Day Seven on the Camino Portugués
~ Alvaiãzere to Alvorge, 23 Kilometers (14.3 Miles)

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Our day seven on the Camino Portugués was shorter than the others, as I developed a mysterious physical condition of my left ankle. Even the most beautiful countryside could not entice me to walk farther than Alvorge, a respectful distance, though not the full stage of 32 km to Rabaçal. 

"Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the Light gets in."

~ Leonard Cohen

If the wound is where the Light enters, then my day seven on the Camino Portugués and several more days after that should have been filled with Light! Yes, they were, despite the fact that my "wound" slowed me down, but did not stop me! With the help of a hefty dose of Ibuprofen, we set out for the day.

Day seven, though short, was to be a delightful and mostly rural walk through the deep Portuguese countryside. 

Map and Stats of Day Seven on the Camino Portugués

Here is my map of my GPS tracks that I recorded on my app on my cellphone. I uploaded the tracks to a Google map, and here it is, below. It is fully interactive, so you are able to use it just like any other Google map. 

I included on the map, the places where we stayed and where we ate, plus additional accommodations, cafés and supermarkets. 

Here is the elevation profile of day seven. There is a climb of about 170 meters (550 feet) out of Alvaiãzere, in the first 4 km, which took us only about an hour, to the area called Vendas. If you pinch open the map you can see all the stats for the day.

The low point is essentially the center of the town, Ansião, 13 kilometers into the day. The rest of the day to Alvorge is essentially flat.

Elevation Profile for Day Seven, Camino Portugués, Alvaiázere to AlvorgeElevation Profile for Day Seven, Camino Portugués, Alvaiázere to Alvorge

Photo-Rich Travelogue of Day Seven on the Camino Portugués

We started our day bright and early, the typical 7 a.m., just at sunrise. It was a misty and cool day as we set off into the countryside. We were happy for the cooler weather for the small climb right at the beginning.

Quiet, Misty Streets of Alvaiãrzere, Portugal at DawnQuiet, Misty Streets of Alvaiãrzere at Dawn

Chris and Christine, our Australian friends decided to wait for the restaurant at the Residencial O Bras to open at 0:730 for breakfast, so we walked on by ourselves. We were going to eat along the way, and hopefully run into a bakery to buy some bread to complement our meat and cheese. The O Bras is the only place open for breakfast, and it is now open at 7:00 a.m. Check first if you want to eat here. 

Our hotel was just a few steps from the Way, and a few meters onward, so was the albergue, the Albergaria Pinheiros (+351 915 440 196), below. We did not check out this place for ourselves, but it looks nice enough from the outside. 

Albergaria Pinheiros, Alvaiãrzere, PortugalAlbergaria Pinheiros, Alvaiãrzere

As we were walking past the albergue, we spied a bakery truck delivering bread! We approached the baker and asked him if we could buy some bread. As Rich was fishing into his pocket for some change, the gentleman just waved his hand and gave us the bread! We felt so grateful and supported on our Camino! What a lovely country!

And indeed the sunrise was just as lovely!  On the north side of town, from the main street, the Camino bears right onto the Rua da Quintinha. As we walked up this street, the rosy mist was already lifting as we looked back over the town of Alvaiãrzere. My heart was filled with gratitude, as it most often is at the dawn of a new day. 

Rosy Mist Rising Over Alvaiãrzere, PortugalRosy Mist Rising Over Alvaiãrzere

Shortly after town, the Way turns left onto the CM1104 to enter what was barely the town of Laranjeiras, as signposted below, at about 1.6 kilometers, from the town church in Alvaiázere. 

Entering the Town of LaranjeirasEntering the Town of Laranjeiras

There were so many still moments where I took photos of the most interesting things, like this old well and a small patch of Calla lilies alongside. The Callas were growing wild everywhere. No matter when I saw them, they were always a pleasant surprise! 

Old Well and Calla LiliesOld Well and Calla Lilies
The Way Through Laranjeiras, PortugalThe Way Through Laranjeiras

The Way continues on the CM1104 and its steep banks are graced with heather as you continue your gentle climb towards Macas de Caminho.

Heather Graces the Steep BanksHeather Graces the Steep Banks

Leave the CM1104 here and turn left - yes, up the hill! This turn is at about 2.8 kilometers into the day.

Turn Left Up the HillTurn Left Up the Hill

Onward a few hundred meters before the T-intersection appears, below, and you go to the left, as you follow the Camino waymarks. I continued to be intrigued by the blue arrow pointing towards us, as you remember, Fátima is now behind you!

