Azambuja to Santarem
Walking Day 4: 33 km, 9.5 hrs
Shortly after leaving the hotel, we crossed the railroad tracks via the Azambuja train station (up 4 flights of stairs, across, then down 4 flights of stairs).
We met Martin and Gunnar, both from Germany, shortly after that. Martin had serious blisters from the previous day but was walking through the dust in sandals without socks. This would lead to serious complications.
The police (Guarda Nacional de Republica, or GNR) were stopping each group of hikers and issuing fluorescent vests. When the police vehicle pulled up to us with lights flashing, stopped, and the officer hopped out and opened the back doors, I honestly thought that we were going to be taken into custody. When we arrived at the cafe in Valada and saw all the other hikers in Day-Glo, it was clear that the police were stopping all hikers and bikers.
I applied some basic first aid and moleskin to Martin's very raw feet at the cafe. Ministering to a stranger's or recent acquaintance's feet in a cafe? Discussing foot and leg injuries with the same over dinner? That's how it is on the Camino.
Valada is separated from the Tejo by a flood control dike. The Camino trail is on top of the dike, so one must go down and up stairs to go into the village.
The remainder of the day’s walk was on dusty agricultural trails, and then a long and steep 110 meter climb into Santarem.
Next: Santarem to Golega