Rota das Laranjeiras (Route of the Orange Trees) is a pedestrian route of 9.5 Km in the municipality of Sever do Vouga, Portugal.
On 17th August 2012 in the afternoon, me and 3 other persons had the chance to follow this route.
We are now geocachers, which means that we are seeking hidden containers, called geocaches or simply caches, by using a GPS device (for details visit http://www.geocaching.com/). Therefore, we looked for the geocaches that were hidden along the route. The first one was in the begining point, the “Igreja Matriz de S. Martinho” (Church of St. Martin), in Pessegueiro do Vouga.
After we had found the cache, we began our walk in direction to the “Calvário” (Calvary).
It was a hot day, we could feel the sun burning us and we were all sweating. To increase the heat that we were feeling, we began our walk by climbing some mountains.
As a reminder of how this route is called, many orange trees were appearing along the trail and the smell of decaying oranges was intense.
After we had passed by the “Calvário” (Calvary), we reached the “Capela de Santa Quitéria” (Chapel of St. Quitéria). We stopped there for a while, enjoying the playground.
The trail continued along the forest. We noticed the transitional stage between pinnate leaves and phyllodia on young Acacia trees. Gradually, we climbed the mountain and then we found a very big descent that took us to the cycle path that was once a railway. We stopped in the middle of the descent to enjoy the view over the “Rio Vouga” (Vouga River) and the “Ponte do Poço de São Tiago” (Bridge of the Well of St. Tiago).
The “Ponte do Poço de São Tiago”, built in 1913, is the highest stone bridge in Portugal (28 meters high). The bridge is composed of 12 archs of different sizes. The biggest arch goes from one riverbank to another and serves as base for some of the other arches. It was, till 1990, a railway bridge that was crossed by the train that connected Aveiro to Viseu.
Then, we walked along the cycle path. We crossed the “Ponte do Poço de S. Tiago” and, some meters ahead, we stopped to have a snack. We were observing our map when, suddenly, someone reminded us that we had forgotten to look for the cache that was hidden on the bridge. We went back, crossed the bridge again, now in the other direction, and we found the 2nd cache of this trail.
We continued walking along the cycle path, crossing some tunnels and passing by several lemon trees, orange trees and chestnut trees. The cycle path ended in front of the former train station of Paradela, next to Vougapark, where another cache was hidden.
The next part of the trail is a little bit dangerous, since we have to walk along a main street (EN328) that has no sidewalks. We made a small shortcut to visit the Quinta do Barco River Beach and to look for the last cache of this trail. But this time we had no luck, we didn’t find any cache.
We went back to the trail. We crossed the “Ponte do Abade de Santiago” (Bridge of the Abbot of Santiago) to the village of Barquinha, where we climbed the staircase named “Calçada da Barquinha” (Sidewalk of Barquinha). There’s a great view from there, we can see the Vouga River and the river beach. The orange trees were back to the route, that now continued in the middle of the houses. We felt like if we were invading private properties.
Beside the orange trees, we found there many brambles full of blackberries. I didn’t resist to pick some blackberries to take home in order to prepare a desert the next day, the blackberry strudel.
We passed by a cute dog that was in a garden’s house. As we paid the dog some attention, he opened the garden’s gate (that was unlocked) and come with us for a short time.
We were back to the beginning point, the “Igreja Matriz de S. Martinho” and it was time to go home.
Characteristics of the route
Arrival and departure: “Igreja Matriz de S. Martinho” (Church of St. Martin), Pessegueiro do Vouga
Scope of the route: fitness, panoramic, cultural
Extension: 9.5 km
Duration: 3 hours
Level of difficulty: easy