Turn Left at the "T" with Blue Fátima Arrow Pointing at YouTurn Left at the "T" with Blue Fátima Arrow Pointing at You

After the T intersection, about 200 meters later, the Way turns to the right and onto much smaller, quieter paved roads, full of charm. This area/town is called "Vendas." 

Quaint Countryside on Day Seven, Camino PortuguésQuaint Countryside on Day Seven, Camino Portugués

About 700 meters after the turn in Vendas, and after the photo, below, at a crossroads, is essentially the top ("alto") of the morning climb, only about 4 kilometers into the day

Here in Vendas, Portugal the "Alto" for day seven on the Camino PortuguesHere in Vendas, the "Alto"

Walk straight through at the crossroads, and into a lovely eucalyptus forest.  It's mostly all downhill from here, into Ansião. 

These country roads are unnamed, until the Way joins the CM1063 by staying left at this shrine, pictured below, and continuing northward. Christine caught up to us here when we had stopped to have our breakfast.

Wayside Shrine, Christine and Waymark at the Alto, 5 Km Into Day Seven on the Portuguese WayWayside Shrine, Christine and Waymark at the Alto, 5 Km Into Day Seven

It was still misty and cool, and the young grapevines along the Way here were that lovely spring-green color. 

Waymark and Young GrapevinesWaymark and Young Grapevines - a Common Sight

Onwards, down the hill...

Olive Trees and Stone Walls - Another Common SightOlive Trees and Stone Walls - Another Common Sight

We soon leave the narrow, paved road to turn right onto the gravel road, below, towards Venda do Negro at approximately 5.5 kilometers total.

Turn Right Here off CM1063 Onto Gravel Lane on the Camino PortuguésTurn Right Here off CM1063 Onto Gravel Lane
Walking Toward Venda do Negro on the Camino Portugués.Walking Toward Venda do Negro

Venda do Negro is a breath of a town. Take a deep breath and you are through it! Yet I was astonished to see lovely granite setts (aka cobblestone) through the entire small town. The Portuguese do love their paved granite roads!

Walking Thru Venda do Negro on Day Seven of the Camino PortuguésWalking Thru Venda do Negro on Day Seven of the Camino Portugués

After walking through Venda do Negro, the Way turns left onto the CM 1065, a paved road for a few meters, then turns right onto a lane that in less than one kilometer becomes a wonderful tractor lane, pictured below, at about 7.6 kilometers, essentially continuing straight north, after Venda do Negro. 

Turn Right on the Tractor LaneTurn Right on the Tractor Lane, Near Casais Maduros

400 meters later, the tractor lane comes to the pavement, where a right turn takes you less than 200 more meters, to yet another lovely tractor lane off to the left.

The Tractor Lane ContinuesThe Tractor Lane Continues

The Way here on day seven of the Camino Portugués was so serene through this countryside. I just loved it! The roadside shrines added to the serenity and surreal feeling. We were solitary pilgrims, just Rich and I and the moments were not lost on us. 

We walked on, relishing our peaceful surroundings, so different from the whirlwind we had left behind in the States. It was the perfect antidote to all that life had brought us in the previous months, when Rich's mother suffered a major stroke, turning all of our lives upside down. We felt lucky to be here, lucky to have been able to get away.

Roadside Shrine Near Casais Maduros on the Portuguese CaminoRoadside Shrine Near Casais Maduros

The peaceful farmer's lane continues a bit more than one kilometer, toward the next small hamlet, Casal Soeiro, which the Way never actually enters, but skirts on the west side, shown below. 

Near Casal Soeiro on the Portuguese WayNear Casal Soeiro

At about 9.36 kilometers total, turn left at a T-intersection in Casal Soeiro. Stay to the right after walking through the few buildings and continue onward on tractor lanes. 

The first sign of the big town, Ansião, was the signpost below left, which we saw about ⅓ kilometer after leaving town. 

This Way to Ansião, PortugalThis Way to Ansião

At approximately 10.1 kilometers, a right turn at a T-intersection, eventually brings you back to the pavement at another cluster of buildings, after about 600 more meters, as the Camino walks you closer to Ansião, below.

Back on the Pavement Nearer to Ansião, PortugalBack on the Pavement Nearer to Ansião

The pavement leads you through Empeados, just before the larger street called the Rua Jerónimo Soares Barbosa and to this lovely picnic area where we stopped briefly for a bite to eat. We had logged in 11.2 kilometers by this picnic area. 

