A little more than 5 kms from Vidago, in Chaves municipality, is quiet and pretty village of Vilas Boas. It was already late in the afternoon that scoured the pavement of National Road 549 (EN549) that after Valverde led me to Quinta do Olival, just outside the village.
The set built in stone, gives us the genuine warmth of the typical “transmontanas” homes. span> After a guided tour of the premises, where in addition to the convenience of the rooms in a rural setting, guests can use the gym, pool and jacuzzi, we were in the jeep Mr. Luís, this tireless passion and adventure, make the recognition of the various walking routes to realize in the coming days.
Night came and with it the invigorating rest.
It was early the next morning I started the first walk. The chosen route would take me to the Chapel of Santa Barbara, the highest point of the track. Being the site of reference for this route, I termed it so “Hiking Trail of Santa Barbara.”
I started walking in the EM549 towards Vidago. About 750m of the Vilas Boas limits turned right on a dirt path which develops into the mountains, towards the hills of Santa Barbara, for altitudes that increase with each step.
I leave the village behind when agricultural land and grazing are increasingly scarce. The indigenous vegetation mantle now covers the fields and some rocky outcrops emerge shaping the landscape, resulting in curious forms that espicaçam imagination. In the distance I see at the top the Chapel of Santa Barbara.
At the foot of the hill of the same name, I cross myself with an old woman who still an example of strength and determination, walked vigorously to their farmland, probably his greatest support and their “fountain of eternal youth”. Cultures can not wait and even with some rain threatening fall from the sky, nothing would prevent them from carrying the daily grind.
Contour the hill and up to the chapel by well-defined path. I find myself with a breathtaking landscape of the surrounding area. The overcast sky gave more drama to every one frame, with castles of white and gray clouds rise up on the horizon. In a clear day, the look even reach the Verin, already in lands of Spain, but unfortunately today was not the case.
The Chapel of Santa Barbara, on top of the staircase, stands impressively despite its small size. It’s like the head of a giant who observes and watches everything around.
The huge rock that supports the chapel, the geodesic landmark marks the highest point at 775m altitude. They are several stories leaks, military camps and raids that have this place as a common denominator. One sees the reason for your choice because, due to its prime location, it was an important point of surveillance and military strategy. It appears to have been one of the places chosen by the Roman legions to camp, during their raids. There is even reference to an castro that there existed but did not find traces of it. Its slopes have been chosen to, in 1809, General Silveira from with his army camp where they had taken refuge and regain Chaves, during the Napoleonic wars. In 1823, it was also a place of fights between absolutists and liberals in a troubled time for the monarchy in Portugal.
The temperature dropped at a glance and quickly wear waterproof, providing some raindrops began to fall however. Hydrate myself looking one last time to the landscape and I am preparing to start the descent.
Follow now towards the village of Ventuzelos. Its inhabitants meet agricultural tasks and grazing to my passage. It breathes peace while walking on the main road through the village. A quiet day and like many others, this transmontana village.
The descent to Vilas Boas is by narrow paths of hills and pine forests overlooking the rich and green valley of the Ribeira de Loivos and beyond the Valley of Ribeira da Oura. It is not hard to find small vineyards that descend the mountains towards the valley. This is a wine producing region and very interesting by the way, how could I prove.
Arriving in Vilas Boas, the pine forests become denser and more refreshing shadows. I take this opportunity to give the last sips of water before entering the village.
End so a circular route and well balanced, with just over 8 kms spread over different sections and representative environments of “Trás-os-Montes”.
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