Day Eight on the Camino Portugués
~ Alvorge to Condeixa-a-Nova, 23.33 Km (14.5 Miles)

Our day eight on the Camino Portugués was a walk by Roman ruins, a windmill, a medieval bridge, shrines, wonderful countryside, and a necessary, but short detour to Condeixa-a-Nova.

My left ankle swelling had gone down overnight, with all the pampering I had done to it! It did not feel all that bad on this morning. I was newly charged, on day eight, a glorious Easter Sunday and ready to go. Why was I still willing to walk despite my ankle?

"Le cœur a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît pas." (The heart has its reasons, of which reason knows nothing.) ~Blaise Pascal, mathematician, physicist and philosopher, "Pensées," 1670



Map and Stats of Day Eight on the Camino Portugués

In the route map, below, if you zoom into the start, you will see that walked a couple hundred meters before I remembered to turn on my GPS. I added a "point A, start" from the albergue in Alvorge and a "point B" to where I turned on the GPS. I could not place an exact walking route on the Google map, so what you see is an approximation only of the actual Camino route.

I also placed the albergues/hotels/cafés on the maps that we visited. For a complete list of accommodations, click here

Interactive Google Map of Day Eight on the Camino Portugués

For a map with all my photos included, click here. 

As you can see from the elevation profile below, aside from a few, short uphills, the day was essentially downhill! In the text below, you will see photos of the short climbs at the beginning and the end of this day. 

Elevation Profile for Day Eight, Camino Portugués, Alvorge to Condeixa-a-NovaElevation Profile for Day Eight, Camino Portugués, Alvorge to Condeixa-a-Nova

Photo-Rich Travelogue of Day Eight on the Camino Portugués

Day eight on our Portuguese Camino dawned over Alvorge with spectacular abandon. Here is the view eastward from the albergue. I just love the windmills on the ridge in silhouette. It was a beautiful vision for this Easter Sunday!

Sunrise Over AlvorgeSunrise Over Alvorge

We quickly ate our cold breakfast in the albergue (no kitchen to speak of) and set off by 7:00 a.m. The Camino is just below the albergue at the bottom of the hill, beyond the sign in the picture, below. 

Sign for Albergue de PeregrinosSign for Albergue de Peregrinos

For some reason the friendly man in town, with the key to the albergue, told us to go the opposite direction, up the hill, beyond the church, cross the street and find this lovely path, below. Since we trusted him as a local, we took his suggestion. 

Path Down the Hill from AlvorgePath Down the Hill from Alvorge

The path down the hill is short and sweet and joins the road at the picnic grove, below. If you are passing through Alvorge and need a place to stop, this would be nice.

Path Joins the Road at Bottom of the Hill at Picnic AreaPath Joins the Road at Bottom of the Hill at Picnic Area

If you study my Google map, above, it is really six of one, half-a-dozen of the other, which way you choose to leave Alvorge. Both routes meet up at the same place. I suppose the path beyond the church avoids the pavement, which may be a small advantage, since it is such a short distance. 

In less than a kilometer, we turned right onto this gravel road. 

Misty Walk on a Gravel RoadMisty Walk on a Gravel Road

After crossing the N347-1, we again turned right unto this tractor lane, and began the first short climb of the day. 

Climbing the First Hill of the Day, Into the MistClimbing the First Hill of the Day, Into the Mist

The countryside here was rather rocky and baren, with lots of scrub trees. 

Walking Down the Other Side of the HillWalking Down the Other Side of the Hill
Second Small Incline to the Caminho de Portela a Casas NovasSecond Small Incline to the Caminho de Portela a Casas Novas

After several kilometers on this country lane, the Way turns left onto a road called the Caminho de Portela a Casas Novas for a few hundred meters, then right again here... 

Turn Right Here off the Caminho de Portela a Casas NovasTurn Right Here off the Caminho de Portela a Casas Novas

and onto yet another quiet tractor lane, below. 

Rich on the Tractor Lane Towards First RuinsRich on the Tractor Lane Towards First Ruins

Almost immediately after the turn, we stumbled upon this ancient road. I have no idea who built this road and could find absolutely no information on it. It's a pure guess that it is Roman, since the ruins of Conimbriga lie ahead, and it seemed to make the most sense. If you have information on this, please contact me and let me know! My readers and I would appreciate it!

