Rota Vicentina

Historical path - Part IV

"... I felt that it was a constant stumbling in moments and people that kept crossing my path!"

I woke up early in the morning with contagious joy and energy. Still lying on the sheets, I wandered through the memories of the previous day, which now sounded like a dream ... My heart was full and I felt super excited by everything that was happening to me! I felt it was a constant stumbling in moments and people that kept crossing my path! I could live like this forever ... wandering the ways of the world ... and never stop. I ended the days exhausted ... not because my legs or arms hurt, but because of the constant emotion I felt all the time.

The previous night could have ended in a flash if I had leaned back to finally rest. It turned out not to be what happened! Instead, I was living with the owner of the farm, supryia, and your friend, Dear Steffens, both Germans! In the restaurant nearby, the "Sweet Potato Museum" I ate one of the best pieces of meat of my life! Black pig yumiiiiii!!! It was for a short time that I silently enjoyed my delicious meal… soon I was drinking shots followed by arbutus liqueur that I was being “invited” to taste, and to chatter with. Paulo Waters, owner of the restaurant, the Vitor, owner of rural accommodation and nature conservationist, and the João Bernardo, Sea captain and war of navy. We stayed overnight discussing matters and retelling stories to each other! We talked about the future of Costa Vicentina and the concern inherent in the balance between tourism and habitat sustainability, and I spoke with João about several issues associated with career and military life.

I went back to Small Farmhouse Mojud and the evening continued there. He had stayed asleep beside the Caro, one of the most interesting, dear and inspiring people I have ever met! It is incredible to meet someone with such a young soul despite their beautiful age. We said goodbye with a “Pink panda plane dreams” to play with the fact that she’s afraid of flying. I closed my eyes and let myself go.

Now we are back to my fifth and penultimate day! I had a fantastic morning and despite knowing that I should be back on the pedal, I stayed there because I felt so good. That was how it made sense to me. In these adventures and a little throughout my life, I like to let myself be carried away by what happens. I don't force anything or contradict what's going on around me. I trust what time brings me, circumstances and coincidences ... who knows even what some call destiny.

Me and Caro we were entertained by the conversation in the room ... I was fascinated by their stories and crazy things from other times. He told me memories and thoughts of his deepest self and I told him about things that even longtime friends had not done… It was surreal the confidence and empathy I felt for that almost magical figure… It had always happened to meet impressive people in travel, however, it marked me by its almost transcendent spirit, passing on to me a contagious energy and joy.

We went against the supryia, who had already prepared a breakfast worthy of gods, full of good and natural things! Another fabulous moment with the two friends! Time flew by and I couldn't get out of there! We came to the street ... a beautiful sun in the middle of an absolutely blue sky! The typical Alentejo house, where also lives supryia, is decorated in warm and mild tones inside and with a decoration that oozes tranquility and peace. But it is the exterior that makes us want to stay even more! Downstairs balconies in front of the rooms with round tables and rustic chairs. A wooden porch with a huge table, perfect for long evenings on summer nights. And a grassy patio, where trees shade garden chairs and a colorful hammock. The perfect place to relax!

We played in the street with James and the Jammu, canine residents of Small Farmhouse Mojud, and we laugh ... we laugh so much! I was so happy and grateful for everything that was happening to me! This whole trip felt like a dream I didn't want to wake up from. I said goodbye with tight hugs and promises to see each other again. And by hand, I passed the gate to a new world!

"I trust what time brings me, the circumstances and the coincidences ... who knows even what some call fate ..."

"... The pine trees remind me that I am so close to the coast and the smell that emanates reminds me of family picnics in the pine forest of Leiria."

It didn't take much to pedal to realize that something wasn't right ... A puncture! It must have been a small one from the previous day and it had slowly emptied during the night. Damn, and right now that it wasn't too early to start a day with so many kilometers to go.

Without any other medication, I stopped at the pumps ahead and mended the tire right there.

In a flash it was ready. I jumped on the bike and left Rogil back.

