On 4th October 2014, we traveled to the town of Freixo de Espada à Cinta, in Bragança district, to commemorate the birthday of JB’s mother. We spent the weekend in the “Moradias do Douro Internacional” (Houses of the International Douro), next to “Praia Fluvial da Congida” (Congida’s River Beach).
Among other activities, on 5th October, we went for a hike on the trail “PR1 – Ribeira do Mosteiro” (Creek of the Monastery).
We were a total of 9 persons, but only 3 of us choose that program. We went by car to the starting point of the trail. Even tough it is not that far from the place where we were staying, because of the narrow and winding road, it took more than 1 hour to arrive there.
We started the hike at about 11:00 and we finished it two hours later.
In general, the trail is well marked and it is very walkable. And it is a trail of high geological interest.
During the first 20 minutes we walked along a more or less flat terrain and we were surrounded by trees, which can be very pleasant when it’s hot and the sun is shining. That changed when we reached “calçada de Alpajares” (Alpajares road). This path took us to the top of the summit, where the vegetation is composed only by scrubs and from where we enjoyed a fantastic view!
Luckily, despite the warm weather, it wasn’t a sunny day. Otherwise, at that time of the day, that would be a hard hike.
Alpajares road lead us up the mountain, while “calçada Santa Ana” (Saint Ana road) lead us down, to the bridge over the creek of the Monastery. That bridge was covered by grass, making it look like a small meadow.
There were a couple of caches hidden along the trail. We remembered to look for the first one, which was next to “calçada de Alpajares”, but we forgot the other one. We just remembered the other cache after we had passed by its hidden spot.
On that region there is abundance of the cactus Opuntia ficus-indica. Along the trail we saw several cactus that, as usual at that time of the year, were filled with mature fruits. It’s a pity that they have so many small thorns, making it very difficult for us to grab some of them to take with us.
Just before we had reached the paved road, we passed by a small shrine. The road is flanked by olive groves. At that time, the olive trees were filled with olives. Some of those olives were very big, we were impressed by their size.
I hope that this was the first of many hikes with JB’s uncle. He’s a great companion and has a very good physical condition. Hiking is for all ages!
Characteristics of the route
Arrival and departure: Estrada do Candedo, Quinta d’Alva (Freixo de Espada à Cinta)
Scope of the route: panoramic, scenery, geologic
Extension: 8 km
Duration: 2.5 hours
Level of difficulty: easy