Day 5 – EU – Portugal [Canhestros to Castro Verde]

Run: 44.5km

Foggy, focused and quiet.

As I left Canhestros at 7:30 this morning, I could not see further than about 50m away. The fog was dense, luminosity was low. I dressed up like a christmas tree, with a bright orange hat, flashy pink top and phosphorescent reflective yellow straps on my ankles, knees and arms.

I counted the stripes in the middle of the road as I ran. My relative comfort zone was at 10+ count. The first 22km of today, it was a rare occurrence when I could count more than 8… I was extremely focused, relying only on my auditory sense. As soon as I could hear a vehicle coming from behind, and thank god there were not many this morning, I plunged with BoB in the ditch, as there was no road shoulder. Waiting for the vehicle to pass, checking there were no others in tow… then making my way back on the road. A tiny bit stressful.

At km22, halfway through the run, I stopped by at Aljustrel, a beautiful little village perched on a hill. And for the first time of the day, I finally saw the sky! Bright blue, and a warming winter sun. I sat outdoors at a local cafe and enjoyed a late breakfast of croissants and hot chocolate.

As I resumed the run, there were still bits of fog remaining here and there, but overall it was clearing. By the time I was about to reach Castro Verde, I was in my t-shirt and getting a sun-tan. That’s when the GNR (local police) stopped me for a check. They thought I was pushing a baby (or god knows what) in the stroller and were, legitimately, quite concerned! They went through my equipment, took my ID details, checked out my website (!) and wished me the best of luck on my journey.

The accommodation I was booked at, in Castro Verde, cancelled on me 2 days ago. I had not been able to find a replacement in the vicinity. The closest lodge I could find was 7 kms away. So, I stopped my GPS at the Taxi Station of Castro Verde, and took a hitch to the Herdade do Zambujal, my lodge for the night. This way, I will restart my GPS at the same point tomorrow, when I get dropped by at the taxi station in the morning. That’s one of the rules of the World Run (WRA): to run a continuous run, and all the runs to start where the previous one stopped.

No regret about the change of accommodation: the Herdade do Zambujal is absolutely stunning! Perched on the hills of Castro Verde, where the historical battle of Ourique took place in 1139, the estate spans 360 degrees, a vast ranch set as an oasis of endless fields, see the view from my window. I recommend this place to stay if you are ever going to visit Portugal – and Filipe, the owner, is such a welcoming host! On a side note, we found out we lived in the same region, SE Asia, for many years. He has even offered to drop me back to Castro Verde tomorrow morning, how sweet 🙂

Another great day on the road, and tomorrow will be a smaller run, to Almodovar, before I take my weekly 1-day-break. Looking forward to this!

Check my daily run GPS data on Garmin or Strava (icons on top right of your screen) – here is the map of today’s run: