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Walking in the Serra da Freita – must see / must do

10:02 AM David Monteiro 0 Comments Category : , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


I'm a little nervous about writing this post. “Serra da Freita” (Freita’s hills) is one of the places that inspired me to start this long walk to become a professional on Active Tourism and I do not know if I will have enough talent in the art of writing in order to fairly reward this site.

However, I feel that this blog will never be complete if it does not have some something written about Serra da Freita.
I've done a lot of hiking in the hills area, repeating the same and doing many others that I never had the opportunity to repeat.
“Serra da Freita” is also an area where I did many other activities besides walking such as climbed, canyoning, hydrospeed and rafting not far from here. 

However, this being a blog of walking, I will confine myself to this theme.
The translation of “Serra” is hills or small mountains and we often use the 
word “Serra” for the name of a short mountain area. Here I will be writing about Serra da Freita as well as about Serra da Arada.


Frecha da Mizarela

This waterfall, with more than 70 m high, is the business card of Serra da Freita.

Is part of a system of cascades that as a whole exceeds 90m high.
This beautiful waterfall landscape and the vision of many other smaller waterfalls is what we can expect when we walk in this area.
Ribeira is a small village that lies at the foot of this system of cascades and the trail that goes along this watercourse could not be more spectacular. Here you will find many small ponds where you can bathe in the crystal-clear waters or simply enjoy showering at the waterfalls.
When we walk from Ribeira to Mizarela we can choose between walking along the watercourse as I mentioned or, from a certain point, choose a little "detour" and climb (very easy climbing) some rocks on the right side of the waterfall Frecha da Mizarela. Is a low-difficulty climbing but that of course always requires some care.
All the people who made this trail with me felled in love for place, is without doubt a fabulous hike.
This trail requires us to cross a small pond so we better have our swimming gear with us and a nice pair of rubber sandals.
It’s so fun to walk this trail that nobody forgets it.

A rock giving birth to another rock

Talking about a rock giving birth to another rock looks like we are talking about the “Lord of The Rings” saga but this time it's really true.

There is a rare geological phenomenon which results in the granite rock releasing some crystals that will form new chunks of rock. Apparently, this phenomenon can only be seen in two places in the world, near Castanheira, a village in Serra da Freita and somewhere in Russia. I do not know if whether there will be other places but as much I investigated there is only these two places.
It is very interesting to see the new stones because they look like flattened black eggs and on the mother rock you will find kind of a nest where the “baby” rocks was formed.
See the translated version of Wikipedia at: http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedra_parideira

Tungsten mine - Rio de Frades - Cabreiros - Tabelião

Rio de Frades (River of Friars) is a small village deeply marked by what used to be a tungsten mine.

The tungsten mine’s, today in ruins, began in 1914. This metal hardens the ammunition and makes them more resistant.

These mines belonged to a German company named "Mining Company of North of Portugal", drilled more than 6 km of holes along the river from where they extracted this rare metal to be sold during the first and second world wars.
Nowadays you will only find its ruins and a small highly stratified village, as it was the standard way of living in those contexts of mining communities.
The river with the same name as this village, has fabulous landscapes hidden in its valley. Small turquoise lakes and astonishing cascades are only accessible using the techniques and knowledge to do so.
Walking along the trail from Rio de Frades we will arrive to Cabreiros a charming village with lovely stone houses, a typically village. From here we can go until Tebilhão on bucolic trail, flanked by granite stone walls.

From Póvoa das Leiras to Covêlo de Paivô

After the stone houses of the village (Póvoa das Leiras) there is a trail that leads us to a stone platform path that goes almost until Covêlo de Paivô, downhill always at half-slope.

Despite not having any proof, this route appears to have been a work of Romans, is one of those trails that one must put on the list of must-sees.
After this long walk we will arrive to Covêlo of Paivô, but not before crossing a large natural pool ... a bath is “compulsory”. The crystal clear water with small fishes makes us feel like it should be in paradise.


Arouquesa beef and goats from the hills

The sighting of grazing cattle when we walk is always an interesting moment and here these moments happen often because breeding is a strong source of income to the locals.
Around here we can find mainly cows and goats.
The arouquesa cow breed is highly appreciated and its meat reaches high values on the market is.
Arouquesa cows are docile animals with a candid look and with an impressive pair of horns that easily awakens your deepest sense of respect.

Goats are also very numerous and abundant are also the products that this animal provides us such as the milk to do goat cheese ... nhummy :)
Covas do Monte is another small village with an interesting particularity: is has about 75 inhabitants and we can find here more than 2000 goats coming out every day in the morning to go graze on the hills, a spectacle worthy of seen and living as a shepherd for one day.

Gastronomy
There is no place in Portugal about which there is not a lot to talk about gastronomy and this area is no different.
I would like to point out two typical dishes: Serra da Arada lamb baked in wood-burning oven and the roasted aroquesa veal.
They are both, of course, dishes based on products of the mountains such as the veal aroquesa, the lamb, vegetables and other products, both worked with the traditional techniques and equipment as the wood-burning oven, trays and platters of clay and slowly baking the meat to be tender and without losing their juices and flavors.
Of course the wine we drink around here is the Dão doc but on this spectacular wine I'll write a post one day.
Are you willing to meet the Serra da Freita and Serra da Arada? I hope so:) Here I am to go walking with you in the Serra da Freita and share these wonders.
David Monteiro

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