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Day 11, Alzejur to Chabouco, May 1

Closeup of rocks in Alzejur's castle.
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Today was an exceptionally lovely day—and given that there were a few wrong turns that’s really stating something. The day started by climbing up to the castle of Aljezur which has prominence as one of the historic castles represented by stars on Portugal’s flag. The castle was impressive and we enjoyed wandering about and taking in the views of the surrounding area. Nedjo thought we could take a shortcut but in the end we turned back and retraced our steps, so in fact it was rather a later start than we had hoped for. But the path was broad and not too sandy so that made for easier walking. There were lots of hills in this area, but finally we are getting into the hang of lengthening and shortening our poles as needed and that really helps.

Our midday break was to finish our leftover pizza which made a delightful change from fruit and nuts. Before too long we came to a stunning lookout over the sea, then followed the steep and rugged trail down to the beach. It was hard enough going for us with our poles, but the young surfers thought nothing of traipsing down with their boards. The rocky beach made a great break and we enjoyed watching the surfers and one lone fisherman. The cliffs were made of the most amazing rock strata, so it was also a place to take lots of photos.

Rock formation with stiated layers.
Impressive rock formations at Canal beach.

Today my feet were finally doing a bit better and it felt wonderful to be able to get back to a more usual pace. We had found a lovely sounding place that had us change up the daily sections again, stopping in the village of Chabouco. We didn’t have clear directions to where the village was and I had assumed we’d maybe have a sign, but we didn’t. Luckily, from our map, we knew when we’d gone too far and were able to turn back and retrace the last half hour and then happily find our lodgings. Note to self: next time ask for directions when stopping off the beaten track. We were not the only ones a little lost. A car full of French speakers passed along the dirt track and asked us for directions which by now we could somewhat give and Nedjo could do in French so that was a bonus.

Red and white waymark with whiet flower alongside.
Waymarks were sometimes challenging to spot.

Our accommodation (Monte Chabouco, 45 €, including breakfast for hikers) was a sweet little holiday house with both an indoor and outdoor kitchen, run by a very friendly and welcoming family. The only thing in Chabouco is a restaurant (Sha Bouco) and we were delighted that it was open (being May Day which is a major holiday in Portugal) and that Nedjo had popped by earlier to get us a reservation.

It was a more trendy restaurant than our usual fare but with lively and excellent (and very multilingual) service and fabulous food—cod with roasted pineapple and scalloped potatoes and prawn pasta, with a complimentary tuna and chickpea tapa to start. And after our lovely dinner it was just a few minutes back to our cozy house. I think we were both wishing that we could stay in this magical little spot a little longer.