From Vila Nova da Barquinha to Tomar, there are Vhils and “Caça Brava”

Today it was 25,12kms

T3: E8 – Vila Nova da Barquinha / Tomar

Yesterday, while I had time for dinner, I went to the riverside park of Vila Nova da Barquinha, which includes a series of sculptures by contemporary artists. I found myself thinking about what I had seen along the Tagus and the very successful recovery of these spaces along the river and their return for the enjoyment of the population. The mayors of these riverside areas are to be congratulated.

After this philosophical tirade, returning to reality, the employee at the accommodation where I stayed, on leaving the accommodation, made a point of saying that he had been there for almost three years and I was the first Portuguese person to show up to walk the Path. I feel like I look like a rare animal.

She had washed her clothes in the barracks bathroom, but they hadn't dried overnight. So, I innovated. I hung the socks on the backpack with safety pins, because clothes pegs are not safe. I stuffed the sweater into the backpack. The underpants were missing. I thought and thought and put them in my hat. It was two in one: the sun hit the hat and dried them; meanwhile they kept a cool head!

The first part of the route was urban, but pleasant. I passed by a work by Vhils, a tribute to potters. Then there were eucalyptus, more eucalyptus and even more eucalyptus. The landscape changed radically from one day to the next. If until yesterday, until Vila Nova da Barquinha were large, flat extensions of agricultural land, today it is a mountain covered with eucalyptus trees. Yesterday you could see a lot of people working, today nobody. Not a pilgrim, for sample.

In the middle of the eucalyptus trees, I got lost. I had already been walking for some time when I decided to consult the available. It was in the middle of nowhere, already off the route. It's time to go back, now with GPS in hand, following my footprints until you find the yellow arrows. It happened to be a pole and it was clearly visible, but I was supposed to be talking to myself and I passed by it without realizing it.

On the way out of Asseiceira I passed a sign indicating “Caça Brava” soon followed by another with “Perdicampo” and I could hear a brutal gunfight.

It wasn't a shot now, another shot later. It was a veritable barrage of fire, and if this was a field of partridges, it was impossible for any to escape.

Eventually, it started to snow. Like any Algarvean, when three drops of rain fall, the people don't leave the house because it's raining, I decided to try the poncho for the rain.

I took it out of the bottom of the backpack (it goes in its own compartment, down here, next to the sleeping bag), I put it over my head (meanwhile it starts to rain more) and that thing in front was fine, but the back didn't cover the backpack, it ran aground in any place. I was really twisting to grab him and to put him in order, I was doing three sprains and two muscle strains and nothing.

The backpack was already getting all wet, the clothes I was carrying hanging out to dry too and I just thought that, if someone was watching or filming the scene, they would be dying of laughter and that whole plot on the net would be all the rage.

After a lot of work, I decided to take off the backpack, put on the damn poncho and only then put the backpack back on my back, inside. It worked!!! Training classes are sorely missed...

It is evident, and to make the shame even greater, that it had stopped raining in the meantime.

But then a snail fell and I was happy, I did the rest of the way in a poncho because the weather was very unstable and I avoided more sad figures (although I have now mastered the technique). The issue of drying the clothes that I had hanging in my backpack was compromised, as the little sun that appeared was very anemic.

I didn't find anything to eat along the way (but I was forewarned). I got to Tomar well. There are nine of us in the room, on bunk beds, the bathroom is unisex (I suspect the room is too) but the showers are not. I've already passed the vegetarian German girl, I have an Argentine on top of me, and the Italian who was my roommate in Santarém in the bunk to my right. This one came from Fátima and, as there were no arrows, it was also (for a long time) lost.

Today it was 25,12kms.



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 in the midst of old age
Episode 4 - Between dirt road and tarmac, to the catfish fisherman weighing 10 kilos
Episode 5 - The miracle of the wayside fountain
Episode 6 - A headbutt to the bunk, a very bad dog and a finale with soaking feet
Episode 7 - The Walker in the Land of Saramago