Day Eleven on the Camino Portugués
~ Mealhada to Águeda, 25.27 Km (15.7 miles)

Our day eleven on the Camino Portugués was a lonely walk through small towns, not-so-nice industrial areas that surprised us with a "spirited" Camino Angel, yet also included a joyful reunion with our Aussie mates after two days of separation.

"The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone." ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Don't you think that it is interesting that I would include a quote on lonliness when I was walking with my husband, Rich? Indeed, while we shared one another's company, we also walked in silence on the long and lonely roads, without sight of another pilgrim.

Our day eleven on the  Camino Portugués also invited us to discuss, once again the meaning of it all - life, happiness, pilgrmage and our purpose in life. 


Map and Stats of Day Eleven on the Camino Portugués

Here is the map I created from my own geotracks on the app on my phone. The map is entirely interactive, if you are online. I only placed the albergues/hotels/cafés on the map that we visited. For a complete list of accommodations from the Camino forums, click here. 

Interactive Google Map of Day Eleven on the Camino Portugués

There are not a lot of services along the route, but there are enough, if you plan the day right. There are lots of gorgeous places to stop for a picnic if you have food with you. As always, my advice is to keep food and plenty of water in your pack at all times. 

I have included a link to the same map, as above, but with my photos superimposed on the Way, to give it a different life, if you are interested. Click here to see it. 

Next is the elevation profile for the day. Ups and down are the norm, with a descent to Águeda on the river, and then a short climb back up. With only 25 kilometers to accomplish, for me, this day was quite manageable. 

Elevation Profile for Day Eleven, Camino Portugués,  Mealhada to ÁguedaElevation Profile for Day Eleven, Camino Portugués, Mealhada to Águeda

Photo-Rich Travelogue of Day Eleven on the Camino Portugués

Our day began bright and early, at dawn, close to 0700. We had had a cold breakfast in our room, including cold milk into which we stirred instant coffee! Whala! No need to find an open café right away. We knew that there were few services on this leg so we had a pack filled with supplies we bought in Mealhada. 

The town fountain greeted us as we walked out of the Residencial Hilário and albergue complex, and onto the Rua Fonte (Fountain Street). You can see the fountain on the right, in the white with the red roof. 

Starting out on the Rua Fonte in Mealhada on day eleven of the Camino PortuguésStarting Out on the Rua Fonte

We got into a rhythm quickly as we walked along, turning left to jon the Rua Carvalhas, below. 

Follow the Rua Carvalhas on day eleven of the Camino PortuguésFollow the Rua Carvalhas on Day Eleven of the Camino Portugués

The Rua Carvalas quickly turns to dirt and walks out of Mealhada and into the countryside. I was energetic as I always am to start the day. We were one of the few pilgrims at the Hilário complex so once again, we were alone on the Way. 

Rua Carvalhas and Pavement End Here at the Greenhouses on the Portuguese WayRua Carvalhas and Pavement End Here at the Greenhouses

Following the well waymarked path, we turned into a lovely eucalyptus forest, by now a common sight. 

Turn Left into the Eucalyptus Forest on day eleven of the Camino PortuguésTurn Left into the Eucalyptus Forest

Out of the forest in another quarter kilometer, we followed the waymark towards the first town of Alpalhão.

Turn Left Again Towards Alpalhão in the Municipality of Anadia on the Portuguese WayTurn Left Again Towards Alpalhão in the Municipality of Anadia

It was here that the dusky sky started to darken. So far there was absolutely no rain on our pilgrimage! Was day eleven on the Camino Portugués finally going to be the exception?

Sky darkens Towards Alpalhão in the Municipality of Anadia on the Portuguese WaySky Darkens

I have to say that I didn't care if it rained! I was enchanted by the tumultuous-looking sky.

Getting Close to Alpalhão on the Tractor Lane in the Municipality of Anadia on the Portuguese CaminoGetting Close to Alpalhão on the Tractor Lane

By the time we arrived in town, it actually looked like it may have already rained. 

