Day Three on the Camino Portugués
~ Azambuja to Santarém, 33.94 Kilometers (21.09 Miles)

Our day three on the Camino Portugués was through miles and miles of fertile, open farmland north and east of Azambuja. The day was hot, dry and with a steep uphill climb into Santarém at day's end. 

"I think everybody has their own way of looking at their lives as some kind of pilgrimage. Some people will see their role as a pilgrim in terms of setting up a fine family, or establishing a business inheritance. Everyone's got their own definition. Mine, I suppose, is to know myself." ~ Eric Clapton


Map and Stats of Day Three on the Camino Portugués

Here is my Google map that I created from my Geotracker App. I included the stops we made along the way, for food and accomodation. 

Interactive Google Map of Day Three on the Camino Portugués

If you are interested in seeing the above route with all our photos superimposed, please click on this link: Day Three Camino Portugués Route with Photos. 

Here is the elevation stats for day three as well. You can see the hearty climb at the end of the day:

Elevation Map of Day Three, Camino PortuguésElevation Map of Day Three, Camino Portugués

Photo-Rich Travelogue of Day Three on the Camino Portugués

We started our day at the Café Tatlana, the same place we had dinner on day two. The proprietress, ultra-pilgrim-friendly, served us at 7:00 a.m. so we could get an early start to beat the heat. While her son from the prior evening was fluent in English, she didn't speak a lick! Somehow we managed to communicate, with me speaking in mostly Spanish. 

She made us sandwishes to carry out, since this leg has very little services, and none after Porto Muge. We were happy and content to have plenty of food for this day, when we set off.

Our Swiss friend joined us for pastries and café con leite. He sadly informed us that he would not be walking with us today, but was going to take the day off and take the train to Santarém. His reason was that it was too hot to walk. 

We had expected this, and agreed to meet up in Santarém later. He would spend the day relaxing around town and hopefully, he would feel better tomorrow. We were not unhapppy, and looked forward to walking, just the two of us. 

After recieving hearty hugs and Bom Caminho's from our "Camino Mother," Rich and I began our day. We crossed over the railroad tracks at the Azambuja train station, below. 

Azambuja Train Station, PortugalAzambuja Train Station

After crossing the tracks, the day immediately begins on the pavement, on the N3-3. For many kilometers we will join the N3-3, then divert, only to rejoin it again on the way to Valada, where we planned our first break after about 13 km.   

Elle on the N3-3, East of AzambujaElle on the N3-3, East of Azambuja

After about 2 kilometers, you reach this bridge, with the sign below. 

Elle on Estradas de Portugal Bridge, AzambujaElle on the Estradas de Portugal Bridge

Immediately after crossing the bridge, the waymark, below appears...

Waymark after the bridgeWaymark After Bridge

and leads you sharply left and back toward the bridge on this lane, below. You can see the prominence of the Fátima waymarking, and the small yellow arrow for the Camino de Santiago. 

Turn sharply off the N3-3 hereTurn Sharply Off N3-3 Here

The paths and tractor lanes we followed next were lovely and inviting, and if you look closely, you will see the herd of horses, following along the irrigation ditch to the right. They were skittish and would not stop to even look at us.

Tractor Lane, Canal and HorsesTractor Lane, Canal and Horses

The shortcut diversion from the N3-3 on these farm lanes, was nice enough, as the morning was still cool. Here is Rich posing for me in the wide open spaces.  

Land Spreading Out Far and WideLand Spreading Out Far and Wide

After approximately another 2-3 kilometers, the gravel road led us to a small airport, the Aeródromo de Alqueidâo on the map. The airport is up ahead at the cluster of buildings. 

Walking Toward the Aeródromo de Alqueidâo and the N3-3Walking Toward the Aeródromo de Alqueidâo and the N3-3

When we reached the buildings, and the entrance to the airport to the right, the lane comes to a "T" interesection and joins the N3-3 again. The sign points left to Valada, our destination for our first break. 

Turn Left Onto the N3-3 Towards ValadaTurn Left Onto the N3-3 Towards Valada

We were not all that thrilled to be joining the pavement. The road ahead appeared long and open and day three was warming up rapidly. We knew we had a full 13 or so kilometers to the first café in Valada. 

