Day 12 – 22nd October 2016, Alvorge to Cernache.
It’s a blue kind of day today
Brett and I left the albergue in the indigo darkness and found the Camino trail as the morning grey-blue light smudged through the clouds. We enjoyed a misty and mizzly walk from Alvorge, which gave us an opportunity to wear our Vaude rain ponchos again. I wondered whether our silhouettes resembled gigantic macaws, flip-flapping their wings, as if in flight. Not that I felt like soaring…
The stony path was heavy going underfoot at times, winding through scrubland, olive groves and heather-clad heath. My earworm of the morning materialised in the form of “Wuthering heights” by Kate Bush and I endeavoured to channel her dulcet tones, while singing to my own beloved Heathcliffe. Brett’s response was to hurry on ahead. There’s no appreciating good music!
Occasionally we passed by stone crosses adorned with picture tiles and offerings.
And the odd windmill, that had seen better days…
Brett’s imagination took flight and immediately he conjured up visions of us renovating an old windmill to live in somewhere. Meanwhile, I found it hard to keep on going along the rocky trail, the pain in my right foot had returned.
We stopped for first breakfast in a lovely, little village called Rabacal, where the Café Bonito served up some decent ‘tosta mixtas’ and double coffees, followed by a ‘pastel de nata’ for me and an iced bun, which resembled a cinnamon roll, for Brett.
Sated and happy, we trundled down the street and paused for a moment so that Brett could admire ‘his sign’.
In the afternoon sunshine, our long, beautiful walk took us on a meandering ramble through the hills, vineyards and olive groves, where we ascended into pine and eucalyptus forest, to the famous Roman ruins at Conimbriga. There were many signs en route, beautifully illustrated with picture tiles, to show that we were on the Camino and following the footsteps of countless pilgrims, who had passed through before us. This felt comforting, and gave us a sense of ‘belonging’. It’s that connection through space, across the eons of time, cultures and backgrounds making the Camino de Santiago a ‘thin place’, where there is only a narrow veil separating the here and now from infinity.
We paused, briefly, to watch a man harvest his olives, which looked like back breaking work, but he went about shaking the olive branches in a cheerful manner and waved to us, when we waved to him.
The views from the ascent to Conimbriga were spectacular, just like Conimbriga itself, which buzzed with visitors. Had we been feeling energetic we would have explored the site, to learn something about its remarkable history and peer closely at the mosaics. However, we were more than ready for a sit down and a long, cool glass of ice tea, so we stepped out of the scorching heat and refreshed ourselves with ice tea and ice cream!
The sun continued to beat down upon us, when we launched ourselves once more onto the trail. The blue sky enveloped our whole beings and made me feel glad to be alive. Happy pilgrims, we wandered through lush and fertile farm land lime, orange peach and avocado trees, and vegetable crops, singing “Four strong winds” by Ian and Sylvia.
Soon we reached the albergue in Cernache in the late afternoon. Although the front door was firmly shut when we arrived, but we didn’t have to wait long before one of the volunteers let us in and we were made to feel very welcome. This albergue is clean and quiet with small dorms, a large shared bathroom, kitchen and lounge and free wifi. I was so grateful to be able to step out of the strong heat, take a much needed shower and rest on my bottom bunk with my feet up!
A short while later a fellow pilgrim arrived. What? Yes indeed, a fellow pilgrim turned up. At last. Marion, from Germany, had walked from Lisbon on pilgrimage to Fatima and now she was on her way to Santiago de Compostela. I tried my best to communicate in my old school German, digging the words out from the deepest recesses of my brain. Anyway between my broken German and her few words of English, we were able to chat. Marion kindly invited us to share a pilgrim meal with her and we brought the wine. Table fellowship is an important part of being a pilgrim. It is in the sharing of a hearty meal and a drop of wine, that we remind ourselves of our intimate connectedness and our belonging in the world wide human family.
Distance walked today = 28 km
Cumulative distance walked so far = 259.88 km
Peace, love and light,