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Published: September 15th 2016
Our lodging above the restaurant
3 September 2016, Ansiao to Condeixa-A-Nova. 34.95 kilometers. Another 20 + mile day in the heat.
Departing early to beat the heat, Carlos fixed us sandwiches for breakfast. An early morning photo of Adega Tipica and we catch the sunrise on our way up the hill out of town.
The road takes us past a new sports ground. As we approached Bate Aqua/Alem da Ponte we are greeted by a little white dog who we named the “Town Crier” as his barks leads us around the town. He stops and turns, right where we need to turn.
The path now proceeds steeply through a forest of pine and eucalyptus trees before coming to an asphalt road leading us into Netos. After making a right hand turn at the end of the village, we find ourselves back on a forest track that undulates sharply through the forest where we were hoping to see the funnel shaped receptors that collect sap that are pictured by Brierley. We did not see any. As we walk through the forest we see new planted eucalyptus, logged areas and a few pines.
We stopped to have our breakfast sandwich at a gas station
Hotel Adega Tipica
Carlos provide great service and Joao good food
cafe that was clean and pleasant. The poor lady pumped the gas, made the coffee and kept everything shipshape. We continued on to Alvorge with its small church. From here the next 5 kilometers qualifies as the desert of Portugal. Hot, dry. Dusty.
As we rejoin the asphalt through Ribeira de Alcalamouque two woman offer water, we say no, then they offer figs and peaches insisting we take them and bidding us 'bom viagem.' The day seemed like a series of u-bends back and forth across a dry riverbed. We later learned from Martha and Gabriela, the two woman from Sonoma, it was. Their wise pilgrim app for Portugal Camino showed a direct route.
We passed a hand crank well where after some turning I got cool water for my head and hat as well as soaked my water bottle carrier. Later we encountered a windmill with only a frame where the sails should have been. Was Don Quixote here?
We drudge on along a dry river bed up and down into Coinbraga, site of a Roman ruins. We rest and cool off then take the direct 2.5 kilometer route to the Pousada of Condeixa-A-Nova
3 Saturday. Ansiao to Condeixa a Nova
Jo and Harlan are out early for a long, hot day. I have breakfast in the residential. Joao is concerned that I have enough to eat.
I gather my things and await the 9:00 taxi to Condeixa a Nova - however, I have changed plans. Ansiao does not have good transportation connections. Yesterday we bumped into the baggage transfer man and he said he would transport me with the bags to next stop for 48 euros, and then he took his pen and wrote on his palm '+ or -' Well, I was a little uneasy at that and in a slight state of shock at the price. I had not expected another 'Angel Lopez' who wanted to do the transfer for nothing - and by the way, it was with great difficulty he even accepted a token payment for his services - but neither did I expect highway robbery!
We left it that I would ride with him and the bags the next morning. Now I had some time to use the Internet. For intrepid travelers that might be having to figure out to how to get
from Point A to Point B anywhere in the world, the website, 'Rome2Rio' is invaluable. It tells one what kind of transportation is available, including your own two feet!, and gives a cost range for each mode as well as itinerary and a link to scheduling. From this site I ascertain that, yes, I am in the boondocks with limited choices!!! However, to make it to the next scheduled stop by taxi, it should be only half the price that has been quoted. I have been spoiled by 2.5 euro train and bus rides!! So, we talk to Carlos who agrees the driver is completely out of line and calls someone else! As our transfer company has not given us a list of our bag transfer people, with phone numbers, even after multiple requests, my 'high-jacker' will not know he is only carrying bags until he arrives - but, how I have digressed!
I have a lady taxi driver and she is delightful. Right on time, fluent in English, and a careful driver on the less than stellar condition roads! So, the time goes quickly as we discuss various topics, she was born in France and lived there until
a teen. She then lived in Tunisia for many years until 'the revolution.' She loves Tunisia and still has family there, but did not feel it was safe to raise her children there.
Her husband had a taxi service in Portugal and she worked in a factory but economically it was very difficult so he now works in Switzerland and she now runs the taxi service. He wants the family to join him but the children are of college age and do not want to move and she is close to her elderly parents and does not want to leave them. We continually hear stories here in Portugal of how people cobble together their lives in order to economically survive.
I tell her of my favorable experience at the hospital and she tells me you have to often be 'aggressive' to receive adequate service. She then relates a story involving herself, her father, and the hospital. I ask how old her ''elderly father' is and find out he is three years younger than I am!
I want to know her thoughts about 'firefighting as a business.' She agrees with Lopez's evaluation and then tells me her daughter
Our route at 1330
Jo and two folks ahead
is a 'bombeiro.'
I have decided to have her drop me off at the Roman ruins outside of Condeixa-A-Nova. This way I can enjoy a visit and then walk into town. I arrive about twenty minutes before the ruins open. The grounds are lovely and it is cool in the early morning. I first spend about an hour in the museum and then locate the ruins on this high plateau. There is a diorama of the surrounding area and it is easy to see how, through the ages, different civilizations have chosen this spot for defense purposes.
Jo and Harlan will be climbing up the sides of the plateau on their trek this hot day!
I buy a small, very informative brochure to guide me around. The Romans were amazing in their city planning, life style and transportation network. Their policy, as they subdued areas, was to encourage interaction and marriage between the conquerors and the vanquished so as to strengthen allegiance to Rome. The museum did a fantastic job of also documenting how the design and quality of goods rose and fell depending upon the fortunes of the Empire.
The golden period of this site
ranged from the mid I century to mid II century AD. The ruins show two Imperial walls, the later one showing how the site was becoming a permanent garrison. Its construction led to a reduction of the city perimeter and implied demolition of buildings, monuments from the necropolis, houses and the amphitheater for raw material for construction of the defensive structure. By the end of the III century, the degradation of the military situation in the borders and internal instability in the Roman Empire led to the fortification of some cities.
I leave the ruins and almost instantly find my favorite Camino sign for guidance. It was a further walk than I expected and hot-hot. I arrive at our upscale pousada, organize my bag, duffel having arrived already, run water in the big tub for a nice soak, only to find the stopper does not work. I relate my problem to the maid I hear outside. She attempts, with great vigor, to make it operable, to no avail. I report it to the desk and after unsuccessfully trying, the clerk says, "You do want a bath, don't you?" The answer is an emphatic "yes!" So I am moved to
Jo's room next door!! And how that soak is welcomed.
We enjoy a lovely dinner, sitting next to the two ladies from California. We have tried to be a little more presentable in our appearance!
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