I was on the coastal plateau, where I continued to cycle along a trail by an irrigation channel in the Mira river. This channel brings abundant water from the Dam of Santa Clara, located further inland. With the levada by company, I crossed agricultural fields with sweet potatoes, corn, peanuts and tomatoes, interspersed with patches of pine and eucalyptus. Here the view is unobscured, with the mountains to the east and the Atlantic to the west. The pine trees remind me that I am close to the coast and the smell that emanates reminds me of family picnics in the pine forest of Leiria. I really liked this brightly colored place, with undergrowth with rockrose in bloom, and with a trail of sand along the trail.

Shortly after turning left, I headed back inland until I entered a long and fun descent along a pine forest. This took me to the valley of riverside Aljezur, the valley that I snaked towards the west, until the beach of Mulberry. Right after crossing the bridge over the river, I stopped for more smiles and conversations from cyclist to cyclist.

From the small bridge over the river to the village of Aljezur it was a little instant.

A narrow cobbled street took me inside the historic center to the bridge that crosses the Ribeira de Aljezur. From the middle of the bridge we have the best view over the old town, with its little houses arranged in an amphitheater along the hill, and at its top, the castle walls with the Portuguese flag waving in the wind. In fact, the Castle of Aljezur belongs to one of the seven castles represented on our flag.

I went across the river to the side of the Market and from there I crossed the plain to the new part of the village. From here we can contemplate the flat and fertile soils of the floodplains, where the famous sweet potato of Aljezur. This valley was once navigable, constituting the only shelter on the rugged coast between Vila Nova de Mil Fontes and Sagres.

I continued to be deceived to the Church inside the village, a village that looked like an island with light tones in the middle of an ocean represented by the plain. And yes, I was following the marks that I now know belong to other trails. It was only when I started wandering around that I realized I was not on the right track. I went back and redid the whole road until I crossed again for the third and last time, the riverside Aljezur.

Today I know that having strayed from the right path had a reason! It was fate! If it weren't for that, I'd never been through one of the most fantastic stories in my life. Rota Vicentina… The story of snow white and the seven dwarfs!

"From the middle of the bridge we have the best view of the old town with its houses arranged in an amphitheater along the hill, and at the top, the castle walls ..."

"Crossing that bridge was like turning a book page into a new chapter."

Crossing that bridge was like turning a book page into a new chapter. One of the most unexpected and beautiful chapters in my history for Alentejo lands.

It was all so fast and natural that I no longer even remember who questioned who. All I know is that suddenly I was among seven young cyclists, most of them in their beautiful XNUMXs. I, a little stunned by the distress that the day was going to be late and that I was mistaken on the way, and they, curious to see that girl with the backpack on her back with an adventure as big as their dream, stayed there, on the sidewalk of the promenade. , talking to the river and bicycles as witnesses.

Their natural relaxation and the funny way they interacted with each other made me super excited. Suddenly, I didn't even want to know if it was late or if I could make it on time. I was only interested in living that precise moment. To be able to live a new history within History! And coincidence of coincidences,… it is not that our course was the same, the ticker, and more ... the place where we would stay was also the same !! I couldn't be more sure that the rest of my path was going to be shared not with one, but glorious seven!

When I realized I was already entering the restaurant "III Generation", just across the street ... I thought it was already late and I barely knew I was going to stay there for a while. This time it wasn't going to be a stop in the middle of the field to crack a tuna sandwich… today I was going to eat sitting at the table, with a knife and fork, enjoying country food with a few sips of beer in the middle, as I talked and almost laughed breathless! I felt proud of who I am, of what I had done so far and of what I was moving to continue. I was proud of all this as I shared it with them.

Finally back on the street, we pedaled up the hill together, through the steep cobbled streets. We skirted the castle walls, from where we can see for the last time the flat and fertile soils of the floodplains and the Village of Aljezur.

Along the road that descends from the Castle towards the southwest, we can still peek, between the clearings of the eucalyptus, the valley of riverside of Aljezur which extends to the coast, draining its waters on the beach.

