GC4MY8K-Ponte Velha - Casas da Ribeira [Mação]
"In the sky there was still some mist, it was almost seven o'clock and the day had already awakened. The birds were already making themselves heard, thousands and millions were the first interpreters I heard this morning.
After a brief conversation with my friend Gonçalo Lobato by the Chapel of Senhor dos Aflitos (Casas da Ribeira - Mação) we left for an uncertain walk along non-existent paths. Sincerely for me it is the best way to walk through the landscape.
With the village behind me on the left side of my shoulder, we descended towards the Ribeira. I think that whoever passes by is not indifferent to the whitewash of a small monument on the right side. A small building in memory of those who drowned there when trying to cross the stream at this place, before the old bridge existed. The image of the Lord of Souls that we find there is no longer the original, the old one was made in bronze.
The old bridge of Casas da Ribeira was built in the 70's of the 18th century. It is being recovered in these days. We can notice by the colour of the stones that it already needed a hand. The lighter stones are the patches that were added to this old building.
I walk along the bridge with the feeling of renewal, I have always known this "old" bridge as the name it bears. I lean over its guards, down there the water runs crystalline. It's winter, apart from the sound of the birds and the water, everything else seems to rest. I look forward to seeing again these green fields full of flowers and other movements.
Nearby, on the left bank, downstream from the bridge is the old bridge mill. According to my friend Raúl Coluna the existing mills in Casas da Ribeira at that time were not prepared to grind wheat, that's where the corn was milled.
To grind the wheat the journey was long, Caratão passed to go to grind the grain in the Vale da Mua. Notice that in those times the existing means of transport would be the donkey or the male, in the last case on foot...
Upstream from this old bridge a few kilometres higher, at the bottom of the Moorish hole there is another mill, the vegetable garden mill. But today the way is down! That's why I didn't pass there.
We followed the right side of the stream because I wanted to see some trees that I planted there. As I don't like to walk back and forth and we needed to pass to the other side, we took the opportunity to cross in an old weir there. When this dam was closed it made the water enter the levada that would supply the next mill...
I know this place well, from year to year I notice that acacias come to occupy the place of other native species of this our Ribeira de Eiras. In other times all these fields would be cultivated, nowadays everything is abandoned...
I continue to follow the water levada that takes me to a beautiful place to grow, among the trees by the stream something big moves, probably boars".
(Source: RESPIRA NATURE GAdy Rui Santos https://respiranatureza.com/2019/03/06/casas-da-ribeira-macao-relatos-de-uma-caminhada-parte-i/)
Casas da Ribeira
N 39º 34' 23.401'' W 7º 58' 43.561''
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