Wild Berries - week 2 (and a half)
Trip Start Feb 15, 2007
29Trip End Jul 17, 2007
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Another easy day, not much to walk. And a nice one too, as a part of the road went along the coastline. The downside was that the coast in this area is full of cliffs, so the road went up and down to get to and from the beaches. As I was nearing my camping site I got to a really beautiful beach, made me want to camp there. Maybe I would, if it were not against the law to camp in the wilderness in Portugal, and if there was not a huge, impossible to ignore, no-camping sign on the beach...
Day 8 - Vila Nova de Milfontes - Alentejo
A rough day to a far camping site, though fortunately not as rough as my 50 km day. :) I begin to understand why Alentejo has this name (beyond Tejo) - there is a whole lot of nothing in this region, sometimes it seems the river Tejo was the last point of reference. It is not that much populated either, there are a lot of cows, a lot of sheep, a lot of small lizards, the occasional snake or rabbit but few people, I can walk a lot without seeing anyone, with the road all to myself. Towards the end of the afternoon I crossed the river Mira and entered Vila Nova de Milfontes, in a very beautiful coastal area. Gotta love these European summer sunsets that drag on for hours.
Day 9 - Sines - Alentejo
This was supposed to be an easy day, with a short walk to a camping site by the beach, but it turned out quite differently than what I expected... There are two factors that, in conjunction, can render a road map useless, and those are: 1 - it does not show all road exits and 2 - the road exits have no signs. I was looking for the signs pointing me to my destination but they were not there, so I missed the first exit. This led me to walk a lot more than I should (and over some hills), but so far it was not a big problem, as I still had the time and the energy to take the second exit. Only it had no signs either... being prepared for that, I tried one or two possibilities, but they led me nowhere. At this time the afternoon was ending and I started to ponder on my options for the night. First one was to ask farm owners for permission to camp in their property, but I could not find the people in the farms nearby, only the animals. Second option was to set up a rogue camp, but I did not want to break the law, at least not unless it is absolutely necessary. Third option, sleeping in the bus stop, was ruled out based on my previous, let's say, not so good experience with this. Fourth option - walking my way out, 7 kilometers backwards to the last town or 25 forward to the next city. I took the 25 forward. It was hard, but I found it a lot easier to walk after sunset - I didn't have to stop once to rest or drink, and that saves a lot of time, considering that at this point if I allow my legs and feet to cool down they hurt a lot when I start again, and it takes me a while to recover my pace. Some drivers stopped to offer me a ride, which I refused, and I eventually reached Sines one hour after midnight. Still had the problem of finding a place to sleep, but then another driver stopped to ask if I needed help and offered to take me to a place he knew. Inside the city, at one in the morning, the ride was gladly accepted.
Day 10 - Sines - Alentejo
Another resting day after once again I ruined my feet. I did some walking around the city to see the beach and the fort, but spent most of my time in bed. There was an interesting event when I stopped to lunch, and I am sorry to my non-Portuguese speaking readers, but I will have to describe it in Portuguese. It is an inside joke, anyway, and went like this:
Ementa - Choquinhos fritos, feijoada de chocos, etc.
Pergunta minha (só para testar) - O que são chocos?
Resposta do garçom - São chocos.
Resposta que teria sido útil - São uma espécie de molusco cefalópode.
That was a deep-rooted laugh.
Day 11 - Santiago do Cacém - Alentejo
Ready to start again, this time heading away from the coast in order to cross two rivers that are giving me some route problems - the Sado and the Tejo. Both are impossible to cross at their mouths, at least impossible to cross on foot. I made a brief stop to admire the cape of Sines and went on. The sun today was incredibly hot (it is surprising how it changed so much so quickly), forcing me to make a lot of stops and making me really tired even though I walked a relatively short distance. This was also the first day where I looked for a place to stay and found some to be full - summer is drawing nigh, and it brings along some problems. I tried to see the castle and roman ruins close to the town, but they were closed because I arrived too late. Well, I could see the castle from the outside at least.
Day 12 - Grândola - Alentejo
The sun was fierce again, and this day I had to go through some hills again. Another short distance walk for an exhausting conclusion, and once more I had some trouble finding a place to sleep. This day I was also forced to start considering giving up, as I took a shower and noticed my feet hurt in contact with the water. They did not look pretty either... This signals the time to put plan B in the oven, so that it may be ready if I need it. We'll see what morning brings.
Day 13 - Alcácer do Sal - Alentejo
My feet told me they could still go on, so on I went. Many drivers offered me rides today, and one guy was particularly insistent, following me and keeping asking if I wanted to go with him. It's kind of creepy when someone insists that much on giving help, definitely feels suspicious. Anyway, after another very tiring day I got to my destination, right after crossing the Sado river. One more river to go and then things will get easier.
Day 14 - Alcácer do Sal - Alentejo
Although I did not walk that much the last few days I had to stop to rest, especially because the next days will give me some trouble, it is complicated to cross the Tejo...
Day 15 - Águas de Moura - Alentejo
I woke up feeling quite well, my feet felt perfect for walking, so I got a quick start. Had some trouble getting out of the city, though, I could not find the link to the road and ended up having to go through some bushes and jump over a fence or two to hit the road. But then all was well. At least all seemed to be well, as I completed the first ten kilometers my feet started to complain. At twenty kilometers they started to hurt really bad - besides the blisters I got strong pain all over the bones. I managed to go 10 kilometers more to my destination for the day, but I could barely move anymore. To make things worse, it seemed there was no place to sleep in the village. I mean no place at all, I asked around and followed people's directions until they started pointing me to go in circles. They told me to ask in a restaurant where I was directed to another restaurant, where they pointed me again to the first restaurant... Great - I was stranded in a village with no place to sleep and hurt feet that in all likelihood will not be able to carry me on this journey any longer. This means it is time for plan B - it's now fully baked and smells great! :D