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Library : Itineraries : Levada Walking Last Updated: Jun 28, 2008 - 12:29:23 AM


The start of the great levada walking odyssey!
By Jorge Barbosa
Jun 16, 2008 - 4:52:43 PM


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After another relatively confusing piece of describing in John and Pat's guide we finally arrive at the so-longed-for " Quatro Caminhos" intersection - the end of this walk! What John and Pat could have mentioned was to choose the bus shelter to the left and not the one to the right immediately after the intersection. The one on the left has a public fountain where you can top up on your water. There is also a, albeit dismal, snack shop next to the bus shelter. The other bus shelter has nothing next to it and feels like a remote and distant countryside shack. The one on the left has some activity - on the day I was there a farmer's wife was selling her home grown vegetables inside the bus shelter itself.

Unfortunately, the walk I had undertaken ended too late for me to catch the last bus into Santo da Serra. The last bus service passes the bus shelter at 18H00 on the weekends and at about 20H00 on week days. I had chosen a Saturday for my levada walk and it had approached 19H30 when I had arrived at the bus shelter. Welcome, then, was the salvation of the mobile phone - the wonder of modern civilization. I called the taxi telephone number in Santo da Serra (Tel.: 291 552 100) for a vehicle to pick me up and return me to the " Capela dos Cardias". This cost about €15 Euros, along with another €2 Euros worth of cabbage and fresh oregano leaves to repay the farmer's wife her kindness in supplying me with the taxi telephone number, which, after a gruelling and frustrated walk, was still a cheap price to soothe my sore legs and frustrated expectations.

I did regret not being able to take photos of the last part of the walk. That way I could have "sign posted" visual images to guide the next walker who may want to attempt this walk. Moreover, I didn't manage to get any of those once-in-a-lifetime photographic shots I was hoping for. You still need John and Pat Underwood's guide book though. More so even, as I discovered later, that they seemed to be the only guide that covered this route too. I have, however, included a map below to show the way from the top of the cobbled steps up from the " Levada Nova" to the bus stop at the "Quatro Caminhos" intersection.

Last, but not least, I would have to reiterate my disagreement with the "easy to moderate" classification of this walk in John and Pat Underwood's book. I think the route has evolved into a "moderate to difficult" classification since all the obstacles that hamper a quicker travel across the longer route exist, and that the uphill struggle at the end of the initial levada is really quite difficult to complete. The last part of the journey is still challenging, or, maybe it was so, since I had come ill prepared for the journey - both in rations and water, or in misguided spirits .... However, on the following day I did feel a sense of achievement and in so doing was inspired to write this article. At that moment I couldn't wait until the following weekend to try another walk.




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