Carrapateira to Bordeira

We know you’ve woken up to snow and thought this might cheer you up….

We decided to attempt the suggested 15km walk to Bordeira. The last 5-6km would be a challenging walk through sand dunes and the map showed a path to cut that out – we had a plan and were suitably smug.

We started out on the main road through Carrapateira, you can see how busy Portuguese roads are.

The first 3km took us back along stony paths with a fair few steep ascents and descents.

At one point we could see back across the valley to our hotel which appears a lot larger when viewed from a distance.

We negotiated a couple of stream crossings and were grateful that despite the heavy overnight rain it’s been so dry here. We’d been warned about wet feet on a couple of our walks and bought a small travel towel especially! Out feet have remained dry as has the towel.

2 hours and 5.5km later, we reached the village of Bordeira in the sunshine, found an open cafe and sat down with a cuppa, home made soup and ginger cake (all for under £5).

The heavens opened, and the local tradesmen made a dash out of the rain for their lunch.

This is the first cafe we’ve visited since leaving Vila do Bispo where there has been a genuine sense of hospitality. We’ve debated whether the surliness is a result of the hard life Portuguese people endure in remote rural areas or is it more cultural? Today’s cafe was run by a young couple so perhaps it’s a generational thing?

We whiled away almost an hour as the weather went through a cycle of torrential rain and sunshine. Finally we just had to make a move!

On the way out of the village we saw this.

This is the first public toilet we have seen, there are none on the beaches or in towns or villages.

I know it’s a bit late in the day to tell you, but we’ve been walking the South West Alentejo and Vicentina Coast National Park! It seems unusual not to see facilities and considering the number of camper vans we’ve seen around you would have thought keeping the National Park clean would be important!

We chose the suggested shortcut in the instructions. It saved 1.5km another steep ascent and followed it down through a lush valley. It was wet and muddy before becoming sandy and hard work underfoot.

Somewhere we had missed our shortcut back to the road and there was no escape. We had to cross the sand dunes, walk 1km across the beach and cross the Carrapateira river. The wind was blowing hard and it was an unpleasant, gritty walk.

The beach tried to compensate by looking dramatic but we’d had enough.

This came into view as we rounded a sand dune.

It’s difficult to see how the building survives in such an inhospitable environment but it must be a welcome retreat for the surfers. However its still a 2km walk back to the car park and a further 1km to the nearest cafe.

We finally made it to the boardwalk to take us up off the beach and crossed the river without getting wet!

At the top of the cliff we stopped for a selfie. Sorry, we’re not getting much better but at least the sea made an appearance in this one.

So much for our short cut! We’d been out over 5 hours and walked 14km.