Sunday, May 28 Arrifana to Aljezur

We awoke early today even though we finally had a chance to sleep in a bit. But our early-morning clocks were going off at 6am again. I think both Shawn and I were able to fall back asleep after a few mosquito slaps, however.

Breakfast was amazing. Lots of different food options and good fruit. I also had one of these Portuguese tart things. Tasted like dessert to me, but here it was at breakfast, so who am I to complain?! It was also great because of all the different people around the table. There were a couple of young girls from Germany who were sort-staying their way around Portugal on holidays as well as the two New Zealanders who were all eating breakfast by the time we got up to the kitchen area. There was also a French couple whom I chatted briefly with. They were touring the country via car and decided the coastal towns were too touristy and were headed inland today. I love the international diversity!

We finished packing up after breakfast and headed back down the hill and around the Historical Way trail. We were going to do the Fisherman’s Trail today and join up with the Historical, but my feet are sad, so we needed to go a bit slower and shorter for our “rest day”. It was a bit of a loop-de-loop, but after we had gone about 8km, we could get a great view of the town of Arrifana sloping gently down to the Amoreira beach and the ocean. Back in the 15th Century, this valley was the only navigable valley between Vila Nova de Mifontes and Sagres, so was very utilized for shipping. Now it is dry. And we climbed down one side of the valley and back up the other side in order to reach the town of Aljezur.

Aljezur seemed small when we arrived. We arrived, obviously, from the coast, so a bit South-West and all that could be seen was a few white houses and the castle up on the hill. But as we made our way around the castle and along the river, the city expanded quite a bit to reveal one of the largest places we have visited on the trip. Even though it was only a 12km walk from Arrifana, it was dramatically different in feel. Instead of feeling lazy and laid-back, it felt more hurried and busy. The gardens were tended and there were less weeds growing through the sidewalk. There were also two large supermarkets.

Just as we were finding our way to our hotel, we ran into the New Zealander with the injured knee. She was out to wait for her husband as she knew he would be arriving shortly (seemed about right…we did 12km in the same time he would have done 18km!). I finally asked her name – Jenni and her husband’s name is Bruce. It is always so funny when you keep running into the same people over and over. We had another couple we kept leap-frogging walking with on the first couple of days from Ireland, but after Carrapateira we never saw them again. Everyone has their own pace and timing for holidays, after all!

After having a nap at our hotel (Guesthouse A Lareira – nice enough, but a bit older) we decided to walk a bit around town to look at the grocery stores. Seems like a funny thing to do, but I love doing that, no matter where I visit so I can get an idea of the local food. As well, we wanted to find some cheaper sunscreen (I have NEVER seen sunscreen to be so expensive as it is here. It seems like Nivea owns exclusive rights to the product and a bottle is around 22 Euros!) to no avail. We did find some cool fish market products being sold right at the back of the store as well as some great bottles of practically free wine (no joke – 1 Euro or less…and some of them we know from home!). Good thing we have been walking so we can keep drinking!

We had happy hour (ie wine) back in our hotel room sitting on the lovely patio above the restaurant that is located on the main level of the hotel. It was a bit noisy, but looking out to the wonderful gardens and to the right to the farmers’ fields creates a great view. I could deal with that view at home instead of looking into my neighbour’s yard and staring at their huge R.V!

For dinner we decided to go to the Cervejaria Mar. As we were walking up to the restaurant we ran into Jennni and Bruce again – who, as it turns out were staying at the same hotel and were headed to the same restaurant for dinner. Shawn and I almost got the last table so Jenni decided we should eat together, which was great! We got to learn a bit more about their walking adventures and interesting travels before talking about lovely things like the US and Trump. Ahhhh…what a world – you can be on the other side and meet random strangers and the topics somehow seem to circle back!

The food was great and very local. We ordered a 2-person dish of seafood pasta and what arrived was amazing. There was probably at least $60 of seafood in this dish and could have easily fed 4 people, not two. And it wasn’t so much of a pasta as it was a noodle soup. It was ladled out into our bowls. Some macaroni noodles with a sea-food-y broth, and muscles, and clams, and shrimp. It was fantastic. So much seafood. And the entire thing cost 22 Euros. It was crazy.

No mosquitoes in our room tonight, thankfully. We just have to sleep on walking tomorrow or taking the bus. I will be sad if we don’t do the walk, but being in pain sucks…and we can hit the beach tomorrow if we don’t walk. Regardless, we knew at the beginning we would only be able to do about 1/2 of this walk, so Shawn tells me we just have to come back to finish what we didn’t do this time!



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