day 6, Santarém to Golegã, 36 km

Yesterday evening we took the advice of Aurélio, our new friend from Lisbon, and ordered for dinner sopa do osso, a soup consisting of pork bones, sausage, (and unidentifiable bits of meat), with cabbage, potatoes and some beans. It was lovely but came in a huge tureen that we could only half finish, but it was delicious – certainly walkers’ food. Aurelio had also recommended some almond cakes that Elly scoured the town to procure – and returned triumphant – excellent advice from one who knows.

We bade the lovely Mario at Santarém Hostel a fond farewell as we were planning an early start, and we were actually on our way at 6:02 am. It was fairly dark, but luckily we knew where the first arrow was located and we walked through this lovely town to the ‘Portas do Sol’ and made our way down a steep and uneven track to be greeted at the bottom by the lovely sight of the sun rising over the Rio Tejo.

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It was a lovely fresh morning with a cool breeze and and a good covering of cloud.

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We were soon walking on farm tracks, wandering through vineyards and then we had a few km’s on a quiet road. We have seen a few more pilgrims walking today and were passed by the American couple who we met in Lisbon who started a day after us (I was rather taken aback when he stopped in the outskirts of a village only a few metres in front of me and peed against a wall, not really what I would expect from a mature civilised pilgrim).

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We had our first break on reaching the village of Vale de Figueira after 14 km and 2.5 hours, where we popped into the first cafe for a hot drink. After walking through the village we turned towards more farmland and a plantation of young eucalyptus trees which were so pretty with their new pinkish grey leaves.

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The tracks varied from nice soft sand, to uncomfortable stoney ground, to dried mud that had been deeply rutted by tractor wheels.

We have now passed through tomato territory, walked by cabbage county and the borough of broccoli and come across many new plantings of beans, of the runner or French variety, all interspersed with fields of vines. There were also vast areas of what I think were cereal crops, probably corn or maybe even sweet corn. I love to see the geometric patterns of the ploughed furrows.

We also came across two different watering systems in use, which was a surprise for the time of day, I would have expected watering to be done either very early or in the evening not at 9:00 am when the sun would soon be getting strong and evaporate the water and burn the wet leaves. Maybe someone set the timer wrongly!

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Not so many flowers today, but this beautiful corn flower (I think) caught my eye.

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We stopped for boots-off and a bite to eat after 20 km and I shared my breakfast roll with Elly, and lightened my load by devouring my satsumas and a delicious little sheep’s cheese that I had bought in Santarém.

There were loads of tractors out on the land and buzzing back and forth along the tracks, kicking up the dust in our faces. The ploughing attracted a lot of attention from these birds (are they egrets?) who were competing for first place in the queue to be the early birds who get the worms!

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Back onto the road where we pass through Azinhaga, a very pretty town with some interesting architecture. We fancy a cold drink but don’t stop at the first cafe (as we did earlier) expecting to find a nicer one further through the town. But, you guessed it – there was none and we couldn’t be bothered to go back, so trudged on for a few more km’s until we found a place to sit off the road and watch the farmers at work whilst we took a drink and wriggled our toes. We have now covered 30 km and force ourselves to set off for the final stretch, reaching Golegã at around 4pm.

We are staying in another charming accommodation with a mixture of rooms and albergue type accommodation across the courtyard, where we have opted to take a twin room rather than the bunk bed (6) accommodation. Bunks are 10 euros, and we pay 15 euros for our room with a bathroom shared by all.

The main house is very grand with beautiful furniture and we can use the lounge if we wish. There is a lovely courtyard with a couple of dogs demanding attention. Very nice and peaceful. Hostel Solo Duro 935 640 550. I feel I am spoiling myself with the accommodation where we are staying, but then again it is still very basic, inexpensive accommodation compared to normal travel.

I have picked up a small blister today, at the base of my big toe on the ball of my left foot. I taped it early on and it doesn’t hurt much, so I hope it won’t develop into a problem.

We are planning another short day tomorrow so that we can explore some of the lovely countryside. I am glad to be with Elly who is taking the lead with these plans. If I had been walking on my own I would most likely plough on with the long 30+ km days and wear myself out. She is keeping us well-paced and it is rather nice! (And I don’t have to think too hard about any plans, which is always good as far as I am concerned.) it is good to have a travel companion, but we both know that if one of us wants to go our own way, then that will be absolutely fine.

And finally, it seems that Mr B has short changed us again. He (John Brierly that is, author of the most used English language guides for the various caminos) has stated that this stage is 31.2 km, whereas my gps states 36 km. I shall be keeping an eye on him in future!

About magwood

Trepidatious Traveller - camino blog is about preparing for and walking the Camino de Santiago. Many future pilgrims have found the blog useful and inspiring, and many who have no plans to walk the camino have simply enjoyed the dialogue http://www.magwood.me
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30 Responses to day 6, Santarém to Golegã, 36 km

  1. Susan says:

    I am enjoying your writing and photographs each day and very interested in your experiences in the countryside – loved the explanation of the tomato planting process. Portugal is a charming country in so many ways (love pastel de nata!). Do you speak Portuguese? Are you having any language difficulties? I’m amazed that you write so thoroughly every day – it’s like being there for me. Thank you so much.

