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 Walk Across Europe

2003-04-16 - Trip 1 - Leg 3

Portugal, Algarve West

Vale de Boi to Espiche

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10.7 km today. Mini came too.
37.7 km this trip.
37.7 km from start.
13 metres minimum height.
73 metres maximum height.
150 metres ascent.
115 metres descent.
 Track Log: Reconstruction.
 Travel: Bus.

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Bus. Quiet country lanes through farm land and scrub. Farm tracks. Country lanes. Fields. Orchids. Nice.

The Walk

On day three the weather warmed up and we saw our first orchids. Near the end of the walk we met an English lady who had lost her dog. It had run away from the vet who was treating it for an injured or broken leg. For the rest of the day we only saw dogs with four good legs. We never found out what happened to her poor dog.

We took the 9.15 bus to Vale de Boi and then walked back along the main road to the Barão São Miguel turning (10 minutes). There we turned left and walked up the road to the village. Just past number 15, we turned right (55 minutes) and walked through almond groves and figs until we got to a T junction where we turned left (1 hour 15 minutes).

Foia was clearly visible as it was a much better day. We carried on along the main path through scrub now until we got to a quarry. Beyond it the track forked and we took the left one (the right just led into the quarry itself (1 hour 30 minutes). We continued along here until we got to a cross-roads and where we turned right (1 hour 35 minutes). We crossed the Riba de Almadena (1 hour 50 minutes) and soon afterwards had lunch in an almond grove. We spent three and a half hours there and then carried on.

At a Y junction, we turned left. This track did not head in the direction of any of the tracks on the map and, indeed, when we made our approach to Espiche we could tell this was a new road entirely. Our left turn took us eventually to a surfaced road. Here we turned right towards Espiche. We saw a woman working in a field wearing the traditional Portuguese straw hat. Mini was stopped by some people looking for their dog which had run away from a near-by vets. It had a broken leg so should not have gone far but we didn't see it.

We decide at Espiche that we have gone far enough for one day and go to the bus stop where we have an ice cream. I go to the café and ask 'Tem gelatos?' in my best Portuguese. The girl thinking no doubt that I have asked for some esoteric English specialty asks the boss what 'gelatos' is. He replies laughing, 'Aise crim' (ice cream) whereupon she says, 'Ah, gelatos'. We have caramel magnums at the bus stop. We had thought we might get as far as Lagos today but going inland every time increases the distances we have to walk. It's worth it though as the routes are very beautiful and the spring flowers overwhelmingly beautiful and numerous.