CAMINHO PORTUGUÊS – Porto de Mós
(42,994 STEPS – 33.17 KMS – 20.60 MILES)
There was probably a shortcut from the Low Town to the Caminho de Fátima but we chose not to take it. Rather, we walked (I did the broke-knee shuffle) back up to the Old Town so we could start at the 0.0 km Marker, the official starting point. We stopped on the way up to take advantage of the swing that was off to the side of the path near the top. Yesterday it was too busy with teenaged girls making TikTok videos for us to have a chance without it being creepy. The trail and the swing were unoccupied this morning as the sun was coming up.
At the top, we found the starting marker and started our walk east towards Fátima. Four blocks into the walk we stopped for coffee and pastries (you know the rule). Properly fueled, we set out on pilgrimage. Finding our way out of town was a challenge, there weren’t too many markers, but there were enough. After a few kilometers of walking city streets and on a straight highway, we came across a sign that pointed us into the woods and towards Fátima. We were on the way!
The Wilderness Trail
The dirt path wound its way through a nice pine forest. After a couple of kilometers, it turned into a eucalyptus forest. It was like walking through an Essential Oils store, the smell was wonderful. Another kilometer in and the dirt path turned into a loose sand path. It was punishing, if you’ve ever walked any distance on loose sand, you know what I mean. Fortunately, after a kilometer or so, we were back on a normal dirt path.
The walk was wonderful – towering forests, dense growth on the forest floor, and flowers everywhere. Portugal is the most naturally colorful place I’ve been to. There were a few villages scattered along the trail, but not many resources compared to the Caminos de Santiago.
This walk from Nazaré to Fátima is broken down into 3 stages, but we decided to do it in 2 days. The third day we would use to walk to Tomar and connect with the Portuguese Way to Santiago. Our destination for this modified day was Pedreiras. As mentioned, this walk is not well-resourced. Arriving in town, we learned that there was no lodging. We did find a cafe and a nice lady willing to make a mid-afternoon hot sandwich for us. We did reconnaissance as we ate and found an AirBnB a few kilometers away. The house was a renovated wine press and farm, it was a great facility, and we were the only guests there. The owners drove up from Lisbon (over 100 kms away) to make sure we settled in okay. They were very hospitable, which seems to be the norm in this part of the world.
This was a good walk today! We could have had better awareness about the scarcity of resources, but we made it through and will adapt.