Our final day on the Fisherman’s Trail section of the route started in Zambujeira with breakfast in the courtyard. Each room had a bar fridge which housed juice, milk, yogurt, fruit and a platter of cheese as well as a kettle to make tea or instant coffee. Then at 8 a.m. a cloth bag with fresh buns was hung on your room door. In fine weather, you could eat at the many tables in the courtyard and it meant the small hotel could provide breakfast without needing a breakfast room. The courtyard had resident turtles and we enjoyed watching them make their way to and from the little fountain. There were also ramps to help them up the stairs!
Right from the start, this section of the trail was different. It was much more hiking than walking with many exposed ascents and descents on small and winding trails. I wished I had a ramp like the turtles. My feet were also sore right from the start of the day and that certainly didn’t help.
Not long into the day, there was an unexpected bonus of a surf school which doubled as a coffee shop, so we stopped for coffee and admired the beach before heading on. The forecasted rains arrived with a vengeance accompanied by strong winds which on the exposed cliffs was a bit tough. But luckily this didn’t last for long and the sun came back out. There was a fair bit of mud which made the going slower.
We stopped for cold drinks in a little town, then picnicked on the rest of our bread and delicious sheep’s cheese. The rest of the afternoon was more up and down, as well as some easier stretches on the dunes. It was also the only time we lost the path, but in the end it just made for a small shortcut.
The final four kilometres were along a road and by then my feet were very sore. It went from being extremely hot—we stopped to reapply sunscreen—to torrential rain in about half an hour, so by the time we arrived in Odeceixe we were soaked and actually a bit cold.
Odeceixe was a more hilly town than any we’d been in so far and it reminded us of the pubelos blancos of Southern Spain. We got a little lost locating our hotel (Casa Morais, 45 € including breakfast) and were so glad when we finally arrived. It was the first place that seemed like a B and B in someone’s home and our very pink room was a cross between a boudoir and a six year old’s dream. But the bathroom was enormous with a wonderful tub and scalding hot water. After a good soak, I started to feel much better.
Dinner was a feast at Taberna Gabas, a very popular choice with hikers and locals alike. Great starters of marinated carrots and seafood pate, along with the usual bread and olives, led into an excellent salad and swordfish steak, ending with flan for dessert. A marvelous reward for our long day, which although only rated “somewhat difficult” in our guide, was the hardest day we’d had so far.