There is a magical place in this country where I live, a place that I chose as a refuge when I need to stray, to escape, to be absent from city routines.
In a country as small as Portugal, we are lucky to be able to experience different cultural and visual realities in a space as small as the approximately 60 kilometers that separate the city where I reside from this Natural park located in the north of Portugal called Gerês, also known as Parque Nacional Peneda-Gerês, "Peneda-Gerês National Park".
This is the first protected area to be created in Portugal in 1971, with an area of 69,693 hectares, it´s the only one with National Park status, covering five Municipalities: Arcos de Valdevez, Melgaço, Montalegre, Ponte da Barca and Terras de Bouro.
Gerês has always symbolized the harmony between man and nature, between Roman trails and roads, medieval castles and sanctuaries, between the crystalline waters that flow through the streams and the pure air that surrounds the great diversity of fauna and flora, between an immensity of granite valleys and mountains shaped by time that draw an invisible line that distinguishes Portugal from our neighbor Spain, and it will be here in the middle of this immensity that we will find the village of Campo do Gerês, which is located very close to the well-known camping site of Cerdeira near the Vilarinho das Furnas Dam where I used to camp in past times.
In fact, there are so many places to explore that during all these years that have passed between visits and more visits, the village has always been left to the background, since the idea was to take refuge in the middle of the forest and away from cement, but today let's take a close look around the area.
On the outskirts of the village there is an equestrian center where it is possible to take lessons with hitching arrangements, horse riding and even therapeutic riding. Among various activities of direct contact with these incredible animals and in perfect communion with nature it is also possible to go horseback riding on the trails that are nearby.
In a walk through the center of the village, it was possible to verify that the weather does not forgive and that the effects of tourism even in a place as protected as this one are verified, what was my amazement in verifying that practically all the houses in the village had been restored and they are now on sites and tourist agencies for rent and the rest are abandoned and in a state of decomposition.
In conclusion, practically all the local inhabitants have moved, perhaps to more populated places such as Braga, which is nearby and behind, a few resisters have remained who continue to make a living from the land and pasture.
From here and wherever you look the view is breathtaking, with valleys as far as the eye can see and surrounded by high gray mountains marked by the abundance of granite typical of the area.
Just leave the village and head towards Brufe, passing to the other side of the dam and we are immediately faced with a different landscape with a view on a different valley from the more protected one that can be seen from the village, and if we continue the journey imagine what we can find… the famous wild horses that roam free in the mountains and that observe us like the tourists that we are at odds with in that landscape that is so familiar to them.
There are so many nooks and crannies at this point on the map, that I could describe Gerês every day throughout my life.
It won't be long before I go back there to regenerate energy;)
That´s all for today
Thanks for reading and don't tell anyone about this place, it will be our secret place...