At last, a fellow pilgrim in Cernache!

Day 12 – 22nd October 2016, Alvorge to Cernache.

Hello friends!

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…

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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.

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They wore blue, way back when.

And the odd windmill, that had seen better days…

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A rustic windmill.

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.

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Blessed are the cheesemakers for they make lovely ‘tosta’ (& the cinnamon roll is good too)

Sated and happy, we trundled down the street and paused for a moment so that Brett could admire ‘his sign’.

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Brett standing under ‘his sign’ tee hee

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.

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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,

Sarah xxx

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6 thoughts on “At last, a fellow pilgrim in Cernache!

  1. Another day gone and our first pilgrim. It was perhaps a sign of things to come. Sarah again had trooped on though I knew her right foot was in agony. Time for mending hands and a few grimaces but she never hit me….;-)

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  2. Hi Sarah and Brett. I so enjoy your stories of your recent Camino, Sarah. It was just what I needed this morning as I am really missing the Camino these days with no return in sight just yet. I hope your plans for April are going very well. Wish we could be there with you. We are currently busy with wedding planning for our youngest. She and her partner are going to have an outdoor wedding at the Marina in Nipigon. Brett will know where that is. Unfortunately that was the determining factor in us not being able to join you on April 22nd. All the best. Mike

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    1. Hi Mike! Thanks for your lovely message. I’m so glad you are enjoying the blog posts. There will be more coming soon…although I am a slow writer these days. We hope your daughter’s wedding will be the perfect day for you all, with many special memories and we wish her and her partner every happiness for their married life together. I will look up Nipigon! I’m sure Brett and I will see you when we come to Canada at some point, then we can crack open a lovely bottle (or three) of Spanish Red and swap Camino and wedding stories! Much love to you and Gloria. Sarah and Brett xx

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    1. Hello Kristy!
      Thanks for your comments. Your project sounds wonderfully creative and I’d love to co-create with you. I have checked out your website briefly but have now bookmarked it for a more in-depth read. I would be interested in submitting a story or short video clip for you and your sister to include in due course. Do you have a ‘hard deadline’ for submissions at this stage? Thank you for inviting me! Buen Camino! Sarah

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