- June 16th, 2014
- Tomar: Hostel Tomar 2300 (€15 in a female dorm)
- Weather: Did I mention it was hot? 34 degrees
I slept for 11 hours straight and only got up because I wanted to have the free breakfast! At breakfast I met a pilgrim called Michael from Prague who had walked from St Jean to Santiago (what I did last year) and was now travelling through Portugal as well as an Irish lady called Pauline who had intended to walk from Lisbon but had been deterred because of the heat and was now thinking of starting from Porto instead. I also met an American lady called Jenna who said she had met an Aussie couple that were walking and had also started in Lisbon, but they had left yesterday. She told me they had terrible tales about getting lost and walking through the heat and I enjoyed hearing how others were struggling just like me! If only I could catch up to them!
After a very lazy and long breakfast I headed up to the Convent of the Knights Templar (Convento de Cristo) and was absolutely blown away by how magnificent it was. It is one of the most amazing structures/castles/museums I’ve ever experienced. I’m usually very good at flying through museums and skimming the artwork and descriptions but here I couldn’t bring myself to rush through. I diligently read every description in every room and didn’t want to find myself at the exit. I have never heard of Tomar before but this complex “forms the cradle of the Templar Order in Portugal” since the 12th century, is a world heritage sight and is a must see. It literally had me saying wow out loud when I walked into every room.
After visiting the castle I strolled around the town taking in all the other ancient sites and churches. You definitely need two full days to do Tomar justice but I’m sure I’ll come back one day so I’m hitting the road again tomorrow.
Whilst I was eating dinner tonight I was reading the guide and description of tomorrow’s walk and started to get nervous when I noticed the trail heads back into the forest with no road option. I’m nervous because I’ve already experienced getting lost because of the lack of arrows but at least when that happened it was possible to walk along a road and still arrive at the destination. I remembered that there was a 24hr pilgrim helpline called Via Lusitana set up for this walk so I called them to ask about the signage for tomorrow and explained my fears because of already getting lost. A lady called Natasha answered, spoke terrific English, apologised for the lack of arrows so far (bush fire through the previous forest) and assured me tomorrow’s walk through the forest was well sign-posted but to call them again if I needed any help. It was so nice to be reassured… Here’s hoping I see the signs she was talking about!