day 10, Alvaiazere to Alvorge 25.5 km

Our host in Alvaiazere, Carlos tells us that by next year he hopes to have opened a restaurant below the albergue. He is extremely kind and it would be great if he was supported in his venture. The albergue, which is easy to find alongside the church, has been opened in a property that was a home and is a series of sleeping rooms with a shower room and a kitchen. Our room was twin bedded and very comfortable, if a little dated. I guess they will update as finance allows, but I would commend using this albergue in order to support his efforts.

We left the rather uninteresting town of Alvaiazere at about 6:45 am and as usual at this time, the place was deserted. We set off on a minor road and after a couple of km’s we were on a quiet path. There was heavy cloud and again a cool gusty wind, and these conditions remained until about 11 am, when the sun broke through and warmed us up.

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I am finding my system of wearing just the sleeves from my zip-off fleece tucked into my T-shirt sleeves is working well for me again this year. I don’t want to wear a full jacket as I get too hot when walking, but with just the sleeves I can pull them up and down (just like the tart’s knickers!) until it is time to dispense with them for the day. Then if I need some warmth in the evening, I zip the sleeves back in and I have a cosy jacket.

Today has been totally fabulous. The walking has been almost entirely on beautiful countryside and forest paths, and the roads that we have walked on have been pretty much traffic free (I guess because it is Sunday) with lots of beautiful flowers and mostly through oak woods, which is so much nicer than eucalyptus. There were small farms amongst the trees with olive groves and vineyards

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To make it even more special we stopped for a hot drink after 14 km at Ansião, where we found cake heaven on the corner of the main square. We were concerned that any cafés might be closed on a Sunday morning, but this place (Pasteleria Diogo) was buzzing. I ordered four, yes four, pastries, but I hasten to add that they were tiny, and when I finished them I ordered four more, yes, you read that correctly – four more, exactly the same selection as previously – two extra thin Florentines made of cornflakes, flaked almonds and bound with sticky toffee stuff, and two cherry topped coconut delights. I can assure you that all four only added up to the equivalent of one pastel de nata (honestly – you have to believe me, I am a pilgrim!). To save arguing with the lovely young woman behind the counter I even ordered a coffee with plenty of milk and almost enjoyed it.

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We sat outside in the square watching the children from the town entering the church for Sunday school, and it was one of those perfect moments.

We eventually tore ourselves away from our haven of sweetness and set off again on even more delightful paths. The signage has been brilliant today, even a very short sighted person without specs would have found it difficult to get lost on this section. I took so many photos of the paths and flowers that I don’t know where to start with uploading.

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However, I have vowed to never again coupie down (coupie down is apparently West Country slang for crouching – and I always thought it was best queen’s english!) to take a photo of a ground level plant after having a rather ungainly experience when attempting to get back up. It’s hard enough to get up from such a position even when unencumbered by an 8 kilo pack. I attempted to use my poles to give me some leverage, but alas I was doomed and suddenly found myself in the middle of the track, on my back with my arms and legs flailing helplessly in the air. I felt like an upturned turtle trying to right itself. The path was rough gravel and I didn’t want to hurt my hands in my ridiculous manoeuvring, so put my poles on the ground alongside me and rested my hands on them to get the necessary leverage – which was quite considerable. Luckily Elly was too far behind me to catch any of this on camera, but it will stay fresh in my mind for some time to come!

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The rest of the walk was just as delightful and we received a few ‘bom viajes’ from locals and even some ‘bom caminhos’ from some cyclists. After a short sit down on a strategically placed rock, we sauntered the last 5 km into Alvorge. We were looking for the Cafe da Sua Vida where we were instructed we could ask for a key to the church-run albergue. For your information, the cafe is situated to your right immediately you enter the town square. We managed not to see it and the next thing we knew, a man was running after us asking if we wanted a carimbo for our credentials, whereby we followed him back to the cafe. His wife speaks good English and after establishing that we wanted to stay at the albergue, she phoned the key holder who said she would be about 30 minutes. In the time we were waiting (and drinking a glass or two of wine) – about an hour, the cafe had gone from empty to full of smiling villagers.

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The owners’ 6 year old daughter Leonor showed us the guest book which was full of appreciative comments and when the key lady turned up Vitor and I piled into her car to be driven the couple of hundred metres to the albergue and given a guided tour. The accommodation is in the basement of the church hall which is an imposing building behind the pretty church. There are 8 beds, two showers and a loo, with use of kitchen facilities on an upper floor. I was handed the key and asked to leave it on the table when we left.

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Then Vitor and I walked back to the cafe during which time I was given an excellent guided tour of the pretty and very peaceful town.

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Everything here seems delightful and we have ordered dinner in the cafe for 7pm. We are very lucky to be so well cared for by such charming and friendly people. Thank you to the residents of Alvorge!

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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26 Responses to day 10, Alvaiazere to Alvorge 25.5 km

  1. Janice Tyler says:

    What are the white squares on the salad? And those cakes don’t look that small Maggie (I certainly couldn’t cope with the dormitary situation – you have my undying admiration!!)

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    • magwood says:

      Local sheep’s cheese, Janice. And those cakes were wafer thin and tiny in. Circumference. The camera cannot be trusted, whereas I only ever tell the truth!

