On Monday, November 13th I went up in the fog Serra do Buçaco where in an enclosure surrounded by walls bored with monumental gates originally Mata do Buçaco is Convento dos Carmelitas Descalços as of the 11th century. But king Charles made built a hunting lodge from 1888 to 1907 pastiches of a stage set, now the Palace Hotel of which the interior is very kitsch. I traversed one of the two paths proposed by the Guide(book) Vert to admire the Fonte Fria whose water spouts out of a small cave to go down in cascade in the middle of a 144-step staircase and while opening out to each mitigating in multicolored sparkling basins where the sun is reflected through the branches of odoriferous trees. There would be more than 700 exotic plants. Entering and outgoing by Porta da Rainha I found a bivouac at Cruz Alta.
|bivouac Cruz Alta|
On my way to Serra Estrala I turned to Lourosa to see the unique pre-Roman church in Portugal built around 912 AC in the Visigothic period on a basilica plan with three parallel naves preceded by a porch (narthex). The campanile dates from the 15th century. On the side of the church excavations have updated graves dug into the rock. The inner structure is of the Mozarabic type with its horseshoe arches integrating architectural elements of Arab culture following their domination from the 8th to the 11th century. I bivouacked on the service area in Senhor das Almas.
La Serra da Estrela(the mountain of Star) is a massif of 60 km long and 30 km large culminating at 1993 meters with the peak of Torre. The slope of Gouveia side has undergoes the insults of the fires of the summer on the other hand the slope Manteigas side was saved. From Gouveia the road N 232 curves to a pass at 1420 meters high to go down towards Manteigas. Of course I visited two churches to ensure my safety in the mountain where the devil hides. Thus I did not meet any succubus with blond hair. In Manteigas I bought Queijo da Serra, the sheep's milk cheese most famous of Portugal to be tasted with pumpkin or quince marmelada. I chose the quince jam having a childhood bad memory of pumpkin soup during the occupation of the WWII. I found a bivouac on a carpark at the exit of the city.
On Thursday, November 16th I left Manteigas to see Poço do Inferno whose road shows beautiful escapes on the above-named village. Unfortunately in this summer post season the cascade was reduced to a cat's wee, look at the red circle of the picture. I turned back to traverse the Glaciated valley of Zézere whose roadway is narrow; I did not meet any vehicle. Torre at 1993 m of altitude is the summit of Portugal. Central platform the glance embraces a sumptuous panorama at 360° due to a clear sky and the resplendent sun. I hid behind the buildings of the shopping center to bivouac.
|Bivouac, Torre 1993 m|
|Coucher de soleil, Sunset||Lever de soleil, Sunrise|
|Lever de soleil, Sunrise (6:30 am)|
On Friday, November 17th I visited Castelo Branco old city strengthened near to the Spanish border which undergoes the attacks of the Napoleonean troops in 1807. The old city preserves some jewels of which gardens of the episcopal palate which testifies to the munificence of the catholic clergy. From the Castle of the Templars it remains only ruins of which part of the enclosure and turns. The sight from the hill of the castle makes it possible to locate the cathedral as well as the tower of the religion. The Cargaleiro museum was closed! The city is in full expansion as testifies it the residential buildings in periphery. Back to downtown I found a bivouac on a waste ground.
|Jardim do Antigo Paço Episcopal|
On Saturday, November 18th I visited two villages. First Penamacor is of Roman origin and crowned by a castle builds in 1209 by king Sanche 1st of which there remains only the keep, some walls, the Clock tower and the town-hall. The church of the Mercy presents a manuélin gate.
I continued my way towards the second Monsanto fixed on the mountain with narrow and steep streets. Its origin is prehistoric, it was then occupied by the Romans. Gualdim, Master of the Templars, set up in 1165 an impregnable citadel. While arriving I undertook to visit the citadel, the rise was painful for my heart and the descent for my articulations. The panoramic spectacle is dramatic, I were rewarded. I had parked my vehicle at the entrance of village, I decided to bivouac there.
On Sunday morning before the horde of the tourists I visited the charming ancient village of Idanha-a-Velha which counts 90 inhabitants. A covered way out of iron grid uses the top of the remaining walls to traverse part of the village. The way is announced by interpretative panels for each monument. Of course it is necessary to station his vehicle outside the village. I passed in front of an old Roman bridge at the top of which a villager walked on. In this sunny morning I spent one unforgettable moment to stroll in the lanes from here from there greeting the villagers of “Bom Dia”. I went back to Castelo Branco by the secondary roads without traffic, what a happiness! I bivouacked at the same spot as on my arrival.