Today’s distance 23 km
Elevation gain 262 m
Elevation loss 483 m
Total distance from Almería 1,073 km
After a good night’s sleep, an early morning jaunt around the walled town of Trancoso and a hearty breakfast back at the hotel, there was very little road walking this morning and we were soon walking through pine woodland. At 4 km there commenced a steep climb that seemed to continue forever. The going was soft underfoot with sand track covered in pine needles. We finally reached the top and stopped for a brief rest.
There seems to be a theme running through Spain and Portugal where people will drive miles into the middle of nowhere at some random beauty spot in the countryside to dump their rubbish. I have seen whole households of rubbish dumped. White goods, TVs, kitchen units, three piece suites, carpets, masonry, mattresses – you name it , I have seen it dumped at the side of a woodland track. Is it so difficult for people to dispose of their rubbish responsibly? It is appalling to deface the wilderness like this.
There is evidence of more extensive fires in the pinewoods on the hillsides today. It goes on for miles and the smoky smell is very strong. It must be devastating for local people to look out at the blackened slopes.
I have seen a new plant over the last couple of days. I am sure it is a relation of Echium Candicans (Pride of Madeira). There have been swathes of it growing on the hilltops hereabouts.
There is a feeling of being on top of the world as we weave between the granite boulders on tracks that are covered in the waste from the fires. It is warm and sunny with a fresh light breeze. The sky ahead is blue with white fluffy clouds but in every other direction the cloud is menacingly black. If ever there were arrows to direct us on these tracks, they disappeared with the fire and I defy anyone to find the route through this section without help from a GPS system.
We pass the edge of a village at 9 km – the fire reached the gardens of some houses. Shortly afterwards we cross a bridge over a small river and Eli suggests it would be a good place to sit and rest a while. We play poo sticks in the fast running water. When we move on webleave the destruction of the fire behind us.
I love walking through Portugal. There are the most beautiful stone ruins, the villages seem to be very well maintained, even the humblest buildings are a work of stone mason artistry. The people I greet are very friendly and helpful, the gardens are an absolute delight overflowing with roses and colourful flowers and the allotments are militarily precise in their plantings.
The signage today has been excellent, apart from the burnt woodland.
Details of the second part of the walk are rather sparse as I received phone calls from both my daughters and didn’t take any notes
So, without further ado I shall make this a short post and try to get another good night’s sleep in a room to myself at the Residencial Santo Estevão, an extremely friendly establishment with large restaurant and very good sized rooms. I was delighted to be served my first glass of Vinho Verde which I absolutely love and supper of Caldo Verde (cabbage soup) followed by rice and veg. We have been given a packed breakfast as the restaurant doesn’t open until 08:00. 20€ including breakfast.