A glorious day for a hike, not overly hot, a beautiful blue sky, and fellow hikers to share the experience with. Perfect for me.
Marc had opted to stay in Estoi and share his day with Bela while Harald, his friend Claus, and I headed off for the 50-minute drive into the mountains and the small village of Ameixial. From there we simply followed the signs another 5 minutes or so to the tiny village of Azinhal dos Mouros.
Mouros has two meanings……the Moors who conquered most of this area of Portugal or moors as in a tract of open uncultivated upland. You see signs of both as you maneuver the many different landscapes of the trail.
This is a signposted route, passing through several points of natural and cultural interest, including the beautiful village of Azinhal dos Mouros, and the Monte dos Vermelhos. The walk is made up of old rural paths, little-used trails that often times hug the banks of the Ribeira do Vascão with several crossings of Ribeira It really is one of the most beautiful routes in this region from my limited experience.
It stated the route was 16 kms in length and I know we got side tracked at least once because of poor signage BUT……when we finished we had hiked 19.1 kms and I have the proof……..as Shakira says quite eloquently, “My Hips Don’t Lie”!!!!!
Enough of the babble……enjoy the photos, I’ll put a little something on each of them to perhaps give a little additional insight into the shot.
Happily I didn’t have to do a thing as Harald and Claus both had maps and electronics to help guide us.
I find it sad that there are so many ruins peppering the countryside but, I do love to poke around them and certainly to capture them in photos. The landscape was breathtakingly beautiful.
The very tiny village of Azinhal dos Mouros. Probably about 12 – 15 homes, most of them appeared vacant but well taken care of.
Piles of cork drying in the sun. The hills around this town were chock a block full of these large piles.
This fellow was the only person we saw in Azinhal dos Mouros and when we arrived back here five hours later, he was still sitting here but four other elderly people were also sitting close by.
Imagine having a lemon tree right beside your door growing out of the flower box!!
Quite a large piri piri bush climbing the wall around the corner from the lemon tree in the previous photo.
This is the community oven, which was clearly still being used based on the interior of the oven.
Massive groves of eucalypti trees. On our arrive early morning you could smell them slightly but by mid morning, when the sun was full, so was their scent. Sublime.
The entire village is surrounded by this old stone wall with large cacti hugging the outside of the wall. Nothing was getting in that they didn’t want in without getting scratched up.y
This is looking back on Azinhal dos Mouros about 3 minutes into our hike.
Heather growing on the moors in abundance. I was sort of surprised to see it in bloom in many places.
This old cork tree, encased in fuzzy moss. It looked like a living statue against the beautiful blue sky.
This was our second tiny village on the hike. Corte Figuera. We saw three loud but friendly mid sized dogs and if you look carefully you will see an elderly woman under the trellis. She called out a friendly bom dia and watched us for a few moments then returned to her gardening.
Corte Figuera as we headed further down the trail.
Clusters of flowers popped up from time to time to brighten the path.
These are the size of very tiny buttons and they plaster the hillsides in many places. From a distance it resembles snow!!
Soon we found ourselves heading towards the village of Vermelhos. We had a slightly unsettling incident with seven large dogs but everybody was ok at the end, just rattled a bit.
Heading along one of the old farm roads that partially made up this hike. The entire countryside today was spectacular and something new around every bend.
At one point we had to cross the river, which thankfully in this area wasn’t that deep. Conveniently they had put these posts in and we were able to cross without getting wet.
This crossing is not quite as simple as it might look. They were spaced by about 20 inches each and the water was rippling. Add in progressive lenses and you have a bit of a potential disaster (possibly)!!
WE crossed the river about four different times and in places it was quite deep. The water was crystal clear.
An old gate post on what appeared to be an abandoned property.
A curious flock of curly horned goats.
As we came down the mountain path we came to this road/intersection. I thought the rest of the hike might be on the asphalt but happily, no, it last for about 10 feet then crossed the road and took us off across an old farmers field back to the river.
Some of the trees are starting to flower. This is a old carob tree and the sound of the millions of bees dipping in and out of the tree, which was about 30 feet tall, was deafening.
What appeared to be a very old hand made stone bridge over a tributary to the river.
Medronho fruit from this past summer.
A grave marker in the absolute middle of nowhere!
Another old farm building, in quite a state of disrepair but still being used.
I don’t know what this symbol means but it looked to have been freshly painted on the side of this old farm building.
I can’t express enough how much I love these hikes and how thrilled I am to have Harald to share them with. I’d never head off and do hike this length by myself and when I think what I might miss out on, well let’s just say I am grateful.
We stopped on the way home in Cortelha at Casa Dos Presuntos for what turned out to be a delicious lunch. They were packed with loud and lively locals, a good sign, and we enjoyed lamb/wild boar dishes. They also had an art exhibition on display…..and I took this for Marc. And so I leave you with my friend Harald and abundant colour.