T2 E4 – Santa Margarida da Serra>>Grândola
There are perfect days for hiking. Today was one of them. Mild temperature, you could wear short sleeves. Cloudy skies, so you didn't even need to wear a hat. Stunning landscape, in the middle of Serra de Grândola. And that's it, the chronicle could end here because not even the photographs can give an idea of what we were seeing. But let's try...
Whenever we can, we like to boost local commerce, not least because it's always a way of talking to people. At the café in Santa Margarida da Serra, we learned that people have already been visiting this part of the Caminhos, mainly foreigners, but there are also already seeing some Portuguese.
As the Way follows the Great Route 11, the Serra da Serra, many circular routes, the E9, known as the Atlantic Way and which goes to Saint Petersburg, Russia, it becomes difficult to know who is doing what.
But they told us that groups of people come together to walk and run, as yesterday at the Ultra Trail Serra de Grândola, which brought together around 400 athletes. That's why we found so many arrows and white streaks on the floor...
We haven't seen anyone. This is probably due to the fact that we are all heading in the same direction, to the north, and the speeds shouldn't vary much, so we don't overtake, nor are we overtaken.
When we did the Historical Way of the Rota Vicentina, we came across many people in the opposite direction. Interestingly, when we arrived in Santiago do Cacém and said we were going to walk, the observation was “Ah, go to the Algarve!” and they were surprised when we said no, that we were going up.
Returning to our path, on the way out of Santa Margarida, we saw a water tank with a level measurement system that was as simple as it was efficient: a float inside, a string and a board outside indicated that the level was a little below half – level 5 out of 12, whatever the ability. Sometimes the simple things are the most efficient...
I can't get enough of saying that, on the fantastic route we took today, nature was exuberant. The mushrooms were huge, the medronhos were good and I almost swore we even heard wild boars.
If until now, when people talked about passing through Grândola, I, like the overwhelming majority of Portuguese, thought of the “Channel Caveira straight (from IP1)” now, when people talk to me about this land, I will think of Serra de Grândola, known as a small minority of Portuguese – despite knowing that the ascent to the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Penha de França (and the respective descent) is not child's play.
In the middle of the mountain, we had a dilemma. We arrived at a place where the marking of the Ways to Santiago pointed to the right. The GPS, which we downloaded from the official website, sent it to the left. The Great Route signage also said it was to the left. By most indications, we went to the left. And this divergence between the GPS route and the signs on the ground occurred again intermittently until the end of the route. I think it's something that Ways of Santiago Alentejo Ribatejo have to rectify.
I think that more and more people and entities through which these routes pass are valuing them. This cork oak that was stripped already has new markings, but you can see that, a few years ago, they were careful to leave a mark.
And we reached the end of this section, passing through a beautiful traditional olive grove, the overpass of the IP1 and the usual replenishing of liquids (sorry, for the necessary dynamism of local commerce).
Also read the other episodes from this 2nd season:
T2 E1 – Santiago do Cacém>>São Bartolomeu da Serra
T2 E2 – São Bartolomeu da Serra>>Roncão