One more time, JB and I went with JL and MS for a hike. This time we chose “PR 1 – Rota dos Laranjais” (Trail of the orange groves), one of the hiking trails in Caramulo Mountain.
On 29th November 2014, we left our place late in the morning and we drove towards the “Parque do Coração de Maria” (Park of Mary’s Heart), located in the village of Castelões.
We decided to go by the national road instead of going by the highroad. That road gives a better scenario, however, it is quite a bendy road and it takes more time to reach our destination. Due to so many bends, MS felt sick and we had to stop until she got better. We took that time to eat the sandwiches that we had prepared for lunch.
We parked the car in the “Parque do Coração de Maria” (Park of Mary’s Heart), which is the place where the trail begins. To our surprise, we found a placard with information about another hiking trail that also begins on that place, the “PR2 – Rota do Linho” (Linen path).
Now that we had found the right informative panel, we initiated our hike. However, we didn’t read its indications and did that trail by going in the opposite direction of the suggested one. That wasn’t wise. The trail is well marked just on one direction, the one that we didn’t follow.
Just a few minutes after we had began our walk, we understood the origin of this trail’s name. There were several orange trees, all of them with beautiful oranges. Here and there, there was a persimmon tree, showing its fruits.
About 10 minutes after we had crossed the “Ribeira de Castelões” (Castleões Creek), we reached a forest zone where we saw several mushrooms, a very small waterfall and some buildings in ruins. We took about 30 minutes to leave that area and to arrive at the village of Figueiral, where the “Capela de São Simão” (St. Simon Chapel) is located. This chapel was rebuilt in 1728 by the small population of the village.
We met a nice old lady in Figueiral who wanted to give us some juice and something to eat. She was worried that we would get lost and told us for several times which way we should follow. We tried to tell her that we were following a marked trail, she didn’t have to worry. After several minutes, we were able to tranquilize the lady and then we left Figueiral.We continued towards the village of Vila de Rei. Just before we crossed the paved road, there was a small picnic park. At this point is possible to shorten the trail by going directly to the cross, instead of passing by the village of Vila do Rei, where we can see another cross and the Chapel of Santo António.
The next point of interest was the Solar of Quinta da Cruz. This Solar may have been a symbol of wealth and prosperity some decades ago, but, unfortunately, nowadays, it’s totally in ruins.
We continued following the dirt path. We were surprised by a huge strawberry tree that had a large amount of mature fruits. We didn’t resist to grab and to eat some of them. Nham nham, so tasty!In the village of Quintal, stands the Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Conceição, built in 1682. This chapel was a private property, passing from generation to generation until the middle of the 20th century.
Right after the village of Eiras, we crossed another bridge over Ribeira de Castlões. Here, we saw the “Poço Silveira” (Silveira Well), the waterfalls, a watermill and the Fountain of Chafurdo.
Then, we left the road and we continued our walk by a dirt path. Meanwhile it was getting dark.
We arrived at a crossroads and there wasn’t any mark we could see to know which path was the correct one. We decided to go straight. The right path was the one on our right… After some time we reached the road and walked towards the Park of Coração de Maria.
After a while, we saw the red and yellow marks indicating the point where we should have reached the road and we also saw which path we should have followed after crossing the road. As it was already dark and that path would lead us into the forest, we thought it would be wiser to continue by the paved road. It was a longer distance, but it was a more illuminated path and we knew the way.
Before we go home, we tried to find a geocache that was near the park where the car was parked, but we had no luck.
Characteristics of the route
Arrival and departure: Parque do Coração de Maria, Castelões
Scope of the route: panoramic, cultural and environmental
Extension: 7.5 km
Duration: 3 hours
Level of difficulty: easy