Vila do Bispo to Pedralva

Only 15km today, about 5 hours walking.

Breakfast wasn’t served until 8:30 so we had a leisurely start which our legs and feet welcomed.

Our packed lunch was handed over and we decided to travel light. Water was decanted into our water bottles and fruit juice in glass bottles was poured into the empty plastic water bottles! We set out in the rain past this lovely little front porch.

The first stop was in the next village of Raposeira, another essentially Portuguese village and past a field of very scary sheep. Look at those horns and penetrating stares.

The biggest lure of the village was an open cafe. There’s a theme with Portuguese cafe owners, they don’t seem particularly keen to have customers.

We had a tea and coffee, under the watchful eye of the security guard (with mismatched eyes), at the exorbitant cost of €1.50 (£1.30).

We wandered up though Raposeira and out into the valley, past lines of flowering eucalyptus trees. We’re not sure if it’s just the tree for sale…

The tracks today have generally been wider and flatter under foot which has been very welcome although still plenty of uphill climbs.

Our route took us towards a reservoir and the hamlet of Vale do Passo which was abandoned when the valley was flooded.

A flock of sheep and goats kept us company on the walk down to the reservoir.

Lunch was eaten overlooking the reservoir, before heading down the Vale do Passo, through a wooded valley of cork oaks, eucalyptus and cistus. You could certainly smell the eucalyptus in the air. It must be overpowering on really hot days.

The cork oaks started to fascinate us.

We became a bit obsessed with them. The cork can be harvested from the trees every 7-10 years without significant harm.

The bark regrows and provides a renewable resource used in the wine industry (hic), flooring and the centre of cricket balls. As we walked through the valley, we came across trees with numbers on, we assume indicating the year of harvest. At this point someone became bored with spraying 8…

This tree had been harvested earlier and was showing signs of re-growth.

We had a lovely flattish walk along the valley to Pedralva, our home for the night. In fact, today has been a walk of mainly wide paths with fewer hills than the last couple of days.

Pedralva was once a thriving, but poor, hamlet. As tourism boomed in the area, villagers moved away for a better life. A stressed advertising executive decided he needed a change of lifestyle and went into property development. He discovered Pedralva and is slowly tracing owners of properties and bringing the village back to life as an eco friendly complex.

This is our home for the night

The view out of bedroom window

After a short walk we found the cork taken from the trees. Now many corks are made out of plastic, it’s also used to make souvenirs.