Wild Berries - week 1

Trip Start Feb 15, 2007
Trip End Jul 17, 2007

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Flag of Portugal  ,
Sunday, May 27, 2007

Day 0 - Lagos - Algarve

A boring bus trip to the Mediterranean coast, with a very boring movie to make things worse. I spotted a problem on the trip: the Tejo river is huge, at least directly south of Lisboa (exactly the spot I planned to cross) and only highways go through it. I'll have to find a way around... Lagos is beautiful, I walked randomly around the city and got to a very nice place with high cliffs looking over the sea (and a cold wind to boost it :). I didn't have my camera on me, so I will have to come back tomorrow. Found a pension to sleep, might be the last bed I use in a long while.

Day 1 - Salema - Algarve

Got back to the cliffs in the morning and it is a lot more beautiful under broad daylight - the sea gets an emerald color. Had a late start at 14h, with a lot of excitement that slowly turns into fatigue. It is harder than I expected to walk with the backpack... I seem to have basically two things two worry about - the cars (some drive really fast and not all roads have space for walkers) and the dogs (some dogs in the countriside are quite overprotective, and not always leashed). A tiring day, but successful.

Day 2 - Vila de Sagres - Algarve

Danger number three came from the sky today: I walked many hours under the underestimated spring sun and got some burns. I only noticed it when I stopped to have lunch at 16h and the waitress thought I was Brazilian because I was tanned... Well, at least I got to my destination, and the real starting point of my journey.

Day 3 - Vila de Sagres - Algarve

Ant attack! I didn't see the anthill near the point where I set up my tent, plus I was stupid enough to leave a chocolate wrapping inside the tent. Woke up somewhat covered by ants. I tried to reason with them, to take the wrapping out and let them realize my tent had nothing else of interest, but they were not very diplomatic. I ended up having to move my tent and kill a lot of ants, probably some hundreds. Spent most of the day hiding from the sun (the burns were bad), then went out to find something to protect me from it and see some of the place. I stumbled upon what seemed a car advertisement recording, only the cameraman was missing. The car was there, alone on the edge of a cliff, and the sun was there, setting behind the scene. :) The place is beautiful, but not as beautiful as I had read. The Douro river valley is a lot nicer, and often rated lower.

Day 4 - Aljezur - Algarve

No excitement today, just a lot of fatigue. The next camping site was about 50 km away, and I left before 7h thinking I would not get there. At about halfway I noticed I did have the time to complete this section, and started to get my hopes up. Also the second half was through a much prettier road, (and shaded!) many, many butterflies. Some drivers go by honking, yelling, whistling or making ok signs to me, others even stop and offer me a ride (no, thanks :). Another car almost hit me... it came from behind, on the wrong way, really fast and hit the edge of something I was carrying - a plastic edge, so it bent and nothing else happened, but that was a scare. In the end I did not manage to reach the camping site, I got to the city at night with no energy left to get to the camping, 5 km away. Went to dine in a restaurant and as I was leaving to a pension the waiter pointed me to, trying to muster the forces needed to go uphill to get there, a couple offered me a ride. This one I accept, inside the city, I had even passed by the place walking before. Turned out they were from Porto and offered me a ride there. I am not giving up yet.

Day 5 - Aljezur - Algarve

Turns out the feet skin is the weakest link - all the aching bones and muscles healed almost completely over the course of the day, but the blisters will haunt me for a while. After lying for hours on the bed, barely able to move my feet, I managed to get up and have a walk around the town - it's a two-part town, the new partlike many other Portuguese villages and over the river the old part, which (not surprisingly, given the town's name and location) looks like a medina. Yeah, a nice town, but in the late afternoon I was feeling better and longed for the road again. It's kind of addicting to walk.

Day 6 - São Miguel - Alentejo

A short walk this day, although I found out I can walk almost 50 km in one day (over 14 hours), it is something to do only in case of dire need. Such need shouldn't even be allowed to arise in the first place. I crossed today, towards the end of the march,  the river that separates the Algarve from the Alentejo, which should be the most complicated part of the trip. We will see...
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