Tag Archives: Oliveira de Azemais

Oliveira de Azemais to Sao Joao da Madeira

9/21 – with only 6 miles on the agenda today, we took our time with the lovely breakfast and stayed at the 4 star hotel until checkout time. My ankles are giving me grief and are calling for a day off, but it is only two more days to Porto, so we carry on.

Today I especially noticed all the old walls that still define the properties and line the roads here. These walls were made by the hands of men a thousand, or two thousand years ago, and they stand firm and strong, still doing the job they were designed to do. Contrast this with America’s tendency to tear down and rebuild, even when what was there before was perfectly fine. A different way of looking at life.

In the old towns, we see abandoned stone houses with no roof, sharing a wall with freshly stuccoed and painted houses right next door. Same stones, there to reuse and renew…

Sao Joao (that’s St. John) is a big modern town with a mall, and an active center square, buzzing with people out on a Sunday afternoon. Although we are trying to rest my feet, we took a short walk to see the sights. Pope John Paul II seems pretty popular here: image
…and we don’t know what this guy did to get on the wrong side of this lady: image

We checked out our favorite supermarket, the Pingo Doce, and they had grilled chicken in the deli case! Now, frango (chicken) is just something you can’t get in this country. It’s not on the menu at any restaurant, and this is the first time we’ve seen it for sale. When we asked for half a chicken, the deli lady took it out of the case, brushed it all over with Piri Piri hot sauce, and used a big set of shears to cut it up into serving pieces. Then she wrapped it in brown paper and we had our supper! A Sunday treat for Americans!

Albergaria-a-Velha to Oliveira de Azemeis

9/20 – is it my imagination, or do the names of towns get longer as we move north? 13 miles today, doubling back through town to pick up the yellow arrows that mark our path. The sun was out this morning, with about the same sights to see: more dogs, more eucalyptus forest, more little towns. Here’s what the trail looks like the morning after the big rain:

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Yes, that’s not a river, that’s the trail.

Part of our path today was the original Roman road that the medieval pilgrims walked on:

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We came upon a statue of Mary in the middle of nowhere: image
And a shrine to Senhor Jesus: image

When we got into town, we found, for the third day in a row, that the residencial and the pension had gone out of business. I called the tourist info, and the lady suggested that we ask to sleep on the floor at the fire station, which is common practice here for pilgrims in towns with no hostel. Fortunately, this town has a 4 star hotel, and the hotel offered a discount because we are pilgrims. It’s more than we are used to paying here, but it sure beats the floor of the fire station!

So now we are in a king sized bed with extra pillows, a sleek modern bath with little shampoos, and a lavish buffet spread for breakfast. If this isn’t nice, I just don’t know what is!