The Seemingly Endless Pavement of the N3-3The Seemingly Endless Pavement of the N3-3

As Rich and I walked alone along this seemingly never-ending stretch of pavement, we discussed the situation regarding our Swiss friend. While we were relieved to be free of the "Barnacle," at least for the day, he had been our only companion on the Camino thus far. We did truly feel sorry for him. 

We really couldn't tell if he was happy to be taking a day off, or not. On the one hand, he was very cavalier aand then turned stoic on the prior two days. When we discussed the weight of his pack and asked him when he was going to mail some things back to Switzerland, he would just look at us and not reply. 

Yet on the other hand, he appeared to want to meet the physical challenge of the Camino. He was used to the Alps and loved to hike them. 

It was obvious that our Swiss friend did not like to be wrong about things. He never sought our advice. He was very instructional with us, on how to use our hiking poles in a Nordic walking fashion and with other hiking tidbits. He was also quite opinionated and somewhat set in his ways. 

He freely expressed his dislike of the lack of cleanliness on the Camino, with dogs roaming freely and leaving their marks on the trail, in addition to visible garbage.

He did not appreciate the Portuguese food and never said much about what he ate. He continued to greatly appreciate the Portuguese beer over the food. 

This was his first Camino, and we began to think that perhaps it was our purpose, to help him learn how to be a pilgrim, how to become more adaptable to a different way of being? We mulled this over in our discussion for awhile.

We knew that we would have to tread delicately and wait for when our friend was open to learn. I was secretly hoping that I would not meet up with the Barnacle again. But I was willing to be present to him and his experience. I may have no other choice!

I seem to always find myself in situations where I am to help otheres, whether or not I choose it. If this was my destiny with the Barnacle, it was easy enough to accept. 

Rich and I walked on, happy enough to be with only each others company. It was a nice reprieve.

We were definitely walking through the rich farmland of the alluvial plain of the Río Tejo. Being that it was April, the readying for planting was in full swing. I loved to watch the farmers do their earth-work as we walked by. 

Tractor Readying the Field for PlantingTractor Readying the Field for Planting

Here the Camino Portugués veers to the right, to stay on the N3-3.

Right Turn to Stay on N3-3Right Turn to Stay on N3-3
Rich Waves to a Farmer as He PassesRich Waves to a Farmer as He Passes

As you continue to follow the Fátima route (with the yellow Caminho de Santiago arrow), just before Reguengo, the Camino turns left to stay on the N3-3. As you can see, the hostel signs start already appearing for Santarém. 

Turn Left to Stay on the N3-3Turn Left to Stay on the N3-3

In Portugal, a large, wine-growing estate is called a Quinta. Here I am, posing in front of the entrance to the first one we walked by on day three of our Camino Portugués.

Quinta do Alquedâo, Valada, PortugalElle at the Quinta do Alquedâo
The Quinta's VineyardsThe Quinta's Vineyards
The Field Ready for PlantingThe New Field Ready for Planting

The verdant countryside truely was beautiful, even if the way was long and warming up rapidly. 

The Road Towards Reguengo, PortugalThe Road Towards Reguengo

At around 10 kilometers, we arrived at the small town of Reguengo. The sign below welcomed us!

Welcome to Renguengo, PortugalWelcome to Renguengo

There are no cafés in Renguengo, but walking through town is delightful. The roadway and the Camino are on the dike by the Tagus River, now ever on our right, to the East.

Río Tejo Dike Through TownRío Tejo Dike Through Town
Gorgeous Portuguese Wall Murals, in Renguengo, PortugalGorgeous Portuguese Wall Murals

Leaving Renguengo, the Wisteria grew wild along the road.

Wild Wisteria Along the N3-3, Renguengo, PortugalWild Wisteria Along the N3-3

In a few more kilometers, the road forks, and the Camino Portugues bends to the right. Here is Rich, at the Welcome to Valada sign. 

Right Turn off the N3-3 Into the Town of ValadaRight Turn off the N3-3 Into the Town of Valada

My Geotracker said we had done 13.36. If this were true, we were more than a third of the way into our day three on the Camino Portugués. A good time for a break. 

Entering Valada, Portugal on the Portuguese WayEntering Valada

There are several cafés in Valada, and two of them were open when we walked through. There are also two albergues in Valada. Consult the accomodation guide that I provided to see them. There is also the Casal das Areias, which comes highly recommended by pilgrims, if you wish to stay in a family-run hotel. The link will take you to booking.com.

