A DAY TRIP TO PASSADIÇOS DO CERRO DA CANDOSA
We enjoyed a lovely hike recently in Serra da Lousã so we decided to return to the nearby municipality of Góis and embark on the Passadiços do Cerro da Candosa. A new pedestrian wooden walkway just a 40 min drive from our casa. It’s a short linear 600 metre trip, 450 steps, a total of just 1.2 km with various Viewpoints offering sensational panoramic views. The Cerro da Candosa Walkways run through one of the most enigmatic places in Vila Nova do Ceira Parish. The quartzite steep cliffs where the Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Candosa stands form part of the ridge that crosses the entire region and extends between Serra do Penedo (also known as Penedos de Góis), and Serra do Buçaco. The rocky gorge has been eroded over time, washed and carved by the enchanting Ceira River. It culminates in a river canyon of incredible rare beauty known as Cabril or Portas do Ceira, a place where the river appears to have pierced across a rocky ridge. Portas do Ceira is one of the most beautiful natural treasures of the Center Region. The gorge’s steep walls are used for the practice of extreme sports such as canyoning and its top has been linked to the Legend of Senhora da Candosa. The walkways are simply magical and a treasured cultural and natural heritage.
40°10’32.4″N 8°10’15.2″W / 40.175659, -8.170887
Miradouro para Vila Nova do Ceira (Viewpoint to Vila Nova do Ceira)
Antiga estrutura do tiro aos pratos (Old skeet structure)
Miradouro Lenda da Candosa (Candosa Legend Viewpoint)
Miradouro do Meio (Middle Viewpoint)
Miradouro Lenda das Rosas (Roses Legend Viewpoint)
We arrived and parked in the small car park for free. I couldn’t see any toilets which was more than a tad inconvenient for my weak bladder. The car park is also so tiny and fitted about 5 cars, we luckily bagged the last space. There were only a handful of other people on the whole walkway so we had the majestic mountains all to ourselves, pure heaven. I got hubby to join in the fun at the first viewpoint as I found a camera phone device and it is very rare that we actually get photos of us together as most places we visit are deserted so there is no one around to ask. I forgot my selfie stick with the remote control button so we had to set a 10 second timer on my phone and run like the wind (ha ha). I am not sure if hubby enjoyed some powerful mind altering drugs this morning but I somehow managed to convince him to join in my jumping antics with little to zero convincing required. I think he got out of the right side of the bed this morning or maybe my perky positive princess attitude is rubbing off on him little by little (ha ha). We dynamic duo jumped for joy in unison then he gave me a piggy back because I was tired and why not (ha ha). We saw some crazy folk on the mountain opposite climbing down the steep rocks to a zip wire, bejesus, they are braver than me. I think they were on a crazy canyoning day trip. I would have wet my panties (ha ha). The steep walls of the gorge are perfect to practice many extreme sports. One day I will join them for an adrenaline adventure of my very own.
We spent some time at the different viewpoints gazing and relishing in the beauty surrounding us. Such magnificent panoramic scenery of Vila Nova do Ceira which is also known as Cerro da Candosa. We stood in silence and embraced the landscape and the dazzling quartzite cliffs and Cabril Gorge. A couple of the Viewpoints have Portuguese legends linked to them. I do love a good old fashioned love story and an ancient Portuguese legend or two (ha ha).
There is always a few windswept crazy Selfies!
Legend of Candosa
I was intrigued so I translated the very long Portuguese text because I love Portuguese legends. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin. Some of the text is a little lost in translation but I found it an enjoyable read and managed to understand the moral of the story.
Many, many years ago, during the Muslim occupation of Al-Andaluz (Iberian Peninsula), an Arab ui (Moorish converted to Christianity). He lived in the floodplains as the area was very fertile. He devoted himself to agriculture, hunting and fishing, also exploring for gold in the Ceira and Sotam rivers. His life of wealth and serenity attracted the envy of other unconverted Moors, who tried in every way to appropriate these lands. As they were unable to do so through hand-to-hand combat, they decided to use a ruse to flood this entire basin that, in other times, had already been the lake of Sacões. To that end, they mobilised all the Moors from the land located up to 80 km around and, from dawn until sunset, they worked non-stop, to plug the river in the Cabril cave. They dragged, with the help of many yokes of oxen, large stones, which they then piled up forming walls of enormous thickness. While the men worked, building walls, more than a hundred women and children carried baskets of earth from the neighbouring hills to close the cracks in the walls. The waters were diverted to the most solid slope and huge stones were left aside to cover them, when the wall had already reached a good height.
The Moor who was supervising the work was overjoyed, as the work was progressing and he was almost halfway to the wall, which had to be done to reach his goal, without the Christian Moor noticing a thing. Two more weeks and the work would be finished, closing the river, flooding the lands and killing all who lived in them. Early in the morning, the Moor arrived to direct the works and, to his astonishment, realised that there was no sign of a wall in the area. The stones were scattered down the river and the earth was carried away by the current of the river. How to explain such a disaster? It hadn’t rained. The river carried little water, as it was summer, therefore, nothing could explain such an event. Open-mouthed, the Moor checked, stone by stone, for any sign that force had been used to bring down the wall. In vain. The place looked like no wall had been built and everyone was cautious about what they saw. Admiration gave way to anger and, as the Moor in question was not one to give up, he set to work, with his companions, now with even more commitment and determination. The foundations were dug deeper, the stones fixed stronger, the gravel and earth more beaten, to make the wall more solid. With passion and enthusiasm, anticipating the chaos and destruction that such a work would bring to the Moorish Christian, they worked with sheer dedication for about a month. “What perfection of work! This time there will be no one capable of destroying it” he said to himself.
That night, while everyone was sleeping, the Moor had a dream. Startled, he woke up, moving immediately towards the wall that had taken so much work to build, but it had disappeared. He called the guards to find out who had destroyed the work, only to be informed that there was not a soul around. In disbelief, he forced them to swear to Allah (their God) who told the truth, having arrested some of them for not being attentive and allowing such destruction. The work had to be redone and restarted. He launched an appeal among the neighbouring Moors and more joined his cause, coming to help with the construction. Work progressed at a good pace, so, satisfied, he assured his companions: “Tomorrow we will cover the river to fill the lagoon”. But that night, a dream disturbed his tranquility again. A Lady, with a lamp, with a hood on her head and riding a donkey, went over the wall, which collapsed, making the stones that formed it disappear. He ran to the spot and saw her right away. The lady on top of the donkey, extended her hands and the stones fell and disappeared at the bottom of the valley. He tried in vain to run to the Mistress, but her feet could not move and her arms could not reach him. The newly built wall was gone and the river Ceira flowed peacefully in its bed. All his efforts, as well as those of his supporters, were in vain. He followed the paths where the donkey had passed, finding its paws engraved in the stones (which can still be seen today). However, he was unable to reach the Lady. He ran to the guards who, terrified, shouted to him that a very beautiful and shining Lady had freed those who were detained and had left on her donkey. Even so, the Moor did not give up.
Construction resumed, strengthening surveillance. People worked all day, but late at night the Lady arrived and destroyed everything that had been done. This continued to happen for some time until the Moor finally understood that it was Divine Power that protected the Christian Moor and that Mary was the divine messenger to prevent his evil. Then, he went to the Moor who lived in the land and said to him: “I did everything to destroy you, but God protects you and sends a Lady to ruin the dam that I wanted to build to drown you. Let’s make peace and teach me to love your God!” They embraced like brothers and decided to perpetuate this alliance by building a chapel on top of the hill, invoking Our Lady of Candosa. And that’s how these Floodplains stopped being a lagoon again, and became the blessed lands they are now and where good and happy people live. Even today, in times of distress, the people of this region flock to Cerro da Candosa and, prostrating themselves at the feet of Our Lady of Candosa, beg her protection.
Legend of the Roses
Legend has it that the Cabril Strait separated two kingdoms: The Moorish and the Christian. The Moor called Al-kandar was located on the left bank of the river Ceira, that is, Candosa, and the Christian on the right bank. Legend has it that the beautiful Moorish princess fell in love with the son of the Christian king, to the point of falling in love, but the rivalry of the parents did not allow such a thing. However, secretly and in a cave that still exists today, they arranged meetings at night. The sign would be a lighted lamp that was seen from the other side, by the Christian prince who, in turn, crossed the river to the other side to meet his beloved. But one night, the Moorish king noticed his daughter was missing and immediately sent his guards with horses to look for the princess.
Upon hearing the horses trot, the young people in love tried to escape, however, in their hasty flight, they fell into the river. Only the next day they were found dead and hugged, as if to say that they wanted to be together forever and that their love would be stronger than their parents’ rivalry. From that day on, they say that every night of the full moon, at midnight, voices and murmurs are heard at the scene of the tragedy, and two roses are seen floating together in the waters of the river. Hence it is called the “Legend of the Two Roses”.
We spent ages here staring at the rocks and hubby tried his very best effort to point out the heart shaped hole/cave but the sun was fierce and my eyesight is pants so he had a difficult task in hand. God bless his perseverance and for his patience of a Saint (ha ha).
Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Candosa
Afterwards we took a break in the pretty park opposite which is a religious Sanctuary dedicated to Our Lady of Candosa. It is a spectacular Viewpoint with a quaint chapel, old bandstand, cross and picnic park. We visited here back in October 2021 when the wooden walkway was still in the process of being built. I love this place, it’s serene and such a calming environment. It is worth a visit, not only for its religious and cultural value but also for its glorious landscape, views of the Ceira river, valley and the geological phenomenon of Cabril do Ceira. There was obviously some dancing in the bandstand (ha ha).
Solo Selfie Time
Hubby disappeared off to find a bin and was gone ages. I though he had got kidnapped so I took my opportunity to capture some Selfies. I never like Selfies but the lighting here was being kind to my aging, saggy and nearly 50 year old make up free wrinkly face (ha ha).
