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Tuesday, 19 May 2015

The City of the Horse

After yesterday's unplanned marathon I was expecting the worst when I got up this morning but actually I was ok or at least no worst than when I try to get down the stairs first thing in the morning at home. The early morning walk out of Santarem let me see what a beautiful city it is as I made my way through the winding cobbled streets to the St. James Gate. A ten minute downhill path was quite treacherous but the colour of wild nasturtiums cascading down the bank was a composition only nature can do. Then it was on to the dirt paths that take you through acres and acres of vines both tomato and grape. The path was very dry, rutted and stoney which meant that you had to concentrate for fear of falling. It was also sore on the soles of the feet. This lasted for about 12K and just when I was despairing of see a village Vale da Figueira came into view and offered the perfect spot for a coffee and croissant. At the other side of the village the path started again only this time the crops changed and now it was vegetables and fruit. When I turned a corner I came upon a very old stone bridge where two fellow walkers were having a short rest. This American couple, you called him Dave but his wife's name escapes me, are also walking to Santiago. It really is noticeable that when you are walking and talking with others the miles just pass in a flash. Soon we entered the village of Azinhaga which was a riot of colour and a hive of activity. Row after row of lighted arches crossed over the streets, all the lampposts were wrapped in blue and white, every house was being painted and an enormous floral rosary hung from the church tower. The village was getting ready for their annual festival to Mary. At this point the American couple decided to stay and I set of on the 12K road march  to today's destination Golega which proudly boasts to being the City of the Horse. This is affluent countryside. The town and its architecture is rich in class and the people are well dressed and drive expensive cars. Today's modest accommodation is a beautiful casa with private rooms which I need as I set of on some repair jobs to the battered feet. The pharmacist was visited and compeed plasters purchased. Tomorrow I leave the rich fertile plains and start climbing, that'll be fun. So far I have covered between 125 and 130K

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