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Day 4: Rogil to Asseiceira

Breakfast was at 8am at the baker next door to the hotel – the owners own the hotel and the baker. Through a gradual dialogue with the lady behind the desk, who was putting bread and cakes in a display, I went from orange juice and a croissant, which wasn’t particularly filling, followed by a spinach muffin, then bread and cheese and finally a pastel de nata with sweet potato – I ended up more than ready for todays 28km.

The day started coldish and misty and with firm tarmac under my feet – 5 plus kilometers of sand came later. I met some cows out for a walk, if you look closely their front feet are tied together.

Yet again today, no surprise really, the views along the coast were spectacular. I hope the pictures do justice.

Based on the footprints in the sand, most people walk from north to south whilst I walk in the opposite direction. I’d rather have the sun behind me than walking towards it. Also, it’s easier to take photos with the sun behind you than taking into the sun. My experience of walking is that you see what is in front of you and are not as good as looking backwards to see if you missed something. Today I met many walkers, all walking towards me, I wondered if we all had started on Saturday and now were meeting in the middle of the trail. I at least passed 100km today.

The profile today was similar to other days, a few steep descents and climbs, but generally shorter than the previous days, some road, some sand and some normal trails. Especially the drop to the coast at Azenha do Mar was steep. Like yesterday, I had to walk inland from the beach at Odeceixe, which is on the coast, to the village of Odeceixe, and back again. As you can see from the map below, after 10km out and back, one is a few hundred meters from where one started. The extra walk is due to the Seixe River reaching the coast, and the first crossing is the village, leading to the 10km round trip. I met one person who took the chance and crossed the river at the beach. I was told that during summer somebody takes a few Euros to ship you across in a boat, and that it can be risky to walk due to holes and the undercurrent.

I took a coffee in Odeceixe. Everybody seemed to be from the Indian sub-continent, including the guy who ran the coffee shop, and a house that I passed with 50 or so Indian looking people sitting outside. The area is known for farming fruit and salads, and manual labour is hard to find amongst the Portuguese, thus the large influx.

Beyond the beach, which has been voted as one of Portugal’s best, there is a windmill and a number of brass sculptures depicting life “now and then” in Odeceixe. On the bottom picture above, I am back at Odeceixe beach after the 10 kms.

The place I am staying tonight does not serve dinner and is literally in the middle of nowhere. I arrived at Azenha do Mar at 3 o’clock, ca. 4 kms away from the place I was staying.

Luckily there was a restaurant on the sea front, packed primarily with tourists. I took a late lunch of goat cheese and tomato on toast and a monkfish, shrimp and rice casserole – delicious. Portions are large here, and I am sure two could have shared this meal and still be full up. I uncharacteristically passed on dessert as I had eaten a coconut and almonds cake with my coffee in Odeceixe, three or so hours before. Most of the waiters in the restaurant were from Nepal.

I walked the last ca. 4 kms to the hotel along the coast and then inland, passing large forms producing rows and rows of salad, fenced in to keep unwanted creatures out.

I arrived at the guest house, Casa da Seiceira, at around 5.15, and am staying in a traditionally decorated and nice room. It’s 10 o’clock here, so I will logoff for today.

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