(Santarem Hostel 2 nights)
Deciding to slow down – Azambuja to Mugue
After the horrid day on Friday, we decided to break the next stage into two manageable 15km days. And what pleasurable walks they were. Yesterday we left the industrial areas and walked into rural Portugal.
The tomatoes are ripe and it’s harvest time. Even on a rural secondary road we were passed by truck after truck overflowing with tomatoes. Every now and then the strong scent of ripe tomatoes wafted towards us. Field after field of tomatoes ready for harvest or laying rejected on the dirt.
The sun really starts beating down around 11:30 and with little or no shade walking is a challenge. Fortunately I’ve learnt the word for ‘ice’. So my drink of choice is lemon flavored water with ice. After drinking the water, the ice cubes are a great coolant for my forehead and the back of my neck. What a relief!
Mario from the the Santarem Hostel fetched us at the15km mark and this morning took us back (without packs) so we could complete that leg.
Mugue to Santarem
Sunday is a day of rest – or is it? Apparently hunting is allowed on Sunday and Thursday. Today we heard shot guns going off and were passed by small, dusty hatchbacks with hunters and their dogs. They were hunting birds. Apparently rabbit season is next month.
Scents along the way
The occasional distinctive smell of licorice from wild fennel along the roadside, quince trees heavy with fruit, olives just starting to ripen and grapes ready for harvesting were all part of today’s walk.
A ride on a harvester
And then I got to ride a tomato harvester! The workers were only too pleased to have their photos taken and get me involved.
Now I know how tomatoes get from the field to the factory, ending up as pasta sauce!
Next Post: Santarem to Azinhaga and Azinhaga to Atalaia