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
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 ….