day 14, Mealhada to Águeda, 26.75 km

15 May 2014

Today was a hot one. When we left the albergue at 6:30 am it was warm, with little breeze. And it just got hotter and hotter throughout the day, until I guess it reached mid thirties.

We were rewarded with a beautiful sunrise, and after that it just continued to rise.

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We started on a track but it didn’t last for long, we were soon pounding the roads. Mostly quiet side roads through virtually deserted villages that were rather more attractive today. It makes a huge difference if your surroundings are pleasant.

It seems that the Portuguese architects and town planners completely lost the plot from the sixties (I would guess) onwards. There are some hideous houses in the towns we have passed through, ugly boxes. But today we pass through some delightful ancient villages with buildings full of character with attractive features, showing signs of past grandeur, but sadly almost exclusively in ruinous condition with little sign of life in the villages, the only people to be seen are the older generation (and I mean even older than me).

I have only one flower offering for you today, the humble morning glory.

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I saw some new planting of oak trees today. And I have discovered (courtesy of last night’s barman) that cork trees can be harvested every seven years, and that there is a difference between wine corks – some are natural and others are reconstituted from the waste. I bet not many people know that!

The olive trees, which must be very old considering their girth, are hacked back very severely, but seem to respond with strong new branches.

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This guy was wriggling its way along the pavement – it was probably about a meter long and was very anxious to get away from the attention I was giving it, and dived down a hole as soon as it could.

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At some point during the morning I spied a fountain and soaked my scarf (buff infinity) in cool water and then wrapped it around my neck and head. That helped a lot, and I didn’t care if I looked a bit silly (or even a lot silly) a cold neck brings your temperature down immediately.

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The last long stretch was through industrial areas and was just a matter of traipsing along the road. The roads haven’t been busy today, but there were a couple of dodgy roads to cross.

We finally made it into Águeda after 25.5 km and called into the information office situated at the side of the bridge over the river (Rio Águeda). The woman there was very helpful and told us that a new albergue has opened alongside the Residencial Celeste. We were told that it was 500 metres up the road (yeah, right!) 1.25 km later we arrived at the very pleasant albergue. There are four rooms, two with two bunks (four birth) and two that we haven’t seen because they are occupied. There is only one bathroom, with really nice shower, loo and basin. Not really sufficient for 12+ pilgrims! But there is another bathroom off the courtyard that has been opened up for us. There is also a kitchen (could do with a fridge) and a sitting room, and lovely terraces overlooking the garden. Albergue St Antonio 00351 234 602 871, email albergueperegrinosdeagueda@hotmail.com

The town of Águeda (population 12,000) looked quite pretty, but after slogging up the hill to the albergue, there was no way I was going back into town to discover its delights.

Elly and I have one room, another room has a spanish guy and an Italian couple, there is Spanish couple in one room, and Nicole the French woman who fell in the fourth room. She caught the bus today but plans to walk tomorrow.

There is a Lidl supermarket down the road, and we have bought ourselves ingredients for a healthy salad (and a bar of my favourite chocolate – white chocolate with dried strawberries). I just hope it doesn’t melt before I can eat it?

Busy at work writing the blog (and thinking about when I can start eating the chocolate – great thing about all this walking is that it uses so many calories!)

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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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28 Responses to day 14, Mealhada to Águeda, 26.75 km

  1. Eric Redeker says:

    great stories and pictures

    Like

  2. David Wolfe says:

    It was great to talk and catch up on your news The outside area of the albergue looks nice a pleasent place to do your blog for today sleep well goodnight David xx

    Like

  3. David Wolfe says:

    You are looking so well in the pictures and have a lovely tan

    Like

  4. Janice Tyler says:

    lovely photo Maggie!

    Like

  5. kitkatknit says:

    I hadn’t heard of the Buff Infinity until now. Looks great, cooling etc. Must go search one out – in Shibori Purple of course 😉 I agree, great photo (s). You look so full of energy!

    Like

  6. martinandbethjackson says:

    Hello. I encountered your blog a day or 3 ago and would like to let you know that it makes most enjoyable reading. Thanks for making the effort. I am hoping to walk the Oporto-Santiago Compostela stretch in the coming autumn and in a couple of years begin at Huelva. Anyway,thanks again and all the best to you and Elly. Martin,in the Algarve.

    Like

    • magwood says:

      Thanks Martin. I hear the is a beautiful walk from somewhere south of Lisbon, although I can’t remember the details. I am thinking of walking from home in the future…..watch this space!

      Like

  7. Leona says:

    Hi, Magwood. Today you hit on a one of my ‘trepidations’, heat–I heat stroke very easily, big worry for me, that’s why I’m planning my walk in September-October, hopefully it’ll be cooler. Summertime I never leave the house without several ice packs. Smart to wrap your head and neck with your wet scarf! Snakes, any kind gives me the heebie-jeebies! Beautiful photo of a morning glory, ours won’t bloom until later, like July or August. I’m truly loving your flowers, hopeful for summer, we just had ~12 inches of snow. Another time I’ll tell you about my difficulties getting up in the morning, …..you hit the road at 0630! I’m in awe!

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    • magwood says:

      Leona I would love to hear more from you. I can’t sleep very well anyway, so early mornings are not a problem for me. The soaked scarf came in use again today – a life saver in these temperatures! Thanks for your support, maggie

      Like

  8. Wonderful description of your day. All that heat is wafting in around me. Whew. I’m faint. Can’t imagine how you take it. 🙂

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  9. Kristina Wilkening says:

    Yes, how DO you keep your feet from melting in the boots? The picture of the Morning Glory was so beautiful. It looked so life-like and real in my computer monitor….like I could just reach out and grab it. Your camera (and you) take wonderful shots! That Albergue looked so pretty and relaxing. How many miles have you walked and how many do you have left?

    Like

    • magwood says:

      I shall have to do a calculation of distance and average days, but not today – I am too busy soaking up the atmosphere of this wonderful fiesta. Boots-off breaks make a huge difference – let the feet breath and the socks and inner soles dry out.

      Like

  10. Kristina Wilkening says:

    I noticed your water bottle in front on your belt….almost like a Camelpak (except not ‘on’ your back or front). Do you like this system? Is this what you did on the other Camino?

    Like

    • magwood says:

      It’s working well for me. I shall do a proper report of gear when I finish. I hated the camelpak lady year, but with an ordinary bottle I didn’t drink enough. This is an ideal compromise

      Like

  11. Keith says:

    Sounds like a hard days walking

    Like

  12. Aurélio (AMSimoes) says:

    Mag
    A day late, I inform that the “Leitão da Bairrada” was voted one of the seven culinary wonders of Portugal.
    Bom caminho
    AMSimoes

    Like

  13. Marianne says:

    So … how’s your milage total looking, Maggie? Half way? More? Less?

    Love your sunrise photos – they look good on the blog, too. Is that a WordPress effect?

    Buen Camino 🙂

    Like

  14. YvonneB says:

    Enjoying the daily blogs Maggie, great photos and i’m making notes on your accommodation recommendations (or not!) for when i’m walking in October. The warmth and sunshine looks great! Bom caminho!

    Like

  15. Jo Bryant says:

    loved the photo of the morning glory…so pretty. How you cope with temperatures like this…wow

    Like

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