Off Shoulder: Fishermen’s Trail

Kelsey Breseman
3 min readJan 20, 2024

We were early risers in South Africa, allowing the summer sun to wake us at six or seven. Now in Portugal, it's winter and two hours further along the sun's path. It's the first day of our two-week trek of the Fishermen's Trail, so we haven't established rhythms yet.

Rick is up with the kettle on while I'm still pretending to sleep. I give up and spend an hour on classwork. Rick's friend Howard has joined us as well, and he and Eileen filter through the kitchen for the yogurt and granola we bought last night.

Although it rained the whole four-hour bus ride from Lisbon, it's clear and warm this morning. We're taking a chance, hiking this route in January. It's not even shoulder season yet; many of the shops and hotels aren't open this time of year. The public bathrooms are locked closed.

But we're not the only ones taking advantage of the beautiful weather. I hear American and British accents from other hikers on the trail. And we're still early for a beach town: the restaurants start to show signs of life around 11am.

A little boy chases soap bubbles, toddling heedlessly across the mosaic promenade. A young man pushes his bike arduously up a rocky slope, then stands astride it, grinning irrepressibly at the view.