Day 8 - Rota Vicentina to Vila do Bispo

The most memorable feature of today’s walk was a beautiful, 11km long valley which made up the first half a 22km long walk.  After following a similar one yesterday, it’s clear that these lovely green valleys, running down to the sea, are a distinct feature of this part of Portugal.
Luxury at Casa Fajara in Carrapateira

Last night I was the only person in what was a stunning hotel in Carrapateira and rather than the cheaper accommodation in the annex I had been given an upgrade and was in one of the best rooms in the main building. It was a shame Christine wasn't with me, she would have loved it.
Partial eclipse
There was a partial eclipse this morning, which was doubly eclipsed by partial cloud. Still, I least I got to see it which I wouldn't if I'd been at home in cloudy Brighton.
How green is my valley (1)
The hotel I stayed in turned out to be in the same valley I was going to be spending the next couple of hours following but after yesterday’s abortive shortcut I wasn't taking any chances. I headed back into Carrapateira, joined the route proper, climbed onto a ridge, enjoyed the views along the coast and then headed back down to discover that I had virtually completed a circle. No rush though the walking was excellent.
I'm staying here
The valley was already nearly empty got even quieter. The river which had blocked my shortcut yesterday had to be crossed numerous times as the route passed from one side to the other.  If it had been wetter there could have been some paddling, but as it was some vague stepping stones did the job.  I say quiet but it wasn’t completely uninhabited.  Occasional caravans looked like permanent fixtures and the odd patch of cultivated ground suggested that some people had decided, understandably, to make the lovely valley a permanent escape.

The first real settlement reached, the tiny village of Pedralva, looked empty, but turned out to have a very smart little restaurant and some excellent coffee.  After the village the valley started to fizzle out and the route turned west and climbed out the remains of the valley and past a farmstead. Although there seemed little to protect the farmstead was guarded by a pair of truly savage dogs held back by an ancient decaying rope the strength of which they were testing.  I didn’t hang to find out how long the rope would last.

After passing the first wind-turbines I’ve got close to on this trip the route dropped into a another valley, this time densely wooded, before climbing back into a wide open and semi-cultivated landscape.  The rest of the walk, through a flat scattered pine forest, was just a little featureless.

The ancient little town Vila do Bispo has one hotel, but many restaurants which like other restaurants in coastal Portugal seem happy to stay open despite the lack of customers.  I’m staying two nights so can settle in.
Savage and very noisy dog

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