Sameiro, the basilica on the mountain in Braga
The Costa Verde region is green: open door, but must be said. Indeed, Barreiros is in this beautifully challenging province. In the northern part of Europe, say over Portugal, during autumn, the paths are full of fallen leaves. And how beautiful it looks then, how nice it is not to walk with your shoes through dried leaves to hear the crunch of breaking. Lovely. Well, yes I live in Portugal now.
Leaves fall here, for sure. Wine leaves in particular and that is a daily feast of colour changes. Dar adds that we can have lovely November months, with lots of sunshine and good temperatures. Still shorts and T-shirts! Come to think of it in northern Europe - my friend Blake in Canada is crying as he reads this. That nice weather, those beautiful colours challenge you to put on the hiking boots. Done.
From our terrace at the bed and breakfast, we overlook the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sameiro, a beautiful basilica at an altitude of 572 metres. This basilica is located in the parish of Espinho, a village of the municipality of Braga. During the day, the tip of the basilica sticks out jauntily, and in the darker hours of the day it is beautifully illuminated. But we are, therefore, looking up. As the crow flies, the distance is 8 kilometres, but by road a little more. I thought, let's take that walk up today.
And I was brave. However, courage and stupidity look the same. Of course, I could start with the trail. According to the trail information, it means about 2.5 kilometres of climbing in distance, but in altitude it is over 500 metres!
The result determines. Walking shoes on. Up by car to the start of the trail. To do this, I first had to cross the path laid out from the Minho University campus, for many kilometres of cycling or walking, at the bottom of the mountain. Heart-stoppingly surprising path, I can tell you. Yes and then there I was. I was overtaken by tightly trained students, seasoned cyclists on small gear and the bus. The final destination is familiar to me because I have been there many times. It is past Bon Jesus, world heritage site and on the route from Santiago de Compostella from the south. But Sameiro is up there. Car parked. Water in the backpack. But I have the fitness of a neighbourhood cop from the 1970s. I felt something sink in: courage. I know you can get there by bus, and back again too. I know you can make part of the route on a water-driven historic train. I know. I go back to the car park.
It is with great pleasure that I once again see the basilica. In doing so, I enjoy the greenery, which is unabated in nature. Construction of the basilica began in 1863, but I am not going to describe all that here: look it up. Nor have I taken any photos of the inside, which is absolutely interesting with relics and Asian-looking tile panels. My photos are of the outside. So not very original.
The view is great from the front square. The surrounding gardens are wonderfully shaded and inviting for picnics or just a glass of wine. Well, if I had done that wine, I never made it all the way down on foot.
Maybe I'll be challenged to a climb again. Come to Barreiros, challenge me.
This blog previously appeared in modified form on saudadesdeportugal.nl
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