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Monteshino Natural Park

From the Minho we transferred by bus to the Montesinho Natural Park in the far north-eastern corner of Portugal to continue walking. 

There are 88 villages in the Montesinho Natural Park, but not much in the way of accommodation, food and transport so we based ourselves in Braganca for day walks in the Park.  We stayed in the interesting medieval part of town near the 13th century walled citadel, well preserved with people still living along the narrow cobbled lanes.  Why is it not full of tourists?

This part of Portugal is much drier and more barren than the Minho.  What a contrast.  But with rolling hills and wildflowers galore it's attractive in its own way.

Each day we took a taxi to a different part of the Park and walked back to Braganca.  Our first walk began at the village of Rio de Onor straddling the border between Portugal and Spain.  The next began at Montesinho village, and the last at Gimonde.

Montesinho Natural Park lies in the far north-eastern corner of Portugal, around Braganca

On the way, we had a few hours wandering around the old part of Chaves with its Ponte Romana.  In the middle of the bridge are two engraved Roman milestones.

The bridge at Chaves - note the 2 Roman milestones on the bridge

One of the bridge's Roman milestones

Braganca castle

Weird stone pig speared by pelourinho inside the Braganca castle walls

5 sided Domus Municipalis.
The oldest town hall in Portugal and one of very few civil Romanesque buildings remaining in Iberia

Braganca's pelourinho (boundary marker)

Tiled church at Braganca

The village of Rio de Onor- half in Spain, half in Portugal

Bridge over the border between Spain and Portugal

Slate and stone houses in Rio de Onor

Lady hard at work

Pam making her way up to the church at Guadramil

Guadramil - rickety wooden balconies on stone buildings, cattle below, family on top

Unusal bell mount on Deilao village chapel

One of the many dovecotes in this area - farmer feeds doves, doves feed farmer

Montesinho village nestled in barren hills

Montesinho village with its slate roofs

Lots of wild lavender in flower

Actual working water mill along the dirt track to Soutelo

Unusual steps to the church bells at Carragosa

Romanesque bridge at Gimonde

Romanesque bridge, stepping stones and the "new" bridge at Gimonde

Gimonde's storks bring good luck to the village
Another adventure Braganca to Freixo de Espada a Cinta.  Just 15 kilometres before arriving the bus stopped, the driver got out and drove off in his car.  The three other passengers didn't seem too worried, although they were passing around a water bottle full of a suspicious smelling clear liquid.  One and a half hour later another bus pulled in, that driver got in and off we went.  Portuguese buses win again.

550 kilometres in total