The one advantage of an early morning wake up was that it afforded me a chance to finish my book. I had worked hard to limit the weight I was carrying, but couldn’t quite bring myself to travel without a book. I had, however, restricted myself to one. On our excursions about town, I noticed that the old-fashioned red phone booth now did duty as a book exchange run by the tourism office. Now that I was done my book, if we took long enough over breakfast and packing up, I could exchange my book as we headed out of town.
After a delicious breakfast of fruit, eggs and fresh buns, we packed up our now delightfully clean and sun-dried clothes, and started another day on the trail. Leaving Milfontes, the trail starts on the shoulder of a busy road then over a long bridge to cross the river. We were happy when we could leave the busy roadway and get back on a proper trail which skirted the edge of a field, then brought us to the beach at Furnas, where we could look back across at Milfontes.
Happily, this was another morning with a restaurant just the right distance from our departure to make a coffee and bathroom pit stop. Here, I learned the important lesson that those pull cords hanging down in bathrooms were not light switches—of the kind I’d grown up with in basement bare bulb fixtures—but alarms. Luckily we were the only customers in the sprawling restaurant complex and the proprietor just thought it was funny when I explained my mistake. The coffee was delicious and the views memorable and well-satisfied we moved on.
Today was supposed to be a shorter and easier day, and especially after having a day off, we were walking with a good stride as we set off. This marked the first day that we were in amongst lots of other walkers, including large groups. One would pass a group, and then later that group would pass you as you stopped for a break. It was interesting to pick out the languages spoken: Italian, German, French among the ones we heard most. In our whole trip we only crossed paths with one other trio of Canadians and didn’t meet any Americans.
The easy path eventually gave way to more dunes, and the day continued with remarkable scenery—towering cliffs, crashing waves, intricate rock formations and a profusion of flowers. Knowing it was a shorter day, we took two breaks to eat and admire to views out to sea and even though there was very little shade, we seemed to be doing fine.
It was still early in the afternoon when we arrived in tiny Almograve, where everything seemed somewhat miniature. After checking into our hotel (Natura Maris, 60 € without breakfast), we headed out in search of custard tarts but the village’s pastry shop was closed. Instead we munched on a bag of cinnamon sweet potato chips washed down with passionfruit soda sitting in the diminutive plaza. Almograve might have been small but it had the best public bathrooms with plants and a bouquet of fresh flowers.