Camino Nascente & Carmelita Camino Portugues Portugal Rota Carmelita

Day 7: Fatima – Freixiande to Ansaio

After the rest day yesterday exploring Fatima, I hoped the my feet and right calf would hold up to 26km. I skipped the first 20 km of Rota Carmelita (between Fatima and Coimbra), when I took a rest day yesterday and today I added 6 more kilometers by taking a taxi to Freixiande.

After the now normal routine of breakfast and padding the blister under my foot, I called the taxi driver who had made an offer of 40 € to drive to Freixiande. She told me she would be there in ten minutes. Thirty minutes later her husband turned up. His English was excellent and we talked about Portugal, the weather, walking and a few other things before we reached our destination. The meter read 42,08 € when we stopped, but he charged me 40€. I am very impressed with the integrity of the Portuguese taxi drivers.

I left the small town of Freixande, passing the town square and the church. The weather was beautiful, already 18 degrees and full sunshine. The path was very well marked, so there were no problems finding my way as I passed through a few villages in a lightly populated area. 

It was up and down all day, but very varied both along paths and along small country roads without traffic, passing scrub and olive trees and the occasional orange tree, from which I plucked a couple of oranges. I didn’t pass a cafe today, so the oranges were a great refreshment and tasted great. 

The path following the banks of the Rio Nabao river, many places covered with flowers. It was extremely beautiful and peaceful.

With about 10 kilometers to go, at Venda do Negro, the Camino de Santiago from Alvaiazere meets the Camino de Carmelita, so I no longer need to follow the blue arrows and signs backwards, but instead can follow the shell associated the Camino.

The paths became wider for a time before a final big climb and even bigger descent into Ansiao. Actually the path had risen in altitude for about 10 kilometers, since passing the 11 km mark. I entered the town and stopped to  check where I was staying. I was standing outside the door. It was another unmanned hotel where I needed to find the mail they sent with a code to the front door and a code to the box containing the key to my room. The set up, like the room itself, is super modern.

After a rest and shower I walked into town to find somewhere to eat. The town was empty. The most recommended place sold cakes, the next was fully booked. I walked around without finding anything. I finally went into a bar, where the sign said bar and restaurant, and asked the bartender if one could eat. He showed me into a dark room, turned on the lights, and there were tables ready for guests.

I’d hardly sat down when he asked if I wanted soup, and then lamb stew or mixed grill. Two minutes later a large vegetable soup materialised and as soon as that was finished the stew – lamb, potatoes, carrots and bread. Enough to feed at least two people amply, and with more lamb than my wife would serve to four people. Lamb was followed by a choice of dessert- I chose flan, as I often do in Spain and Portugal.

Other people arrived to eat and they had more choice. I asked for the bill – all the food and a generous mug of wine cost a total of 13€, amazingly cheap. I looked at the menu as I left – I had been given a so called Pilgrim Menu. It is fantastic that restaurants do this for pilgrims!

My leg had stiffened whilst sitting in the restaurant, so I hobbled back to the hotel and fell asleep almost immediately.

It had been a very pleasant walk, not least the first part along the river. The blister on the sole of my foot wasn’t happy, but it wasn’t causing too many problems, and walking wasn’t too much of an issue. The only downside was that I lost my water bottle, a gift from VELUX and which I have had with me since I walked in Japan.


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