We stopped, here at the Mano Velho for iced tea and of course, café con leite. It was right along the Portuguese Way ~ very convenient and inviting. 

Café Mano Velho in Valada, PortugalCafé Mano Velho in Valada

After our 30-minute break, we rejoined the route which continues to follow the dike along the river. The paved Camino stones here were attractive, but a bit hard on the feet and legs. 

Valada DikeValada Dike
Rich Sitting on Bench on the Camino Along the Dike in Valada, PortugalRich Sitting on Bench on the Camino Along the Dike in Valada

After Valada, the Camino eventually drops down off the dike and joins the road, with lovely wild poppies to grace the Way!

Rua Profa Julia Albine Gomes Pimenta Towards Porto MugeRua Profa Julia Albine Gomes Pimenta Towards Porto Muge
Rua Profa Julia Albine Gomes Pimenta Turns to a Gravel Lane towards Porto MugeRua Profa Julia Albine Gomes Pimenta Turns to a Gravel Lane towards Porto Muge

On day three of the Camino Portugués, we continued to follow the dike. as the streets become more rural and change from one name to another on the way to Porto Muge, the next and final large town. 

Rua Cova da Onca Along the Tejo RiverRua Cova da Onca Along the Tagus River
Rua do Morgado Towards Porto MugeRua do Morgado Towards Porto Muge

I loved the beautiful blue and white rowhouse along the way!

Attractive Rowhouse Along the Rua do MorgadoAttractive Rowhouse Along the Rua do Morgado

You know you are nearing Porto Muge when the houses are on both sides, and up on the dike!

Nearing Porto Muge on the Rua do MorgadoNearing Porto Muge on the Rua do Morgado
Porto MugePorto Muge

By the time you reach this bridge at Porto Muge, you are 17 kilometers into your day ~ halfway into day three on your Camino Portugués!There is accomodation here, if you chose to stay, and cafés.

Perhaps the most important thing here, under the bridge is a small house, with restrooms! We both took advantage of that public feature. They are easy to see, right along the route which walks under the bridge. 

The Bridge across the Río Tejo in Porto MugeThe Bridge across the Río Tejo in Porto Muge
Quinta das PalmeirasQuinta das Palmeiras

The only open café we actually saw was the Café Tofa, below, right after the Quinta das Palmeiras, in the photo above. This is the last café before you get to Santarém, so consider this before you walk on by! It is a long, hot and dusty open road after this! You are only halfway here at this café with a full 17 kilometers to Santarém.

Café TofaCafé Tofa ~ Last Café Until Santarém

Since "cervejaria" means brewery, careful how much great beer you drink. You WILL regret becoming dehydrated on this next stretch of road!

We did not stop here, as we had food in our packs, and plenty of water for the rest of the day. It was about 11:30 when we left the Porto Muge area, and the day was already very, very hot. 

We walked on past the café along the Rua do Sabugueiro.

Rua do SabugueiroRua do Sabugueiro - Still Following the Dike

Often we had a choice to walk up on the path on the dike, or on the street below. We found it to be cooler, and with a breeze from the higher path. 

The paved road at last gives way to this dusty lane, heading into the farmland, at this old quinta, the Quinta da Burra. At least one guide lists a country hotel under this name, but I saw no evidence of this place as a hotel. 

Where the road turns to dirt, there is about 12 kilometers left to Santarém on day three of the Camino Portugués.

A man was peering out shyly, as we walked by:

A Local Peers Out on the Rua do SabugueiroA Local Peers Out on the Rua do Sabugueiro

The dusty lane persists along the dike...

Back to the Open Fields, on the Camino Portugués Towards SantarémBack to the Open Fields, Towards Santarém

and walks past the lovely Quinta das Varandas, manor house on day three of the Camino Portugués.

Quinta das VarandasQuinta das Varandas

The farm workers were active along the way, planting these small plants from the blue chairs on the planting equipment to the right. 

Portuguese Planting Equipment on the Camino near Santarém.Planting Equipment

Somewhere several kilometers into the long dusty lanes, at our 20 km point, we stopped for a picnic. We walked a ways until we found a shady area, in a field to eat the food that we had packed from our breakfast café. It was a nice big sandwich, and our Camino Mother had thrown in extra pastries, for no charge! A nice surprise and a nice, large meal with sweets to rejuvinate us and get us geared up for the last 14 km or so. 

