segunda-feira, 29 de abril de 2013

40 hour trip to Gerês

Our journey began from Porto, non-prepared and non-planned. An adventure in the middle of the winter, shared with friends, heading towards the most famous Portuguese natural park. We decided to take the national road instead of a highway, and the idea is to catch some relaxing moments and get closer into nature.

We caught the national road N14 to Braga, and then, the N101 until arriving Terras de Bouro
(already in Gerês). In Terras de Bouro we found a beautifull rough terrain. The rural life takes place; people working lands for agriculture. Quite like a travel back in time, maybe twenty, thirty years back.

From here, we went to Campo do Gerês and searched for camping sites to spend the evening.
The way from Terras de Bouro to Campo comes out to be a bit harsh, driving through tight dirty roads where you can easly get lost. Extremely curvy, wavy roads will await you, as well as uplands
and valleys.

We finally arrived to our camping park. The conditions were enough to feel comfortable
amongst nature, but without any luxury. The prices were very accessible, and the facilities,
quite cozy. At night, we spared a moment for the starry sky – in this area all the stars are
visible and fulfill the night sky in such a way that you can almost feel like it is no longer dark.

Next day, we headed north and passed through the dam of Vilarinho das Furnas. It’s was nice
idea to stop the car for a couple of minutes and concentrate in the dramatic view.

We explored the river "Homem", trying to discover ruins within Vilarinho da Furna. In 1972, the village's reservoir filled up and the lands became submerged. Sometimes, when the river level is low, the old village appears again for a while, like an ephemeral fleeting mirage.We waited to see if we could peek some part of it.
After finding the spot out, all we watched was zones with lots of organized rocks and lines that splitted the field over. We saw no ruins, nor house wrecks or structures. The village remained sunk.
Near by, we also found a mountain bike race, and stopped again to watch it for a moment. The competition was pretty difficult due to the hilly rugged terrain. We noticed that the organization took advantage of local surroundings, and settled the tracks over the ancient streets of the village.

Later, we explored the old country villages that met us along the way; all of them were
constructed in hard rock, giving the sites a look of rigidity. It’s usual to see cattle wandering on
the roads; many times we had to slow down our course or even stop the car. One of the things not-to-miss are the view-points on the top of each mountain, where you can have panoramic views and do some bird watch.

We then followed to the Roman Road, that crosses de national park. Roman remains from
70a.c can still be found there...Having a stroll along pedestrian ways, we were carried by huge rocks of greater age, which are now confused with the landscape itself.

We went back to Terras de Bouro to rest and eat. It took some time to find a proper place
because it was Sunday, but soon, a traditional bakery and grocery store with local food made
our lovely meal. Locals were very friendly and helpful.

When we left the bakery was already dark, calling time to go back to Porto...

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