Home Pilgrimages Way of St. James 2018 – São João

Way of St. James 2018 – São João

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Another day in a row that we wake up without an alarm clock. And every day I’m curious about the feet, or more like the blisters on them. Standing up is relatively ok, but the way to the toilets and bathroom indicates that the first meters will be uncomfortable, as usual.

„The world is like a book and those who do not travel have only read the first page.“

St. Augustin

We meet Mary outside and stretch out our legs together before today’s wandering. While we’re warming up, Jannik leaves. We wish buencamino to each other and while he disappears in a turn, we end with our stretching, pick up our backpacks and go along the direction sign. After about a kilometer we meet Enrique who is walking without his backpack in front of us… He just smiles and says that he forgot something on the albergue. Tonya, whom we meet just a few hundreds of meters later explains to us, that he forgot the camino guide there.

Getting lost belongs to it

We continue. We pass by the South Koreans who have stopped and are currently looking for something in their backpacks. We walk around a house where in addition to laundry, they also dry a Teddy bear on the clothesline and then we continue in a small road along the railway and during one random turn around we see that the South Koreans are right behind us. While talking with Mary and wandering we suddenly realize we haven’t seen a direction sign or a scallops symbol in a while. We start panicking a little, and all the more when we realize the poor South Koreans are trustingly following us. I turn around and I really do see two silhouettes in the distance.

When we check the map, we find out we didn’t really get lost and that if we turn right to the first street and then keep going forward, we’ll connect to Camino soon again. And we really do, a few minutes ago we see the typical yellow arrow on a blue background again. But what we do not see are the South Koreans. But that doesn’t have to mean anything. They can be behind the first turn.


We walk through a village and on the hill there’s something like the village common or a small square and also a café. We occupy places by the table outside and order our typical breakfast. Sitting by the table next to us, there’s a guy looking like he came out of the movie Grease. Black leather jacket, the hair greasy from hardener and combed back and a cigarette in his mouth. When I mention that he looks like from Grease, I don’t mean Travolta, this guy reminds me more of the one from the other gang. Drinking our coffee with our shoes taken off, we are waiting for someone like the South Koreans or Tonya with Enrique to arrive, but no one does. Eventually, we put our shoes back on and go forward, having deduced they might be long ahead of us. It happened a few times that the direction signs on the crossroad led to both left and right. Basically just two marked roads that connected again after a few kilometres.

I feel like I’m kind of losing my mind. I evade a hole in the road. A hole whose shape reminds me of a scallop. Fortunately, I’m not the only one. Both Jitka and Mary have a similar opinion. Mary asks us if we’ve seen the movie The Way. We nod as a yes and she says it’s one of her most favorite movies and that it actually inspired her to try out Camino.

We finally go in the nature. I apologize that I have to go urinate and tell Jitka and Mary to go forward and not wait, that I’ll catch them up. But Jitka says she has to go, too, so Mary goes forward alone. After we finish watering the local flora, we catch up with Mary by an ancient bridge where there’s a geocache according to the map. Jitka finds it quite quickly and I take a picture of her while doing it and send it as a small hint to Enrique and Tonya in case they’d want to try and find their first geocache.

The route goes very well and I finally feel like I could even walk fifty kilometers today.

Festival of straw men

We enter the town Oliveira de Azeméis where from each balcony, each house greet us straw men, the one standing next to a bakery clothed in bakery clothing, another ones like groom and bride next to a wedding salon etc. Having something to look at all the time, the route through the town passes unbelievably quickly.

In the next village we stop in a café called Refugee’s. While we’re sitting outside and drinking Coke, Tonya, Enrique and the Spanish trio pass by. We slowly finish our drinks, pick up our bags and go. It doesn’t take long and a sharp pain passes through my right leg. Each step feels like stepping on a long needle that keeps stabbing into my calf.

Not a step without a warm-up

Oh well, I simply didn’t stretch my legs after the break, but whatever, it will pass somehow. According to the map the last 7 km await us. But the pain doesn’t fade away after 2 km, not even after 5 km. The last two kilometers I walk fatiguely behind Mary and Jitka looking like De Peyrac and watch for the hotel where we’re planning to accommodate eagerly. It’s miserable to find an albergue here so yesterday before dinner we’ve agreed to go to this one hotel with a favorable price and everyone either called there or sent the reservation by email like we did. We’re finally here.

However, the owner of the hotel knows nothing about our reservation. And when we show him the email, the carousel of fairytales begins and he tells us that they’re full and that if we wait, some places could theoretically free up… Of course, for a higher price etc. But that’s where we get tired of it and so after finding out that there’s another hotel just a few meters away with the accommodation being much cheaper, me and Jitka pack up our stuff and leave.

Alternative housing

There’s a young lady at the reception who instantly offers us a room with pilgrim discount, our own bathroom and balcony plus a food package in the morning for the route. Awesome. We go to check in. We leave our bags in our rooms, change our shoes to sandals and go back outside to get some dinner and also to buy some pins, because due to the height of our room it’s pretty windy on our balcony and if there’s something I wouldn’t like to do, it’d be to have the morning spiced with taking our clothes off of the trees below us.

We end up deciding to have pizza for dinner, which was certain even on our way to the hotel. About a kilometer back there’s a pizzeria that we passed by. It’s sunday, so we’re not very faithful about finding a store that’s open, but fortunately we find one on our way to the pizzeria. However, they have no pins here so we look around the shelves for something to replace the pins with. We agree on plastic forks. We take one package of those, something to drink and a box of crackers for tomorrow. There’s almost not a soul in the pizzeria so the service instantly pays attention to us. We order pizza to go. While it’s baking, this guy initiates a conversation with us. When he hears that we’re walking from Lisbon to Porto, he almost crosses himself. He brings us the pizza in a box, pays tribute to us again and wishes us a nice journey. 

I kind of worry that when we pass by the reception with the pizza in our hands, they tell us we can’t consume food in our rooms or something, but the lady even tells us that the maid will bring us some glasses and plates.

We take a shower and hang the washed laundry on a paracord string on our balcony. An attempt of leaving the clothes without the pins almost ended up with loss of one T-shirt so we had to use our back up plan with the forks.

They fulfilled their purpose so we finally could enjoy our pizza. Right when we opened the box, the maid came and brought us the promised dishes. During dinner Mary texts us and tells us that they’re going for a glass of wine to a restaurant on the square and asks if we’re coming. Yeah, a glass of wine… Just like in Agueda… 🙂

We text back that we’ve already eaten and that we’ll go to sleep a little earlier today. Which we eventually do.

Today’s video

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