Spoke to my first pilgrim today. A French man, whose demeanour was quiet and sad. I saw him at the last two B&Bs, as we were the only two there, but didn’t speak with him til he came upon me, at a designated pilgrim stop, just north of Rabacal. We exchanged a bit of conversation, then wished each other a Bom Caminho, and he zoomed past. This small exchange helped me not feel so alone.
I made arrangements to hop a ride halfway on this day, as the cough reared its ugly head again, and I didn’t think a 32 km day would make it any better. The best part was passing through a small hamlet called Zambujal, where Saint James is said to have actually walked through, en route to the Galicia region in Spain. Throughout the area there are dedicated ceramics that show markers, and historical info. The storytelling continued a few kms later in an even smaller hamlet called, Fonte Corbeta.
In the heat of the afternoon, I passed through Conimbriga which houses the oldest Roman ruins in Portugal, before heading to my Hotel which was 2km off the main trail. I was hot and sweaty with a burst blister, and in no mood for the shenanigans of walking longer to find my bed for the night. To say I was in a foul mood is an understatement. When I finally arrived I bit my tongue from the swearing, as it turned out to be a Pousada. Pousadas were started in the 1940s as authentic, historic buildings that were converted to luxury hotels. So boo hoo for me, right? I spent a wonderful afternoon at the pool, then a soak in the tub.
Day 6 Condeixa-a-Nova to Coimbra
Best day on the Camino so far. Up and out the door at 7:15am, and the usual birdsong serenaded me as the day was born. Not so many eucalyptus forests today, more grapes, olives and small veggie farms. Mostly road walking and a bit of a trail. Walked about 24 km and no new blisters. In fact, one of the biggee blisters seems to be giving up.
I found more pilgrims today! A foursome from Australia who all attend the same Church, with one of them being a Priest. The only gal of the group was an Irishwoman who has lived in Aussieland for nine years, and we got on like old friends. She really helped my giddy up to get up all the hills – thanks, Aura! I think we walked together for about 8 or so km, which helped make the time fly by with lots of laughter, a bet on who had the whitest legs and of course we solved all the world’s problems. Side note: on the way into Coimbra we saw a Roman aquaduct that had been cut to allow for a highway!
Tomorrow is a planned rest day in Coimbra – a University town with population of 160,000. My Hotel here has a pool too where I swam and sunned for an hour before doing laundry in the tub. Nothing like roughing it on the Camino, right!
Looking forward to exploring old town tomorrow.