Pig's Ear Park and Other Adventures

Oh to have been a Templar knight..

Then again maybe not as the lot that were buried at the convent of christ in Tomar were dug up, mind you they would not have cared by then…
The Convent of christ in Tomar is quite stunning, if it had gardens would rival the Alhambra in Granada, yet I had never heard of it…
founded by the above in 1312, so been around a time…The french kicked the knights out so they went to Portugal, where the king renamed them the order of christ thus gaining revenue and giving the pope the religious finger.Prince Henry the navigator became grand master and his rooms are now ruins but discernible. Vasco da gama and columbus visited here too.
The architecture is a mix of romanesque, and various later styles, wonderful vaulted rooves and a fabulous manueline window, a floor was removed by Old henry so he could see it better….
Huge dormitories, dining rooms etc etc, plus a fabulously restored chapel, about three stories high and big enough for the knights to attend while on their horses!!!!

OOOOH to have been around then and a male!!!!!well atemplar knight of course….
tried to find the oldest synagogue in portugal but naturally was given confusing directions and never found of the other “pilgrims ” said the same …well it is a Catholic country.
hotel was soso, food was average, fishy tomatoey stewy thing…
met a yank who has walked the Camino in france twice and says this one is so badly signposted….yesterday he got lost and was out by TWELVE kilometres,,,hitched a ride on the mainroad. thank heavens i caught the bus…Also on the bus was an italian couple who had slogged it out for about 18 ks then gave up, I am never lucky enough to find a bus ….
So arrived in Alvaiazere, to a truly low class establishment, clean but right down there, no bag either, lousy dinner and they tried to charge me for it…I threw ten euro on the table snarling like a rabid dog to have it returned with obsequious apologies twenty minutes later….bag arrived eventually…
Today i had the nicest walk of all, mindyou an exciting start,could have been arrested for indecent exposure…
Thought i had the bodily functions under control, left the hotel (ha!) and five minutes down the road, griping interior, nowhere to go, fifty metres off the mainroad in a residential area with the council chambers opposite me, spied a gate , open with long grass behind,in like flynn, crouching in abject misery behind the gate, two cars went past, slunk lower, wondered what the fine would be, would the people in the house in front see me …finally my interior stopped torturing me and i was able to scuttle out leaving organic matter behind.
within ten minutes I was heading up the 470 m climb, the first for the day, took ages but i managed, then there was one more 250 m bugger and i was on the way down to Ansiao.
nice countryside, lotsa lovely flowers and NO People!! i walk for hours alone, saying buon dias to the occasional , always women, toiling in the fields but nay pilgrims!!!. the small vegie gardens around the local houses are to be envied, potatoes, onions, tomatoes and that goddam awful cabbage thing that grows like a tree…all very neat and tidy. but half of rural portugal is abandoned and for sale, so sad.
today was a lot cooler so much easier. but only 16ks, tomorrow the mad buggers have me down for 32 ks, so will check out the local buses here to see if I can do at least ten on wheels.
hotel, here, no plug and shower does not work.
dont mind being alone and know t would have just hated most of it!!!!all that rurality and tacky hotels….


  1. Loving the history lessons – truly – but the rest sounds quite frankly…… torture!! C21st version of what the Knights did to lesser beings (in their eyes, perhaps). My little jaunt on the Hauraki Rail Trail was very pleasant :-). Keep smiling!

  2. Good morning M or is it dog day afternoon …..
    Good to know you have sun block and a bottle of water to hand – along with your tenacity, courage and sense of humour xx

  3. Wendy Campbell

    May 15, 2014 at 10:42 am

    Hi Margaret , Just got back in from Wgtn ,reading up on all your adventures , Sounds like hell to me ,do you really want to torture yourself like this ,you are not supposed to be doing penance in this obviously very catholic country . Go find a posh hotel if there is one and enjoy yourself for at least a couple of days respite .
    Thinking of you ,take care and don’t get completely lost xxx Wens

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