Our second day of walking formed a figure eight loop beginning and ending at our accomodations and crossing at the chapel of Peninha (something about a mute shepardess looking for a lost lamb and finding the lamb with, I suppose, the virgin Mary and miraculously gaining the power of speech). Although the chapel was the literal high point of the walk, it was far from the figurative high point. You can’t enter the chapel itself, which is alleged to have beautiful tiles, and the exterior of the place is basically a poured concrete bunker. Extremely atmospheric location but fundamentally ugly in its refurbished (?) state. But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
When making the long descent to the convent the night before, we were concerned about having to climb back up to begin the next day’s walk. We worried in vain. In the cool of the morning, after a good night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast, the upward walk was, as our English friends say, easy peasy.
The walk took us up and through lovely wooded areas, lots of eucalyptus trees and conifers. Loads of wildflowers lining the broad walkways. Butterflies performing their erratic, dancing flights from blossom to blossom. And birdsong filling the trees. Unfortunately, the birds were all singing in Portuguese and we were unable to identify a single one. The illusive azure winged magpie remains illusive and unseen.
On the final climb up to the chapel, we had incredible views back over the territory we covered on our first day, which helped put our efforts into perspective. Yesterday’s walk was about seven miles and today’s not quite nine but there was a certain amount of climbing involved and we all felt that we had worked hard enough to warrant a couple of cool drinks at the Bar Don Quixote on our way back.