Garganta do Cabril do Ceira (Cabril do Ceira Gorge)
Afterwards we took a short drive onto the Garganta do Cabril do Ceira (Gorge) for a refreshing dip. We managed to drive right down the dirt track to the entrance and park right opposite the river. This gorge is an absolutely amazing little paradise with breathtaking views. The rugged landscape at the foot of the mountain is a very special sight indeed with the high quartzite walls of the gorge and Ceira river flowing between. It looks like someone has taken a knife and sliced the cliff in two. What a force of nature and natural treasure. It consists of a gorge/canyon, valley, river beach and a natural pool with crystal clear water. This year they have installed a cute quirky Janela (Window) frame, a perfect photo opportunity. There were a few folk practicing their tightrope skills across the river and it was mesmerising to watch. My balance is pants so I didn’t have a go but I loved watching it. There were a few men jumping from the high rocks and I never get bored of watching these brave souls perform their jumps, dives and somersaults through the air. I thought it would be busier for a Sunday in August and the school holidays but it was lovely with plenty of shaded areas on the other side of the river under the trees. On my previous visit to the Gorge I was only brave enough to take a dip up to my ankles as it was October and although it was 27 degrees the water was very fresh which means bloody cold (ha ha). This time it was a fabulous 30 degrees so I changed into my bikini in the back seat of our car and I was in the water faster than a hot frustrated greyhound in heat (ha ha). I love to embrace life and try new things for the first time so it was so awesome to swim right between the rocks of the Gorge and back again whilst hubby filmed me and took photos to memorialise the occasion. The main stars of the show were the tightrope walkers but you can see me swimming, floating and bobbing around in my own little world.
The only negatives were that someone brought a dog with them. Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs but I never understand why folk bring dogs to river beaches in the soaring heat then tie them up to a tree and piss off whilst the dog continuously barks at anything and everything that passes by. There is always a dog and one inconsiderate owner. Luckily it shut up after a while but decided to piss me off further whilst I was eating my picnic lunch. It strutted right over to me, looked me straight in the eyes, crouched down and took a shit inches from our picnic blanket. Now when I say take a shit, it had a weird ass way of pooping and I tried my best not to look but I couldn’t help myself. It crouched down then dragged its butt across the ground like some kind of Russian dance move and it continued to perform a strange slow motion moon walk whilst dragging its butt for about 3 metres and pushing out little blobs of poop along the way. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was like he was having a dirty protest (ha ha). I very loudly said “I hope the owner is going to pick that up” and a lady appeared out of nowhere with a poop bag and tried her best to pick up the scattered blobs of code brown. Needless to say it put me right off my lunch so I had a little nap then the crying baby started because not only is there always a random annoying dog but there is always one family that thinks it’s a good idea to bring a tiny baby to a hot river beach and let it disturb the peace for all around. One other annoyance of mine is that some dog owners pick up the poop in a poop waste bag then can’t be bothered to find a bin so they tie it to a tree, WTF! Why bother? Surely the doggie poop would decompose better on the ground than in a plastic bag suspended from a tree like a Christmas tree decoration. Apart from these 2 minor inconveniences we had a lovely day. End of rant and I still LOVE dogs but you can keep your babies as I don’t do children under 5 (ha ha).
After lunch I encouraged hubby to strip off and venture in the water with me for Round 2 of Wild Swimming. This time we swam even further and as far as we possibly could go until we hit the shallow water and rocks. We sat on huge boulders watching the fishes and spent ages trying to catch them but failed. Folk from the wooden walkway high above us in the bright blue sky waved and shouted pleasant greetings to us which echoed and bounced off the walls of the gorge. We also explored the cave which is an old railway tunnel. Hubby climbed up the rocks on the rope and got down and dirty, I just watched from below. You can see his dirty knees in the very last photo (ha ha).
A gold star to anyone who can spot me swimming like a majestic mermaid in a world of my own! (ha ha).
I have already written a blog post about the Sanctuary and Gorge, you can find it here: https://casavalhal.com/a-day-trip-to-cabril-do-ceira-gorge-cascata-do-candal/
I enjoyed myself so much, especially swimming in the Gorge. I don’t ever want the Summer to end! Saturday and Sunday Soulmate day trips and crazy adventures with my BFF make me smile with pure joy. I loved it all, what a wonderful place of natural beauty. A wild, romantic stroll along the wooden walkway in nature breathing in fresh air and the pretty rivers of Sótão and Ceira glistening in the midday sun under the watchful eye of Senhora da Candosa who from the top looks down on the village of Vila Nova do Ceira.
Another incredibly blissful day with my soulmate. Blessed as always and living life to the MAX. When we arrived home we chilled in the garden in the hammock under the fig tree with our chickens and I could hear a local festival pumping music up the hill but I was very tired from 2 consecutive days of adventure so I left my dancing shoes in my closet. I was mildly gutted as the beer and fartura’s were calling my name (ha ha).
I am ending this post with a final funny photo. Helena was a tad tired so hubby gave her a piggy back (ha ha). I’m surprised he managed to lift my bulk after my impressive 7 lb weight gain. 10 days of British food during my recent UK vacation followed by 3 full weeks of fabulous Portuguese food during my daughter’s visit here. I think he is smiling through gritted teeth, God bless him (ha ha).