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Sunday, 24 May 2015

The hospitality of a lovely couple

Last nights stay in the Hotel Astoria was a bit of old charm luxury but the morning brought with it the reality that another days walking was in front of me. The morning got of to a great start with breakfast in the hotel where I stocked up on food and fruit to last the day. Saying my goodbyes to Dave and Fairlie I shouldered my backpack and started my march. The first thing I had to do was walk past the train station and quite honestly there was a strong compulsion to walk in, I could actually see two red trains waiting at the platforms, since the train would get me to Mealhada in about 30 minutes. Anyway the walk along the side of the river in the freshness of the early morning was soul lifting although recently it's the soles of my feet that need lifting, but that's another story. For the first two hours I walked along small twisting country roads that meandered through prime farming land. The small village of Cruce Ademia da Baixo was quickly passed through and then the steep two kilometres climb through Cioga to Trouxemil where I went into the local church and joined the locals at their Sunday Mass. After being refreshed both in a spiritual and physical way from this unscheduled stop I then made my way up through Adoes and into the small hamlet of  Sargento Mor where I stopped to consult with the guide book and check where the Camino yellow arrow was. At this point an elderly lady was getting out of her car and in perfect English asked me where I was from. We chatted for a few minutes and her husband opened their door and I was invited in for coffee. I stayed for about twenty minutes enjoying both their company and their excellent coffee. They had both worked in London and their English was perfect so it was an opportunity to at least talk to the locals but unfortunately when I asked for a photograph they said no. After this enlightening and uplifting encounter the rest of the days walking was a nightmare. Along the main N1 dual carriageway with cars and lorries passing so close they nearly blew you into the ditch and all of this in 34 degrees of heat. I was hot and tired when I arrived at the roundabout that leads into Mealhada and looking forward to a nice hot shower. The guide book was sort of misleading. There was another five kilometres or so to the Albergue. When I finally arrived at tonight's resting place I was pleasantly surprised to find it full of fellow travellers. I wasn't alone on this walk, I had been behind all of these people and then awhile later in came my friends Dave and Fairlie.  This evening the three of us along with Clare Cunningham (Ireland), Gerrie van der Velde ( Holland), and Karen Robinson (Australia), all enjoyed a lovely meal at a nearby restaurant.

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