Porto de Muge to Santarem

Apr 20, 2018


Here are a few things I’ve jotted down over the past few days – with a little followup elucidation/clarification or maybe muddle-cidation. Yes, I’ve had some wine. And a tiny amount of aguardiente /schnapps.

The first few days we really had to bolster one another with our commitment to walking the caminho. Kind of like the first few years of marriage. How are we going to make this work? There’s a reason we’ve decided to take this path, this way together.

Now, we’re getting used to the work that comes along with the beauty.  The beauty is easy to take. The hard going requires patience and honesty and forgiveness.

We’re going to make it – of this I’m sure.

After a particularly difficult third day I had to consider – what am I going to think about while walking, besides the pack? I came up with a few things. I believe that in addition to the body getting used to the weight, I’ve also more actively engaged my mind. Such a balancing act.

It’s easy for me to be aware of the beauty of the natural world,  even when it’s tough going. But when it’s tough going and there’s not so much beauty, then I have to call in reinforcements. What are they?  Really,  just being more in the moment – what is happening around me? Maybe I practice Portuguese, mumbling to myself as I walk.  Maybe I think of people I love and say a prayer for them.  I do that too when I visit churches.  Do you know that churches here always have fresh flowers in them? It’s remarkable!

I think about things like – how does it feel when you think you are closer to your destination and then realize you are off and have to recalibrate. And then when you know you are close, how much lighter the pack is, how much easier the going.

I think about what is in my pack and whether I’m willing to let go of any of it. So far – no. And as my body gets stronger,  I think of that less.

I think of how much bread I’ve eaten! It’s so good. And the butter – so delicious ! Will I actually GAIN weight while I hike 12-15 miles a day? It’s possible.

Oh, I absolutely delight in the aroma of orange blossoms which have been perfuming the air these past days.  It’s heavenly ambrosia.  Reminds me of jasmine.

However, there was a short trek of about a thousand feet today that informed us of the natural material used to fertilize the fields. Pungent.

Santerem, where we rest tonight, is a sweet, small town on a hill that was settled by the Romans, taken over by the Moors, and then won back by the first king of Portugal,  Dom Afonso Henriques, in 1149. It seems quite prosperous. I attached a few photos of the wall that protected the city and a few pics along the way today.

Twas a quite easy day,  though the last few kilometers climbing into Santerem were a bit challenging. So, I paid attention to the trees on the hillsides,  the frogs (lots of frogs here! Why are they so charming?!), the flowers growing out of roofs, the old and new homes and apartments  and architecture of all of them. And when we arrived we had energy and desire to explore the city!

I never am quite sure if I should post or revisit. Then I go ahead and post. Tonight, too!

Lots o love.  Paula

Working Quinta

Santarem afar

Flood markers on the way to Santarem
Hostel 11 in Santarem
Santerem rooftops
View of Santarem from Hostel 11


Bread – home delivery!

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