Today was a beautiful day. Not a rain cloud in sight, the sun was shining and there was a breeze most of the day. We had breakfast at the same place we had dinner last night. They were the only people open. I so wanted to get a picture with one of the owner’s. He might own it but she runs the place. They thought we were Croatian because I am so white. Remember, Portugal played Croatia last night and won in first overtime. She said last night “See you in the morning pilgrims.” But he was happy to see us and wished us a very hearty Bom Caminho as we left.
There were 2 options – we took the practical route – Gadgetman was leading as I ate a cookie. Things were going along swimmingly well until it wasn’t. We stopped so I could go into a church. The only church that’s been open so far. I said a prayer, left a small donation and took a look around. Nothing too extreme. Outside Gadgetman was antsy to get another stamp in his credential. So we stopped at a cafe, got a couple of waters, got the stamps and drew in her book a Texas flag. Off we went. After a km or so I was feeling things weren’t right and Gadgetman was stopped looking at one of his toys. We were off route. Not good. Around we went back to the church and back onto the path. Gadget fail. Book correct.
Somehow the granite finally turned into a “country lane”. Meaning a farming road. Mostly dirt and rutted. But still very nice rolling hills and no granite cobblestones. A side note here. Any time we wanted to stop last summer we could almost always find a town or village with a cafe open. Not so much here. The towns or communities are further apart and some don’t even have a cafe. The distance between water stops is much much longer.
After being moved to the side of the road/lane/track by bicycles/farm trucks and a few cars we were back to cobblestone. It continued on like this for several hours. Finally at lunch time, when we both thought we’d never see a town or cafe, up pops the little town of Pedra Furnanda. Yay! Shade, water and food – we would make it. We ate at a little cafe that was rated highly in the guide. Before we left th owner, Antonio, came over for a visit. He showed us through the cafe and attached restaurant. Gave us info on where to stay tonight and said we MUST take the optional route to the mountain. Antonio signed my guide by his picture, took a pictures of the Texans, shook Gadgetman’s hand gave me a hug and kiss to both cheeks and sent us on our happy way.
Back to asphalt, up and in the sun. For a looooong time. Gadgetman kept checking altitude and km to see when we left the street and tuned into the path. Finally. After snails, Slugs and turtles had passed me we see the turn off. Dirt path! No asphalt! And shade. Thank you sweet Jesus! My feet love the dirt. And again it’s up and the dirt turns to rocks. But as the saying goes, what goes up must come down. Gadgetman has already told me “this is torture.” Down down down we go. Not quite bouldering but close in places.
We’ve been walking in pine and eucalyptus trees on and off most of the day. It smells amazing. So fresh and clean. Nothing at all what we smelled like! The views were breath taking. A combination of small farming communities and small cities with the rolling green farmland between was peaceful postcard looking. When the “I think we should be there is about an hour” turned into several hours and neither of us had much water things started to get serious. Temps were in the low 90’s, the sun had been out all day and it was hot. My poor feet were so hot. Gadgetman finally said if I could find a taxi I’d call It for you. Oh really? You’re doing so well you wouldn’t take a ride? I blame it on the heat.
Finally an osasis appears – a cafe! A 7-Up was ordered along with waters. 15 minutes later we’re on our way with a spring in our step. Ok, so maybe not a spring but at least slugs weren’t passing me!
This is a delightful small town on the banks of a river. The people have been ever so nice and the wifi is weak. Dinner at a small family owned place of the daily special or Pilgrim’s Menu was roast pork and potatoes with a salad and wine. The bread is delivered fresh daily and I could eat the whole loaf. Chocolate cake with a ganache topping was the perfect ending. No coffee needed.