Hiking to the southwesternmost spot in Europe: that was the plan for their hike on the west coast of Portugal. But Doris Ehrhardt achieved something else.
That’s not how it works. This is not hiking, let alone flow, this is stop and go. Impatiently I propose a deal to my running buddy buddy Marc: 15 minutes without interruption – who still stops, pays the dinner. We’ll have that little bit of self-control, right ?! Okay, Marc suggests. Time is running! How liberated I trudge ahead. Good that it finally goes forward. We have now really photographed all variants of view. Is actually always the same: left of the cliff path a little green, right down the Atlantic . No reason, every few minutes … Stop! I have to take a closer look.
On the horizon, bright sky blue and dark sea blue flow into each other. Like an ocean of glittering pixels, the water shimmers in metallic. Below, waves are crashing against two granite cliffs that jut out into the Atlantic like individual high-rise walls. On one side the water gushes, behind the other it rests in a kind of pool and is so clear that you can see from 60 meters down to the bottom. I stand on a ledge, turn my head right and left up over my shoulders: There is more sea only on the high seas … So my vision addiction has already slowed me down after 50 seconds.
Since yesterday we are on the long-distance hiking trail “Rota Vicentina” on the southwest coast of Portugal . I think that man needs a goal, in life as in hiking, and ours is the Cabo de São Vicente. Great explorers sailed from this cape in the 15th century. It was not planned that I would find out something myself on our approximately 132 kilometer long way. However, we breathe sea air all day, hardly seeing anything but the nature of the Alentejo and Algarve regions and bathing at the end of the stages. Gorgeous! We reached our destination yesterday in Vila Nova de Milfontes, a fishing and holiday resort. At the start: Elise Haton, whom we had booked as a guide for the first day. Barely out of town, we roamed through a fragrant forest of pine and cork oak, thyme and lavender. On the stem of a cork oak “05” was painted. “That means the last cork harvest took place in 2005,” Elise explained. “It is possible only every nine years, it has been tried, but the growth of cork layers can not be accelerated.” Sensational, I thought, there is something that can not be optimized, shriveled cork oaks! I put a piece of cork in my pocket and wondered why I was actually doing everything I could and getting as efficiently as possible.
We sneaked along the cliffs in slow motion. I figured out where we could be if we just went a little faster – but we waded through powdery sand, at 35 degrees in the non-existent shade. The timing of my footsteps was about the same as my sips. Thanks to a hose on the water bag in my backpack I was able to drink while walking (did not want to stop constantly). “Unusually hot for September,” commented Elise, a burschikoser type, early 30, soft voice, and recommended again to apply sunscreen. Good tip, because cream, sweat and sand produced on my calves a breading that could penetrate no UV beam. It did not dissolve until we dived into the Atlantic on the beach of Almograve. I had bikini and mini-towel – everything else was in the suitcase. And he was already in the hotel. We had luggage transport from one hotel to the next and our personal transfer at the end / beginning of the stages.
Beautiful hotels are not directly on the trail, but some kilometers away – as the harmoniously nature-loving country estate “Herdade da Estacada”. The owner couple Maria and David Ingham greeted us as if they had missed us for a long time, and their heartfelt benevolence could be tasted later with the homemade food. A mutually shamed evening was enough for me to develop farewell pain. So now I stand after so far about 20 slowly covered kilometers on a ledge, failed at the minimum goal to go 15 minutes at a stretch. I do not know such undisciplined ones. On the other hand: what drives me? Do I have to carry my habits with me? Do not I have enough time pressure in everyday life? Do I have to watch the tempo at the sight of waves coming from infinite freedom? I put the clock in the backpack, the cork piece remains in the pocket.
After a while, the rattle in my head slows down, quieter. After hours over desert-dry, sometimes tufted green speckled steep bank, it is even so quiet that the hum of a bee appears to me loud. It is due to a large yellow flower. Again and again she dives her legs into the pollen – and is so heavy with greed that she only gets staggering when she takes off. I grin after her.
