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Festival de Caminhadasuma curta história de Uwe Heitkamp

Saturday, the 18th of November 2023.

Fancy an ocean with a mountain view in the south of Portugal in early December, in the Monchique mountains, with the Atlantic stretching out at your feet? Starting Friday 1 December (public holiday) and Saturday 2 December through Sunday 3 December, the Monchique mountains are hosting their annual hiking festival. The town hall of this small mountain village is putting on over a dozen different hikes, well worth your while taking the train and bus to make an extended weekend out of it. Getting off the train at Portimão station, you take Line 94 of the Vamus bus company, which allows you a leisurely ride to Caldas de Monchique, or all the way up to Monchique. We recommend adequate footwear and clothing made of natural fibres.


Covering 27 km, the longest tour starts at Alferce and leads across both regional summits, Picota (776 m) and Fóia (909 m), via Monchique to Marmelete. The shortest tour is a gentle walk to get into the swing of things, leading to the future Botanic Garden of Caldas de Monchique:  1.5 km there and another 1.5 km back. The meeting point is Caldas de Monchique, which is where since 2019 we’ve been growing a new forest featuring native trees: the Monchique oak, the black walnut, and carob amongst many other species of trees, as well as the first Miyawaki forest: the size of a tennis court with 200 trees spread across 40 different kinds of trees.* The protection of the forest forms part of the project: the future Botanical Garden has been provided with a potent sprinkler system to guard against forest fires. Yet another 17-km hike, starting on the summit of Fóia and leading to the Barbelote Waterfalls, comes highly recommended.

MMM 2019

All participants can look forward to a diverse programme. On Saturday, the early evening brings a yoga session with Patricia Lara, hosted in the multi-purpose hall of Monchique. Those who want to get to know the village of Monchique a bit better, can join Fabio Capela on Saturday at 2pm, on a leisurely stroll, exploring narrow alleyways and off-the-beaten-track places. Distance: around 5.5 km. The select programme provides ample choice for a fantastic weekend. Beyond that there is plenty of choice in terms of restaurants, as well as a range of places to stay catering for every budget, ranging from hotels to Alojamento Local. Those managing to arrive by Thursday can look forward to a long eventful weekend spent in nature.

 

* The Miyawaki method is one of the most effective ways of reforestation, creating an autonomous and independent biodiverse ecosystem on a relatively small plot of land over a short period of time. The Miyawaki method was developed by the Japanese professor of botany  Akira Miyawaki (1928-2021).

 

Uwe Heitkamp (62)

trained TV journalist, book author and hobby botanist, father of two grown-up children, knows Portugal for 30 years, founder of ECO123. Translations: Dina Adão, John Elliot, Ruth Correia, Patrícia Lara, Kathleen Becker
Photos:Uwe Heitkamp

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