CAMINHO PORTUGUÊS – Santa Maria da Feira
(37,332 STEPS – 28.24 KMS – 17.54 MILES)
When I woke this morning, I noticed two things: 1) I didn’t freeze to death overnight, and 2) There were rays of sunshine peeking through the window shades! Thank goodness! Yesterday was super-soggy and it was still raining when I went to sleep.
The 1.5-kilometer walk back up to Pinheiro da Bemposta was rewarded with an open pastelaria in the town square. Coffee and pastries for a proper start! Also making for a proper start were the blue skies, not a cloud in sight! My body and my clothes would get a proper drying today.
The walk this morning was nice – perfect weather and a good mix of towns and forests. The towns, for the availability of refreshments. The forests, for the serene walks.
Late in the morning I arrived in São João da Madeira. After the last two days in small, hospitable towns and remote albergues, I was in no mood for a suburban walk in traffic and shopping malls. Heeding the advice of my previous hosts, I went off-Camino.
My hostess in Albergaria A Velha and my host at Moinho Garcia encouraged me to divert off the Camino towards Santa Maria da Feira or even to the coastline for a more pleasant walk. To do this, I would have to trailblaze, that is to say, refer to Google Maps and wind my way through the busy streets of São João.
I did. It was a fantastic walk, as evidenced by the photo below:
Santa Maria da Feira
I arrived in Santa Maria in the early afternoon. The local advice was indeed good. Santa Maria da Feira was a great place to be, because of the following:
- The town is charming – beautiful churches and old buildings, and a castle at the top of a hill on the outskirts of town.
- There is a reasonably priced hostel, modern and nice, in the heart of the Old Town.
- There was a great restaurant a half-block away from the hostel, the Restaurante Dejá Vú. I had lunch and dinner here, when you find something good, stick with it!
- There was a craft beer bar a block-and-a-half from the hostel, the Lovecraft Public House Feira. Great selection of Portuguese Craft Beer!
- There was a lavanderia a few blocks from the hostel. This means thoroughly clean and dry clothes for me!
Santa Maria da Feira was like a dream come true for me.
*Funny note about the Railroad Crossing sign on the right – I don’t think I’ve seen that many pilgrims total on the Camino Portugues. So, violating this advice was out of the question.
*Note – the photo in the lower right-hand corner is not an editing error or glitch. It is the glowing orb near my table at the Restaurante Dejá Vú. Another reason to like Santa Maria da Feira.
*Note – there are no additional notes for this group of photos.