Entering the town of Alpalhão in the Municipality of Anadia on the Portuguese WayEntering the town of Alpalhão

After walking through town, we noticed the very, very green fields of vines, the future home of the delicious grapes that would be turned into Portuguese wine - we hoped!

Vineyards on the Estrada Poços Outside Town on day eleven on the Portuguese CaminoGlorious Vineyards on the Estrada Poços Outside Town

In another third of a kilometer, all of a sudden, it seemed the sky just opened up as the sun was rising higher in the sky!

Sky opening and clearing on day eleven of the Camino PortuguésSky Opening and Clearing!

On the Estrada Poços, more verdant fields greeted us as we walked towards the next town of Aguim. 

Spring Gardens on the Estrada Poços on the Camino PortuguésSpring Gardens on the Estrada Poços

The first group of animals appeared, these sheep below. This would be a recurrent theme for our day eleven on the Camino Portugués.

Sheep Along the Way with Aguim Alight in the BackgroundSheep Along the Way with Aguim Alight in the Background

The Camino essentially walks around the town of Aguim on the Estrada da Várzea. No cafes to be seen anywhere thus far, about five kilometers into our day.

In another kilometer after Aguim on the Estrada da Várzea, we came to a T intersection where there is school to the right and a huge sports complex for the Municipality of Anadia ahead. The Way goes left along the nice path shown below. 

Turn Left onto Path Along the Rua Val de Azar at the Sports Complex of Anadia on the Camino PortuguésTurn Left onto Path Along the Rua Val de Azar at the Anadia Sports Complex

We walked along this nice athletic path on the southside of the complex, then turned right on the school road on the west side with the school stadium still on our right.

The Portuguese Way travels around this large complex, to rejoin the main road on the north side, towards Anadia

Around the Sports Complex of Anadia to the West on the Camino PortuguésAround the Sports Complex to the West

After the school sports complex, through several roundabouts, skirting the center of Anadia to the West, we turned left here at the Largo Avenida and this gorgeous Portuguese home. 

Gorgeous Portuguese Home on the Largo Avenida in Anadia on the Portuguese WayGorgeous Portuguese Home on the Largo Avenida in Anadia

I loved the "Anadia" green sign in the photo below, announcing that indeed, this is where we were!

Another quick left here in Anadia on the Portuguese WayAnother Quick Left Here at the Anadia Sign

We continued to skirt the town to the west on this lovely street, the Rua Justino Sampaio Alegre, lined with spring-blooming trees and yet another foot path to the right. 

Spring Blooming Tree Lined Street on the Portuguese CaminoSpring Blooming Tree Lined Street

We crossed over the street and joined the footpath, since it was definitely easier on the feet than the cobblestone sidewalk to the left. 

Walking Along the Footpath on the Rua Justino Sampaio Alegre on the Portuguese CaminoWalking Along the Footpath on the Rua Justino Sampaio Alegre

The sun continued to break through, as you can see in the photos above and below. Next, it was a small uphill climb to the church, below.

Approaching the Igreja Paroquial de Sáo Paio in Anadia on day eleven of the Portuguese CaminoApproaching the Igreja Paroquial de Sáo Paio in Anadia

We still had not seen any open cafés so far along the route despite what the guides said and despite walking almost a full 8 kilometers on day eleven on the Camino Portugués.

Continuing to walk north around Anadia, we were back into the countryside in no time. Here we are on our way into the next small town of Alféloas. The "town mayor" greeted us and walked with us into town! It was as if he was waiting for the next pilgrimage traveler to come along!

The Town Mayor Greets Us in Alféloas on day eleven of the Portuguese CaminoThe Town Mayor Greets Us in Alféloas...
Doggie escort into Alféloas on day eleven of the Portuguese CaminoAnd Escorts Us Into Town!

Our day of meeting animals was continuing! We so enjoyed our escort to town. 

It wasn't until we entered the center of Alféloas that we found this open café, below, at almost exactly 10 kilometers into our day. It was perfect timing for us for our first break and I was ready to put up my feet and have a real cup of coffee ~ and pastry, of course!

Our only clue that this building was a café was the red Sagres beer sign by the door! It had no name and no identification outside at all! If you are in need of a cup of coffee or a bite to eat, look closely to find it!