The sun is already low as we roll in on the beach of Zambujeira do Mar. The surfers pack their boards, I get out the bikini. “Watch the flow,” an older surfer advises, “otherwise the surf will dance rock’n’roll with you!” Humming, the first wave crashes against my knees, the second against the hips, the third throws me over. Feeling shrunk to sand grain size.
Acacia and midday flowers: instead of less stuff gets more and more. They proliferate along the “Rota Vicentina”, displacing the local flora. “Take it easy or pull branches off!” Says Rudolfo Müller, who accompanies us on the third stage. The electoral Portuguese from Switzerland helped to develop the long-distance hiking trail. The route is still so unknown that it may visit 50 people a day. Rudolfo would be glad about more rush, alone, so that more often would be stepped on the over-gripping plants. On the way, he defends his two-year-old path with the sickle, picks up garbage and occasionally paints the ideal mark with brushstrokes. Once, somewhere between Castel Velho and Praia da Amália, it takes us off the beaten track to a spectacular place: a terraced slate plateau that strikes me as a transit area between heaven and earth.
With open eyes, I dream of being as unshakable as a rock in the surf. Or like a cork oak. Later, I notice anglers standing on hair-raising edges. In the ongoing economic crisis, many Portuguese go to the food not to the market, but to the sea. In any case, the Alentejo region is traditionally rather poor, the 1950s were so meager here that the grandparents today tell their grandson: “We had to share a sardine in a threesome.”
The fact that bread must be crispy and fresh from the oven for breakfast seems to belong to the Portuguese self-understanding of optimal hosts. But since the bakers are only finished at 8.30, we have never been able to have breakfast before nine o’clock. So also this morning in Odeceixe. Even better than the greasy village with spiral staircases and decorative windmill I would like, if we could leave before the air is oven warm. Clearly earlier than on the first day I’m ready anyway, have the backpack pack optimized for three minutes.
In the early afternoon heat we turn from the so-called fishing path of the coast on the “historical way” inland. We run like clockwork, parallel to an irrigation channel that runs through deserted farmland. The channel is populated by dragonflies and frogs, otherwise not so exciting. Advantage: We come in a flow, are relatively soon on the beach Amoreira. And after a swim break, prepare for the way inland to our today’s final destination Aljezur, an interesting town with an Arabian touch. It is only seven o’clock in the morning, but we have already reached a goal today: an early departure! In the backpack the breakfast. Before us 21.7 kilometers to Carrapateira by hinterland with a dangling to the coast. Look at waves that arrive in beautiful clean lines, what looks like bordern from a distance. My enthusiasm does not wear off, my material on the other hand fatigues: The soles of the shoes are noticeably thinner, the legs become heavier, the sticks crunch. Yes, walking in the heat is exhausting, yes, we moan, but to drive a piece by taxi, that is out of the question.
Since 14 o’clock it pours completely unexpectedly, the first rain since April, it is said. We are sitting in the bar of Bordeira. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Two hours to break. Then it just dribbles. Go Go go! As we enter Carrapateira, the sun is shining. I am happy that for the first time I was able to finish something and that we were able to walk the track without gaps.
New day, new weather. For breakfast in almost mountainous landscape, there is a fat thunderstorm warning. Elise, our bourgeois leader from the first day, calls out: “Do not go today, that’s too dangerous!” Rudolfo advises the same. Crap. We decide to cover the sixth stage in the car. Streamers in cloudburst breaks through Vila do Bispo. Bad weather! Before falling asleep, I call my piece of cork a talisman. I definitely go for the last stage! Does he have a color? Is he tall? In the haze, the light of Cabo de São Vicente is a thumbnail. Another eight kilometers. Joggers cross the road, garbage hangs in the undergrowth, the dome of the lighthouse turns red. Three more kilometers. Whipping wind, salty air, drama clouds in the sky. A final furioso.
