Tag Archives: Vila Franca de Xira

Vila Franca de Xira to Azambuja

8/31 – our 12 mile trek today was mostly on highway, which was nasty, but would have been worse on a weekday with heavier traffic. We met no other pilgrims today.




We stopped in a small town at a cafe for lunch, and asked for a sandwich (sande). This is invariably one slice of ham (prosciutto) on a hard roll, with no mustard or mayo. Dry, dry, dry. Imagine our delight when the sandwiches came with ham, cheese and margarine! A culinary delight, that we could probably always have if we just knew how to order it…

We noticed several houses with Our Lady of Fatima displayed over the door:


As we walked along, I kept noticing tomatoes on the ground; some smashed, some eaten by bugs or birds, but many more in perfect condition, or almost so. Have the town folk been tossing them out the windows? Is this some sort of cultural phenomenon? My ruminations were answered soon enough when we spotted a double length tractor trailer barreling down the highway with an unsecured cargo of ripe red tomatoes bouncing around and spilling out. Mystery solved!


Here are some flowers from today’s walk:

Azambuja is another town with a bull ring, and we passed lots of posters advertising upcoming events. I’m happy to report that there are female bullfighters too, if this poster is any indication.



We are staying in a quiet pensao, without internet, so we didn’t expect much excitement for the evening. When we went to seek out supper around 7:30 ( that’s really the earliest you can get fed in this country), we found every restaurant full to bursting, with the soccer game blaring out on the TV. We passed by the first two restaurants, then decided there was nothing else for it, and made our way into the third. The proprietor found us two seats at a long table filled with shouting futbol fans, and brought us pork and fried potatoes for two. And, he brought out some hot sauce, called Piri Piri, the first condiment we’ve seen! We ate every bit, and rooted for the home team. The uniforms for one team advertised beer, and the other advertised TV satellite dishes. No idea who won!

Lying in bed, we listened to the shouting, singing and general carousing that seems to be a nightly event here, until the bars close at 2am. Amid all the noise we distinctly heard a full verse of God Bless America! Now, who can that be?image

Alverca to Vila Franca de Xira

8/30 – today we planned an easy day of just 7 miles. Our guidebook recommended a 19 mile day, but we split it, as we are taking our time, and wanted to enjoy the town of Vila Franca de Xira. Tomorrow we will walk the other 12 miles.

We met two pilgrims from Brazil, who have completed six different caminhos. They arrived in Lisbon yesterday, walked until 10:30 last night, and would walk another 20 miles today. Everyone walks their own Caminho.

We walked some dusty early morning trail, and got to see some roses and morning glories in bloom:



We spent an hour on a nasty road walk along highway N10, but during this stretch several bikers wished us Bom Caminho, and an old man waved his arms to slow down the traffic as we passed. Nice People of a Portugal! We are asked if we are walking to Fatima, as both pilgrimages share a trail at this point. As Fatima is on the way, we are considering going there too. Why not?

Finally, the path took us back to the River Tejo, where we enjoyed walking on a multi-use track with bikers, joggers and families enjoying a Saturday outing.





We got to see our first bullfighting stadium, from a distance, there are posters of matadors all over, and bull is on the menu, so we think this is a bullfighting town:



We had another mystery lunch, as this is not Lisbon, so there are no tourist menus translated to English. We asked for the specials of the day, and the waitress asked lots of questions, to which we replied Yes. I ended up with codfish soup (delicious!) and a pork sandwich. Jim got fried pork loin with (the now expected) rice, fries and salad. This really isn’t hard, if you don’t care what you get!

Here is our hostel, where we have a private room, and our own bathroom across the hall. We just did some laundry – see Jim’s red shirt hanging out to dry?


A lovely afternoon in a lovely town.