Café Alféloas on day eleven of the Portuguese CaminoCafé Alféloas

The proprietress of this café was extremely friendly and helpful. We had a lively conversation  with another local (mostly one-sided on her part) regarding the legend of Fátima. She was negating the phenomenon, and while everything she said was valid, I did not want to burst the concept. It was better to believe and feel the magic of the legend and of the Camino while I was here! 

After a longer break than planned we set off again, and lo and behold, another dog was on the north side waiting to excort us out of town! We laughed as he trotted along with us as we left Alféloas, then veered off, most likely to wait for the next pilgrim to come along! 

Doggie Escort Out of Alféloas on day eleven of the Portuguese CaminoDoggie Escort Out of Alféloas

After leaving Alféloas, the pilgrimage traveler must walk through one of two industrial areas on day eleven of the Camino Portugués.

Walking Thru First Industrial Zone on the Rua Solidariedade on the Camino PortuguésWalking Thru First Industrial Zone on the Rua Solidariedade

The next section of the Camino is about 1.5 kilometers of industrial buildings and then lots of eucalyptus forest growing and harvesting sites.

The Rua Solidariedade was a long, straight paved secondary road, that gave way to more secondary roads as you follow the waymarks and yellow arrows to the next town. I took no photos during this stretch as it was one of the few areas that held little appeal to me. 

And then, suddenly we turned right onto the familiar IC2, to walk into Avelãs de Caminho, below. 

Joining the IC2 on the Way to Avelãs on the Camino PortuguésJoining the IC2 on the Way to Avelãs

As we walked through town, there were restaurants and cafés along the Way, so if you need to take a break and get some food you can do it here.

We turned off the IC2, to walk left here at this capela. 

Turn off the IC2 at Capela on the Camino PortuguésTurn off the IC2 at Capela

The Rua Combatentes walks through Avelãs and on the north side, we approached this wonderful chapel with a rest area in a town called Coito. I would have loved to have a break here, if only the timing was appropriate for our day eleven on the Portuguese Camino. 

Roadside Chapel and Resting Area in Coito on the Camino PortuguésRoadside Chapel and Resting Area in Coito

The next town along the way is Póvoa do Costelo, below. 

Entering Póvoa do Costelo on the Rua Combatentes on the Camino PortuguésEntering Póvoa do Costelo on the Rua Combatentes

Farther along in Póvoa do Costelo, on the Rua Combatentes we encountered the fountain, below, the Fonte de São João or Fountain of St. John. It did not appear functional, and we never drank from any of these wayside fountains. 

Fonte de São João in Póvoa de Costelo on the Camino PortuguésFonte de São João on Day Eleven, Camino Portugués

Just beyond the fountain, at this small chapel, in the Square of St. John, below, the Camino turns left on the Rua Alto da Póvoa.

Largo de São João in Póvoa de Costelo on the Camino PortuguésLargo de São João

In about one-third kilometer, this gorgeous quinta, or estate shows up on your right. 

The Quinta da Grimpa on the Camino PortuguésThe Quinta da Grimpa

The Camino Portugués, on day eleven follows the Rua Alto da Póvoa for about a kilometer and a half, all the way to Aguadela, below. 

Entering the Municipality of Águeda and the Parish of Aguada de Baixo on the Camino PortuguésEntering the Municipality of Águeda and the Parish of Aguada de Baixo

Here is a very inviting park bench under the weeping willow tree in Aguadela where stopped for our lunch. 

Picnic Spot in Aguadela on day eleven on the Camino PortuguésInviting Picnic Spot in Aguadela

A sweet and friendly kitty soon jumped up on the park bench with us, after we opened our can of tuna to have with crackers. 

Kitty Comes to the Smell of Canned Tuna on the Camino PortuguésKitty Comes to the Smell of Canned Tuna

Walking on after lunch, the intersection, below appeared, with its teeny tiny chapel.

Stay Right at this Chapel in Aguadela on the Camino PortuguésStay Right at this Chapel in Aguadela on Day Eleven, Camino Portugués

Barely a kilometer from Aguadela, we walked into Aguada de Baixo, below and through the town square. 