On the last hundred meters we are overtaken by buses and cars. At the finish I am irritated. The lighthouse is not free, but belongs to a fortress ring. Crowds of people are slipping over the courtyard, barriers cut the view. After days of freedom, I feel like I’m in a jail here. I am looking for a place outside the fortress and enjoy my luck in silence. Net went a good 110 kilometers. How far you can get if you just put one foot in front of the other! Externally, nothing happened to me, inwardly a lot has moved. The cape is the most southwestern spot in Europe, from where courageous sailors sailed into the unknown. They discovered new countries, changed the world map, the world view. I just discovered something for myself on the way here: the wisdom of the bulge “step by step”.
The best thing is to leave lax thought patterns behind. With the piece of cork in my hand, I set a new goal: I want to do more and more in everyday life one by one. I wonder how far I can get it.
Tips to go for Portugal
Doris Ehrhardt’s Tour Stage 1: Vila Nova de Milfontes – Almograve, approx. 15 km. Stage 2: Almograve – Zambujeira do Mar, approx. 18.5 km. Stage 3: Zambujeira do Mar – Odeceixe, approx. 18 km. Stage 4: Odeceixe – Aljezur, about 23 km (with detour to the beach Amoreira). Stage 5: Arrifana – Carrapateira, about 22 km (from Aljezur to Arrifana beach you can drive). Stage 6: Carrapateira – Vila do Bispo, approx. 22 km. Stage 7: Vila do Bispo – Cabo de São Vicente, approx. 14 km.
The long-distance trail “Rota Vicentina” is a total of 350 km long and stretches through one of the best-preserved coastal protected areas in Europe. It consists of the “Trilho dos Pescadores” (fishing path) along the coast and the “Caminho Histórico” (Historical Path) through the hinterland. The route chosen by BRIGITTE editor Doris Ehrhardt combines routes of both routes, first through the “Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina” natural park, then through the less natural parts of the Algarve. The paths are marked excellently. For the tour you should be free from giddiness, sure-footed and fit, the fishing path runs partly close to the abyss. Best hiking time: September to mid-November (migratory bird time) and to bloom from April to the end of June. Information and a hiking map for 15 Euro by phone 0281/32 76 69, www.rotavicentina.com , maps for download.
Carefree on the way It is recommended to book the tour with luggage transport (about 1 Euro per km), because restaurants are rare – so you have to carry provisions and at least two liters of liquid. Since the hotels are a bit off the beaten track, the hoteliers also offer hikers a transfer service; To do this, call one another by appointment. Booking through the hotels cooperating with the “Rota Vicentina” ( www.rotavicentina.com , menu item “Touristic Services”).
Put your legs up Herdade do Freixial. Rustic, modern terraced apartments outside Vila Nova de Milfontes on a huge estate with goats and sheep. From the pool terrace, where for breakfast a lot of delicious homemade, great views across the valley to the sea. DZ / F from 70 Euro (Estrada de S. Luís, PT-7645-037 Vila Nova de Milfontes, Tel. 02 83/99 85 56, www.herdadedofreixial.com ). Herdade da Estacada. Rural property near the Cape Sardão with a large natural pool and country house style apartments. Very lovable owner couple, Maria cooks on reservation in the evening a menu. DZ / F from 80 Euro (Estr.Nacional 393, km 14.2, PT-7630-063 Odemira, Tel. 09 16/88 07 64, www.herdadedaestacada.com ). Monte das Alpenduradas. Row house on a former farm on the edge of the lively holiday residence Zambujeira do Mar. Rustic furnished. Fireplace, terrace, small pool. Great breakfast with freshly squeezed juices. DZ / F from 72 Euro (Monte das Alpenduras, PT-7630-732 Zambujeira do Mar, Tel. 02 83/96 16 17, www.alpenduradas.com ).
