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J59 - Monday, December 14: In the middle of nowhere or almost = +1 km from the traffic circle of Infantado = intersection of the N10/N119 – Casa Branca

75.91km – 10H00’

Altitude 224m

When we awake after our first night of camping we find our 2 « Dupondt » almost frozen.  The temperature is -2°C, and they slept outside under the tent.  Tonight they don’t want to come into the camper as we did and they will try the experience again at an even higher altitude!

If they should freeze to death, rest assured, we will let you know.  In spite of the sunshine, Serge doesn’t remove his wind breaker because the wind is freezing and the temperatures have trouble rising in spite of the clear, blue sky.  But we understand that in France the cold is severe too and Lee, who is just back from Chicago, tells us about a temperature of -13°C.

At the 9th km today, we celebrate the first 100 marathons, in 57 days 23 hours and 20 minutes.

Just before Vendas Novas we enter the largest region of the country: l’Alentejo, which represents 1/3 of the country and only 6% of the population.
The N10, which goes until Evora, isn’t the best road except for the shoulder, which is wide enough to allow Serge to relax his vigilance.

At km 58, we arrive in the town of Montemor-O-Novo which overlooks the ruins of a medieval castle.  We turn south on the cork oak lined N2. In this rural environment, wire fences limit properties and from the road a track runs off into the distance.  It’s the same principle as in Brazil.  This is mainly an agricultural region and rich land owners exploited the workers until 1974, the year of the Carnation Revolution, also known as the 25th of April.  The workers of the region, after years of revolt, obtained the right to work without being exploited, in the form of agricultural cooperatives.  The land owners were obliged to give up a good part of their land at this time.  In the village of Escoural life appears to be very peaceful.  Near the Christmas crib there is a bench where it would be pleasant for neighbors to spend the afternoon.

The grass is still green and the animals that we see in the pastures: sheep, horses, long-horned cows and pigs make it hard for us to believe that it is mid-December and that soon it will be Christmas.

And yet, time speeds by and inevitably overtakes us.  Serge goes forward in a tranquil mood.

Tomorrow: Alcaçovas – Viana – Portel - Alqueva

Town : Casa Branca

GPS : N°38.49982° W008.15877°