Passing the Time of Day in the Square of Aguada de Baixo on the Portuguese WayPassing the Time of Day in the Square of Aguada de Baixo

Yet another blue, Azulejo tile chuch greeted us on the north side of town. There is also a nice information board here, in front of the church. 

Igreja de Aguada de Baixo on day eleven of the Portuguese WayIgreja de Aguada de Baixo

Essentially head straight north after the church, following rural roads lined with country houses and the occassional eucalyptus forest. The road name changes several times as you walk straight on, but it is unimportant as the waymarks are obvious and easy to follow. 

Landiosa is a small town you walk through, turning right onto the Rua Estrada Velha. This road ends at a T intesection and you turn right on the Rua Porto da Moita to walk east under the familiar IC2 once again. 

At the first roundabout after about 1/3 kilometer, you turn left or north once again on an unnamed street into an area called Barró. This is not a pretty area and you are entering the second industrial area of the day. 

Fortunately, the road is wide with a nice shoulder for the pilgrimage traveler to walk on!

Entering Second Industrial Zone north of Aguada de Baixo on the Portuguese WayEntering Second Industrial Zone

A large roundabout, below, greets you and you walk straight on. 

Straight through on the roundabout on day eleven of the Portuguese CaminoStraight Through on the Roundabout

It was blistering hot in April of 2017, as we walked along this ugly, industrial road, and not losing our spirit was our challenge. There was nothing to do other than to keep placing one foot after the other and keep going. 

Heading North on Busy Industrial Road on day eleven of the Portuguese CaminoHeading North on Busy Industrial Road

At about the area in the photo above, a gentlemen came running out of a building as we were walking by, yelling to us in English, "Wait a minute, can you wait a minute?!!" We turned around, looked at him as he pointed with his finger to wait and ran back into the building. 

After a moment or two he came back out with two plastic bags, one for each of us. In it were two apples and a bottle of wonderfully cold water! 

Apples and Cold water from our Camino Angel on day eleven of the Portuguese CaminoApples and Cold Water from our Camino Angel

What a sight for the pilgrimage traveler's eyes! We grinned from ear to ear and said "obrigado" so many times!

As it turned out, our Camino Angel was running out of a very famous Aguardente manufacturing company. If you haven't heard of Aguardente (we were introduced to it on day two), it is the Portugues version of firewater, like nothing else we've had! Yes, it is a very potent clear liquor that will warm your mouth, throat, stomach and perhaps your heart too, if you are inclined to like strong spirits.

While Mr. Nelson did not give us any Aguardente to sample, as he knew we might not finish our day eleven on the Camino Portugués if he had, he did give us a brief tour of the storeroom and the family history of its production. 

Here is a photo of him and Rich, eating one of the crisp, cold apples!

Our Camino Angel - Mr. Nelson, from Aguardntes VelhoOur Camino Angel - Mr. Nelson

I just had to take a photo of the blue mural on the wall, outside of the Aguardente building. Had we not been stopped by Mr. Nelson, I doubt I would have even noticed the place. In a spot where all I could think of was how fast I could walk through the industrial zone, one of the most magical things on our Camino happened!

Aguardentes Velhos ~ NelsonAguardentes Velhos ~ Nelson

As it is often said, if you miss any steps along the way, whether through the good, the bad or the ugly, you may miss something that was intended just for you!

I was glad that we hadn't missed these steps through the industrial area on day eleven of our Camino Portugués. Our Camino Angel had renewed my strength and my belief in the kindess of the human heart!

We said goodbye, as we walked and drank our cold water and ate the most delicious apples I have ever eaten! 

Especially after this event, and throughout our day, Rich and I debated the meaning of our own lives. Of course, acts of kindness are a must. Going out of our way to help when we can, is a must. 

We contemplated what needed cleaning out in our own lives, and decided that we had simplified, downsized and de-stressed quite a bit already. We didn't feel like we needed to simplify our lives any farther. We were both newly retired and finding the pleasure of doing what we wished and when we wished. This was all quite satisfying until Rich's mother suffered her stroke the year prior. Suddenly, our lives were changed. 

