T3:E5 – Santarém>>Azinhaga
The day didn't start out well. I slammed my head against the bunk post, I panicked because I couldn't find my glasses (which were on my forehead), the cafe where I was going to have breakfast was still closed (we had been there yesterday, the decor was clocks with the time in several cities, but the owner decided to sanction Russia and took the one from Moscow) and it was difficult to find the way out of Santarém (in cities it is always like that). But then, let's start with the events of last night.
At dinner, in addition to the usual Canadians and Germans, there was a new german from Viseu (she was Portuguese, but had lived in Germany for a long time), an American couple and a young man from Latvia. Here, I gave a tent because I said – Lithuania? And he insisted – Latvia, capital Riga!
A light dawned: he was from Latvia and the figure I made reminded those who say – Portuguese? From Spain?
After this unhappy beginning (don't forget, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are up there) he told his misadventures. The young man had bought plane tickets from Riga to Lisbon, with a stopover in London and Porto. He was barred from check in from the capital of Latvia (I'm writing several times to repent) because, as I was going through London and there was Brexit, I would need a passport, which I didn't have. He lost his tickets and ended up flying straight from Latvia to Lisbon.
In front of me was the American woman, whom I tried (and I think I succeeded) to convince her to come and do the Rota Vicentina and Via Algarviana. It's just that, by coincidence, I had taken a magazine that talked about it. Photographed the pages to go to the net to find out more.
Meanwhile, a typical American arrived: huge, fat, loud, talking very loudly. He sat next to me and we ended up having a very interesting conversation, when he discovered that I was Portuguese. The first observation he made was that we were just tourism, tourism, hotels and the salaries of these people were very low. We ended up discussing everything from American politics, corruption, health services and freedom of the press, among many other things.
The conversation was so absorbing that, when I noticed, the staff was already paying the bill – and I had only eaten half of my dose. This thing of knowing how outsiders see us is very interesting.
Returning to the walk, the exit from Santarém was made, very appropriately, through the gate and medieval road of Santiago. Fortunately there was fog and then some clouds that prevented it from getting too hot.
The landscape was, essentially, a road between vineyards. I had no idea that there were so many people working in the field and I was effusively greeted by a group of workers who were planting/sowing something that my (very) little agricultural knowledge couldn't figure out what it was.
When I arrived in Vale de Figueira, I saw a pilgrim leaving the cafe and arrived in time to hear the comment of the assembly of old people sitting at the door: “…a layer of c'anda p'raí…”.
I go in to have a coffee and two more pilgrims were already there. I start a conversation with the owner, ask if many pass by (the answer was: Uiiii) and I hear a voice from inside – Does this one speak Portuguese?! When I said that I was Portuguese and from the Algarve, the comment immediately came out – I love the Algarve, I wish I lived there!
Continuing to walk and crossing the many tractors that can be seen working everywhere, I was attacked by a dog.
His problem was his overconfidence, because he came silently but he was so sure he was going to bite me that he barked a meter from my shins, which allowed me to react with the bat. The first attack failed, he started trying to catch up with me running quickly around me. I defended myself, pointing the stick at him and also walking in a circle. This took a while, I was already getting dizzy from walking around so much, until the owner appeared, who grabbed the animal ensuring that he never bit (I have yet to hear a dog owner say that he bites). This time it was a close call.
Meanwhile, I did a bit of maintenance on the Path, using the stick as a brush cutter on some weeds that almost covered the signs with the arrows. Psychologically, I don't know if this had anything to do with the scare I had had.
Almost at the end, I noticed that there were two pilgrims behind me and two ahead of me. These were the American couple I had dinner with yesterday. I ended up coming with them to stay at the same place, not before six pilgrims had gathered at the entrance to Azinhaga, with some even going to soak their feet in the Almonda River.
Read the other episodes of Season 3 of The Walker saga:
Episode 1 - Next to the Lisbon Cathedral, Season 3 of the Walker saga begins
Episode 2 - Today we don't have leatherettes
Episode 3 - Misadventures of a man from the Algarve on the laps of the big city
Episode 4 - Between dirt road and tarmac, to the catfish fisherman weighing 10 kilos
Episode 5 - The miracle of the wayside fountain