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Wednesday, 17 March 2010

And all the roads we have to walk along are winding

There are positive and negative aspects to walking and hiking in much of southern Europe; on the positive side we are getting used to not worrying about trespassing, in most countries we have had the freedom to roam and with the hunting season now over, we no longer have to worry about being mistaken for a Wild Boar. However, it is often impossible to find a map in a suitable scale for walking and we are often reliant on way-marked paths and tracks.

We are now in the wealthier and more populated part of Portugal, north of the river Tejo and staying on an idyllic site near Tomar; we are the only campers and we can breakfast in the sun with the site's donkeys, horse and sheep, called Olivia, for company. The site owners are from the Netherlands and the UK and understand that we northern Europeans like to get out for a walk; they have produced directions for three local walks and have managed to get hold of the military maps for the area from the Geological Museum in Lisbon.

The walking is mainly on un-made roads and tracks, the routes wind through Eucalyptus plantations, Olive trees, small fields of vines and along streams, occasionally crossing tarmac roads and taking us into a village for a cafe stop. The Almond blossom is following us north and the Mimosa trees are in full bloom, underneath the Eucalyptus both pink and white heather are flowering. After the rain the streams are gushing and we enjoyed the chance to paddle across one stream to continue the route, drying our feet in the sun.

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