Camino Portugués – Lisbon to Alverca do Ribatejo – Day 1

I don’t know if it was the excitement or that French guy’s snoring, but I had little sleep before I left Lisbon. I had been looking forward to this day for some time now and it didn’t disappoint. Leaving Lisbon behind wasn’t a major cause of concern for me, I knew I would be back here again sometime.

Carsten and myself left the hostel early enough, we were the first out. It was still dark and people were on their way to work. We needed to find the Cathedral again to locate the first arrow. I had read that there were very few arrows to guide you from the city but I had a back-up gps “just in case”. We had breakfast before the Cathedral before taking a sharp right. We spotted a few Portuguese locals drinking alcohol while we were having our coffee. Maybe on their way home from work?

You really need to keep your eyes on the walls as signage is poor until you come to the coast. But I had an extra step in my walk and I was giddy with excitement. To the coast..

A fountain, leaving Lisbon
Artwork on the way out of Lisbon
One of the first real signs – yellow for Santiago, blue for Fatima

Arriving at the coast, we walk the Passeio do Tejo, a long stretch of boardwalk that goes way into the distance. There are pictures of people walking, pilgrims and families all lined the Passeio. The sun was starting to rise but we took our time. Further on, the former EXPO park at the Parque das Nações is still a hive of activity with many hotels and restaurants. Giant cable cars hang above our heads that usually bring tourists. This is a lovely part of the walk with many people out for their morning walks or runs enjoying the sunshine. We are the only pilgrims however.

A bit further on from the Parque das Nações is the Vasco da Gama Bridge which takes traffic over the River Tejo, which at 17.2 km is the longest bridge in Europe. I didn’t hang around too long however.

Vasco da Gama bridge

Not long after this, the Camino crosses the N10 motorway after Sacavem, and follows a dusty dry path for many kms so it is wise to be prepared. I had just enough water on me for this section until I reached Alpriate. From here on in, I made the decision to carry extra water.

We arrived at Alpriate early. It is a small village with a small snack bar and an albergue. It opens at 2pm. I was in no position to wait but having walked nearly 22 km, we stopped for a snack. I noticed one of the locals grill some meat on a home made barbeque. The smell filled the town. Shortly later we left.

Arriving at the Praia dos Pescadores was the highlight of the day but it was brutally hot. The Riverside Lounge gave us cold drinks before we took a walk along the boardwalk of the nature reserve. An hour or so before we reached the town of Alverca do Ribatejo. On arriving at the town, the Camino brings you over the train line. Any and all accommodation were on the outskirts of the town. We chose Alfa. It is not a place for pilgrims but as the hours went by, we saw a few more pilgrims come in. There were the French couple, and the Italian couple who we didn’t see again. Later on, there was a super menu for offer not to far from the hostal.

The forecast is for more sun. I look forward to it.

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