Day 10, extra

I forgot to mention that the church albergue In Alvorge is ‘donativo’ whereby you donate a sum if you wish. It is very generous of the church to give over the basement of this building to pilgrims and I am very appreciative. However I have just spent the most uncomfortable night I can remember. The mattresses are wrapped in very heavy gauge plastic – so thick that it suppresses flexibility, and every time you move a muscle it makes a lot of noise. I couldn’t remain in bed beyond 5am and I am now sitting in a side room, wrapped in my silk liner and fleece sleeves writing this. Hopefully the others will wake by 6am and I can get my stuff packed up.

I hate to be negative in the face of such generosity, but they need to do something about the mattresses, hopefully if more people use this new facility then they will have the funds to provide proper mattress covers. If no-one in control of the albergue has slept on the beds, they wouldn’t realise there was a problem – or maybe it is only I who have the problem and others haven’t found it to be uncomfortable. I shall check with Elly and the Scottish woman who is also here for their opinions……….

……OK, after consultation between the three of us, we have decided that the plastic covers are the packaging with which the mattresses arrived on purchase (it’s only been open since November 2013). I think the caretaker didn’t bother to take them off, and no pilgrim has taken the initiative to do so – including us! They are probably taking bets with each new pilgrim as to whether or not this one will have the gumption to remove the plastic!

Writing my blog last night was a slight challenge because I had the constant assistance of the distracting but delightful Leonor (Vitor’s adorable six year old daughter) who did not move from my side and her little finger was hovering at all times, ready to tap the button on my ipad to make the photo grids and insert them in the post. She is quite the brightest little girl I have ever met (apart from my own daughters, of course).

Alvorge is a very pretty town (population including several outlying hamlets 1,300) that hasn’t been spoilt by ugly modern buildings. The photo of Vitor in the previous post was taken outside the original albergue. I paid just 6 euros for my delicious meal including probably half a bottle of wine, and a huge complimentary glass of local herb liquor. The dinner was served with a couple of slices of local sheep’s cheese, which was very mild and wet. Vitor is obviously very proud of his area and kept popping over to the table to tell us about the cheese, and the olive oil produced by his sister. He is quite the nicest man.

I was still in the process of publishing my blog when the cafe was locked up last night, but I was able to get a wifi signal outside, so I stood on the doorstep for 20 minutes or so until all was done. When I walked the 300 metres back to the albergue at about 9:30pm there was absolutely no sign of life either on the streets or any lights inside the houses, and luckily I returned to find my washing (every item of walking clothes) was more or less dry.

As I was a bit distracted with Leonor yesterday evening, I forgot to include a few photos, so here goes…..

In the pine woods we walked through yesterday there were many trees that had been tapped to collect the sap. After a quick google, it seems there are many uses, including glue, sealant, fuel, it’s anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral. I have no idea if this is true, but I do know that if you get it on your clothes they will be ruined.


We have also seen a few properties with what I presume is a Star of David etched into the render or painted. Can anyone enlighten me about this?


I have been asked in a comment about washroom facilities on the way. Luckily I am blessed (and long may it last) with a strong bladder and can go long stretches without the need for a pee. I obviously take advantage of the wc at any cafe we stop in, but other than that I have not (so far) had to use the ‘off trail’ facilities. I think I ‘glow’ so much (glow – as in ladies glow, gentlemen perspire and horses sweat) that I don’t have much excess fluid. But there are plenty of opportunities to go behind a bush if necessary. It is not a crowded route and there is not likely to be anyone passing by.

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
This entry was posted in Camino de Santiago de Compostela, Camino Portuguese and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Day 10, extra

  1. magwood says:

    You’ve got enough pine trees – go tap! Xx


  2. Marianne says:

    Hahaha … I can just imagine Leonor waiting to press the button on your iPad 🙂


  3. Aurélio (AMSimoes) says:

    The Star of David (with only five points and not six), still comes from the time, in Portugal, about 20% of the population was of Jewish origin. The justification was that the five-pointed star protected from enemies.
    For example, my grandmother had in the house where he lived, behind the door one five-pointed star. She said it was for protection from enemies.
    But if you think about it, it was designed to hide the true religion. When the door was closed, she could only see the star.
    But if you think about it, it was designed to hide the true religion. When the door was closed, she could only see the star. When the door was open, the star was hidden and no one saw it.

    Bom caminho


    • magwood says:

      That’s really interesting. Thanks Aurelio. My mother’s family was Jewish, although I don’t think they were particularly religious. I know so little about the Judaism. Maybe a project to come…..


  4. The plastic on the bed even s.o.u.n.d.s. noisy way over here. I wonder if another reason the plastic has been left on is to preserve the new mattresses?
    Good walking. 🙂


  5. magwood says:

    Yes, I will ask someone to email Vitor, to pass on the message. xx


  6. Leona says:

    So much history and explanations that are coming to the fore from my childhood recollections–my heritage is Spanish, what little I know, from many regions of Spain as well as some Basque (both French and Spanish sides of the Pyrenees)–in the Americas since the Conquistadores, although much of the history has been lost through the centuries. I’ve also got a touch of Native American (Apache), so in keeping to your story of pine sap’s many uses, my grandmother would collect sap from the pines whenever we’d go to the mountains (Rockies in Colorado and New Mexico). I can attest to its healing if softened and applied like a patch to a wound, or to draw infection from a boil. Don’t know if this naturalistic healing method came from Spain or the Indians, but it does work! The plastic on the beds does sound very uncomfortable, noisy,as well as hot. You’ll be so tired at your next stop, I hope you’ll sleep very soundly. I’m truly enjoying your learning of the region as you walk and share with us. Thanks.


    • magwood says:

      Thanks for sharing Leona, that is so interesting. It is such a shame when our history is lost – it has happened in my family – no way to get it back for the next generation.


  7. Jo Bryant says:

    what a wonderful meal…I do hope someone has the nerve to rip that plastic away…I couldn’t sleep with it either


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