Sneaking away for a 4-week Camino after nine months of parent-care was restful, nuturing and indulgent, to say the least! I relished this time, both with Rich, and with my aloneness. 

Finally, after about 2 kilometers on the industrial road, we spied the yellow arrow on a pole, below. It was time to turn off this busy road, finally. 

Watch for Right Turn Onto Rua Estrada Real on day eleven of the Portuguese CaminoWatch for Right Turn Onto Rua Estrada Real

A dash across the street, and onto the Rua Estrada Real, below.

Crossing the Industrial Road to the Rua Estrada Real on the Portuguese WayCrossing the Industrial Road to the Rua Estrada Real

Compared to the busy industrial road, the Estrada Real was narrow and wall-lined, but not busy at all. 

The Wall-Lined Rua Estrada Real on the Portuguese Way just before ÁguedaThe Wall-Lined Rua Estrada Real

Here we paused for a breather, where the direction continued straight on. 

Rich Pausing on the Rua Estrada Real on the Portuguese way near ÁguedaRich Pausing on the Rua Estrada Real

At this pause, looking left, the nice rural countryside appeared once again!

A horse in the pasture on day eleven of the Camino PortuguésA Horse at Pasture ~ A Nice Rural View

In approximately another kilometer, we start the downhill descent into Águeda, and we could see it up ahead. 

Águeda Ahead on day eleven of the Camino PortuguésSpotting Águeda Ahead Toward the End of Day Eleven, Camino Portugués

Onward through a south suburb...

Narrow Street in Sardäo a south suburb of Agueda on day eleven of the Camino PortuguésNarrow Street in Sardäo

In a very short while the Way opens up and intersects with the busy N1, below. Fortunately, we crossed the N1 to a quiet cobblestone path, by walking straight ahead. 

Elle Intersection with the N1, south of Agueda on day eleven of the Camino PortuguésElle at Intersection with the N1

Crossing the busy N1 here, we were surprised to walk into Águeda on the lovely Rua Dr. Manuel Pinto, a cobblestone path, then a quiet road for about a half a kilometer... 

Intersection with the N1, south of Agueda on day eleven of the Camino PortuguésIntersection with the N1

until joining the main road, the N1, to cross the bridge over the Rio Águeda, below, and into the heart of town. 

The Bridge over the River Águeda that walks into town on day eleven of the Portuguese Camino.The Bridge over the River Águeda

The first blue tile building across the bridge, to the right, in the photo above, and in the photo below, was an inviting looking café along the river, with outdoor tables. We walked around and down to the plaza to enjoy its view and order a café con leite and a pastry. 

We knew that we still had a long uphill climb out of Águeda after our break to end our day. 

Café Bar Gambuzinos Along the Rio Águeda, a place for a nice break on day eleven of the Camino PortuguésCafé Bar Gambuzinos Along the Rio Águeda

If you don't want to climb the final hill to complete the traditional stage, you can always book a place down by the river. Click here to see your options. There is a placed called the Águeda Hostal and Friends, which is a private albergue that allows you to prebook, if that is important to you. 

We opted to walk onward, the 2 kilometers or so, up the steep hill through town. After crossing the river, the Rio Águeda, the Camino continues along the N1, below.

Walking Through Águeda on the N1 on Day Eleven, Camino PortuguésWalking Through Águeda on the N1 on Day Eleven, Camino Portugués

I found this waymark to be interesting, showing "albuergue" embedded into the arrow on the waymark. I think this one was the first and only one like this we saw. I would not be surprised if it was placed by the Hotel Celeste/Albergue Sto António!

"Albergue" Ahead on the N1

This final hill climb on the narrow shoulder of the N1 was not too pleasant, nor was it too bad. I was indeed happy to have had the coffee and pastry down by the river!

Here is Rich waving to me, to come on!

Final Hill Climb to Albergue in ÁguedaFinal Hill Climb to Albergue in Águeda

At the top of the hill, the welcoming sign of the Residencial Celeste finally appeared!

