Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tomar to Alviazere

Hello, everyone.

When we left Tomar, we were in the first cool weather of the trip. It was delightful! We walked along the river to leave town and followed the trail into the woods, along the river still.

Pretty path alongside a clear flowing river...with a little rain.
Eventually we came to a place where the path branched. The larger path, much wider, left the river. The smaller path continued alongside the water. The guidebook had said that we would walk along the river, so we stayed there and followed the smaller path. Oops. Eventually we came to a road and a bridge over the river and were very confused. We crossed the little bridge and began passing the local water plant.

Finding our way back to the trail. Rain had stopped.
Thankfully we met a man who was carrying his cafe leche, saucer perched on top of the tiny cup,  and he gave us directions to get back onto the trail. The correction involved walking along the road for a couple miles or so, around curves and up a hill. But it went well (not too much traffic) and we connected back up to our yellow arrows and were good. But it added about three to five kilometers to a day that was already going to be long.

Back at the trail, we found a little village, with a tiny bar to have some coffee in.

Follow me! We can go for a walk!

Lunch in the woodlot. Note the arrow blazened on the tree. There was a spray painted one under our lunch, too, that we found when we cleaned up our mess.

More of the many woodlots. Another arrow on a tree.

One of the houses in Alviazere, IIRC--pretty building. Windows have horseshoe arches!

We had a picnic lunch while walking through extensive woodlots planted with eucalyptus trees and pine trees. The guidebook calls this "forest" but if you're used to what the US National Park Service or Forest Service calls a "forest," you won't recognize it. These are croplands planted to fast-growing trees. Most of the trail though them follows unpaved logging roads.
Many of the arrows in the woodlots are on trees. Sometimes the trees with arrows get cut down or burned. It can make finding the correct dirt track a challenge, but the shade is welcome on hot days and the undergrowth softens the view.

We stayed at a new albergue, actually more of a pensao, in Alviazere. The proprietor, Mr. Pinheiro, was very hospitable. He told us that the number of pilgrims he's seeing en route from Lisbon to Santiago--his town being south of Porto, the more common starting point--has been going up every year.