We took a long break, airing out our tired and hot feet. It was mandatory, I thought, for the prevention of blisters. 

Despite the food, the stretch after lunch felt like a long, long way. We walked on in the heat for some time, just put our heads down, and tried to listened to music to escape. 

The Way is apparent, as the Dike Becomes More NaturalThe Way is Apparent, as the Dike Becomes More Natural

As the vista opened, we thought that it must be Santarém up ahead on the hill. Wow, did that look far away! By my best estimation, it was still at least 10 kilometers away when I shot this photo. 

First Glimpse of Santarém, Far Ahead on the HillFirst Glimpse of Santarém, Far Ahead on the Hill

Finally, at this juncture, below, where we arrived around 2:30 in the afternoon, all at once, the pilgrimage traveler can see the tall towers of a bridge ahead. This viaduct carries the superhighway, the A3 across the Río Tejo, just before Santarém. It gave us some hope, as perhaps Santarém was getter near!

You can see the white towers if you look closely in the photo below:

Photo of vineyards and Santarém ahead on the hill, PortugalTurn Left Here at T

The day had grown brutally hot and I took out a bandana and wet it to put under my baseball cap, to help cool me down. It helped for only the few seconds it took the water to evaporate! But I was still grateful for the shade on my neck. We fantasized about a sun umbrella. Didn't know how practical this would be?

Endless Vineyards, with the Goal of Santarém  Ahead on the HillEndless Vineyards, with the Goal of Santarém Ahead on the Hill

Out of nowhere, a young Spanish pilgrim caught up to us in the vineyards, and slowed down to only chat a bit. He was looking for a café, he told us that he had heard about in a town at the base of the hill to Santarém. He was wondering if we had heard of it. 

I was doubtful that he would find this café and as it turned out, we saw nothing in the town he was referring to (Ómnias) ~ there was nothing at all between Porto Muge and Santarém proper. 

After our brief chat he quickly gained distance from us, as we struggled to walk faster in the brutal heat. It was just not happening! Slow and steady wins the race. 

In the last 10 km we had gone through field after field of tomatoes and vineyards, passed quintas and old estates, many that were quite rundown. 

When you come to this T intersection, below, you are ending the portion of the Camino on the farmer's lanes. 

Turn Right Under A3 ViaductTurn Right Under A3 Viaduct

After turning right, above, you join this paved stone road, below. Yes, it is cobblestone. I thought my ankle was going to fall apart when I hit the uneven stones. We still had 4 km to go.

I did make Rich stop for a breather, as I took this photo under the magnificent, spring-blooming tree. 

Joining the CobblestoneJoining the Cobblestone

These last 4 km were the most difficult of all. I ran out of water here, but Rich managed to have some for me. Please be sure to carry plenty of water in this stretch. It was brutally hot in April. I imagined what it must be like in August. Nothing short of hell. 

After walking under the superhighway viaduct, the paved road leads to Ómnias, below. 

Entering Ómnias on the Caminho de Fátima on day three of the Camino PortuguésEntering Ómnias on the Caminho de Fátima

In the heat of the day we saw no movement in this town. No cafés. We kept walking.

Here is Rich looking quite disgusted at me for making him stop to snap this photo. The heat was making his mood foul. I wanted to capture the moment. The good, the bad, the ugly, as I promised.

Rich, Not Happy at the End of Day Three on the Camino PortuguésRich, Not Happy at the End of Day Three on the Camino Portugués

Just when we thought it couldn't get any tougher in the brutal heat, after about 30 km, the climb up the hill began. 

While the photo looks serene below, we felt anything but serene. 

The Hill Climb to Santarém Begins on the Portuguese WayThe Hill Climb to Santarém Begins
Tall Buildings of Santarém Ahead on the Portuguese WayTall Buildings of Santarém Ahead

Continuing to walk up the hill, on the Calçada da Junqueira, we entered the city limits. 

At Last, Here the Signpost says, At Last, Here the Signpost says, "Santarém"
Turn Left on Rua de Olívenca Towards Santarém on the Camino PortuguésTurn Left on Rua de Olívenca Towards the Town Center

We walked for what seemed like forever to the first open café and crashed into the first chairs. I ordered iced tea, and guzzled it down. The cold fluid was heaven after the hot water in our packs. 

Then, of course, pastel de nata (cream tarts) to rejuvinate us as well! Here Rich is going for the gusto! He looks pretty ragged, doesn't he? I am so glad he did not snap a photo of me!