Picnic Area Just Before AnsiãoPicnic Area Just Before Ansião

We were taking our time today, as I knew I would most likely be unable to go the full 32 km stage to Rabaçal, because of my sore left ankle. Our plan was to stay at the albergue in Alvorge after 23 km, depending on how my ankle responded to the day's walk.

At this morning's lunch break, I noticed that what had been a sore ankle had become a swollen ankle and I had no idea why. Oh my!

I was concerned about having a stress fracture of some nature, and I did not want to ruin my entire Camino. I hoped I could make it to Alvorge! I was not in much pain, just the mild swelling right around the ankle bones and a bit of soreness. I propped my foot up on the bench while I ate lunch and hoped for the best. 

I thought I would try shortened days, hoping the injury was only to the soft tissue. I wracked my brain to try to figure out how I may have had an actual injury event that could have caused this swelling. 

I recalled falling on my backpack, landing with legs up like a turtle, when I had climbed the steep hill on day five. Could I have possibly twisted my left ankle and not known it? I did not know.

By the picnic area is a small roadside chapel up ahead on the Rua Jerónimo Soares Barbosa, shown below. 

Roadside Chapel on the Rua Jerónimo Soares Barbosa Just Outside AnsiãoRoadside Chapel on the Rua Jerónimo Soares Barbosa

While it appears that the Camino joins this busier street by the chapel, as evidenced by the yellow arrow across the street, below, yet another yellow arrow on the pole by the chapel, above, leads you instead to yet another nice quiet path which veers off the busy street and into the woods. 

Left Turn for Brief Entry on the Rua Jerónimo Soares Barbosa by the Roadside ChapelLeft Turn, onto a Path Along the Rua Jerónimo Soares Barbosa by the Roadside Chapel

You could follow the busy Rua Jerónimo Soares Barbosa into Ansião and rejoin the camino in town, but why would you want to

The path by the chapel continues for about ⅓ kilometer and then onto this lane, below. At the street ahead in the photo, you turn left onto the paved Rua da Mina and walk into Ansião.

Left Turn Ahead on the Rua da Mina Towards AnsiãoLeft Turn Ahead on the Rua da Mina Towards Ansião

The Rua da Mina becomes the Rua Oliveira Salazar as it enters the center of town. 

Walking on the Rua Oliveira Salazar toward Ansião Town CenterWalking on the Rua Oliveira Salazar toward Ansião Town Center

As the Camino walks through town, there are cafés and mini-markets to fill your belly and fill your pack with food, all right along the route! There are many places to stay the night if your day needs to end here. Consult the map above to see their exact locations.

The Camino walks right by the Ansiturismo Alojamento & Spa on the southside of town. There is no albergue in Ansião, but the family run hotels include the Adega Típica de Ansião, and the Residencial Solar Da Rainha (+351 236 676 204) to the north side of town and right along the Camino.

As we reached the town center's square, at around 12.7 kilometers into the day and shown below, who did we run into, but Chris and Christine, our Aussie mates! They had stopped for café con leite at the pastry shop right on the square (see map above).

Christine and Rich at the Largo Adolfo Figueiredo, the Town CenterChristine and Rich at the Largo Adolfo Figueiredo, the Town Center

We joined them at the Pastelaria Diogo on the square, sitting at an outdoor table for these delightful treats!

Treats at the Pastelaria DiogoTreats at the Pastelaria Diogo

Again, at this break, I took off my boots, propped up my left ankle and massaged the heck out of it! So far, it looked like I would make it another 10 km to Alvorge.

After our break we said goodbye to our Aussie friends, as they were going through to Rabaçal on their day seven of the Camino Portugués. They were planning a rest day in Coimbra, the next destination after Rabaçal, so we hoped we would catch up to them in two days. We synchronized our phones with WhatsApp so we could stay in touch over wifi. 

After continuing to walk straight north on the N348 through Ansião, you walk uphill, bending to the left as shown in the photo, below. 

Turn Left in Ansião off N348, HereTurn Left in Ansião off N348, Here

At approximately 13.9 kilometers, turn right onto the Rua do Estádio. Pass by the large stadium and at the next crossroads, the Way narrows and walks you by this distinct yellow house, below, where it once again turns into a nice lane. 

Paved Road Ends at Bright Yellow House in Ansião on the Portuguese WayPaved Road Ends at Bright Yellow House

Along the forest lane, the blue and the yellow arrows, directing you in opposite directions, blue to Fátima and yellow to Santiago, are everywhere. 

