Back to Portugal!

Since I moved to Sweden in May last year I had not been back to Portugal. At first I couldn’t even imagine that I would start to miss this place a lot. Everything just felt boring. It was home, I took everything for granted.
This week I got to spend to days in Porto and now I’m already able to see the beautiful things from a tourist like perspective, instead of just being too deep into my day to day life and chores. I got to eat some delicious food, sit on the beach, hang out with a friend who was also kind enough to host me, drive along the same roads I drove on pretty much every day for years, and even had time to go to Portugal’s only national park.

 

So lucky to land with weather that permits these views. Porto from above.

 

A snapshot from the descend into London, my first stop to Portugal.
In most other countries I know national parks pretty much seem to be made to accomodate hikers, visitors and nature lovers. In Portugal it feels like the exact opposite- you can’t buy any topographic maps that show you the trails of the only national park, there is pretty much no service or information at all for visitors and many areas of so called ‘total protection’ are even forbidden for hiking. Weirdly enough nobody knows what the fines are and why these areas are forbidden, year round. Without any signs in the park or maps it’s probably even a bit too much to expect from visitors to actually stick to the rules. So you’ll find small trails all over the place and there’s hardly ever a ranger who enforces the laws. It’s a shame really that the park doesn’t get any better trails and maintenance, because it’s such a beautiful and rich place.
Further down I posted a number of picture from this visit, on which I hardly went further than a couple of hundred meters away from the car, but still you can see that the place is definitely worth the visit if you come to Portugal!

 

Sunrise over the river Cávado

 

Early morning fog, rio Cávado and Gerês mountains.

 

One of the best lookout spots I can imagine, casa de Leonte, Gerês.
The entrance to one of the few forests in Portugal with actual old trees and a big diversity in Flora and Fauna.

I drove over the border into Spain to enjoy another of my favorite spots: natural hot springs! Such a relaxing experience to have a steaming hot bath in nature- and it’s even for free. It feels especially amazing after a day of hiking. 

Hot springs in Lobios, Spain. Right by the border.

 

3ºC air temperature, 39ºC water, no one around, free entrance. One of the nicest things I can imagine.
Cascata da Portela do Homem, mountain ridge ‘Encosta do Sol’ in the background.

 

Another picture on the same lookout spot, now with full sunlight.

 

One of the many fountains.

 

Back in town I deserved some proper brazilian lunch.

 

A view over the beach at Aterro, where it’s still quite winterly. Big waves.
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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Paleo Irish says:

    I fell in love with Portugal when I first visited in the late 80s however I didn't have the chance to return until more recently.
    Now I've had a few trips over the last few years and have been lucky enough to spend 2 months on two occasions & I have to admit that Oporto is my favourite large city. I'm glad that you've had the chance to return and enjoy it as a relaxed visit rather than the tension of working.

    Like

  2. Thank you so much for your kind comment.

    Like

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