Wednesday, 20 May 2015
Reaching the Templar City
Last nights stay in Golega was fairly uneventful except that none of the restaurants or cafes were open so dinner consisted of bread and cheese. This morning the owner of the Casa provided a beautiful breakfast so I joined her other guests, the two American walkers and a young woman from Devon called Tammy. After our substantial breakfast we said our farewells and each of us went to pack our bags and start the days walk. Now Golega, the city of the horse, is a beautiful place but trying at 8.00am to find your way on to the Camino is virtually impossible. I walked for ages and couldn't find any of the customary yellow arrows. It was then at a roundabout that I met up with Tammy who like me was confused and somewhat lost. After consulting with the guide bible that is Brierly we decided on the road to take and started our walk towards Tomar. We had walked for about thirty minutes when a car stopped and a woman asked us if we were doing the Camino and after informing her that we were she told us to get in the car because we were on the wrong road and going in the wrong direction. She owned an Albergue in a village about 30 minutes walk out of Golega so she drove us to her Albergue where we were able to pick up the right path. At this point Tammy and I decided to walk together for the rest of the day. She had a very bad experience yesterday with a motorist and was feeling vulnerable and as I said yesterday having company makes the journey seem quicker. Most of today's walking was the climb that leaves behind the flat plains associated with the Rio Tejo as we headed uphill into the wooded countryside and passed through several villages associated with the Knights Templars. It was steep climbs on rugged paths with spectacular scenery. Our first stop for coffee was Atalaia where we met up with a French walker and two very friendly Spanish cyclists. After the stop it was hard getting started as I had stiffened up and the blisters ached but soon we were in our stride and had made the almost vertical climb to Grou. This was extreme walking and the steepness wasn't helped by the dust and the slipping stones. At this point we were walking through a dense eucalyptus forrest. After Grou it was a steep descent and then a treacherous road walk for about 10K in to Tomar. All the walking has been worth it just to see Tomar. Tomar is the best preserved example of Templar architecture and layout to survive to this day and it is mind blowing. Would love to spend several days here but tomorrow is another walk.