Yellow Arrow Towards Santiago, Blue to FátimaYellow Arrow Towards Santiago, Blue to Fátima

The lane comes out at the CM1090, crosses it and walks on the pavement towards Constantina.

Cross CM1090 to Paved RoadCross CM1090 to Paved Road

150 meters later, the Way stays left, picking up a lane that in another 150 meters or so brings you to another paved road where you stay right. Round a bend and the Camino then veers off to the left and back onto another forest path, below, for about 200 meters.

Turn Left on Another Forest PathTurn Left on Another Forest Path

Continuing on a country gravel road, below, is the signpost for Netos, the next town. 

Signpost to Netos on Gravel RoadSignpost to Netos on Gravel Road

At 15.7 kilometers, the Camino comes to a T-intersection and takes a left turn onto an improved gravel road as it climbs towards Netos.

The gravel turns to pavement as you walk through town, reaching a stop sign at a T-intersection with the Rua da Liberdade, in the center of town at approximately 16.6 kilometers

After turning onto the Rua da Liberdade in Netos, walking through the small town, in another four hundred meters or so, this white house is the next turning point to the left. 

After Netos, Turn Left at This White HouseAfter Netos, Turn Left at This White House

The lane takes you back into the woods...

Another Wooded PathAnother Wooded Path

Little ups and downs on lanes through the countryside...

Little ups and downs on path on day seven of the Camino PortuguésLittle Ups and Downs on Day Seven, Camino Portugués

And onwards toward Casais da Granja...

Tractor Lane Towards Casais da GranjaTractor Lane Towards Casais da Granja

After meandering just about 2 km on the forest lanes, it gives way to the pavement and turns left on the EM526 at this gas station, the Venda do Brasil, in Casais da Granja, at 18.8 kilometers total. There is also a café in the Venda do Brasil, if you need to fuel up your belly!

Gas Station, the Venda Brasil, in Casais da Granja on day seven on the Camino PortuguésGas Station, the Venda Brasil, in Casais da Granja

The Camino takes a quick right turn off the EM526 and down another two-track lane, shown below. Just beyond this cluster of buildings is another guesthouse, the Casa do Sol, a high end place with a long minimum stay, not appropriate for pilgrims. 

More Glorious Portuguese Countryside, near AlvorgeMore Glorious Portuguese Countryside

Then it is back again into the deep countryside, on another tractor lane.

Red Tractor on a Tractor LaneRed Tractor on a Tractor Lane

Walking through enchanted forests...

Large, gnarled and Enchanted Trees on Path on day seven of the Camino PortuguésLarge, Gnarled and Enchanted Trees on Path

I just loved these large, gnarled trees that we passed by! With my swollen left ankle, I could have just sat under them and meditated away the rest of the day! But I was doing well, and enjoying the "Light" the day was bringing me around every corner. 

Shortly after the enchanted forest, the Camino joins the N348 after about 18.8 kilometers, walks on it for a hundred meters, then turns left onto a single track path, below.

First Single Track PathFirst Single Track Path

The single track continues along these charming walls lined with vineyards and olive trees. 

Olive Trees, Vineyards, Stone Walls and Single Track - A Lovely Combination on day seven of the Portuguese WayOlive Trees, Vineyards, Stone Walls and Single Track - A Lovely Combination

In only 150 meters we turn right onto pavement towards Junqueira, but not for long. 

Short Walk on Quiet Pavement Towards JunqueiraShort Walk on Quiet Pavement Towards Junqueira

In less than 400 meters, a left turn puts us back onto gravel road that walks toward our destination, Alvorge.

Gravel Road Towards Alvorge, PortugalGravel Road Towards Alvorge

In about 850 meters, the gravel road comes to a T-intersection where we turned right onto the Rua David Miguel Namora at 21.8 kilometers

Turn Right at T Intersection at End of This Gravel RoadTurn Right at T-Intersection at End of This Gravel Road

The Rua David Miguel Namora brings you into Alvorge and the signpost, below, welcomed us with what felt like open arms. I had made it, swollen ankle and all! And I was none too worse for the wear.

Welcome Signpost to Alvorge, Portugal, on day seven of the Portuguese CaminoWelcome Signpost to Alvorge

As you enter town, there is a new private 10-bed Albergue O Lagareiro, that also has rooms, and a cafeteria.

At the top of the hill is the town center, below. There is an information board, on the median shown here,  and we were reading it when a townsman came running up to us to help. He spoke no English, but we managed to communicate. Me and my Tarzan Spanish helped. 

