It was a bright, sunny morning, and the cobbled roads wound between tall stone walls interrupted every now and then by houses, their walls frequently decorated with blue and white tiles depicting saints, or scenes from biblical stories. We heard church bells announcing nine o’clock from towers in several directions.
We stopped at a small church dedicated to Santo Estavo (St. Stephen), in part because of its beautiful tile facing, and in part because a sign indicated “Public W.C.” After using the facilities (adjacent to the car park), we looked through the small cemetery. I’ve never seen so many elaborate grave markers in such a small space. As we were leaving, some fellow pilgrims, a group of six from Brazil, waved us over and told us that someone had gone to fetch a key so we could all look inside. It was astonishing, all the statues and decoration. I’m not religious, but it was impressive how much effort went into making and preserving this place.
We continued on between fields cornstalks a good seven or more feet high. The sun shone brightly and the morning warmed quickly. It was to become a very warm day for walking.
By noon we reached the village of Vairao, which was a little beyond the halfway mark of our walk. We stopped at a churrasqueira near the town square for lunch. Nearly every table was already reserved, but the owner made room for us. The place soon filled with locals, and queue of others formed while we ate. Adele had BBQ chicken, and I ordered the fried octopus. The food was delicious, the staff were incredibly friendly, and it only came to €16.
The afternoon walk was hot. We went through most of our water, and stopped for lemon sodas about 3 km from Arcos. I’d made the decision not to bring my water pack, and I didn’t regret it. The added weight would have been a pain.
We arrived in Arcos about half past three. The Hotel San Miguel de Arcos is a beautiful place. With stone walls and wood floors. It’s a great place to end a day’s journey, and a blog post.