Hiking Trail in Afife – River, Sea and Hill (Viana do Castelo)
In Afife, in Viana do Castelo county, it’s still possible to sleep and wake up with the birds as neighbors. It was in Santa Filomena’s House that his singing received me in the evening and it was with that same sing that after a good night sleep, woke up to discover the village of Afife, best known for its beaches in the hot summer months. But Afife has a lot more to offer.
After taking breakfast, I began to walk in the small and quiet gardens, where nothing else seems to exist beyond the property walls.
In the gardens, many fruit trees, vines and flowers, many flowers that make this outer space in a very pleasant place to have a good time. I leave it to start walking down the “Cabanas Street” towards the Casino of Afife. The cobbled street is lined mostly by high walls that protect large villas. The breeding grounds are occupied with small cornfields, olive groves and vegetable gardens for local consumption.
I arrived to the “Casino Afifense Association” headquarters at the “Pedro Homem de Melo road”. The building is highlighted by recent restoration keeping some traces of the old days on the facade. This Association, considered Institution of Public Utility, was born from the merger of two others, the “Recreational Society Afifense” and “Club Afifense” and is dedicated to, among other activities, dissemination and promotion of Afife, its traditions and heritage, as well as culture and education of “afifenses”.
A little to the side, the Chapel of Our Lady of Nazareth and the Cruise, are almost missed by the less attentive look.
Step the building of the school and I notice a curiosity. In its extremes there are two doors on them and the inscriptions “Male” and “Female”. Boys and girls had at the time its well defined learning spaces and no mixtures were allowed.
I continue to walk toward the Afife Railways Station. I croos an unguarded railway very carefully and then the National Road 13 (EN13). Then I accompany the agricultural fields to Afife River, Cabanas River. Despite the short flow this time of year, this is a very nice place where the watercourse, with the help of mini dam, form some small ponds. Around him, green brushstrokes of different intensities invite us to take a break enjoying the refresh shade. I learned later that upstream of the river there are beautiful places such as the area of “Cabanas Convent” and the locally named “Blue Well”, a lagoon formed by a waterfall in terraces. In my next visit to Afife I must learn more about the river’s route.
I’m already close to the beach and the Cabanas River Estuary. Part of this trails are in common to GR1, according to the signs that I have been found in some places.
The estuary makes Afife’s beach very peculiar. On one side the freshwater and river calm lies in a translucent mirror where some birds get to indulge, separated by a tongue of sand salty sea whose waves impinge violently on the rocks along the coast.
The estuary makes Afife’s beach very peculiar.
I walk the beach to the north, along the wooden walkways, enjoying this dune landscape. When these are finished, I return to the path on the sidewalk, walking through farm fields that runs parallel to the EN13. After the roundabout, I follow the “Cabriteira Way”, and later by “Barridal path” I start the climb to Santo António hill.
The landscape improved in proportion to the altitude and the look came farther and farther, opening the horizon in blue where it was difficult to find the line between the sky and the sea.
On the hilltop, St. Anthony’s Chapel, dating from the century XVII, is still a pilgrimage destination in the Holy annual festival that gives it its name. A unique stone gazebo and picnic area fill the space where the shade of leafy woods one can spend a pleasant leisure time.
By the opposite side, I start the descent of the hill to find again the Pedro Homem de Melo road. I walk to south finding the Church of Santa Cristina of Afife. Turn left onto the “Largo do Cruzeiro” and meeting the Parish Council. I walk the last few hundred meters on the narrow road on the sidewalk, zigzagging through town and end in Cabanas Street, next to the Santa Filomena’s House.
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