Day 4 – Azambuja to Santarem

Day 4 – Azambuja to Santarem – 33km/20.50 miles

This one was a real doozy. Being the first 30km+ day it was definitely a challenge for the mind and body. We originally wanted to leave around 7 but the bar didn’t open until 7:30 for first breakfast and we had to wait. The day started with an 11km stretch of road and gravel walking before any signs of another town. We naturally made this second breakfast after a couple hours of walking. Throughout the walk so far, the Tagus River has been on our right as we work north. It was nice to finally see it in its natural form. Today we actually encountered a levee that protects the inland from the river flooding. It made a great walking path to avoid the road and catch the breeze! We walked on it for 15 miles or so before turning west more. We also came across a ton of storks nesting and flying around effortlessly.

We had to say goodbye to a few friends that were splitting the distance into two stages, but there’s always a chance you’ll see them again. We left them at the 16km mark which meant still having to double the distance. It was a long haul on a flat and almost shadeless gravel path before a steep 120m climb into Santarem. Talk about a tough ending to the day! On a day like this, things start to hurt in your body that you didn’t even know could hurt. Plus the sun is constantly draining you. Fortunately there were occasional clouds and a breeze. After a huge dinner, I was able to explore the city a bit. It has a lot of history going back thousands of years being in a strategic high up position. The albergue turned out to be full so we moved to the nearby hostel which is super nice. Much needed after a day like this!It has a great sweeping city view from the top floors. Tomorrow is another 30km day so hopefully I can recover quickly.