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Day 5: Asseiceira to Almograve

I woke up to the sound of rain for the first time during this vacation. I’d slept well, but woke up 5 or 6 times with muscle pains, but fell asleep again once l changed position.

Breakfast was with a Slovenian tour guide, who was in Portugal to find new walking trips for her clients and two Portuguese salesmen, who sold fishing tackle. We had a good talk about Portugal and not least walking in Portugal whilst I kept an eye on the rain. Breakfast was excellent with local cheeses and bread, as well as fruit, egg and ham.

I finally took the plunge and out in the rain with my rain poncho. It took me five minutes to get the poncho over my backpack, and five minutes later it had stopped, but remained cloudy. Following a short walk along a path back towards the coast, it was back in the sand going north to Zambujeira do Mar mainly along the coast.

Zambujeira do Mar is a nice town overlooking the beach with a church set apart so that it stood out when approaching the town. The town was a respite from the sandy trails. Most are OK to walk on, but still,  5km of soft sand takes its toll and slows you down. As I left the town, the bell of the local church rang for 12 o’clock as I left the town.

I walked towards the next, Cavaleiro, but the weather was looking ominous. At exactly 1 o’clock it began to rain. I put my poncho on, after the usual 5 minutes to get it over the backpack, but soon the rain was so heavy that I had to stop and use all my rain gear- trousers, jacket, backpack cover and poncho. I met a few people going in the opposite direction, some wearing full rain gear, others taking no regards to the rain. They probably knew it would only last an hour.

It wasn’t all beautiful cloves and beaches today, there was a 2 kilometer stretch of road that went straight with absolutely nothing to see and a sandy path away from the coast with mimosa bushes starting to bloom, but so close to each other on each side, that it was difficult to get through them, and the path was all cut up by motorbikes, so it was difficult to find a footing. There was a steady flow of fellow walkers throughout the day, all walking in the opposite direction to me. We’d exchange hellos and nice trip and a quick comment about the view or the weather, but little more.


It was still raining as I passed Farol Cabo Sardao, a lighthouse in the middle of nowhere but in the middle of a beautiful nature. I continued towards Cavaleiro, deciding against a short cut that would save a 3km trip inland to the village, and back again, but turned out to be a rocky descent to the beach and up again on the other side. 

The town didn’t have much to offer and the local bar was packed with farmers eating lunch, so I passed, still in all my rain gear. Walking out of town along a sandy path, I found a soaked 5 Euro lying on the path. It wasn’t long before the rain stopped, so I decided to take a break and eat the lunch I had brought along – a cheese sandwich and a piece of cake from this mornings buffet. I always take off my shoes and often my socks when I have a break, but as I put my shoes on again, I could see that a big hole had developed in the upper part of my right shoe. It was a catastrophe as these are my wet weather shoes. Contemplating what to do about the hole, I carried on towards today’s destination Almogarve.

I passed a stork that had built a nest on top of one of the rocks.

It cleared up and the sun started to shine (and I forgot to put sunscreen on) and there was more sand and beautiful vistas. However, the situation with the shoe was on my mind, and I was tiring of walking in sand. On top of that, I was concerned by the fact that I had planned to walk 36km the next day, and according to some people I spoke to, the last 20kms would be all sand.

Just before Almogarve, the coastal path turned into a stone road. I met a group if guys from Nepal, who were in Portugal working on farms, whilst their families were at home in Nepal. They were on their way to the beach to watch the sun set.  I reached the hostel at 17.30, unpacked and had a shower, feeling sorry for myself about the shoes and worried about the 36kms tomorrow. Salomon X Ultra GTX have always been my wet weather shoe, and this is my 3rd pair. I loved version 3, which I used in Japan, but version 4 were never as good (in my opinion). I use Brooks Cascadia as my dry weather shoe, and swap between them.

I decided to put it aside and decided to go and find something to eat. An American couple from Seattle were in the kitchen and I spent 30 mins chatting with them. They were avid walkers, he’d done the Pacific Rim walk amongst other long and challenging walks, so I am just a novice in relation to him. We shared a glass of the their wine (he didn’t drink, so she she argued she’d never get through the bottle anyway) and we chatted about our trips, experiences and life in general. It was a nice break. They mentioned that they had met a couple of Danes in town staying at a different hostel, who were also walking south.

We said our goodbyes and I ventured into a town that was pretty much dead, except for the Danish couple also looking for somewhere to eat. We chatted and ended sharing s pleasant evening at the only place in town that was open – the local bar come restaurant. The lady behind the bar made veal and fried sliced potatoes in a garlic sauce/soup. It was a large portion and we were full up when we left – after they had shared a glass of their home brewed snaps with us.

It was nice to have dinner with somebody and went to bed thinking it would all work out – we’ll see!

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