To say that the Camino Portuguese has been a disappointment so far would be an understatement. We started yesterday morning early and found that the wind that had been so strong the day before had turned very cold. So we put on all the layers we could and headed directly into the wind. A few kms in, we could not find the waymarks (in Portugal the same yellow arrows as Spain) and ended up walking on the shoulder of the railway tracks. Eventually we had to cross two sets of tracks and climb over a metal fence to get back to walking on the road. We decided to take the train to the next town, Santarem, but had to wait a couple of hours in a town which was closed tight for Sunday except for one cafe which was jammed with locals.
We got the train to Santarem and made a long climb to the city centre where we found a beautiful clean city full of ancient buildings. The city dates from the first century BC and was founded by Julius Caesar. It was occupied by the Vandals and then by the Moors and then re-taken by the Portuguese. All of them have left their influences on the city which is full of old churches and monuments. We found an inexpensive pension which is lovely and well cared for and went out to explore. We took a tour of the cathedral which was full of treasures and found we were the only people in the magnificent sanctuary. Then we found a store open where we bought supper ingredients for about 6 Euros and retired for the day. Oh the ups and downs of the Camino! Today we will tour the local museum and head north. Who knows what we will encounter.