Breakfast with the Bull Rider from Texas
Bull riding is big business in Portugal. And my first morning in a hostel, I met a Texan bull rider in town to visit friends.
I can’t imagine he still does it, but he had the hat, boots and southern drawl to pull it off. My two biker roommates, didn’t care for him much as he broke into discussing North Korea and how the US needs to bomb them.
However you stand on politics, I think most people come here to stay clear.
But personally, bringing up such a heated topic first thing in the morning before you even have a coffee is a bit much.
Meeting people on the Camino
One amazing things about the Camino is the random people you meet on the trail.
Let’s face it, you’re not alone on this journey and people are going through some of the same things you are. Sleep deprivation, hunger, aches, pains and more.
Usually you can tell a pilgrim by a sea shell they have pinned or tied to their backpack. Of course I don’t have a shell, but my backpack is usually a dead giveaway in more rural areas.
Today, I left mid morning and quickly found the road. I didn’t see any other pilgrims until a few hours. Then I caught up with several.
First was a German couple that had done 14 Camino’s together. Then a Japanese gentleman who had done the Frances Camino last year the same time I did. I recognized him but maybe not. It turns out his daughter lives outside of my hometown.
Walking with the Irish
I noticed the couple at the hostel I stayed at last night. I was in conversation so I didn’t get a chance to chat with them.
Luckily enough, I had a second chance on the road. I walked up as they left earlier than I and introduced myself. Their names are Roddy and Geraldine.
When you meet someone on the Camino, it’s customary to say ‘buen Camino.” It turns out that they have done the Camino before and they take a few weeks every year to do a portion of it. This year is the first time they’ve done the Portuguese.
I saw this a lot from Europeans on the Camino Frances. Because they live relatively close, it’s easy for them to jet down for a week and walk and then pick it up again in the future.
One tip they gave me was to end in spots with good transportation because several times they have paid a lot to return to a small town. It’s some times more expensive to get to a small town then a large one.
Lunch at a rural cafe—No English and a Hearty Stew
There’s nothing better than ordering food and not understanding the language. It’s a surprise what you end up with. And more times than not the food ends up being pretty good.
I ordered a steak and the stew with rice and French fries. Really it was too much and I had have of each dish. It was good, especially after a long days hike.
Dirty and dust ahead
It was so hot and I can’t believe how happy I am to have brought along an umbrella.
It was recommended to me by a friend that runs the Camino organization back home.
If it rains or has any sun during your Camino, I highly recommend taking an umbrella!
Taxi and hotel four miles out of town
So I booked the first few days of lodging before I arrived in Lisbon, but didn’t realize that one of the hotels was 4 miles away from the town. Bookings.com and the other websites all do this. So make sure to watch out for the distance to city center on the lodging/hostel listing.
So when we finally arrived I said goodbye to my new Irish friends at their alburgue and stopped into the cafe next door.
I grabbed a local pastry, glass of ice and bottle of water. And asked the waitress to call me a cab. No need to walk to my hotel so far out of town.
Fifteen minutes later a jolly cab driver showed up. I was able to schedule tomorrow’s ride back to town with him at the same time.
Luxury in the middle of no where
Casa do Alfaro was amazing. I had my own king size bed in a luxury room with a large bathtub, balcony overlooking the garden and more.
I was the only pilgrim here but it was heavenly. They even had an honor bar with free drinks, cakes and espressos.
Yup, I made one and it was good. The hotel even had a nice pool. But I was exhausted so I settled for a nice calming bath to soak my legs and a cold glass of water to relax.
Everything about this place was first class. I slept well and highly recommend it to anyone looking for a slightly nicer camino experience.
There’s nothing like have a great long bath and sleeping in a comfortable bed.