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Published: September 22nd 2016
Hotel Conde de Agueda
Yes, we did treat ourselves some nights to great lodgings!
Day 13, Agueda to Albergaria a Velha.
Today is just a little over 17 kilometers or 10 miles, and breakfast is not until 0730 so we sleep in and take our bags to reception before going up to the roof top bar for breakfast. The Hotel Conde de Agueda has been nice. They sent us to a restaurant last night with great ambiance and good food. And they have been helpful with every request.
Agueda is a beautiful little town of 12,000, and very festive. Yesterday we walked down several streets with umbrellas of every color of the rainbow strung above the street between the buildings. Lots of colorful painted objects like electric boxes and very neat. The very modern Tourist office is across the street from the very old municipal building. There is a large cork-like sculpture of the local regional wine, Bairrada.
It took us about 20 minutes of looking and taking photos before we got headed along the Camino and up the steep hill out of town. All the first 8 miles or so was on pavement. But the temperature was in the sixties and seventies. Very pleasant walking.
We saw several cats, sheep
and interesting buildings. In Mourisca do Vouga we passed along a street with old mansions in a bit of disarray. The gardens were over run but others quite lovely. We pass a museum with banners featuring two woman, one with a bread basket and one with a knitting basket. Another house has a huge cactus loaded with blossoms. (How you would like this one, Patty Ko!) There are many flowers and a plot of concrete covered with what appears to be popcorn drying.
Finally, about 1100, we leave the pavement for a dirt path along fields and woods. We continue over an old Roman bridge then begin a steep climb. We find a cafe for a drink and our sandwiches. Beside the 600 meter long bridge we see an old bridge down stream missing a span.
Our path now follows a dirt and rock logging road through a eucalyptus woods into Albergaria a Velha.
We pass a preschool with nice scenes of childhood play on tiles.
At our Hotel Casa de Alameda, we meet Anna. She explains the hotel and restaurant was built by her great grandfather and grandfather. She and her parents now run both.
After we clear up some confusion as to whether or not our voucher includes dinner, we settle in for a delightful meal cooked by Anna's mother. We are in a dining area where two of the walls are lined with huge, vintage wine barrels. At one time they were all filled and local residents were come to this establishment to buy their wine. The barrels display the stamp of her grandfather.
She gives us tomatoes for our early breakfast sandwiches that are from a friend's garden. Mama's cooking was delicious 😊
We are the only ones in the dining room and we wonder how they survive. Our rooms are in the hostelry part of the adjoined buildings and we wend our way up various stairs and little sitting areas. The building has obviously seen better days and reminds one of an old dowager holding onto her southern plantation! Martha and Gabrielle had walked the previous day to Albergaria but their trip management company had said there was not lodging in the little village and had arranged a pick-up to return them to Agueda. Well, our lodging certainly did not meet 3 star hotel standards but we so enjoyed
interacting with Anna and her family and learning of their history! Our room was clean and quiet and also we met------
Well, we cannot tell you his name as we never could understand it when he repeated it - several times. We met on the beautiful landing outside his room. The Internet was not satisfactory in our room but it was great on the landing outside his room! I think he was quite surprised when he opened his door to find two people, comfortably ensconced in easy chairs, facing his door. We had a delightful one hour chat with him. He works for TAP, the country owned airline, in the area of quality control, and is on the road throughout the country. We talked of Portugeuse economics, schooling, and of course, travel. Oh, and I must not forget - we were educated on Portugeuse wine!!
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