Day 1: Sertaozinho to Pousada Veronese  17km. 650m climb

Most unsettling to step out of your hotel room at the start of a 500km trek to be confronted with someone collapsed and being given treatment at side of the road
It appears to have been Sertaozinho ‘s half marathon day and the 85 deg heat had taken its inevitable toll
Passing the statue of Christ the Redeemer  (bigger than Rio’s) I walked  through the gates of the city. A new construction more suited for the triumphant return of a Roman General with hapless captured Brits in tow.
The yellow arrows that guide the pilgrim were brilliant. Didn’t fail me once
I trudged through mile after mile of sugar cane plantation growing tall in the rich red earth of this region. The sun had baked it hard and walking was easy. But what  – I wondered – would it be like if it rained?…..

I passed only two other people. Leonardo and John Paul. Both cyclists preparing for the Caminho in July
I dropped down into Dumont in the middle of a Carnival. The whole town was driving in convoy horns blaring and mobile fireworks exploding.
A priest was in the lead pick up truck displaying the statue of  Nossa Senhora  Aparaceda, I think it was only a copy of the tiny statue of the Madonna but it was clearly a big celebration. I’m travelling 500 km to see the real thing. I could have just finished there in Dumont
I staggered into a roadside bar and was immediately attacked by a tiny dog with its hair tied in a stupid top knot and bow
I’d passed furious slavering farm dogs that didn’t bother me but this ridiculous lap dog wouldnt  let go of my trouser leg
Standing at the bar I delivered a swift and pleasingly effective back heel kick which sent the mutt cartwheeling on to the pavement. Narrowly missing a passing truck
You’d have thought the Brazilians of all people would appreciate such fancy Pele  style footwork
Not a bit of it. They tutted and made dark looks. The tension  worsened when I put my muddy feet

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on the cheap plastic chair.
The owner came over. Pulled the chair away and ostentatiously wiped it with a filthy beer cloth
Time to leave, stopping only to visit the church where a party was under way
I was told I was the only pilgrim that had passed through Dumont. Ever.
I pushed on to the Pousada. (hostel). More of which later. Along with the story of the Day I Nearly Died ….

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10 thoughts on “

  1. sidney

    Glad you are having fun (at least that is the way I see it from far away).

    I was looking at the weather forecast and it looks like you may have some light rain late in the afternoon.

    If you are not walking with a stick find one. One of the uses of it is to scare dogs away.

  2. Mike Hutchinson

    Tom sent me the link

    Good luck with the trip , sounds brilliant. Doing the Coast to Coast next month , (tame by comparison) Would be really interested to hear how you get on as I fancy having a go myself.

    Mike

  3. Keli

    I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog about the Caminho da Fe. I have a quick question: my husband and I are walking the Caminho in April and are wondering how necessary it is to get the rabies vaccine before we leave for Brazil. Thank you in advance for your help.

    Keli

    1. Thank you. I got a rabies shot and a yellow fever shot. I was also paranoid about dengue so I alway wore long sleeves and trouser though no one else did !, and yes I got a rabies jab. I think it makes sense cos sometimes you come across the odd loose dog. But carry a bamboo walking pole and yo will be fine. Where are you from by the way ?

  4. Out of interest….it would be great to know what you enjoyed about the blog as I’m planning another long distance trek. I try to be amusing rather than just bang on about “amazing” views and food

    1. Keli

      Thank you for responding. We’re from Oregon and have twice walked the Camino in Spain and are wanting to try something different. I’ve enjoyed most reading about your interactions with the local people. And the fact that you’re not afraid to mention your occasional faux pas comes across as very honest.

      1. That’s really kind of you to say and useful to know. To be honest I’ve done quite a few long distance journeys but i can be somewhat hapless at times.
        This summmer I’m planning to walk across Sweden and part of Norway in the footsteps of a murderous Viking Saint..
        If I can be of any assistance re the Caminho don’t hesitate to ask… my e mail is robertpawalker@gmail.com
        You won’t find as many people on the Caminho as there are in spain …and few people speak English…..I’m rubbish at languages but a few Obrigados went a long way! Don’t forget to try the Caipharinas….(probably spelt that wrong again) I’d describe the scenery in the Mantiqueria Mountains as very similar to crossing over from St Jean pied de port into Roncesvalles )Ronceveaux )There’s a very good guide book for Cyclists and walkers that was invaluable even though its in Portuguese…definitely worth having. The yellow arrows are (mostly) Ok though they did disappear sometimes in the sugar cane……and the sugar can can get very boring after a day or so…most peopl seem to start from Aguas da prata…..as i say dont hesitate to contact me for any info or tips…..bob

      2. Sidney Vieira

        Hope you´ll receive this comment.

        My name is Sidney. I am a brazilian (67 years old) and made the Caminho da Fé once by bike and 3 times walking.

        I tryed to help Bob Walker while he was making the Caminho da Fé.

        If I can be of any assistance, let me know.

      3. Keli

        Thank you for all the info. I hope you’re planning to blog during your Sweden walk as I’d love to read about it. I’ve managed to get the guidebook for the Caminho – probably the same one you had – written by Antonio Olinto and have translated it using Google translate. Can’t imagine walking without it. We plan to start in Tambau and are giving ourselves 18 to 20 days to finish. The elevation profiles look pretty daunting in some parts. Thanks again for your email and all the other info. Your blog and BBC podcast were the only detailed information I could find online in English about the Caminho da Fe.

        Thank you Sidney for your offer of assistance. It’s reassuring to know we can contact you if we need any help.

      4. Yup that’s the book ….it’s really useful..not sure I’d have done the walk without it.
        There is one day which is particularly tough ,..from the farm of Dona Inez up to Barao Montes …but the farmer will transport your backpack to Campista for a small fee (i think it’s Campista) I’d recommend using that option. The climb is so beautiful but I’ll admit it was a little tough (think of the climb to O’Cebreiro on the Camino but it goes on for longer)
        Sidney was my lifesaver…he gave me lots of tips and even phoned ahead so people knew to expect me..his English is excellent and he is a great guy who knows what he is talking about. When you get to Aguas see if Almiro Grings is around..he’s the guy who more or less set up the Caminho….I loved the Caminho da Fe..it’s shorter but harder than the Camino de Santiago…and the Brazilians are great people..I was met with nothing but help and kindness all the way.

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