Stories and photographs

Camino Portuguese – wayfinding nightmare and blistering heat…

The Pilgrim’s Guide…John Brierley

Trust is like a mirror, you can fix it if it’s broken, but you can still see the crack in that mother fucker’s reflection.” Lady Gaga

The wayfinding nightmare began at the end of Day One. Although we’d heeded the advice of the guide book and taken a taxi to Moscavide to effort the narrow pavements of Lisbon’s industrial area thereby reducing the first days walk, we had little left in the tank to cope with going off route at the end of the day. Given the temperature was soaring up around the 30’s.

By the end of Day Two when the way markers took us away from the guide route and onto a white sandy pathway alongside the rail lines, offering no shelter or refreshment stops the cracks began to show. Early into Day Three walk when the promised refreshment stop at 5kms failed to emerge and we trudged through the muddy tracks between tomato fields then out onto slippery bitum roads our trust in the guidebook was shattered.

Porto De Muge, Camino Portuguese

We had stupidly relied upon the guidebook and had planned our breakfast stop 5kms into the days walk. The early morning banana well and truly burnt off, and no village in sight fatigue in the rising heat became our main concern. Thankfully a couple we’d met the previous day was as puzzled as us about the route, stopped to chat and offered us a muesli bar to share. Another 5.4kms on we hit the first cafe of the day.

It is fair to say John Brierley’s guidebook has been the main topic of conversation between the Pellegrino’s on this walk. It would appear that the natural pathways have changed, perhaps due to access rights however, as I’ve bought the latest and recently updated version we did expect the distances to be accurate – they are not.

Without guaranteed refreshment stops and none of the pop-up drinks and food stops we regularly found on the Camino France’s this is not a route for the unprepared – mentally or physically.

Post script…

Blog written a few days ago… no Wifi to load – in the interim we’ve learnt that John Brierley is back out on the Camino Portuguese and a few days ahead of us. Given people are getting lost out here due to the lack of way markers and walking extreme distances in very hot temperatures you need to up your game, John Brierley.

Blistering heat…

“Heat what heat?” said my friend in France, as their thermometer tipped over 35o while Portugal allegedly waivered around 28o.

Our day…

Camino Portuguese- woodland track Ansiao

Starts at 5.30am, breakfast followed by filling water bladders, packing up the backpacks and then foot taping by our in resident taping specialist Chrissy. Kinesiology tape minimising blisters and providing great ankle support – its revolutionary! To all fellow Pellegrino’s I say ditch the Compeed and learn how to use K-tape or Cure Tape as it is known here in Europe.

Where the bloody hell are we?

We are in Rabacal…according to the guidebook 214.7 kms  from Lisbon however, Brierley’s book understates the distances. As such we’re having to work out how far we can walk without incurring fresh blisters. Yes people, we’re all about the feet!! It does though make for a more enjoyable Camino.

Loving the food, the Portuguese people and just been here in this wonderful country. More about the food and towns when time and Wifi allow. Especially Tomar – we had a rest day here, went out to Fatima then visited the Knights Templar castle in Tomar.

Having to use a combination of iPad and iPhone to cobble together this post – can feel the data leeching out at a rate of knots!!





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