We stopped to put oil on the chain of my bicycle, which was already showing signs of binding as I put in and took out changes. It was the only thing I forgot to take and yet, there they were, at the right time to help me. It was so dry that after it was oiled it seemed to fly! I felt agile and fast, and even with a bicycle far from the standards of my teammates, it never let me be left behind. We were for each other, the bicycle was the complement of my body and I was his soul. We were now one being!

We all followed the leader, or as they call him “The daddy”, the Apolinário. He was the one who coordinated the path to follow until Sagres, through tar and dirt roads, which connected along the way. I started to realize that we were off the Vincentian route. When I finally stopped to check the map, I had already missed the route that went to beach Canal. I was a little discouraged but I was also aware that possibly I had even been the best given the late hours. As the route crossed again with our southernmost one, I decided to go there. I explained the importance of that path to me and that I would otherwise have to leave them.

They met as in the story of the seven dwarfs, and in the middle of the road there they spoke and decided on Snow White. I was overjoyed when they said they were going with me, on my way!

From here it was an odyssey of discovery ... of the way, of the Alentejo, and of my incredible companions who escorted me to the sea. From here came one of the most fantastic and unlikely friendships of my life!

"... They met as in the story of the seven dwarfs, and in the middle of the road there they spoke and decided on Snow White."

"Isn't the world so spectacular? The unpredictability of how much things can change in a single turn of the corner ?!"

Apolinário Martins, Emanuel Formiga, Agostinho Fernandes, António Amador, José Santos, Paulo Pereira and Paulo Gouveia. These are the names of the fantastic seven! It was undoubtedly enough for a film like that Western! Each with its own character, with its virtue and caricature!

I had the opportunity to get to know a little of each one as we pedaled through hills and valleys. A real test of my pulmonary resistance, since I was going up or down, there I was parroting all the time. Tried but didn't even reach the heels of The, entitled and even by the way, the “two lungs”. Whatever the climb, the man would talk all the time as if he had installed himself on a lounger.

I confess that when I try to remember what I saw along the way, I can only have a few glimpses. Not that this is a bad thing. On the contrary ... I was just so entertained that this is what my memory recorded. Isn't the world so spectacular? The unpredictability of how much things can change in a single turn of the corner ?! This is what makes me want to travel, what makes me excited just to imagine myself doing it.

They went up and down when we reached the valley where the Ribeira da Bordeira. From here, we followed quietly along a dirt road, along a watercourse, to the village whose name he borrowed. We stopped at a small cafe to grab a bite and drink a few more beers. Life knew so well! Without haste and worry, it was simply what it is. It was simply what we wanted it to be and what we wanted to be.

I don't know what makes me want to belong to every small village I pass, but what I feel makes me want to stay. Perhaps it is due to the relaxed pace with which the village breathes or the rustic charm of its solitude surrounded by nature. Its fragility and authenticity awaken nostalgic feelings as I cycle along the sidewalk.

We left the white village to return to the green of the hills. I was happy to share the path, I felt I belonged to something. I felt like a part of the team. As if I had known them for many years. I was full of energy and let it flow around my friends.

After a last climb in an idyllic landscape of cistus, mastic and cork oak trees, we reached the highest point, the Cerro da Cunca. And there it was right in front of us, the sea, once so close but camouflaged by the hills. From there we had a superb view over the dunes of Praia da Bordeira and the stream that flows there.

We went down to the national road and from there it was an instant to the village of ticker and finally up to Hostel of the Sea, where we were so well received. I knew how to take a good shower and wear comfortable clothes. After seven… moreover, eight, all ready, we went on foot outside the village towards beach of Bordeira.

A light breeze was felt at the end of the day. It was neither cold nor hot. I was in a pure state of balance, just like me. I was truly in the moment, body and soul. We talked on the way to the restaurant. At the table, we laughed, ate, celebrated and toasted our friendship. It was another magical moment where I felt genuinely cherished and pampered by these seven extraordinary good guys.

"... Its fragility and authenticity awaken nostalgic feelings as I cycle down the sidewalk."

vicentina route

Alentejo, Portugal

also in Rota vicentina


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