I headed off at 6am because the gate wasn’t open until then and the fence was a bit too high to jump over. I leave a sleeping Fatima behind me. This section from Fatima to Tomar is not part of any official Camino and it was marked only recently as Camino Nasciente … something like the Way of the rising sun.
Today the sun is hidden under the cloud cover, accompanied by the light breeze. Nearly ideal walking conditions. The Way winds through the bushes. Well marked path all the way. It continues through a few villages than uphill again through the olive groves… than downhill on a very narrow path through the bushes. Pretty soon uphill.. downhill.. it all becomes blurred.
The view from the top of the hill shows few settlements ahead… alas bone of them are Tomar. When I finally broke through the bushes and reached the first village I took a break in the nearest bar.
Next up.. a bridge over the railroad track. A sharp turn left after the bridge leads to a fountain. The water is not drinkable but it is cold enough to dampen the buff I carry around my neck. I seem to recall reading somewhere that you can lower the body temperature by cooling the back of your neck.
This section has fewer arrows… or it could ve I am too tired to see them. But I do spot a huge message written on the asphalt road… Coragem irmao… Courage brother. Not “just a little bit more” (although it is) but… courage… how very appropriate.
Emboldened I continue following the main road. Aha there is the Roman aqueduct ahead which means Tomar is close. And so it is but there are still a few km more to be walked… avoiding the cars from the opposite direction.
There… a Templar castle ahead… last km is as horrible as always… finally here is the city. Inside the city another peregrino that looks lost. I wave at him… pointing at my smartphone. He quickly figured out I know where to go. Stefano is another Italian from Turin, looking for the firefighter’s place. Since he seems fired up on his choice (… I know I know… lame wordplay but I couldn’t resist) my hostel recommendation went unheeded, so I explained the directions to him and continued on to the hostel where I arrived at 14 h.
Jorge is already here as well as Alessandra and Rafaela. Jorge was completely exhausted and hitchhiked last few km, the Italian peregrinas took the bus from Fatima. Some Camino purists frown on any mode of transportation other than walking but in my opinion it is stupid to risk a major injury. Everybody walks their own Camino.
I decided on pizza for lunch… interestingly enough pizza seems to be more expensive than steak in Portugal. After lunch I decided to… walk back… to the Templars place. After the Templars the site became a monastery… Convento de Cristo, a UNESCO World Heritage attraction. Impressive sight … the greatest compliment I can bestow, is that I wasn’t the least bit sorry I walked back … uphill.
Back at the hostel, a new roommate… Hugo from France. A backpacker not a peregrino. He is not on the Camino because he doesn’t believe in God. I tell him that most peregrinos I met in Spain two years ago don’t seem to be religious. However I failed to mention that Camino seems to leave a… significant spiritual impression on most people … something better experienced than explained.
There is also Linda and Walter, an Italian couple that follows their guidebook closely… each 30+ km stage spelled out in the guidebook. In addition they carry backpacks with over 25 kg. Unsurprisingly they are both totally exhausted. I managed to persuade them to start walking earlier in the day and to treat guidebook as a suggestion.. not an order.
Jorge however is difficult to persuade to start walking earlier… and I notice he suffers a lot in noonday sun. He replies that he has three weaknesses… dormir, beber and mujeres… sleeping, drinking and women.
A concert outside woke me up briefly… but as I may have mentioned… falling asleep on the Camino is not a problem.
That was day no. 8