|Date:||Thursday, Sep 15, 2016|
|Stop:||O Bras Residencial, Alvaiazere 👎|
|Dist (Day/Total):||35/192 km|
|High Temp:||23 C/73 F|
Started at 4:30 am. Spooky. Started raining. Spookier. Just over an hour into the morning, it starts raining. First a drizzle and then it’s coming down. I’m in a village, on a narrow street. There are very few streetlights. None where I am. I stop near a house that has a light on the gate. I want to get my rain jacket out but don’t want to get run over in the dark. I’m fumbling around, trying to get the rain cover on my pack and put on my jacket, when a car pulls up. The driver looks at me like WTF is this shit? I wonder what he’s doing but continue what I’m doing while keeping half an eye on him. A guy walks out of the house I’ve stopped at and is heading to the car. Ahh, car pooling. He smiles and says what sounds like something about the rain. I smile back, confirm that it is indeed raining and with a hale Bom Dia am on my way.
A few minutes later, thru the same village, I see up ahead a garage door open. There are no streetlights in this section. Slowly a car backs out into the street. I stop about 20 yards away to let him thru. It’s dark and I don’t want to startle him. I can’t see the driver but I can sense what’s going on. He’s looking right and backing out. Then he turns and looks to his left, where I am. I guess he sees me and the car comes to a complete stop. With my headlamp on, he probably can’t see me clearly. In my backpack, hat, jacket and with trekking poles, all he can probably make out is a big hulking figure, stopped on the side of the road.
He’s not moving. I slowly take a couple of steps forward. He drives back into the garage. However, the garage door doesn’t come down. I wait. I’m not sure what he’s doing. Calling the cops? Compared to some alternatives, I’m ok with that. Good thing this isn’t Texas where he would probably be armed. Finally, he slowly backs out again. This time all the way out and in a way so that I am in his headlights. I wonder if I should smile to show him that I wasn’t a threat. He holds for about five/ten seconds and then drives off. As he passes by, I wave.
I get into Alvaiazere at around 1:30 pm. The rain has kept the temperature down today but my flu symptoms are back and my cough is at it’s worse. I decide to stop at the O Bras Residencial. It’s €15 for a private room and €10 for dinner. There is a weird smell in the hallways but the room is clean. All the employees I encountered were very strange. Not your typical open, friendly manner.
Explored a little bit. There is an albergue in town. The restaurant in the hotel is closed for a couple of weeks. The people who run it are on vacation. But they have arranged for someone to fix dinner – fixed menu – for guest only. There is a couple from England – and much to my regret, I did not note their names. We were the only ones in the restaurant and probably the only guests at the hotel. They invited me to join them and we had a lovely dinner. They are tourists walking bits and pieces of the path and then taking taxis, buses or trains to see other sights. They had plans to go off to a spa for several days. They had a very laid back and relaxed approach. I enjoyed talking to them. We even discussed Brexit. They were opposed.
Maybe I should have gone to the hospital in Tomar. Had a really bad night. Didn’t get much sleep. Tomorrow is going to be tough.