Tea and Nata Break in Santarém, PortugalTea and Nata Break

After our break we set out to find our hotel. We had made loose plans to meet our Swiss friend at the Residencial Beirante where he was planning to stay, but after several attempts to call or text him, I could not connect. I was having trouble with the international connections and I wasn't sure what was wrong.

We walked through town, by the main traffic circle, (where the actual Camino goes to the right, refer to day four and see my Google map above) and past the Igreja (church) de Nossa Senhora da Piedade, to the left of the photo, below, and just beyond the Igreja De Marvila, to the right, below. 

Igreja de Marvila MarketplaceIgreja de Marvila Marketplace

This beautiful blue tile building has been converted to a market-place. It was just beyond this market building that we found the Residencial Beirante on the Rua Alexandre Herculano. While this small hotel isn't listed on booking.com, there are many that are, if you wish to book ahead. Just click here.

While the Beirante doesn't get a lot of rave reviews, we found it to be acceptable, included in the price of 30 Euro for a double room, a huge breakfast at 7:00 a.m. the next day which was quite nice to start off our day four. 

As fate would have it, we ran into our Swiss friend at the Residencial as we were checking in! When we realized we would not be able to call or text in the convential manner, we set up WhatsApp to communicate over wifi, in the future. 

We agreed to regroup, and meet up in a few hours for dinner. Rich and I cleaned up and walked around the town for a bit. The town of Santarém is lovely. It would actually be worth it to spend a rest day here, as our Swiss friend did. 

We chose the Restaurante Caravela for dinner, see map, and we had a lovely pork dish, sauteed in butter and garlic, with rice, chips and a salad. It was a perfect and hearty meal for a pilgrim.

As we conversed over dinner, our Swiss friend finally confessed that he had a blister on his one little toe. He wouldn't discuss the severity of it, and when I offered to treat it (I am a nurse) he said he was fine, and would take the subject no further. He agreed that he realized that his feet were swelling and his boots were indeed, too tight. He did, however, want to join us again in the morning for the next day's walk.

Ahh, yes, it was indeed my fate to help the Barnacle, in whatever fashion he would allow. Unable to state that we preferred to walk alone, I accepted that it was our task perhaps, to help him learn how to be a pilgrim. 

After imbibing in lots of Portuguese wine with dinner, I realized that there was little light left in the day, and I wished to see the famous Portas do Sol at sunset. I asserted the partying gentlemen that I was going to the look-out now, that they would have to settle the account when they finished their wine, as I raced away from the table. 

Lessons Learned on Day Three, Camino Portugués

Knowing myself, as in the above quote from Eric Clapton, served me well today. Knowing that I can indeed, as an experienced pilgrim, reach down deep to do what needed to be done to walk the entire route on day three brought me comfort and a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. 

Day three on the Camino Portugués could have been worse. It could have been a mud slog in pouring down rain! Or we could have had issuses like the wildfires impeding the route, as what had tragically occurred later in 2017.

While the heat was torture, walking slowly and steadily while drinking lots of water, got it done. I could still do it. A full 34 kilometers. 

I had also renewed my life's committment to do what I could to help others ~ in this case our Swiss friend as he learned how to become a pilgrim. What I knew about myself is that with him, the approach had to be tender, kind and suggestive, instead of direct and instructional. I believed I was up for the challenge. 

On this day three of our Camino Portugués, with Rich and I examining our values and our strengths, we knew that we both had what it took to be examples on how to be pilgrims and how to help those who chose to be helped. 

Despite our friend's struggles, he was hoping to orchestrate our Camino as well as his own. I also learned that I can assert my own self, my own Camino, to do what I had to do to walk my own pilgrimage. I had subtly stated at dinner that we were no longer going to stay in hotels, but that to meet other pilgrims, if we had the choice, we needed to stay in albergues. Because the Barnacle, was just that, a Barnacle, he agreed to try an albergue the next night. 

While I was not sure if a walking pilgrimage through Portugal was our Swiss friend's idea for gaining self-knowledge, what lay in store for us traveling together was yet to be determined. If the Barnacle was still attached, so be it. 

Salutation

May your own day three on the Camino Portugués be full of self-examination and self-knowing as you become the best pilgrimage traveler that you can be! As it has been said, if you want to know God, get to know yourself! 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)


And the Journey Continues:




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