Learning to Walk 9


(32,295 STEPS – 24.16 KMS – 15.00 MILES)

“Walking on this planet is a very wonderful thing to do.”

– Thich Nhat Hanh, How to Walk

Hustling up to the next village, there MIGHT be coffee and pastries there!!!

The Walk

Today’s walk between Alvaiázere and Alvorge was a good one. Of course, Carlos the Great Host provided breakfast, so I didn’t have to fret about finding an open pastelaria or bar. Later in the morning, we arrived in Ansião and found a first class confeiteria (think donut shop).

The walk itself was fantastic, through rolling hills and expansive views. I am jealous of the olive and citrus trees. A lot of the farms have orchards, nearly every house has a few, and they also grow randomly across the hills.

The only downside today was the loss of my sunglasses. If you don’t know yet, I have a robust sense of humor. In fact, many of my photos and a lot of my “rants” are done in jest. Humor helps me cope with this irrational journey. Anyway, I had a can of Pringles chips (grocery store run in Alvaiázere yesterday) in my backpack and decided to stage the photo below. Somehow in the process of taking my pack off, my sunglasses became dislodged and fell to the ground. I was too absorbed in my own cleverness and the resultant photo that I didn’t notice. I did notice about a kilometer down the road when my eyes started hurting from the glare. What’s the #1 rule of Pilgrim Club (IYKYK)? We don’t backtrack. I would learn to cope until I could by new ones.

A can of Pringles potato chips sits on top of a rock wall that borders an olive grove.
Passed by the first Pringles farm.

Hospitality, again

The day ended in Alvorge at the Albergue O Lagareiro, a repurposed olive oil pressing facility. The albergue was clean, comfortable, and had an attached bar/restaurant. It was operated by a family – mom, dad, and teenaged daughter, they were great hosts!

When I arrived around 2 pm, the bar and the restaurant were packed. This place is also popular with the locals. The owner-husband-father was working frantically behind the bar when I walked in, very obviously a pilgrim. He ran over to where I was stood and told me how to get into the albergue. As he hustled back to work, he shouted that we would do the check-in and payment later.

I admire these types of transactions, and they are the rule, rather than the exception. The starting point is hospitality and trust. At the end of the evening, we settled our accounts – the cost of the bed, a couple of beers from the bar, and the pilgrim meal. The total cost for everything was around 20€.

About that pilgrim meal…

There were 5 pilgrims staying at the albergue, and all 5 of us opted for the pilgrim dinner. The hospitable family served our table, cooked the food, maintained the flow of wine, bussed the table, and treated us as if we were the most important people on the planet. To be on the receiving end of such hospitality is a gift!

The view from a bunk bed in an albergue in Alvorge, Portugal.
Don’t be put off by the particle board structure, this one was of the best-designed sleeping facilities I’ve ever seen.




No coffee or pastries here…

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