Casas do Moinho. Poppy rooms and apartments, scattered over several houses at the top of Odeceixe, which was voted the most beautiful village in Portugal. You live in the middle of locals and their pets. Small pool. DZ / F from 70 Euro (Rua 25 de Abril 44, PT-8670-320 Odeceixe, Tel. 02 82/94 92 66, www.casasdomoinho.com ). Muxima. Haunted country estate with natural pool outside and above Aljezur with its ring-shaped old town. Owner Sofia Faustino has designed the old farm buildings in Portuguese-African style strong color. DZ / F from 100 Euro (Montes Ferreireos, Caixa postal 265 A, PT-Aljezur, Tel. 91 60/128 30, www.muxima-montesferreiros.com ). Monte de Vilharina. Bungalow apartments in almost alpine surroundings, about four kilometers inland from Carrapateira. Rooms in the designer, gastro area in budget style. DZ / F from 100 Euro (Vilarinha, PT-8670-238 Bordeira, Tel. 282/97 32 18, www.montedavilarinha.com ). Mira. Family hotel with pool next to the church. Corrugated floor, but the rooms are okay. DZ / F from 100 Euro (Rua 1 ° de Maio 3, PT-8650-425 Vila do Bispo, Tel. 02 82/63 91 60, www.hotelmirasagres.com ) Martinhal Beach Resort & Hotel. Luxurious resort with all harassment, spacious rooms and bungalows on a peninsula outside of Sagres. Top restaurant. Double / Half Board from 160 Euro (Quinta do Martinhal, 8650-908 Sagres, Tel. 0282/24 02 00, www.martinhal.com ). Memmo Baleeira. The cool, but warmly run hotel for active vacationers has from bar to pool a Everything you need to chill out. Great look! Comfortable rooms! DZ / F from 90 Euro (Sitio da Baleeira, PT-8650-357 Vila de Sagres, Tel. 02 82/62 42 12, www.memmobaleeira.com). Find more rural accommodation on www.casasbrancas.pt
Power Tasca do Celso. Fine Portuguese cuisine in Vila Nova de Milfontes, specializing in black pork and fish. “Arroz de tamboril” (rice with seafood) for two, about 32 euros (Rua dos Aviadores, Tel. 02 83/99 67 53, www.tascadocelso.com ). Cervejaria. Locally preferred, brightly lit restaurant in Zamburjeira do Mar. Plenty of fish, such as in the rice dish “Arroz de lingueirao”, 25 euros for two (R. Miramar 14, Tel. 0283/96 11 13). Chaparro. Traditional cuisine from the Aljezur / Monchique region, guests of the restaurant in Odeceixe can watch fish and meat sizzling on the grill (Rua Estrada Nacional 8, tel. 0282/94 73 04). Restaurant da Praia. Right on the beach of Arrifana. Casual surfers atmosphere, great kitchen, z. Pasta for 12 euros (Tel 02 82/99 85 27, www .restaurantepraiaarrifana.com code). Vila Velha. Restaurant with conservatory in Sagres. The catch of the day (from 20 euros) is presented at the table. Also vegetarian (Rua Patrão Antonio Faustino, Tel. 02 82/62 47 88,
Well Organized Nature Guide Elise Haton offers with “Mundo do Montado “Day hikes for 20 Euro / p. P. and excursions z. Cork oaks, wine, olives (Tel. 09 33/19 55 67, www.mundomontado.com code). Day-long or three-hour donkey hikes are offered by the German Sofia from Mentzingen, who emigrated to Portugal, with “Burros & Artes” (information on tel. 282/99 83 31 and www.burros-artes.blogspot.com ). “Portugal Travel Professional” organizes eleven-day trips that take you on eight days on the “Rota Vicentina”, about 100 km. From 990 euros p. Including ten nights in a double / single room, packed lunches, luggage transport, transfers (information on Tel. 0941/78 44 88 08 and www.portugalreiseprofi.de ).
Telephone Area code for Portugal: 003 51, then omit the area code.
Be sure to pack a towel – most stages ends at the beach.
App ” Praia! Costa Vicentina “. More than a hundred beaches (for iOS, € 3.59).