Today’s Miles: 30.1
Total Miles: 5,675.1
Azambuja, Portugal – April 26, 2017
The trail spills out of the low hills surrounding Fatima and into the wide floodplain of the Rio Tejo. Fields stretch out on either side of a levee running parallel to the river’s bank. From the top, I watch the muddy brown water flowing toward Lisbon and the sea.
A chalky white dust kicks up in clouds behind trucks as they rumble down the grid of farm roads. Cars bounce past. Tractors work the fields, their tills churning long lines into the earth. Spring life rises in green shoots all around, painting unused gaps of land with wildflowers.
We pass a few pilgrims on their way to Santiago. A day, maybe two out from the start in Lisbon, they look clean, a mix of fresh and fragile, still finding their feet. I think of my friends that first night in Roncesvalles. The awe of finally starting something they dreamed of mixed with the reality of walking across a country. Daya and I look ragged, dusty from the roads, shirts worn through with holes, every softness in our feet long scraped away.
I don’t feel the harshness of the chalky dirt roads. The dust is nothing to me. I feel relief, an ease in the straight, uncomplicated lines that require a turn every few miles and nothing more. This is not new, this is the simple walk of another day closer to Lisbon, strung on the end of a few hundred days before it.