tomorrow. The weather has been pretty good with just a little drizzle, but tonight it is raining quite heavily. I hope tomorrow brings better weather.
Tomorrow breakfast is provided, and then I want to see something of Santarem as it has an amazing history.
Reflection on today, Perserverence. After yesterday, I wondered if I could ever make 30 kms, but today I did. We need to keep trying and not give up.