      Like

  2. David Wolfe says:

    What a super and upbeat post made me feel quite envious until I saw the dormitory. The cakes and food look good. Maybe you could give Ele your camera and try to squat down one more time to be pictured rolling on your back. Have a good nights rest and I hope that you have another day as pleasing as today L o L David xx

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  3. Jo Bryant says:

    You really are meeting some amazing people on this journey of yours.

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  4. Leona says:

    Amazing. Your photography is amazing, your narrative is amazing, your stamina is amazing! I’m still with you, can’t wait to meet the same kind of amazing people. Thanks for your generous sharing.

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  5. Susan says:

    Your photographs are wonderful – especially the flowers and the people – thanks so much for letting us follow along on your journey!

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  6. Maggie Gardner says:

    What a wonderful time you are having and such delightful people you are meeting. I am quite envious of this trip but couldn’t cope with dormitory sleeping arrangements!!

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    • magwood says:

      The dormitories are ok as long as you can sleep through. Unfortunately I don’t sleep well, and don’t need much sleep. Most pilgrims are in bed by 9:30. If I go to sleep before midnight I am awake by The very early hours.

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  7. I laughed out loud when I read your description of feeling like a turtle! This happened to me on the descent into Roncesvalles…being my third fall, I had no energy to stand again. Two angels came to my rescue, one of whom insisted she carry my overweight pack the remaining two kms! Buen Camino
    P.S. Your blog has taken precedence over my morning paper!!

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    • magwood says:

      Thanks Susan. I fell on the way down to Roncesvalles. Having remained on my feet through the snow over the top and the mud down the steepest hill, my feet went from under me on the first dry ground we came to. What an absolute angel you had looking out for you. What great memories.

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  8. Love your sense of humor. Imagining an upturned turtle had me sputtering my coffee. No harm done, that’s the most important thing.
    That looks like some meal. I also wonder about the white squares. Slices of cheese? Feta?

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    • magwood says:

      The only harm done was to my food supplies in my pack that got a bit squashed.

      That was sheep’s cheese on the salad, very mild – can’t think of anything to compare it to. It was nice but not memorable.

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  9. Marianne says:

    Hahahaha … you had me laughing as I was imagining an upturned tortoise …. and you mentioned an upturned turtle – so I imagined correctly!!

    Beautiful flower photos, Maggie but I don’t believe for one moment that your FOUR cakes are only the equivalent of ONE pasteis de nata!! 😉

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  10. Daniel O'Connell says:

    I am only partway though your Camino but I must say, just one day. If I could have walked a day or even an hour with you it would have been so rewarding. I’m hoping when I do one next year that I may meet someone very much like yourself to spend a sunny morning with. Thank you for allowing me to see the Camino Portuguese through your eyes.
    Dan

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    • magwood says:

      Hi Dan. Thanks so much for your kind comment. I am sure you will meet many people more interesting than me. More and more people seem to be walking the camino Portuguese so you should have plenty of company. I am off on my new adventure next week, along the camino Mozárabe from Málaga – now that is a little trodden path. I hope you keep following my progress over the next six or seven weeks.
      Bom caminho!

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  11. Haha – no wonder you fell – you ate 8 huge cakes!
    What a great blog you have, I feel like I am back on the Camino with all of the wonder of the Way. I am taking notes for my Spring Camino Portuguese . Loving your narrative , pics, stories and humor. I will stop at Pasteleria Diogo and order TEN pastries in your honor. Thanks for sharing and Buen Camino.
    Janice

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    • magwood says:

      Yes, thank you for pointing that out Janice – I hadn’t previously connected the two events – but you are probably quite right – I was a bit bottom heavy. I remember it very well even now. I can assure you that you will enjoy your stop at Pasteleria Diogo – there is such a mouth watering display of goodies.
      A huge Bom Caminho for your approaching pilgrimage.

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  12. Jo says:

    This is the second time of reading your blogs. I’m getting so much info for our walk in April/May. No doubt I will be reading a daily account again each day, getting your helpful tips. Last October whilst doing the Frances we used cycling arm and leg warmers that came to be very useful for just slipping on and off.(available from Aldi at about £5 a pair)
    Thank you Joan and Alan

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    • magwood says:

      Hi Joan and Alan. Many thanks for your comment. So glad that the blog has been useful for you.

      I have actually just purchased a pair of arm warmers and wore them for the first time yesterday. They were brilliant and so comfortable. Ive also been reading about compression sleeves for legs to help keep warm and aid tired legs. I may give them a try with under-the-knee runners’ tights (worn with a skirt). I’m expecting it to be colder and wetter on the Camino del Norte.
      Bom caminho for your CP.

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  13. Danielle says:

    Hi,
    Your comments are sooo intersting and the photos, just love them!!! I am also taking notes for my trip in Sptember. I wish I could find a good companion like you did, lol… No worries about the isolation on your daily walks?? I will be following your next camino on the Del Norte. You must be in prep mode now…
    Buen Camino!

    Like

    • magwood says:

      Thanks Danielle. I look forward to your company on my next camino – less than two weeks away now. Very much into prep mode. Spent yesterday weighing all my gear. See my reply to your comment on my ‘about’ page re walking companion.

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