Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Alentejo, an excellent Portuguese region for walking - part 1/2


The Alentejo conveys the serenity of an old place where tranquility lives.

When walking in these plain lands we understand that the landscape is what the view does not reach and is also where life focuses under the shade of a sweltering Sun protector “chaparro” – chaparro is how the local people call the young cork trees.

But who only knows the Alentejo cereal grow plains does not know the diversity of this region that, like its country, excels in diversity.

The Alentejo is also synonymous of water concentrated in large lakes and fluent rivers. But the cereal fields are, without a doubt, what our memory better keeps alive when we crossed these vast plains.

This region hides its treasures.

We often drive many kilometres in which everything that we find is the repeated plain. However, suddenly the whole landscape changes as is the case of the “Minas de São Domingos” (São Domingos Mines) where its business card is a huge pond that the locals call Tapada Grande.


This region only reveals its treasures to whom is dedicated to look beyond what the eyes can see without effort.
 
The golden plains caressed by breezes forms waves who wander through the cornfields and make us astounding. These waves bring with them a strong sweet odor that is difficult to forget.

Foreigners in these lands hear people talking about the “monte” (hill) and confuse this typical house with an elevation on the ground. The locals laugh about this naivety.

In this quest for knowledge of the local culture borne the love for a land where men with powerful voice sing together the "cante alentejano”, the traditional music sung by male choir.

We hear about mountains, rivers and coastal areas where the Alentejo takes other forms and our gaze jumps to the Costa Vincentina, by the Atlantic Ocean. On this trip we are attracted by river that stands out on the map, is the River Mira that in a more lively extension connects this village with Vila Nova de Milfontes on a fluvial route that I dream in put in place.

Vila Nova de Milfontes is reference of Alentejo with regard to coastal tourism. A town that lived from the fishing activity on the old days but that its natural beauty and the excellent conditions for summer place increasingly attracted bathers.

In this journey through the map our look back to the interior. Yes, it is true that we jump from one side to the other, but is the more human side of the heart the more emotional side leading this trip.


I will stop now because for the next post we will have to open a time portal and jump to roman times.

Join me for a walk in Alentejo.

David Monteiro

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