We parked in Carreiras and set off on our second walk with the new book. The walk follows the Mediaeval Road which connected Portalegre and Castelo de Vide in the valley below the Serra de São Paulo, and returns just under the crest of the mountain.
9 kms, c.3 hours, easy walking
Carreiras lies at 600m, embedded in the mountainside, and apparently on a network of old roads – Mediaeval, and probably Roman as well. I believe the name is derived from ‘cart tracks’. The route starts on one of these old roads and as you walk along you enjoy beautiful scenery – olive trees, cork oaks, and flowers everywhere. The arum lilies were absolutely breathtaking, growing along the banks of a small stream and winding their white way down the hill.
The Mediaeval road was mainly straightforward – what we all expect a ‘road’ to be, and sometimes there were edging stones, like kerb stones. But here on the uphill stretch the stones were laid in patterns to deflect the rain and prevent wear and tear. Apparently the same patterns can be seen in the oldest parts of Castelo de Vide.
The quartzite ridge on the mountain juts upwards above the tarred upper road into Carreiras. As I understand it these mountains might be 500 million years old (!) and were created by the movement of the earth’s plates causing rocks to fold upwards. (Short post here.)
And back at the car just as the rain came down!
And of course a little refreshment was in order so we drove down the mountain into Castelo de Vide…