Monday, May 11, 2015

Golegã to Tomar Monday May 11

Sometimes you get what you want, sometimes you get what you need and sometimes you get what you get. And sometimes you don't get a thing.

Today we sometimes got all of the above.

Sometimes you get what you get. Oftimes on the Pilgrim Forum, potential pilgrims ask, "What is the weather like in Spain or Portugal in October? In September? In March? Is it rainy in May? How hot is it in June"? When it comes to weather, you get what you get. Two years ago we walked in France and Spain throughout May and into June and were wet, muddy and freezing almost every single day. We endured a May 8th blizzard in the south of France, a nine hour rainstorm May 29th walking from Negeria to Olveiroa and froze on a cathedral rooftop tour in Santiago the first week of June. This time we are in Portugal in a May heatwave, bemoaning the fleece jackets, Gortex raincoats and ponchos that are adding so much weight to our packs...well Dayton's pack actually but still.

With another blistering scorcher predicted for today and another 32km walk, Dayton and I knew we needed to tweak our Camino strategy to make life and these 30+km walks in 30+ degrees Celsius a little more bearable or even doable. We packed up everything we could the night before, got up early and taped up our tender feet and toes with bandages and Mefix tape, quickly enjoyed a cup of tea and made lunch out of the breakfast that had been elegantly laid out for us in the dining room and were on our way shortly after 6:00am. It may have been before sunrise but not before actual daylight so finding the route was no problem.

Sometimes you get what you want. Today the path was clearly marked which was a blessing and a comfort, especially to me who tends to get in a lather if I don't see a flecha (arrow) every few hundred metres or at least at every junction. It was actually chilly for the first couple of hours but there were no complaints, not one. The trail today was a bit more varied as we went through pleasant countryside roads and a lovely eucalyptus forest. The day got hotter and hotter and out came Dayton's hat with the neck protector flap and my umbrella and we just kept on keeping on from one refreshment cafe to the next. Our hotel, Cavaleiros de Cristo, is just about perfect too, perfect location close to the Camino and to a multitude of outdoor restaurants. The city of Tomar is the home Knights Templar, quaint cobblestones streets lined with shops and restaurants and a massive castle dominating the horizon. Dayton took one look up at the high hill where the castle sits and declared, "Yup, that won't be happening." But it did.

Sometimes you get what you don't even know you want. As we were wandering in search of food and drink, a lovely and lively young lady sitting in her touristy TukTuk vehicle, offered us a sales pitch to see the castle and the city. She promised a short informative and picturesque tour and we took her up on it. She was right on all counts. A TukTuk is a little three wheeled scooter buggy that seats two passengers behind the driver. It was a little bumpy but still perfect. Our driver, Catarina informed us a little of the economy and job situation in Portugal. Educated as a construction engineer and having lost her position when her company folded due to the plummeting economy, she and her boyfriend started this little tourist business. She said it is the best job she has ever had, meeting tourists and talking to people all day long. Originally from Lisbon she says she finds the quality of life and economy much better in Tomar. Average salaries are around a month €500 but rents in Tomar are half that of Lisbon as are the costs of everything else so she can afford what she wants and what she needs.

Sometimes you get what you need. This afternoon I needed some medical help. I have one toenail that is purple and so sore. Fearing the worst, I went to a Farmacia and got some magic cream to make sure I can let nature take its course, lose the nail but without infection. Without pain would be nice too.

And sometimes you just don't get. I had another vegetarian fail when we went to get a snack. Every pastry was filled with chicken, sausage, eggs or tuna and the restaurant we were at served soft drinks and beer but no wine. Dayton had a quiche and Super Bock beer and I had nada. Fortunately Dayton indulged me in finding another cafe later and we split a little split of wine and all is well. Our evening meal turned out to be what I needed and wanted. Bonus. I had a platter of vegetables; green beans, carrots and, of course, the requisite French Fries, most of which were left uneaten after devouring the mass of other veggies. Dayton had a very aromatic soup dish of rice, fish and shrimp.







  1. Maybe the Tuk Tuk needs to be coaxed into following you along. Looks like it would do just fine. Great photos. Praying for some clouds for you. Hope things cool off. Hang in there.

    John and Robin

  2. We did shamelessly consider hiring the tuktuk for the 30km days but then guilt kicked in.