Camino Portugues Portugal

Day 3: Golega to Tomar

I’m not exactly sure why, but I slept badly. I woke to see that the swelling on my ankle had subsided, and could feel that the muscle I strained yesterday was stiff but OK. I felt that there was a good chance to walk. I woke at 8 o’clock, and as there wasn’t breakfast, I was on the road by 8.40, at first a bit gingerly, but as the muscle warmed up, it felt easier. The pictures below are from the stables I stayed in – in the bottom picture, I stayed in the first floor room on the right.

After passing the equestrian centre, I left town going north via a main road through the countryside – many vines but also some olive trees. The first half of todays 31kms was on small and relatively quiet country roads, whilst the last half was split between tracks, including a fair bit of ascent and descent, a few kilometers on a main road, and a number of smaller roads.

There were many storks flying overhead and I could see that they built their nests in the electrical power pylons.  

I was approaching a village, Sao Caetano, so I hoped there was a cafe as I hadn’t eaten breakfast. As I turned a corner in the village I saw Joao, my fellow walker from yesterday, talking to an old lady, outside her front door. As I drew closer I could see that he was drinking a small cup of coffee. The lady offered me a cup, which I accepted with thanks. They spoke for a few minutes before thanking her for the coffee, taking pictures and continuing on our way.

Barely out of the village we passed Quinta da Cardiga, an abandoned palace/castle and associated buildings. It was built to defend the Tagus river, originally in the 12th Century, and building were added over the centuries, until it functioned as a palace for the friars of Tomar. It was sad to something that had obviously been so grand and beautiful in total decay. Looking for info, I can see that it has been for sale for the past five years for 10m Euros.

We passed through a couple of more villages and found a place where I could get a coffee and sandwich in Barquinha. The village was close to a train station with connections to Tomar, but my legs felt OK, so I decided to continue.

The paths changed from roads to gravel about half way through the day and in difference to the previous post Lisbon days which had generally been flat (except for the climb to Santarem), there were a number of climbs, often steep, but short. We passed an area being de-forested, and Joao explained that the government paid for the removal of eucalyptus trees as they produced low quality wood.

Back on small roads, we passed a super modern looking church in Grou, and continued towards Asseiceira.

With about 10km to Tomar I noted a burning under my left foot. We stopped for a coffee and I put some Vaseline on the affected area and walked on. The ruin below in Asseiceira,  is kept as a tribute to all those who died in the Battle of Asseiceira in 1834. The Igreja da Misericórdia functioned as a blood hospital for both sides in the battle.

We continued towards Tomar, for a few kilometers on a very busy road, before taking some smaller roads into the centre. We met the guy from Israel who we had met yesterday, a few kilometers from Tomar taking a break at the roadside. Walking along the rail tracks, a couple of trains passed us, so there were some service’s running, although not all.

In Tomar, Joao and I said our goodbyes. It’s been great walking with him for the past couple of days. He was continuing north in the direction of Coimbra, whilst I had rest day in Tomar, before heading for Fatima.

I found the hotel where I was staying, in the middle of the old town. I rested for an hour before taking a shower and inspecting the damage to my foot – a blister under my foot, almost certainly caused by the fact that my left foot, which is much smaller than my right, has moved back and forth in my new shoes, as they were bought to fit my right foot. Oh well, another challenge to solve. The muscle I strained yesterday was OK and my ankle was swollen, but not as much as yesterday.

I had dinner close to the hotel, the only person in the restaurant, and not the most memorable meal. As I left, I held the door open for the next couple to enter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *