Day Six on the Camino Portugués
~ Tomar to Alvaiázere, 32.54 Km (20.22 miles)

Day six on the Camino Portugués was another long stage, cooler and more hilly as we finally left the hot lowlands for the terraced olive groves and eucalyptus forests. We would also solidify our relationship with our Camino friends who would be our true Camino companions. 

"The true professsion of a man is to find his way to himself." ~ Hermann Hesse

If you think you know yourself, the Camino will make you think again. Once again, this stage humbled us as we sought to find the right balance. 

Map and Stats of Day Six on the Camino Portugués

Here is my map that I created from the Geotracker application, and uploaded the files to Google maps. We stopped at no cafés at all along the way on day six, so I have only marked our hostel andhotel where we stayed. There are very, very few services on this days journey, so plan accordingly. We had a full pack of supplies from our rest day in Tomar, so we did not need a food stop. 

Interactive Google Map of Day Six on the Camino Portugués

If you want to see where exactly my photos were taken, click here, for the same route map, as above, but with my photos superimposed on it.

As you can see from my elevation statistics, below, from my Geotracker, there is significant climbing on day six of the Camino Portugués. The day is full of ups and downs, but progressively more ups than downs! The climbing is gradual, with a few steep spots.

While this is a difficult day as far as length and elevations changes, for some reason, perhaps because of the coolness of the day, having had a nice rest day the day before, the interesting scenery and good company in the final kilometers, I didn't feel quite as exhausted as in the prior long days. 

Elevation Statistics for Day Six, Camino PortuguésElevation Statistics for Day Six, Camino Portugués

Photo-Rich Travelogue of Day Six on the Camino Portugués

As previously stated, we woke up to a cooler morning, cloudy and with a breeze. It was much cooler than our prior days. Halellujah!

The Hostal 2300 Tomar was full our second night there, because of the long Easter holiday weekend. Our day six was Good Friday, and we had made reservations the previous day for Alvaiazerre just to be sure that we had a place for the night.

With albergues costing about 10 Euro/night each, for two of us, the difference between 20 Euro and 30 Euro for a guarenteed bed was insignificant to us. 

When you start out for the day from your accomodation, cross the Nabão River on the Rua Marquês do Pombal. This is the northernmost bridge in the center of Tomar.

Almost immediately, head north (left turn) on the Rua Centro Republicano. As often is the case in Portugal, the road quickly changes it's name to the Rua Fábrica da Fiação as it walks by colorful row houses. Below is a photo of what it looked like leaving Tomar in the early morning on the Rua Fábrica da Fiação. 

Leaving Tomar in Early Morning on Rua Fábrica da FiaçãoLeaving Tomar in Early Morning on Rua Fábrica da Fiação

You can see in the photos that it was quite cloudy. As you get farther from the city center, the road joins a canal of the Nabão River.

As you stroll out of town, you can see the templar castle behind your left shoulder, as you gain elevation. It was fun for me to take my final glimpses of it as we left town. 

Following the Canal on the Rua Ponte da Vala on the Portuguese WayFollowing the Canal on the Rua Ponte da Vala

In about 1.5 km, the Rua Ponte da Vala eventually peters out, and becomes a lane, below. 

Lane that Follows the Nabão River on the Portuguese CaminoLane that Follows the Nabão River

This lane, also peters out and becomes a narrow path.

Path by Nabão River on the Portuguese Way.Path by Nabão River
Spring blooming tree in Portugual along the Camino, north of Tomar.Spring Blooming Tree

This path was lovely in the cool spring morning, with birds chirping and the aroma of the flowering trees. I was in heaven. 

The path continues to follow the river until you come to this old structure, a mill perhaps. The trail divides here, and I turned right and up the hill by mistake. (You can see this on the route map, above, if you zoom in.) Stay low, left and down by the river here. I had to retrace my steps back down to the river. I'm not sure how I missed any markings. 

Path along the Nabão River, at mill where path diverges.Path Divides at Mill

This was one of the very few times when I climbed too high and too soon, when I made my mistake! I must have been anticipating the elevation changes for the day.

When I didn't see or hear Rich for a while, I became nervous and turned around. Good thing, as who knows how long I would have kept going the wrong way. 

Following the Nabão River on a Lovely Path on the Camino PortuguésFollowing the Nabão River on a Lovely Path

In not quite 3 km, the path leaves the river, turns eastward, and comes to the "T" below. 

Turn Left at Turn Left at "T"

One needs to turn left onto the wider lane. 

Lane Towards Ponte de Peniche on the Portuguese CaminoLane Towards Ponte de Peniche

At about 3 km, the Camino path walks over this ancient bridge, below, the Ponte de Peniche. This double-arched limestone bridge, built in the 16th century was part of an old road that ran from Tomar to Coimbra, according to the Arqueologia Patrimoniocultural website.

Elle on the 16th Century Ponte Peniche BridgeElle on the 16th Century Peniche Bridge

Within a couple hundred meters, the lane walks under the highway, the IC-9, then down a hill past a glorious estate, shown just under the bridge in the photo below.  

Walk Under IC-9 on the Portuguese WayWalk Under IC-9

Lo and behold as you continue walking amongst the vinca, along the path, you re-join the Nabão River. It is on your left. Follow the river for about another one half kilometer. 

Vinca Lines the Path Where it Re-joins the Nabão River on the Portuguese CaminoVinca Lines the Path Where it Re-joins the Nabão River

Shortly you hear a waterfall, and see two abandoned buildings on your left. All of a sudden the nice gravel road makes an abrubt turn to the right (east), and begins to climb up a steep hill. We almost missed the markings as there is a path that continues down below along the river.

As you head up this steep hill, if you look closedly there is a rock with a painted yellow arrow on it. Then you will know you are on the right path. You are now leaving the Nabão River for good and beginning the serious climbing for day six on the Camino Portugués.

Painted Yellow Arrows on Rocks on Portuguese CaminoPainted Yellow Arrows on Rocks on Path

As you head up the hill, look to your right (south). You can see the bridge of the IC-9 that you just crossed under and I also thought I could see the Tomar castle.

At the top of the hill, there is another yellow arrow painted on the rocks, to assure you that you are heading in the right direction.

Climb up a stony lane to the top of a ridge, that looks out over an olive tree grove and village. We were walking a little slower here because the path is a bit steep at places but not too bad. We must gain a total of 2200 ft. (670 meters) on day six.

The morning was still gorgeous, with the sun finally coming out at 6.5 km into our day. Yet it still remained nice and cool. Amen!

Olive groves and a view of the Portuguese countrysideClimb to Top of This Ridge

For the first time it felt to us like a "real" Camnio. despite the lonliness of being the only pilgrims on the road. We knew our Aussie friends were behind us, (we had met them in Tomar), but we knew of no other pilgrims on that day.

As I interpret this feeling from my voice journal notes, after the fact, I realize that what I meant by a "real" Camino, was that it looked more like other Caminos we had been on, with similar topography. This familiar feeling, I realize is a feeling of comfort. It had nothing to do with whether or not this was a "real" Camino!

The nice path ends at this intersection, with the yellow arrow on the pole, telling the pilgrimage traveler to turn right, and onto the Rua Principal, towards Casais. 

Turn Right Onto the Rua Principal, Towards Casais, PortugalTurn Right Onto the Rua Principal, Towards Casais

Before reaching Casais, I noticed that I had a lot to say, and voice journaled quite a bit. After having settled into the first 5-6 km, I began to reflect on my morning of day six on the Camino Portugués. 

The thing that I noticed about myself on this day, is that I had an aversion to even getting up and out of bed. During the night, last night, everything had ached. When I woke up, and dragged myself out of bed, I even had an aversion to eating! I could hardly make myself eat another continental breakfast of just bread, jam and coffee! 

I spoke freely into my voice recorder, spilling out my guts regarding the cultural differences. I just could not understand how Europeans do it, eating mostly carbs for breakfast and then walking for hours! 

Rich and I are protein-lovers and without it in the morning, we feel it! Fortunately, we had bought eggs and hard-boiled them the night before, and had those for breakfast. We also bought meat and cheese and made hearty, protein-filled sandwiches for the day.

The Easter holiday weekend scared us, and we were warned by the locals that not much would be open. We were loaded up with food and were ready for the day!

After walking for one and a half hour, I did settle in and my body did feel better. I do believe that having had protein for breakfast helped me.  I felt like I could go longer before the second breakfast, if needed on this day six of our Camino Portugués.

I felt stronger as we walked. Perhaps it was merely a mental thing, perhaps it really was the protein. Whatever the reason, I do know that as I listened to myself voice journal, that there was clearly hope in my voice. 

Back to Day Six on the Camino Portugués

After joining the Rua Principal, in several hundred meters, the road forks to the right and walks on the Rua Associação into Cascais.

Turn Right on the Rua Associação into CascaisTurn Right on the Rua Associação into Cascais

A lovely fountain greets you as you enter town and you can freshen up. I don't know if the water was potable, but we did not test it. 

Community Fountain in Casais, on the Portuguese CaminoCommunity Fountain in Casais

Unsurprisingly, as we walked through Cascais, the church is the predominant feature. 

Igreja de Casais, PortugalIgreja de Casais

After the church is the usual cemetery, bounded by a high wall. An angel from within, was perfectedly illuminated in the sunlight as we approached. The angel spoke to me from the high wall, elevated so I could see her. I was grateful for the vision and felt safe and happy. 

My Camino angelMy Camino Angel

Another blessing on day six of our Camino Portugués was the orange and lemon trees everywhere. We had timed our Camino perfectly as they were ripe and ready to be harvested.

Orange trees were everywhere, most of them quite neglected! Oranges were rotting at the foot of many a tree, so we helped ourselves to the ones remaining in the trees. They were delicious and unbelievably juicy!

At 8 a.m. we had our second breakfast of two oranges each, right from the tree! The Camino was really providing! It really did feel like a Camino, starting right then! Was the shift in my body, my mind or my soul? 

Onward past Casais, the signpost points to the next town called Soianda.

Signpost to Soianda, on the Portuguese CaminoSignpost to Soianda

In 9 km (5.7 miles), walking through Soianda, the first open cafe appeared, the Café Balroa. Since we had oranges, we did not stop. Not even for coffee. It was all about the rejuvinating oranges!

Café Balroa in SoiandaCafé Balroa in Soianda

A ways onward, at around 10 km we did stop and rest here, sitting on the wall, below. We ate more oranges and some cheese from our pack. We also aired out our feet. Very important for Rich, who's blister was on the mend after the day off in Tomar.

The sign and yellow arrow in the photo below, points the pilgrimage traveler towards Calvinos, the next town. 

Signpost To Calvinos, PortugalSignpost To Calvinos

Just beyond the building, was another fabulous orange tree! Here is Rich, scrambling for a couple more to stash in our packs for the onward journey!

Luscious Abandoned Orange Tree - Rich Helps Himself!Luscious Abandoned Orange Tree - Rich Helps Himself!

Leaving Soianda, one reaches Calvinos, rather directly, on the continuing Estrada Giesteira, below. It is a very quiet, paved road leading you onward. 

Estrada Giesteira to CalvinosEstrada Giesteira to Calvinos

By the time you reach Calvinos, at about 11 km, you are about one-third of the way through your day six on the Camino Portugués.

Entering Calvinos, Portugal on the CaminoEntering Calvinos

Walking through Calvinos, the Estrada Giesteira becomes the Rua Capela. 

Walking Through Calvinos on the Rua Capela on the Portuguese CaminoWalking Through Calvinos on the Rua Capela

Once in town, the Camino turns right on the Rua Principal (Main Street) and we encountered the second open café around 10 km into the day, the Café Cabeleira. 

This was the very last café we saw on day six of the Camino Portugués, so make a wise decision here. There are absolutely no services after Calvinos, so make sure you have sufficient food and water before you leave this town!

Café Cabeleira, Calvinos, Portugal along the CaminoCafé Cabeleira, Calvinos

At this café, the Camino goes left onto the Rua Bairro, shown in the photo above, and the walk continues through Calvinos.

Leaving Calvinos on the Rua Barrio, PortugalLeaving Calvinos on the Rua Barrio

I loved this sign, below, as we left Calvinos. Wish I had done more than just pass through on this fine day six of our Camino Portugués! 

Thank-You For Your Visit ~ Signpost on the Rua BarrioThank-You For Your Visit ~ Signpost on the Rua Barrio
Rua Bairro Onward on the Camino in PortugalRua Bairro Onward

Continuing straight along the Rua Barrio, it becomes the Rua Agostinho Feitas as it walks into a small, unnamed hamlet. (If you discover the name of this town, please let me know!)

A right turn onto the Rua São João, and almost immediate left turn again, at this welcoming fountain in the center of town, below.

Turn Left at This Fountain onto the Rua AlqueidãoTurn Left at This Fountain onto the Rua Alqueidão

After the small hamlet, the Camino continues along the Rua Alqueidão...

Camino Continues Along the Rua AlqueidãoCamino Continues Along the Rua Alqueidão

until it joins the N110, very briefly, and makes a right turn, here on another side road, the Rua Lugar da Boucha. In 50 meters or so, on this road, is the landmark bridge, the Ponte de Ceras. The sign reads "Escoural," but I could find no such town on the Google map!

Ponte de Ceras on the Rua Logar da BouchaPonte de Ceras on the Rua Logar da Boucha

After the Ponte de Ceras, at about 15 km (9.5 miles) into the day, the Way veers to the right, then once again leaving the pavement and onto this lane, below. The lane turns steeply up a hill and to the left.  

Turning Left and Uphill, Into ForestTurning Left and Uphill, Into Forest

Yes, we are now beginning the second steep ascent for the day on tractor lanes. Fortunately for us, it is through a shady eucalyptus forest, at least initially. 

Climbing Through the Eucalyptus ForestRich Climbing Through the Eucalyptus Forest

We found a nice spot to sit for lunch, close to here about 17 km into our day six on our Camino Portugués. Again, we aired out our feet as we picnicked. It was a welcome break, more than halfway through our day. 

Continuing on the forested lane, we even encountered the havesting of the eucalyptus. The growing of these non-native trees for commercial use is a hot topic in Portugal. Click on this article, "The Eucalypt Invasion of Portugal" if you wish to learn more about how this tree, that we all love, impacts the land, the economy and the people. 

At the next intersection in the forest, below, turn left. 

Forest Intersection - Turn Left HereElle at Forest Intersection - Turn Left Here

The tractor lane leaves the forest, and more clearing opens, affording very nice, luch views of the countryside. 

Clearing in the Forest on the Portuguese CaminoClearing in the Forest

The lane gives way to pavement, as we walked toward Portela de Vila Verde.

Walking Toward Portela de Vila VerdeWalking Toward Portela de Vila Verde

The wisteria are growing wild everywhere. I loved it! Even the oldest, most dilapidated buildings have them. They appear to grow like weeds. Here is some just growing along the country lane as we passed. 

Wisteria on Country LaneWisteria on Country Lane

We continued to follow this quiet, paved country lane northward into Portela de Vila Verde. This route essentially parallels the N110 to the east.

Entering the Hamlet of Portela de Vila VerdeEntering the Hamlet of Portela de Vila Verde

Continue along these unnamed quiet, paved country roads, following the waymarks (or my Google map above). 

Unnamed Portuguese Country RoadUnnamed Country Road

After several kilometers from Portela de Vila Verde, you walk through the small town of Casal da Sobreira and come to this intersection, where the way joins the M527.

Joining the M527Joining the M527

It was along this way that we ran into the Aussie couple that we met in Tomar. They had stopped at a bus stop for lunch. We reacquainted ourselves and had a nice chat.

He was on a bicycle, recovering from knee surgery, and she was walking a supported Camino, with most of her gear in the saddle bags that he carried on the bike. Nice for her!

Elle with Aussie MatesElle with Aussie Mates

She continued on walking with us, for the remainder of the day. It helped the final third of our day six on the Camino Portugués fly by much faster, chatting and getting to know her better. 

Continuing on the M527 for only about 1/2 km, we turn sharply left onto another unnamed paved road, then right soon after, to walk again, for about 2 km through a forest on unpaved tractor lanes. This is the final ascent towards the town of Pereiro.

Final Ascent into the Forest Again on Tractor LanesFinal Ascent into the Forest Again on Tractor Lanes

Following the arrows, you come to a large intersection of lanes, shown below. Look closely in the photo for the yellow arrow in the tree, telling you to turn left (west) here. Congratulations, this is the top!

Intersection at the Top ~ 
Intersection at the Top ~ "Alto" in Portuguese

Shortly after turning at the top, the lane leads you eastward and into the north side of the town of Pereiro. 

Entering PereiroEntering Pereiro

Turn north again, right, here at the church in Pereiro. 

Igreja de Pereiro, PortugalIgreja de Pereiro

As you walk north, you enter this majestic cork forest! I love these trees!

Through the Cork Oak ForestThrough the Cork Oak Forest

In only about 1/2 km, the path joins the N110, below. This short 1/2 km section through the forest is not well marked. After the church, in about 300 meters, you come to a "Y" intersection where there are no arrows. Stay left and it will bring you to the N110.

Here is a biker from Tennessee, one of the few Americans we met between Lisbon and Porto. We met him on the hill climb, resting, and he caught up to us again at the 110. We never saw him again, of course, since he was traveling fast on the bike. 

Tennessee Biker Meets Us on the N110Tennessee Biker Meets Us on the N110

The Camino joins the N110 for a few hundred meters...

Briefly Walk on the N110Briefly Walk on the N110

veers left to shortcut through this complex...

Shortcut to the N348Shortcut to the N348

turns left (west) onto the N348.

I promised to show the good, the bad and the ugly on the Camino Portugués, and this is the ugly 3 kilometers that you need to walk on the pavement into Cortiça.

Walking on the Shoulder of the N348 towards Cortiça, PortugalWalking on the Shoulder of the N348

Here is our Aussie friend, along the N348, 3 kilometers later, when the Cortiça sign post came into view. She kept a brisk pace, with her light day pack. I had a little trouble keeping up!

Entering Cortiça on the N348Entering Cortiça on the N348

At the intersection with the CM115, we passed by this notable landmark, the Casa-Torre de Cortiça.

Casa-Torre de Cortiça, PortugalCasa-Torre de Cortiça

Right after the Casa-Torre de Cortiça the Camino turns right (east) on the CM115. Within about 1/2 kilometer, we turned north (left) again at this intersection, below, toward Outeirinho. 

Turn Left Here Toward Outeirinho.Turn Left Here Toward Outeirinho

Here is a lovely, cobblestone lane, lined with a wall for part of the way. Here is my Aussie friend again, posing for me, but not looking my direction!

Aussie Friend on the Quaint Cobblestone Lane.Aussie Friend on the Quaint Cobblestone Lane.

More glorious wisteria that greeted us on the Rua Principal do Outeirinho as we walked through the town.

Wisteria on the Rua Principal do OuteirinhoWisteria on the Rua Principal do Outeirinho

After walking through Outeirinho, the road by the same name continues northward, then leaves the Camino, as we turned left to walk on an unnamed cobblestone street north and east towards Alvaiãzere. 

Cobblestone Lane Towards AlvaiãzereCobblestone Lane Towards Alvaiãzere

Continuing northward, we followed the waymarks for the last two kilometers on unnamed roads, until it becomes the Rua do Almagre, just before Alvaiãzere.

At this intersection, the Camino makes a left hand turn onto the Rua Nova to walk into town. 

Turn on the Rua Nova into AlvaiãzereTurn on the Rua Nova into Alvaiãzere

Here is Rich and our Aussie friend walking on the Rua Nova. Indeed it looked like a new street, and a bright yellow bike path was incorporated into the pavement.

Follow the Follow the "Yellow Brick Road" into Alvaiãzere

We walked through 2 large roundabouts, the second one joining the Rua 15 de Maio, which in a few hundred meters, ran right by our family-run hotel, the Residencial O Bras, shown below. I had reserved our room the day before, but as it turned out, the hotel was essentially empty except for us and the Aussie couple on this Good Friday evening. 

The Residencial O Bras, Hotel and RestaurantThe Residencial O Bras, Hotel and Restaurant

Our room with private bath at the O Bras was clean, comfortable and inexpensive. The room had a nice balcony that overlooked the town. 

When we went to check in, it was the same day, April 14th 2017, that the USA bombed the ISIS caves in Afghanistan, with "The Mother of All Bombs."

The host looked at our USA passports, rolled his eyes and said something about a "bomba." It was not a good time to be an American. We just smiled, shook our heads and shrugged. What else could we do? In restropect, I should have stated something like, "We walk the Camino for Peace."

There is also an albergue in Alvaiãzere, just a few hundred meters farther on if you wish to go there instead. 

We never actually left the O Bras, after arriving at approximately 4:00 in the afternoon. I was exhausted! After cleaning up, we had a nice happy hour with snacks on the balcony.  

Next, a nice nap, then dinner with our Aussie mates in the attached restaurant. It was so very convenient! They served up a delicious meal. I had the fresh, fried sardines that were to die for! First time I ever had sardines fresh!

We had a delightful evening getting to know our Aussie friends better, eating and drinking the delicious Portuguese wine, that always comes with dinner. Another successful day on the Camino!

Lessons Learned on Day Six, Camino Portugués

Once, again, the stage was longer than stated in our guide. Actually, for me, it was another day of a ridiculous length. My left ankle was quite sore that night.

Even though the day was ridiculously long, the climbing did not feel all that bad. It is a steady and gradual climb mostly, and easy to negotiate. 

We were going to shorten our stages after Tomar, but sadly our day six had no convenient places to stop before Alvaiãzere. This is a day with essentially no services. Instead of trying to find different logistics, like arranging for a taxi service, or looking into buses, we pushed on through the entire stage, once again. 

We did take lots of care with stopping every 10 kilometers, for a 30 minute rest, with an air-out of our feet. That definitely helped! Meeting up with our Aussie friends and chatting along the way also helped our mental status, for me especially. There was no angry voice journaling towards the end of the day! This was a nice switch for me.

Yet the physical balance we were seeking was still missing. If you read on, you will see that this finally was to take its toll. 

Did I know myself any better on this day? I'm not sure. I knew that our Aussie lady friend was traveling swiftly and appeared to dislike slowing down for all my picture taking.

I loved to chronicle my journey (can you tell??), but often I would pause for photos just to slow the pace down. I know this was annoying both to Rich and to our Aussie friend. Oh well.

Yet we still pushed on for 32.5 kilometers, despite my promise to myself to take smaller stages. 

I also learned on this day that indeed, I craved comfort. A pilgrimage will definitely take you out of your comfort zone, and today was no exeption. It is all most certainly part of the experience. In noticing this about myself, it was much easier to deal with. 

I continued to rely heavily on my voice journaling, as a way to quickly process my interior happenings! I have always been a vocal person, so this helped disappate any negativity quickly, and prevented me from burdening Rich too much. 

Deep in my bones, I also I knew that the friendship we were creating with the Aussie couple was more than just a passing fancy. We were really connecting, and I was thrilled to finally feel part of a Camino community, however small, on our day six of the Camino Portugués.

Salutation

May your own day six on the Camino Portugués be filled with self-knowledge, self-wisdom, self-pacing and a sense of community! Ultreia!





***Please note that I will be adding articles for each day that we spent on the Camino Portugués, as I write them. All 26 days! So check back frequently, or subscribe to my feed, to make sure you don't miss any! (To subscribe to my feed, go to the left Navbar, find "Recent Articles," and click on the little orange box on the top right hand corner)


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