Day 7: I Make a Friend

Day 7

Date: Monday, Sep 12, 2016
Start: Golega
Stop: Casa do Patriarca, Atalaia     👍
Dist (Day/Total): 12/136 km
High Temp: 32 C/90 F

I got up early, around 5 am, and contemplated my next move.  Should I stay or should I go now.  If I go, there will be trouble.

I go.  At 6:45 am.

Casa do Patriarca, Atalaia

Twelve km later, at around 9:45 am, I am in Atalaia.  I feel miserable and it is another 21 km to Tomar.  I don’t think I’m going to make it.  I get to the Casa do Patriarca, a B&B right on the Caminho.  I had read about it online.  It had positive reviews.  It was surrounded by a high wall and protected by a big metal gate.  I rang the bell.  There was no response for the longest time.  Not surprised because it was way too early for guests to start showing up.  Finally, someone came to the gate – the maid.  She didn’t speak English but I think figured out what I wanted.  She let me in.  It was a huge place; big yard, several gazebos, swimming pool, parking lot, etc.  She asked me to wait outside and she went into the house.  That’s when this dog ran up to me and dropped a slime covered ball at my feet.  We played catch.

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The maid came out with the owner on a cell phone.  He spoke fluent English.  Welcome.  Plenty of room.  Room not quite ready yet.  No problem.  I sat/layed down on a bean bag in the yard, under some shade, and continued my game of catch with the dog.  I also explored the grounds.  The place was setup for wedding receptions and similar celebrations.  You could tell the home was really old but one side of the house had been made into one big room, with two sides of wall to ceiling glass.  Later on, in the afternoon, I went into the room and it was unbearably hot.  There were round banquet tables set up.

Owner finally showed up and after a little bit more time I shown into my private room which was  €20 for the night.  Took a shower and then . . .  Damn it was still early and the B&B was in the middle of a residential neighborhood.  Atalaia was a small town, less than 2000 people.  It was mostly homes and as far as I could tell no town center.  Nothing to do.

There were four pilgrims from Florida staying there also.  They were women in their 60s (maybe older) who had started in Lisbon and had arrived the day before.  They were going very slow and I believe they said they had been at it for a couple of weeks.  One of their group had gotten industrial strength blisters and could barely walk now.  They were planning on spending at least one more night.  Much to their credit, they were sticking to walking and had not succumbed to taking a taxi.

Because there were no restaurants within walking distance, we agreed to order pizza.  The owner said he would pick it up and we said we would buy his dinner.  He said that was not necessary but we insisted.  And we included his girlfriend, also.

We had a very pleasant dinner in the glass room, which had cooled down quite a bit.  The owner’s girlfriend made sangria.  Lovely.  The pizza was from Telepizza, which is like Dominoes but not as good.  But I was hungry and the company was good.

Turns out the the owner was actually the owner’s youngest son.  The house was 400 years old and had been in his family for a 100 years.  Normally, his parents and he ran the place but he was on his own while his parents were on vacation in southern Portugal.  His girlfriend, who had a regular job, was also pitching in.  They were a lovely couple.  What was her regular job?  Nurse.  How convenient.  Right after dinner, she was checking out the blistered foot of the woman who couldn’t walk.



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