Elle by an Ancient, Possible Roman RoadElle by an Ancient, Possible Roman Road

Walking onward past the ancient road, the country views are wonderful. 

Onward on Lane to RuinsOnward on Lane to Ruins on Day Eight, Camino Portugués

Rounding the bend and down a slight hill, a large ruin became visible. Again, I am guessing that it is Roman. 

Lane Through the RuinsLane Through the Ruins

This ruined site is mostly a rubble pile, but we did poke around a bit, curious to see what was there. 

Ruin RubbleRuin Rubble

This foundation wall definitely looked Roman to me and my amateur eye. I wish I had asked the locals about it, to verify my supposition, but alas, I did not.

Ruined Building FoundationRuined Building Foundation

After the ruins, continuing to walk on the ridge, the town of Ribera de Alcalamouque is visible ahead. 

View Toward Ribera de AlcalamouqueView Toward Ribera de Alcalamouque

In the middle of this lonely countryside, a beautiful, azulejo tiled shrine appears. It felt quite appropriate on this Easter Sunday morning. We stopped briefly and paid homage to the One who sacrified all for us. 

Left Turn Here at ShrineLeft Turn Here at Shrine

We turned left onto yet another country lane as we walked toward Ribera de Alcalamouque on day eight of our Camino Portugués.

Onward Toward Ribera de AlcalamouqueOnward Toward Ribera de Alcalamouque
Entering Ribera de AlcalamouqueEntering Ribera de Alcalamouque

The country lane ends at a T and the Camino goes right, on the N347-1 through town. 

Turn Right on N347-1 into Ribera de AlcalamouqueTurn Right on N347-1 into Ribera de Alcalamouque

After only about one-half kilometer on the N347-1, we turn right on a cobblestone lane that leads to this wonderful windmill. 

Left Turn at WindmillLeft Turn at Windmill

Yet another beautiful lane walks you right by the windmill, below. 

WindmillWindmill

We followed the arrows, meandering around the countryside, from one tractor lane to another. 

More Quiet Lanes Toward FartosaMore Quiet Lanes Toward Fartosa

Turning northward, away from Fartosa and onward toward Rabaçal, we encountered lots of country charm, like below. 

Old Well Surrounded by GrapevinesOld Well Surrounded by Grapevines

Then the Camino directed us to turn left, onto the pavement, to walk into Rabaçal. 

Left Turn on Pavement Toward RabaçalOur Shadows Point the Way on Pavement Toward Rabaçal

We arrived in Rabaçal to immediately stumble upon the Albergue O Bonito at the intersection with the N347-1, once again. 

Rabaçal Albergue O BonitoRabaçal Albergue O Bonito

Just a few steps farther is the Café Bonito, attached to the albergue, where we stopped for our first break of the day, for what else? - café con leite! 

Café Bonito at the AlbergueCafé Bonito at the Albergue

The proprietress was extremely friendly and insisted in showing me the albergue. It was brand new and absolutely gorgeous! If your stages bring you to Rabaçal for the night, I could definitely recommend this place. It is so much nicer than the parochial albergue in Alvorge.

I do not remember the price/night, if she gave it to me. It is definitely a privado. Here is their Facebook page, click here, for their phone number and photos. 

Across the street from the albergue, you see the church. Of course, I had to stop in to express my gratitude for everything! Inside, the altar to Fátima was one of my favorites along the entire Way. 

Church in RabaçalChurch in Rabaçal
Altar to Fátima in ChurchAltar to Fátima in Church

Here is the signpost at the T intersection of the N347-1 where you turn right to go northward toward Zambujal, our next destination on day eight of the Camino Portugués.

Right Turn back on N347-1 Toward CondeixaRight Turn back on N347-1 Toward Condeixa

Walking on the main street, the N347-1 through town, this closed historic church caught my eye. Too bad I was unable to see inside. 

Historic Church in RabaçalHistoric Church in Rabaçal

A few short two or three hundred meters later we again turn right, off the N347-1 and in the direction of Penela at this juncture. 

Right Turn on M563 toward PenelaRight Turn on M563 toward Penela

When I studied the map, if I had known, we would not have had to have taken the longer Camino route into Rabaçal at all. You can see on my route map above that it would been much shorter to go straight north, cutting off the entire section to Rabaçal.

