Weekend in the region of Alcanena

On Saturday, 22nd August 2015 JB, my parents and I travelled to Santarém district to participate in two activities integrated in the program “Ciência Viva no Verão” (Summer Living Science):

– a guided visit to Renova, a Portuguese company that produces paper consumption goods (such as tissues and toilet paper);
– discovery of “Rota dos Peneireiros” (Kestrel Route), a hiking trail in Casével


We spent there the whole weekend. Beside the activities mentioned above, we did a short hike and we visited the Monumento Natural das Pegadas de Dinossáurios da Serra de Aire (Natural Monument of Dinosaur Tracksite in Serra de Aire) and, on Sunday, we visited the city of Torres Novas.

It was in Torres Novas, in a Antique Fair, that I found a juice bottle with my surname on it. I had no idea that my surname was a juice’s brand.

We spent the night in Alcanena, at Hotel Eurosol Alcanena.

It was not easy to find a place to have dinner. We were planning to go to O Facho Restaurant, in Alcanena, but it was closed for holidays. Just like every other restaurant in Alcanena. We even went by car to the best classified restaurants in the region of Alcanena – O Malho and Tertúlia do Gaivoto restaurants, but they were closed for holidays, too.

After going so far, we ended up having dinner very close to the hotel, at snack bar Pérola.

Visit to Renova
At 10:00 we were ready to visit one of the most well-known industry brands in the world – Renova.
We started by visiting the outside, where tons of pressed paper were awaiting to be recycled and transformed into the Renova products. Defective products were also in there.
We left the recycling area and we walked into the zone where the paper is made, but only after we had put in earplugs. That zone is mainly occupied by large machines and it is covered by paper dust!

It was very interesting so see the huge rolls of very thin paper being made.

Then we visited a more busy area where many people were working. There, we saw the products we are familiar with being made. Napkins, toilet paper, tissue paper…

We were amazed by the forklifts and the robots that were carrying the huge rolls of paper from one side to another without any human guiding them.

The warehouse is also noteworthy. Well, not the warehouse itself, but how the items are organized and the robots and forklifts used to store and remove the products from the shelves. It was incredible to see it!

At last, we went by car to the old factory, which is located nearby. The building where everything began houses now offices and the colourful Renova shop.

At the end, everyone received a gift – 2 rolls of colourful toilet paper and a bag with the same colour.

PR1(VNO) and Monumento Natural das Pegadas de Dinossáurios
We had lunch in the picnic area next to the Monumento Natural das Pegadas de Dinossáurios da Serra de Aire, in the village of Bairro.

After lunch, we followed the pedestrian trail PR1(VNO) Bairro / Casal Farto, which starts exactly where we were.
The red and yellow marks guided us to the Chapel of Bairro. We spent some minutes in there, took a few pictures and then we continued our hike.

Chapel of Bairro

At some point, we were no longer walking on a paved road, but on a wide dirt road.
The dirt road, as well as the plants around, were covered by dust from the huge quarry located next to it.
We turned left, towards the pinewood. I think it was at this point that we followed the wrong marks and left the trail we were following. We should have stayed on the dirt road.

About 500 meters ahead, we reached a fork in the path. Two white arrows drawn on the ground were pointing to the path on our right. However, a yellow and red cross on a stone was indicating that that path was the wrong one to follow.
After some hesitation, we turned left. After a while we realized that we were walking back and we were sure that we were on the wrong trail.

We decided to continue and to make our own trail. Although I was a bit disappointed for not going to the village of Casal Farto, the trail we discovered was very nice. We enjoyed great panoramic views of the village of Bairro and of the surrounding area. The Monumento Natural das Pegadas de Dinossáurios was what caught my attention most. I had not had the perception of how big it was. I was curious about it.

Dinosaur tracks

Two hours later, when we finished our hike, we visited the Monumento Natural das Pegadas de Dinossáurios. As there was an electric problem and it was not possible to watch an informative movie, the entrance was for free.

It was impressive to see those huge footprints made by dinosaurs 175 million years ago!
Moreover, I learned that the tracksite we saw contains not just the oldest and longest sauropod tracks known anywhere, but also exceptionally well preserved traces of these animals.

Rota dos Peneireiros
On Sunday, 23rd August, we were in Casével. Casével isn´t a village. It is the name given to the group of villages forming the parish.

Curiously, a couple and their son, who we already knew from past Ciência Viva no Verão activities, participated in both activities (visit to Renova and Rota dos Peneireiros), just like us.


This was a multidisciplinary activity. First, we were introduced to the archaeological importance of Casével. We learned that a funerary stele is an upright stone used to mark the place where an important person was buried. These archaeological pieces are decorated with figures or inscriptions related to whom they were intended. And why to talk about it? Because 47 funerary steles were already found during two distinct excavations in the churchyard!

Then, it was biology time. During the 4 Km walk we learned about the flora on Casével and about the kestrel specimens that nidify there.

I saw chickpea plants for the first time and we ate the small figs that are usually consumed as dried figs.

As the whole route has about 11 Km, we did the last 7 Km by tractor.

The activity ended with a wine tasting at Quinta do Arrobe. Several wines produced in the farm were served as well lots of food. That was our lunch.


PR1(VNO) Bairro / Casal Farto

Monumento Natural das Pegadas de Dinossáurios

Rota dos Peneireiros

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