The Road to Alcoutim


The camino adventure ahead of me was the Via Algarviana, a 300km trek across the Algarve region in Southern Portugal. The journey would start in the town of Alcoutim by the Rio Guadiana, which also acts as the border with Spain. From there I would head west going all the way to the magnificent cliffs of Cabo de São Vicente on the Atlantic coast. However, the journey to get me to the start line would actually begin in Helsinki, on the very first day of snow in the south of Finland. What a perfect day to head towards the sun!

After a couple of relaxing flights, with a 4 hour stopover in Frankfurt, I made it to Faro, where I stayed at the Baixa Terrace Hostel. I arrived right at dusk, and with my energy levels waning fast, I decided to just have a quick dinner and shower before hitting the hay. Despite being quite tired from a very long day of travel, I still awoke pre-dawn and had the chance to enjoy the magic of the full moon. And if that wasn’t enough, I was then gifted with an amazing sunrise, as I set out to roam the quiet early morning streets of Faro before catching the train to Vila Real de Santo António.

In Vila Real, I had a few hours to grab the most critical supplies for my upcoming trek. At the top of the list was a bottle of Beirão, my treat for the evenings when wild camping. I also scored 4 cigars to enjoy, one at the start, and the others to celebrate reaching each 100km marker of the adventure.

The bus ride to Alcoutim didn’t take too long, and before I knew it, I was at the start line, although I still had one night ahead of me at the local youth Hostel. This was perfect as it gave me the opportunity to explore the town a little bit, as well as to have a nice solitary moment of pre-camino contemplation at a café by the Guadiana. Am I really in Alcoutim now? With all the ongoing worldwide rona related travel restrictions not making this a very easy trip to organize, I almost had to pinch myself to be sure. Yes it was true, eu estou aqui! And early the following morning, it would be go time!

Be blessed,
Jyri

As I stare at you,
I lose myself in your light.
A lunatic smiles.

‘Lunatic’ | Jyri Manninen

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