The entrance to the Residencial Celeste and Albergue Sto. António in Águeda, PortugalThe Entrance to the Residencial Celeste and Albergue Sto. António

This is the place where the Albergue Sto. António is also located. It looks like it is at a separate location on a Google map, but it is not. You can see the brown sign in the photo below, to the right of the reception door that says, "Albergue Reception Here." Both facilities are run by the Residencial Celeste. 

Reception Area to the Residencial Celeste and Albergue Sto. António in Águeda, PortugalReception Area to the Residencial Celeste and Albergue Sto. António

The albergue building is separate and off to the north side, while the white building, above contains the hotel part. We asked to see the albergue, and they had this lovely room for two, below, for less than the hotel, so we took it! It was private enough for us.

The dormitory rooms are of various sizes, and all are located upstairs in the separate building. There was only one other gentleman staying here the same night. 

One Bunk Room in the Albergue Sto. António in Águeda, on the Portuguese WayOne Bunk Room in the Albergue Sto. António

The shared shower facilities were down the stairs, outside and around the back. The kitchen facilities were also downstairs, and quite well-appointed. The courtyard, below, was calling out an invitation to cook on this sunny and glorious day. 

Porto 71 Kilometers From Here, SDC, 312!Porto 71 Kilometers From Here, SDC, 312!

Fortunately, there is a Lidl supermarket only 1/3 kilometer back down the street we had come. 

And much to our pleasure, our Aussie friends, Christine and Chris were staying at the hotel! While we had not seen them along the Camino Portugués on day eleven, but we ran into them hanging out clothes to dry on the community line. They had arrived just before us. 

We invited them to dinner, which we cooked. A large salad, bread dipped in olive oil and balsamic, and pasta with sauteed chicken, drenched in olive oil, garlic and parmesan cheese sauce. And of course, Portuguese wine! It was an unforgettable evening!

Our Australian friends were fast becoming true friends!

Elle, Christine, Rich and Chris ~ Dinner on the TerraceElle, Christine, Rich and Chris ~ Dinner on the Terrace

Reflections on Day Eleven, Camino Portugués

All-in-all both Rich and I were satisfied that we had already done alot of our own "junk" clearing. In the Scandinavian culture they call this "death cleaning." It simply means that you clear out your belongings so when you die, your children don't have to! 

Rich and I had already simplified to the max, downsizing just about everything in our home. We live in a small cabin in the mountains of southern Colorado, and there is not a lot of room for much!

We had just finished cleaning out Rich's mother's home, of 90 years of living! It was an extremely difficult task, and we would not wish it on anyone!

The small problem, is that now we had also inherited quite a few of his mother's things, that we just couldn't throw or give away. Things that we thought might have some value. They are still sitting in our small storage shed. Something to tackle when we get home.  

We decided that our purpose for this Camino, was to walk together and yet alone. We needed to just be, to just be present to something other than someone else's needs and to care for ourselves and our relationship.

We knew our purpose was still to care for Rich's mother when we got back, yet for me, I felt we needed to find more balance in this care. 

Being thrown suddenly into his mother's care meant cleaning out her home, moving her across the USA, finding placement near us, and meeting her physical and emotional needs as she transitioned from total independance to almost total care in a nursing facility.

All of this occurred so suddenly and unexpectedly in our lives that it had thrown us out of balance. The Camino was helping us discuss how we would find this balance once again, upon our return home. 

I had been very happy with my holistic health coaching website and my Pilgrimage Traveler musings. They were both creating a very small income, but more importantly they were the full expressions of me.

Rich was happily involved in volunteering for the local fire department, working a myriad of projects on our ranchette and now, absorbed in the care of his mother.

We chatted long and hard about how our lives were going to look when we got home. I really didn't even want to think about it much. I just wanted to enjoy the walk, the time alone, the time together, and now also making wonderful new friends with the Australian couple. 

Salutation

May your own day eleven on the Camino Portugués be filled with contemplation and insight on how you can clean out your own life, how to simplify, balance and fine tune the discovery of your unique purpose!





***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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