Day Ten, Eleven Twelve and Thirteen – Alvaiazere to Ansião to Rabacal to Coimbra to Sernadelo

Alvaiazere to Ansião – Tuesday 7 May 2019 – 14.3 kms – Accumulated elevation 275 metres

A very misty start to the day today, quite a change from the bright sunny days so far. We had a fairly late start at 8:30 am as it was only a short walk today. Not only did the weather change dramatically but so did the terrain. This is the walking we were waiting for after mostly bitumen roads or compacted gravel. Nice dirt tracks meandering through forests, alongside old stone walls and through small hamlets. A few ups and downs to get the heart rate up just a little. Feet were relatively good today after a rest yesterday and and not so much pavement. Hopefully this will continue.

After a bit of drizzle during the morning we arrived at our Hostel for the night just as the clouds came in and the rain came down – the hostel has a bathtub to soak in as well – oh joy!

Ron’s renovators delight
Renovated version complete with Azeluja tile panel

Ansião to Rabacal – Wednesday 8 May 2019 –  19.5 kms – accumulated elevation 372 metres

I expected Ansião to be a small village but was surprised to enter what appeared to be quite an affluent town of around 14,000 people. It’s registry dates back to Roman and Arab times.

We left Ansião crossing over the Nabao River on a misty cloudy morning passing some quite grand homes.

Not long after this we walked along country tracks with the church bells ringing consecutively from one end of town to tne other to the tune of ‘Bells of St. Clements’.

Ron the water diviner couldn’t help himself when we came across this water pump wheel.

Just outside the small village of Alvorge the locals had landscaped these old Roman ruins into a lovely park and picnic area.

It was a beautiful walk today made even more so when we ran in to Richard and Rashwin from Perth whom we met on our first night out of Lisbon in Alpriate.

Not long after arriving in Rabacal, a small town of less than 1,000 people the rest of the Aussie gang (all from Perth) turned up. Of course we took over the outdoor cafe for a drink before settling in to do our washing etc. prior to dinner.

Rabacal to Coimbra – Thursday 9 May 2019 – 30.7 kms – accumulated elevation 437 metres.

A long walk today with little accommodation options in between. Just out of Rabacal the locals had set up a small campsite with tents as emergency accommodation for Pilgrims, The hostels and Albergues can often be fully booked, last night we had one girl sleeping on the kitchen floor!

Another very wet day but it was however, a very beautiful walk through hills, alongside streams and up and around a deep gorge through the hills to Conímbriga.

The Romans arrived in Conímbriga in the 2nd Century BC and built a city which survived until the Swabian invasian in 468. It now houses a museum.

It was quite cold when we stopped walking to take a break in Cornache, where Ron, Steve and Mary took advantage of the exhaust from this bus to warm themselves.

During the small amount of road walking today we were surprised to come across the remains of this Roman aqueduct flanking the highway before reaching Santa Clara on the outskirts of Coimbra.

We finally arrived in the large university city of Coimbra. An impressive site looking down across the river to tne university perched high on tne opposite bank.

Some beautiful buildings in tne town centre but not a lot of time for sightseeing in tne rain after an already long day.

We may get lost but my boots certainly don’t!

I did manage to find a Vodaphone shop and get my phone data sorted, a simple technical issue easily sorted (that’s all I’m saying)!

Coimbra to Sernadelo – Friday 10 May 2019 – 26.7 kms – accumulated elevation 219 metres

We set out today for Sernadelo just outside Mealhada with a bit of drizzle which soon cleared into a nice sunny afternoon. A relatively uninspiring walk today along highways and a few small towns.

Some weary Pilgrims taking a break in this small church in Mealhada.
A tiny chapel in Mealhada decorated with paper flowers.

We were amazed at the number of Pilgrims walking in the opposite direction towards Fatima. We had passed quite a number in the previous days but today there were literally hundreds in large groups all wearing yellow safety vests and mostly following the highway to Fatima rather than the Caminho route. Apparently about 30,000 go there at this time each year for the anniversary. The cafes were all overflowing but no matter how crowded they always seemed to make a spare corner available with a seat to rest our weary feet.

We finally arrive in Sernadelo to a cold drink or two before dinner.

The Australian Invasian

It’s hard to believe that last year on the Camino del Norte we only met one other Aussie. This year no less than eight so far all from Perth plus a couple from Sydney whom we haven’t seen for about a week.

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      Glad to hear you found this helpful. It makes the effort of writing and transferring photos each night after walking all day worthwhile.

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  • Margaret Butterworth May 12, 2019 at 02:02 Reply

    I think I’m on the wrong Camino; I’ve only met 2 Aussie cyclists from Qld on the Frances. But I’ve not had a single drop of rain, only some VERY cold mornings. Enjoying the sights of Astorga just now!

    • Ron and Susan May 13, 2019 at 00:37 Reply

      Hi Margaret, rain has gone and getting quite warm now. Will be in Porto on 14th for Rons 70th so will spend a couple of days there. Lots of pavement so far but hopefully that will change after Porto. How is your Camino going? Happy hiking.

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