With our wheels rolling once again, we have headed towards a somewhat agricultural region and at its heart the Land of cork trees or possibly land of owls.
Apparently Named by the first King of Portugal, Alfonso 1st – on passing through the region and seeing the many night hunter’s, he acclaimed the city as Coruche, which derives from the Portuguese name for an owl.
Verity our Volkswagen camper is in good company with scores of other motorhomes on the market place Aire and it’s no wonder when the locals are providing everything including EHU for free ! (N 38.9612, W 8.51928)
Getting here, may have have been slightly awkward as Google Maps may have chosen a beautiful, picturesque route, but the road to the city criss-crosses the river and includes several bridges in just quick succession!
The bridges are no more than single track girder, or truss, bridges painted in dark red and some with height,weight and width restrictions!
The one in the picture was was nice and had traffic lights, some of the others it seemed that the Priority systems were wildly ignored and each bridge crossing was more a new game of ‘chicken’.
But back to Coruche, I’m my mind I was going to land of cork producers, maybe it I was a little naive, sadly at it was winter, the local museum was closed along with the cork observatory as we were on our own !
Cork trees live to an astonishing age. Their average life cycle is 270 years and a tree can be harvested for its cork every nine years, once it reaches maturity.
The cork is removed by hand by carefully axing the outer layer of bark from the tree. This does not harm it, and the tree grows a new cork bark.
The year of harvest is marked on the trunk, so each tree isn’t harvested at the wrong time.
With neither of the local cork museums open, I turned my attention to the Site reviews for inspiration of what to see – disaster!
I hate to grumble about someone else’s opinion, but I must do ‘uninspiring’ – pull the other one ! we hit the town and oh boy what a town ! Absolutely loads of Beautiful building to see
With enough time on our hands we set on a marked walk, ‘the stroke walk’ which promised to take us along the rivers edge and via the country side all in a 8km circular walk.
It provided some amazing riverside views
And Surprisingly the river Sorraia provides the base for rice, grown in paddy fields bordered along the roadside with gigantic bamboo canes. It was a taste of the Orient. If a little flooded from the recent heavy rainfall.
And these little fellas (I know that are probably a pest) living in the irrigation channels.
It just serves as a reminder that just because someone else didn’t enjoy a destination, doesn’t mean you won’t find it beautiful!
P.S. here a pic of the cork made into bags ….