For six weeks, Portugal was locked down by a Covid-19 state of emergency that prohibited the use of vehicles for pleasure purposes. Even rides into the solitude of the mountains were not permitted. So, I stayed at home and maintained social distancing, as per the government’s recommendations. The decree was lifted on 4th May, when the state of emergency was replaced by a less stringent state of calamity. The new decree allows the use of vehicles to drive to the outdoors or other places of enjoyment. After sitting inside for six weeks, I could get back to the trails and nature.
On 6th May, I started up the XR400 and rode the short distance to the area surrounding the Rio Ferreira, near the village of Couce. It was so nice to be able to get on the bike, but also to be able to enjoy the outdoors. Riding trails along the river was good for the soul!
It was so nice to sit on a rock for a few minutes, watching the noisy river as it crashed down the rapids.
Eleven days later, I was back in the same general area, but further downstream from the village of Couce, to ride some different trails near the river. This time it was a Sunday afternoon, and there were a few family groups scattered around different spots near the river, all enjoying some time with nature. But once I climbed the trails, away from the river, I was all alone.
As on the previous visit, the river was in good flow and provided an enjoyable moment, watching and listening.
For a change of scenery, I followed a series of trails until I reached a paved road, and then rode to the scenic natural park location of Nossa Senhora do Salto in Paredes, situated on the Rio Sousa. However, many other people had decided to spend their Sunday at the park. The parking area was overflowing and groups of families and friends were utilising the area for walks, picnics and swimming. I wanted to avoid crowds, so I took some quick photos and left.
There will be many more visits to the Valongo area near the Rio Ferreira, with more trails to explore and enjoy. But I’ll try to avoid the weekends when it can get busy.