Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Day 11

JH slept soundly, didn't even move. I did not sleep well. It seems I can only sleep in crappy places. I think the heat was too much.

We only had 10 km planned so didn't hurry this morning. We lingered a long time over free breakfast. The course today will take us up and down some hills. Should be easy. I predict Gyueon will give it a "one piece of cake" rating.

The bright sun at our backs inspired me to compose a poem, I am my Shadow. I was a little hasty in composing it, the rain came shortly afterwards.

We had an excellent lunch at Fariado Cima. I wrote that I did NOT have a ham and cheese sandwich but I didn't note what I did eat other than it was fantastic. I suspect it was fantastic only because it wasn't ham and cheese. Gyueon had ham and cheese but wanted mayonnaise. We told him if he wanted it, he'd have to ask for it himself. He ate a dry sandwich.

We got a weather forecast: heavy rain for the next three days.

Close to Sao Joao de Madeira, we lost the way near a big shopping mall. Even with a heavy backpack and three weeks of walking ahead, JH wanted to go in. We kept moving, asking someone for directions. He walked us there.

We checked into Sao Joao AS Hotel and acquired the wifi password. In the room, we quickly settled in and arranged stuff to dry, relaxed, and went out for a walk.

This stage is scheduled as 29.2 km from Albegaria but in my opinion shouldn't be done in one day. You should split it up like we did, if only for the chance to see the hat factory museum.

We went, not expecting much, certainly not expecting anything in English. We got a personal guided tour of a piece of modern history in English. Our guide, Joanna, was fantastic. She explained everything clearly and enthusiastically. Amazingly, the tour was free. We learned all about how felt hats were made.

Dinner was at a roast chicken restaurant. It was very good, and I'm not a fan of chicken. Gyueon had pork, served with rice AND French fries. I'll never get used to seeing those served together, especially after a bread appetizer. It seems ubiquitous in Portugal.

Gyueon is really coming out of his shell. He still won't talk to anyone else but he's comfortable with us, acting like the 13-year-old he is. He touched everything in the museum, knocked something over. He tripped himself because he was standing strangely. We finally had to tell our guide that he wasn't our son-- he's our nephew, as if that absolved from responsibility.

Lately we've started playing rock soccer (I'm American, so it's soccer). The rules are simple: kick a rock as you walk. For extra excitement, pass it to someone. When you get bored, boot the rock out of range. We usually play rock soccer (roccer) once a day. JH is a natural, booting long passes from behind that miraculously land right on target. She should really turn pro.

Gyueon thanked the tour guide without any prompting today. Also he didn't walk in the middle of the road as much as he usually does.

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