After 738 kilometers on foot along the EN2, the adventures of Darek and Pindol will continue soon

On foot and by paw, the duo Darek and Pindol crossed Portugal from Chaves to Faro

Photo: Bárbara Caetano|Sul Informação

14:30 pm, July 8th, 34 degrees. Darek Strojewski and Pindol were resting in a café in Alportel, just over 22 kilometers – and eight hours – from the final destination: Faro. They had already left more than 700 kilometers on foot, in 27 days, on the EN2.

It seems a lot, especially when we think of the friendly little dog, who barks with enthusiasm when the journalist from the Sul Informação approaches the owner. “It's an icebreaker. That's why I bring it with me on these trips. It helps me a lot and without it it was difficult. Sometimes I have him approach someone from a distance to see if that person is nice or not. If you receive it with a smile, I'll come closer,” says Darek.

The Polish hiker talks about trips, because his journey on foot along the EN2, which ended this Wednesday, at around 22:30, is far from being his first adventure of its kind (and Pindol) and it wasn't even the most complicated.

“This all started last year, when I walked 4000 kilometers between Warsaw and Lisbon. It was a personal dream. One day I thought: why not today? And I did it. However, I didn't want to do it for myself and my idea was to launch a fundraising campaign for a long-term care unit for cancer patients in my neighborhood”.

The trip started on June 10th and ended on November 5th. In just over four months, 7000 euros were raised for the cause chosen by Darek.

However, with that long journey, something that the hiker describes as “an addiction. And so I decided to embark on another adventure: walking between Southern and Northern Europe. Between Gibraltar and Norway».

I arrived in Lisbon on the 6th of January and, on the 10th, we started walking. As in Spain, at times, I have some resistance with the presence of Pindol, I decided to do a good part of the way through Portugal and crossed the border in Pomarão. I went to Miranda do Douro, where I crossed again to Spain, and I was in León, when the pandemic started».

All plans went down the drain. The borders closed and Darek returned to Portugal, having lived in Guarda for three months. It was during this period that he met the Portuguese “Route 66”, the EN2, which he decided to tour, again in the company of his Pindol, again with the same solidary cause: raise funds for Fundacja Hospicjum Onkologiczne św. Krzysztofa.

In the last few days, Darek and Pindol were in Alentejo under a blazing sun and very hot. It was Pindol who suffered the most, but “we made many stops to rest and drink water”.

With (almost) the entire EN2 covered, Darek feels free to make a portrait of the country. “Portugal looks very small on the map, but it's not a small country, because everything is different. The landscapes are very diverse. There is the Douro wine region and the mountains, then we go down, there are plains, and we arrive in the Algarve».

There is, however, something that does not change along the 738 kilometers of the EN2: the people. “From North to South, people are nice. Sometimes I look at someone and think I won't be welcomed, but that didn't happen. I was always very well received. It doesn't change, like the landscapes».

Darek Strojewski, who slept in his tent throughout the trip, always tried to “get close to people. When I choose a place to stay, I always try to stay close to people, for safety reasons. Sometimes I stay on someone else's property, attached to a house or next to accommodation and ask permission to stay there. I never had any problems».

That was one of Darek's concerns at the beginning of the trip: “I was afraid that, in the smaller villages, people would treat me badly. They might think I “brought” the virus. After all, I was walking all over the country. But it never happened».

For Darek and Pindol's next adventure, there are already plans, in the short and medium term. «I want to know the Historical Villages and I'm going to do this route. It will be different, because I want to spend some time in each one of them, to get to know their history better. In total, it will be over 500 kilometers».

Then, it is necessary to return to the idea that the pandemic “stole”. “The idea that I have to make the journey between the South and North of Europe is maintained. I plan to start in December, but it will all depend on how things evolve. If there is a second vacancy or if there is not”…

The conversation with the journalist from Sul Informação ended here. Darek slung his backpack, hit the road, and Pindol followed. Faro it was already there.


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