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    • Day 23

      Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela

      April 16, 2022 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

      It’s funny that most campgrounds we stay at are run by people who migrated to Portugal rather than by locals. And many of them are Dutch, as is the case with the owners of the cute “campismo” in the nature park Serra da Estrela where we end up for three nights. It’s a small and green campground with beautiful views of the valley. As the weather is warm and sunny for days in a row now, we use the opportunity to do our laundry and relax a little more. Reading a book (I’m in the midst of Dracula, the classic I bought at the Harry Potter bookstore in Porto and that I can’t put down), playing some games (Clever, Mölkky), eating freshly made traditional Portuguese Easter bread, joining the campground yoga class, and - because we can’t help ourselves - taking a long stroll through the town of Melo. As we have been quite busy going from one highlight to the other, it is nice to take it extra slow these few days.

      We do take a full day to explore the nature park around us: driving a loop with our van we admire the scenery. The valley of the park by glacial movement during the ice age, which is why aside from lakes and meadows we can also see huge rocks lay about. It is also the only place in Portugal where one can ski in winter - we can even see some leftover snow when visiting the highest point of the country (1993 meter).

      We pause our drive for a 12 km hike. Once more we train our legs while we climb up the rocky paths that sometimes look more like a waterfall than a walkway (only one of us makes it back to the van with dry feet, I’ll leave it for you to guess who :-)). The hike goes up to a artificial lake with a sci-fi kind of hole in it to collect extra water for a lower located lagoon and water dam. The water travels down more than 1500 meter; it must have been quite the task to make!

      With tired legs, rested minds and laundry done we are good to travel on.
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