10th March 2010 Vilar Do Veiga to Amarante

10 03 2010

Waking up to the view that we had was a lovely experience. The temperatures had dropped overnight giving a slight frost in the shaded areas but they soon rose as the sun rose higher in the sky. We left Vilar do Veiga at 10am and headed through the lovely town of Vieira do Minho toward Bom Jesus, stopping at a supermarket in the way to get Jack some more biscuits. I wanted to have a look at the dams on Rio Ave but the signs approaching them had height restrictions on that were lower than we were high. We travelled along the smaller roads, sometimes cobbled streets, toward Bom Jesus and ended up driving right up toward the massive citadel that stands right on top of a hill, steps led from the bottom up toward the main building with stone statues of famous people from years ago at each level which also featured a spring flowing from more stone carvings, quite an awe inspiring sight from the bottom of the hill.

The Steps Leading up to the Citadel

The View from Bom Jesus

We had a drink at the cafe next to the citadel and then moved onward, heading toward Penha, just south of Guimaraes though we still had the sat nav pointing toward Amarante. I missed the first turn to Penha but managed to pick up another sign further up the road. The road up to the church at Penha was another twisty hilly type, it seemed to be the flavour of the day.

At the summit of the hill stood the church, very modern in comparison to the one at Bom Jesus but equally spectacular when coupled with it’s surroundings, massive rounded boulders surrounded the main square area which had four long reservoirs arranged in a cross with a central paved circle.

The Church at Penha

Again, the views across the landscape were stupendous, I had never realised that Portugal was this hilly, probably because I had only ever been to the Algarve, playing golf, badly.

The drive down from the church took us a different way from the way we came up to it, this road was extremely steep with me having to put the motorhome in 1st gear most of the way down, trying to keep as much pressure off the brakes as possible. Back on the main road toward Amarante and we were back on the pot-holed roads of Portugal, the motorhome shaking and rattling viciously and the Portuguese drivers impatiently queuing behind me as I refused to go any faster, quite how their cars survive more than a couple of years is beyond me.

We arrived in Amarante at about 4.45pm and quickly realised that it was a much bigger place than we thought so we pretty much headed straight for the campsite there, a bit out of the town but cheap at under €10 for the night including electricity.

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