But we did enjoy our Nata and coffee and the tour of town! If you are not interested in touring or staying in Rabaçal or don't need refueling, I would recommend the shortcut. 

We continued to walk briefly on the paved M563 to where the Camino turns north (left) again and back on the country lane below, abloom with spring flowers!

Long Country Road Toward ZambujalLong Country Road Toward Zambujal
Stone Wall Lines the RoadStone Wall Lines the Road

Soon, the town of Zambujal comes into view, below.

Zambujal AheadZambujal Ahead

It is about a 3 km walk from Rabaçal to Zambuja. We saw no cafés along the Way in Zambujal, so we were glad we took the detour into Rabaçal.

Signpost Welcomes You to the Rua de SantiagoSignpost Welcomes You to the Rua de Santiago

The town, or perhaps the Coimbra district had errected the most lovely signposts, in the traditional Azulejo styling. The photo above shows them as you are greeted on the entrance to town. Below, are the closeups!

The street here, of course is the Street of St James!

Signpost Welcomes You to the Rua de SantiagoSignpost Welcomes You to the Rua de Santiago
Information Board Mural with Legend of SantiagoInformation Board Mural with Legend of Santiago

On the north side of town, nice, large Caminho signs pave the way for you!

Walking on the Rua Jogo da Bolo thru ZambujalWalking on the Rua Jogo da Bolo thru Zambujal
Country Charm Leaving ZambujalCountry Charm Leaving Zambujal

Another kilometer or so after Zambujal, the Camino crosses the N347-1 again, and shortcuts onto another paved road, below. This is the Rua Principal towards the next town of Fonte Coberta. 

Left Turn Onto the Rua Principal Towards Fonte CobertaLeft Turn Onto the Rua Principal Towards Fonte Coberta
Rua Principal to Fonte CobertaRua Principal to Fonte Coberta

It was a long, solitary walk for the two of us today. We met no other pilgrims. I was feeling lonely, and a bit sorry for myself around this area, when a sudden flash of insight hit me. Maybe my purpose on this Camino was not to meet other pilgrims, but soley to walk with my husband!

We had such a whirlwind in our lives, the prior nine months. Rich's mother had a significant stroke, and we had to go to upstate New York, be with her for months, close her house, and transport her and a selection of her things to a facility close to us in Colorado. 

Concluding a lifetime of 90 years in one town was not an easy task. We had essentially disconnected from our own lives to accomplish this. It took us 3 months!

On our Caminho, we were having time together, without external pressures for the first time in those nine months. It was good to get re-acquainted with one another! Certainly a reason of the heart! 

I felt content with this purpose of my heart and was happy in the moment. 

Between Zambujal and Fonte Coberta we encountered this turist attraction mural:

Mural Map of Area AttractionsMural Map of Area Attractions
Farther Along the Rua Principal towards Fonte CobertaFarther Along the Rua Principal towards Fonte Coberta

In another kilometer, for a total of about 2 km from Zambujal, we reached Fonte Coberta. The lovely sign welcomes the peregrino!

Welcome to Fonte CobertaWelcome to Fonte Coberta

More engaging shrines in the town, along the Way on day eight of our Camino Portugués!

Roadside Shrine to FátimaRoadside Shrine to Fátima
Roadside Shrine to SantiagoRoadside Shrine to Santiago
Rua de Capela Antiga, Fonte CobertaRua de Capela Antiga, Fonte Coberta
Wisteria Hangs From the WallsWisteria Hangs From the Walls

About half a kilometer after leaving Fonte Coberta, there is a very nice picnic area, below, and an information board for the historic Ponte Filibina bridge. 

Ponte Filipina Picnic Area by BridgePonte Filipina Picnic Area by Bridge
Information Board for Ponte Filipina, built at turn of 16th CenturyInformation Board for Ponte Filipina, Built at Turn of 16th Century
Elle on the Ponte FilipinaElle on the Ponte Filipina

After the historic bridge at Ponte Filipina, there is a lovely 2 km walk on country paths to Poço, the next hamlet, as I show in the photos below. The paths follow along the dry Rio dos Mouros riverbed. 2017 was a dry year for Portugal, with many life-taking fires later in that summer. 

Onward Track thru Olive GrovesOnward Track thru Olive Groves on Day Eight, Camino Portugués
Jogger on Double TrackJogger on Double Track
Double Track Fades to Single TrackDouble Track Fades to Single Track
Dry River Bed of Rio dos MourosDry River Bed of Rio dos Mouros

2 km later, we arrived in the hamlet of Poço. Not pictured, but to the right of this photo, there is yet another nice picnic area by the river! So pack plenty of food, as we did, because as you can see these small towns have no services!

Here I am, in the photo below, at the turn in town. 

Turn Left Here in Hamlet of PoçoTurn Left Here in Hamlet of Poço

The final small climb of the day, is next, outside of Poço.

Start of Final Climb Out of PoçoStart of Final Climb Out of Poço
Up the Hill toward ConimbrigaUp the Hill toward Conimbriga
Entering Forest Toward ConimbrigaEntering Forest Toward Conimbriga
Onward on the Forest Road - Conimbriga is NearOnward on the Forest Road - Conimbriga is Near

Three kilometers later, the country roads bring you right out to the Roman ruin site of Conimbriga, and to this sign, below.

Entering Roman Ruins of ConimbrigaEntering Roman Ruins of Conimbriga

Unfortunately, the ruins were closed on this Easter Sunday. Here are just a few photos of what we could see from the public road. I was quite disappointed, but had no choice but to content myself with seeing the site from the road. 

Famous Gardens of ConimbrigaFamous Gardens of Conimbriga
Forum Wall at ConimbrigaForum Wall at Conimbriga

After touring the ruins, and having a picnic at the site, we walked into Condeixa a Nova. It is a full kilometer or a bit more off the Camino. You can see the route on my map above, if it is your plan to spend the night here. 

The actual Camino continues northward after the parking lot in Conimbriga. See day nine

The detour was worth it to me, as my ankle was once again, getting more swollen and painful as the day progressed. I could feel the tension from Rich, who was a bit annoyed at the detour's extra kilometers. He had pushed himself through blisters earlier, and I felt like he wanted me to push on as well. However, I persisted in my need to keep this day eight on our Portuguese Camino shorter and sweeter! 

All the places to stay in Condeixa a Nova are in the center of town, and we stayed at the Resedencial Ruinas on the Rua Fransico de Lemos. The hotel was old and a bit shabby, but still clean, comfortable and full of charm.

We had arrived at the hotel early in the day, around 2 p.m. and had to wait in a café for almost two hours for someone at the hotel to answer the phone, when the door to the hotel was locked. Then, around 4:30 p.m., when someone finally did answer the phone, the proprietor didn't speak a lick of English!

He was German and he thought that the more German he spoke, that we would eventually understand! Which we did not! I had to finally ask in the café if anyone spoke English, to assist us. And, of course, in true Portuguese fashion, a young man came to our rescue!

After we cleaned up and went looking for a place to eat dinner, alas, all the restaurants on the square had closed for the day, since it was Easter! We found a pizza place next to the hotel, that I wouldn't recommend. It sufficed to fill our bellies, but was not the tastiest pizza I have ever had. 

Residencial Ruinas ~ Condeixa a NovaResidencial Ruinas ~ Condeixa a Nova
Swollen Ankle at End of DaySwollen Ankle at End of Day

My ankle had held up another day. While you can see in the photo, that it was swollen, it wasn't all that bad. Ibuprofen, prescription-strength, had been a lifesaver. I kept my legs/feet up in the air for as long as I could that evening, and continued to massage my ankle toward the knee/heart to reduce the swelling. 

I still had absolutely no idea what was causing the swelling. A slight sprain for which I had been unaware? Stress fractures from overuse seemed unlikely as I was able to reduce the swelling significantly the night before. It was an unsolved mystery. 

Reflection from Day Eight, Camino Portugués

During our walk on this day, we constantly asked ourselves, why were we doing this? Why were we walking? What was the purpose? We never did really answer the question, and most certainly not on day eight of the Camino Portugués. If our purpose was to walk together alone, indeed we were doing that and doint it well!

Despite all our questions, the reasons of the heart defy reasons, for sure. All I knew was that I was happy and at peace, merely moving along, I was here and I was walking with my best frined, my husband! And for the moment it was enough. 

Salutation

May your own day eight on the Camino Portugués be filled with your own heart's reasons. May you walk this lovely path in the moment, and in tune to hear your own messages from the heart! 





***Please note that I will be adding articles for each day that we spent on the Camino Portugués, as I write them. All 25 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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