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    • magwood says:

      Hi Susan, thanks for your lovely comment. I speak a bit of spanish and it is usually enough to get by, I think the words are quite similar, but the pronunciation is very different. Portuguese sounds more like an Eastern European language. Not had too many problems so far.

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  2. David Wolfe says:

    Another great log and pictures. A cafe in the hand is worth two in the bush!. I hope the blister does not get any bigger. Have a good nights rest and enjoy tomorrow David

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  3. David Wolfe says:

    The early morning sky looks beautiful a great picture Good night

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  4. I just came back from a 24-day touring holiday and my feet sweat in my runners and I developed blisters. I feel for you. Hope the wrapping helps and you don’t have anymore trouble.

    Love the photos. Early morning and sunrise make me weak. ~(*_*)~~

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    • magwood says:

      I have just stuck a needle through the blister – it’s really not too bad at the moment – long may it last!

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      • Cooper says:

        Consider running a needle with thread thru the blister and leave the thread (small piece). It worked wonderfully for me on at least two occasions. Blisters “drained” and didn’t get bigger while healing – covered with the skin. A little petroleum jelly (if available) will keep the skin from peeling away. I actually read (in a blog) that one can use Preparation H over blister to quicken the drying process…. ??? [not usually one of my backpack items 😉 ~always someone “out there” with a good idea, heh~]

        Liked by 1 person

      • You are brave indeed. May it last long. 😉

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  5. Kristina Wilkening says:

    What a lovely morning you had with cooler temps and pretty sunrise! Loved that corn flower photo! You guys are really putting in some miles. Are you listening to Shania again?

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    • magwood says:

      Hi Kristina, the problem is, when you could most do with the music to keep the spirits up is when walking on the road, and then it is really important to hear what traffic is approaching, so it’s not wise. If you can hear cars coming from both directions on a narrow road, it is time to jump into the hedgerow! Actually cars are bad enough, but buses and lorries are very scary and they all drive like maniacs.

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  6. Beautiful sunrise, ditto with David.

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  7. Hi magwood, loving the blog. In Norfolk we have trailer’s for planting veg like the ones you we seeing. Portuguese people go to work there. Golega is famous for its horse fair in November. Maybe one day I will go there and eat xome of that sopa. Helenxx

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    • magwood says:

      Hi Helen, not much sign of horses around here – saw a couple of nags today, but that’s all. I hope you enjoy my old nag for a couple of weeks xx

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  8. Keith says:

    Another good day. Lovely pics.

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  9. Marianne says:

    Great photos, Maggie – particularly love the sunrise one. Sorry to hear about your blister but hopefully you have managed to catch it in time. We had a couple of full days walking around the Patios in Cordoba in 34C on Tuesday and Wednesday and my feet were hot and tired – but can’t imagine how that must feel day after day, for weeks.

    You are an inspiring woman, Maggie.

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    • magwood says:

      Thanks Marianne. Blister seems to be under control, and if we can stop every couple of hours for a boots-off break it is amazing what a difference it makes. As long as it keeps dry we and keep airing our toes all should be well.

      I would love to see the patios in Córdoba some time, maybe next year. Loved your photos.

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  10. pat and John says:

    Maggie..your photos and graphic descriptions are a delight to look forward to daily as on your previous camino. Look after that foot. Pat & John x

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  11. Jo Bryant says:

    Maggie it is such a delight to catch up with you day. I hope the blister isn’t giving you too much trouble.

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  12. Leona says:

    My imagination at work here, silly me–you wrote about the ‘gentleman’ relieving himself, next pictures of walkers, I thought, oh, too funny, you caught him in the act. Loving your journey. Smart to keep blister awareness and preventative measures foremost. Blisters–that’s what I’m most freaked about when I make my trek. Thanks again for your narrative and pictures.

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  13. Elizabeth Barker says:

    I have always found John Brierly to understate milage. on the camino (spain) sometimes very understated which I thought had the potential to have dangerous consequences. just my little beef.Reading your blog as i plan to do the Portuguese route in 2016.

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    • magwood says:

      Hi Elizabeth and thanks for your comment. It seems more and more people are walking the Camino Portuguese. Where do you plan to start from?

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  14. Peter Aschwanden says:

    I agree with Elizabeth Barker, John Brierly has indeed a tendency to sometimes considerably underestimate distances… as notices on the Camino Frances last year. I am prepping for the Camino Portugal this year and after early reading info from Laurie decided to start in Porto as I am not really fond of walking on asphalt. Now reading your blog, I reconsider and might indeed do start in Lisbon. Thanks for your blog, very informative.

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    • magwood says:

      Many thanks for your message Peter. I hope I’m not responsible for a disappointment. But as you have read, I really enjoyed walking from Lisbon.

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