Santarem to Golega

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Our Camino really started today as we opted to miss the dangerous N110 and industrial sites day 2 and 3 of the Brierley guide.

We left the Hostal at 07h30 and almost immediately we could not find the arrows to lead us out of Santarém onto the Camino.  A garbage truck with workers pointed us in the right direction and for at least 2 kilometers we had this stinky garbage truck follow us.  We found the cathedral which was locked and headed north to follow our yellow guiding angels.

It was not long after we walked through a short yet beautiful green pasture that we hit a tar road with the beautiful river Tejo in front of us.  This was the first and the last time we saw the river Tejo, which by the way the entire walk of the day should have been along.

We took the left fork where the arrow was painted on the pavement and wound our way through a little village that was situated next to the railway track.  One eventually gets to an area where the choice is to cross the railway track or go left so we crossed the railway track as per the Brierley guide and then no arrow indicating left or right.  Three of us search for an arrow and no luck.

We decided to go left as it made the most sense at the time however was clearly the wrong choice and we landed up on the N114 which took us about 10km off the beaten track.  Thank goodness for a little town with very friendly and helpful Portuguese people who kindly offered to drive us back to the Camino route at Vale de Figueira.  He explained that we were the second group of pilgrims to have got lost today.  An American from Colorado and an Australian had taken the same route we had.  We agreed on the drop off point however landed up in Azinhaga.  Oh well it is what it is and we were just thankful to be back on track and walked the last 15km to Golega.

Just before the town of Golega there is a cafe / bar alongside the road under huge eucalyptus trees and the three of us rested our feet and enjoyed a beer.  Well rested we walked to our accommodation namely Hostel Solo Duro.  Theresa was most pleasant and helpful.  The hostel had wifi, bedding and towels, breakfast for €15 – double room or €10 for a bunk bed in the 6 bed dormitory.

Once we freshened up and did our washing we ventured off to the cathedral and sat at Café Centro.  However we had dinner at the Taverno opposite the back-end of the cathedral, the atmosphere was dull and gloomy as Portugal had just lost their first game against Germany in 2014 World Cup.

Dinner was a simple bland hamburger however Alan had lamb stew in a tomato base sauce with bread and an egg.

Our first day on the Camino felt like a highway walk to nowhere and was most unpleasant.  I swore at the yellow arrows we could not find all day and our feet are feeling the pain of getting lost.

Feet check – all ok, just tired!

Some info on SANTAREM!

Santarém, home of a number of notable churches. One of them, the Church of the Holy Miracle (Igreja do Santissimo Milagre) is home to a 13th-century eucharistic miracle. The shrine is among the most famous of its kind and is visited by thousands of pilgrims.

The story of the miracle centers on an early-13th-century woman with an unfaithful husband. Desperate to regain his faithfulness and save her marriage, she consulted a sorceress. The sorceress said she would cure the husband’s infidelity for the price of a consecrated host (Eucharistic wafer). After much deliberation, the woman decided to commit the sacrilege.

The next time she attended Mass at the 12th-century Church of St. Stephen, she took the consecrated wafer from her mouth, wrapped it in a veil and headed quickly for the door. But before she had taken more than a few steps, the host began to bleed. It bled so much that concerned parishioners thought she had cut her hand and attempted to help, but she ran out of the church.

Back at home, she threw the bloody host in a trunk in her bedroom. Her husband did not come home until late, as usual. In the middle of the night, they were both awoken by a mysterious light emanating from the trunk. The woman confessed to her husband what she had done and they both knelt in repentance before the miracle. The next morning, the couple told the parish priest what had happened. The priest placed the miraculous host in a wax container and returned it to the Church of St. Stephen. Word spread quickly, and the townspeople hurried to the church to see the miracle.

The next time the priest opened the tabernacle that contained the miraculous host, another miracle occurred! The wax container was found broken into pieces, and the host was enclosed in a crystal pyx. This pyx was placed in a silver monstrance, where it can be seen today.

After an investigation, the Catholic Church approved the recognition of the miracle. The Church of St. Stephen was renamed the Church of the Holy Miracle, and it is one of Portugal’s most-visited pilgrimage sites.

Things I learnt to today…

The Portuguese people do not know about the Camino / Caminho

Thank you in Portuguese is Obrigado

Vehicles driven here are all small / tiny cars and they only know one speed, i.e fast!!

People don’t pick up the dog poo

These people smoke anywhere and everywhere (pretty much like Spain)


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Showing 4 comments
  • Rob Nell

    Looking good! On you go! Love the stops for a beer every now and then, my kinda walk that!

  • Craig Sheldon

    I agree Rob…will never manage walking that distance & in that weather without having to stop for a beer or 2 or 3!! As for the bland burger, if I ever decide to walk the Camino, I’ll be sure to carry a bottle of chilli sauce!
    Glad to hear to doing ok Michelle, sure it will get better!

  • Craig Sheldon

    I agree Rob…will never manage walking that distance & in that weather without having to stop for a beer or 2 or 3!! As for the bland burger, if I ever decide to walk the Camino, I’ll be sure to carry a bottle of chilli sauce!
    Glad to hear you doing ok Michelle, sure it will get better!

    • Sparkalot

      I would love some chili sauce, next time it will be on my packing list.

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