Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Alvorge to Cernache

We were nearly the last to leave the albergue this morning when we stepped outside to overcast skies around 7:30 am. We left town on a small, sodden footpath that wound down to an old Roman washing basin and the ruins of a small castle-like building that still bears the coat of arms.

From there we followed a track up into rolling hills that were covered in heather, gorse, and small shrubs. The landscape brought to mind Newfoundland, except that you could still the terraced steps in the hills, presumably left behind by the Romans.

As we made our way through the rolling hills along gravel tracks and paved country roads, the skies began to darken. Although we endured several rather heavy showers over the course of the day we quite enjoyed the brilliant colours of the stone walls, vegetation, and wildflowers that were brought forth by the rain.

The hike in to Rabacal seemed quite long but it was stunningly beautiful.

We stopped for a coffee at the O Bonita cafe and albergue, which looked very nice, and which featured regional cheeses. After a brief break, during which the Scandinavian lady who stayed in our albergue lady caught up to us, we set off through town.

After Rabacal the trail took us into the country, through flooded vineyards and overgrown, grassy olive groves. As we followed a river we passed by a windmill, and stopped to enjoy the contrast of its white silo against the dark sky.

As we passed through the villages of Zambujal and Fonte Coberta we the Camino spirit could be strongly felt. We walked along the Rue Santiago, and each town had many elaborate and beautiful white and blue tiles depicting scenes from their town, poems, and maps. These were also the first places we came across with test stops - small grassy parks with stone picnic tables.

After passing the Fonte Coberta the small footpath began to follow Rio dos Mouros, which was swollen by recent rains. In several places it had overflowed its banks and obliterated the trail. Needless to say, today was a wet hike!

After the the tiny settlement of Poco the trail climbed into a treed valley. There was highly varied vegetation, which in parts looked like they might have been burned by forest fires.

Eventually we climbed down from the hills, crossed through a gorge, and emerged at a museum for Roman ruins in Cominbriga. There were lots of school kids out front, but although we tried the ticket office, it was inexplicably locked. We stopped for an ice cream at the museum restaurant, and then headed through town to the albergue, intending to return later.

When we reached the albergue in Cominbriga we found a sign saying it was full. The skies were overcast and dark, and the wind was really blowing, but we decided to continue on to Cernache, which we figured was about 5 km further on.

We crossed through several villages, and over several overpasses, before finding ourselves in Cernache, much quicker than we expected. We found the albergue and Antonio saw us on the sidewalk and let us in.

On arriving we discovered the Italian man and the two French ladies who were staying in our albergue last night. We ended up sharing a room. The afternoon quickly disappeared with drying clothes in the drier, downloading photos, and visiting the supermarket, all while it rained steadily outside.

Around 6:30 we headed out in search of dinner, but found only cheese sandwiches and beer once again. I am really starting to miss vegetables! Nevertheless, it was a nice meal, capped with s apple tart.

We heard back to the albergue, which had curfew of 10 PM, to finish laundry and for our blogging.

Accomodations: Albergue Cernache
Distance: 26 km

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