Alvorge Town Center With Information Board on MedianTown Center With Information Board on Median

It turns out he was the town greeter and proprietor of the O Café da Sua Vida or the Café of Your Life on the southeast corner of the town squareInteresting name! Sadly, because of the pandemic, this café is now permanently closed, but the cafe Tira Peles has replaced it.

O Café da Sua Vida, Alvorge, PortugalO Café da Sua Vida

We did not linger at the café, but the friendly gentleman guided us through town, by the church focal point, and to the donativo albergue that is run by the church. 

Prominent Church of Alvorge, PortugalProminent Church of Alvorge

The albergue is down the hill from the church, in the basement of some sort of hall. It would have been a bit tricky to find without our friendly guide. He has the key to the place so you would have to be guided, regardless. There is a box on the table for your donation for your night's stay. 

The albergue sleeps ten, but we were the only ones there that night! There is no kitchen to speak of, and the place was only marginally clean when we arrived. They do have individual cubbies which were nice, but the bunk beds had washable sheets on them that most likely hadn't been washed in some time!

The Parochial Albergue de Peregrinos in AlvorgeThe Parochial Albergue de Peregrinos in Alvorge

Since we arrived early in the afternoon, around 2:00 pm, and it was nice and sunny, Rich stripped his bed and hand washed his fitted cotton-knit sheet in the outside hand sink that you can see in the photo of the albergue, above. 

I was too lazy to wash that heavy sheet, so I found the cleanest blanket in the place, and put it over the bed, like a sheet. I had my sleep sack, so I felt OK with that. There were no bed bugs! If there had been, I don't know what I would have done! (Since at the time this was the only accommodation in Alvorge).

We had plenty of time to relax, wash our clothes and sit in the warm spring sun. We went back up to the café for an early drink and they asked us if we were hungry. We said "yes" and they asked if an omelette was OK and we repeated the "yes!" They fed us an early dinner at about 6:30. Wonderful!

The simple food was absolutely delicious!

Because of my swollen ankle, I decided to refrain from wine with dinner. I thought it would be better. Rich also refrained, and the café staff looked at us, surprised, and as if we might be a bit mad not to have wine with dinner!  

I continued to get by with my Tarzan Spanish, with the friendly proprietor, who didn't seem to mind that I was using it. Apparently his wife speaks English, but she only showed up later in the evening. 

The proprietor's attitude towards us shifted when we ordered ourselves a shot of Ginja, their cherry-type liquor for after dinner. It was a nice finish to the tasty meal. It is so sad that this place is now closed. I wonder what happened to the friendly proprietor!

At the Albergue, when we left in the morning, we also left the key on the table by the donativo box. I gave handsomely to the church, in hopes that someone could be paid in the future to wash the sheets on the bed!

I loved the simple, rural experience of this small Portuguese town, and could even overlook the dirty sheetsPlease, if you stay here, also donate well. I suppose not enough people support this very convenient parochial albergue!

Along the N-348, just to the west of the center of Alvorge, there is also the Quinta da Maceda, which rents individual rooms (scroll to the bottom of the website, as it also rents the entire villa so don't be alarmed at the price tag). Right beside the Quinta is the Casas da Ladeia, but it is not appropriate for pilgrim’s with its ultra-high price and minimum night stay requirement.

Lessons Learned on Day Seven, Camino Portugués

While I had concern in my heart for the status of my health, with the shorter day and slower pace, I indeed, did enjoy this lovely and most rural walk on day seven of the Camino Portugués.

I had proven to myself, that I could indeed manage this day for the better. I had time to baby my ankle, elevate it at breaks during the day, and for a long time in the evening. I laid in my bunk bed with my feet resting on the bottom of the upper bunk, as I read and journaled about the day. 

Rich massaged my swollen ankle and with the help of ibuprofen, I managed to greatly reduce the swelling. Because there was not much pain with my "injury" I was able to do the 23 km to Alvorge!

I was happy and grateful, though somewhat lonely without our Aussie mates, nor any other pilgrims with whom to fellowship. I was just filled with happiness and satisfaction that I made it without any real complications. I breathed deeply and kept my fingers crossed. 


May your own day seven on the Camino Portugués be filled with healthy self-monitoring, self-knowledge, self-care and lots and lots of Light! It is better to be healthy, happy, injury free and full of Light, than to push on no matter what! Ultreia (a wish for unfailing courage) is a great word, and a great concept, if done with self-consciousness and moderation. I was living proof.

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And the Journey Continues:

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