Once upon a time… get ready; I will try to tell our story of many years traveling around the country, one that was once so deep that no one could be seen. Now, it remains isolated, but despite everything, more known and accessible.

I hope you like it because this cannot be done in a few words, we spent too many years, just the two of us.

Let’s start then… We usually say, “Do you remember when we were little, and we went to Pena village?” Yes, in fact, we were two youngsters, and one of our biggest pleasures was to travel around the  country, getting to know it, so that we could celebrate it, as we did in these amazing and unforgettable guides “The most beautiful villages in Portugal” and “Time and the Soul.”

We ran across Portugal, even though we knew that once we got there, there would be no one with us, just walking around, and even the places to see were very few, always with such rich and poor “stories,” harsh stories, but always told with sweet smiles on exhausted faces.

They talked to us with a generosity that is so Portuguese, so real, so ours. They showed us their treasures, which were their cows, sheep, goats, and dogs; always the dogs, because these apparently rude people have a very strong bond with their animals, which is reciprocated.

It is very hard for a city person to realize that that villager who doesn’t know how to read or write knows all their sheep, and that all of them have a name (they are all the same to me…+ reading is not enough).

A legend is told in this village that seems very peculiar to me and I want to tell you. Pena is close to S. Pedro do Sul (Beira Alta), in a “hole,” and the access road is made of dirt. Imagine how hard it is to get there. But there is a narrow canyon that could only be crossed by foot, which is really dangerous, but that connected them to a nearby village more quickly.

In this other village, there was a cemetery (Pena is so small they don’t have their own cemetery). So the legend says that one day, one of their few inhabitants died, and their friends decided to carry the coffin through the canyon. But they lost balance and fell, and of course, they died.

As of this day, the canyon was known as “the canyon of the dead man who killed the living.” Despite its name, it is worth visiting it, very carefully. The view is amazing. Time to come back home after another busy day, Porto awaits us. The return was always through the top floor of the Luis I bridge (even though that is not the fastest way home), because the “S. Joanina waterfall” is always different and unforgettable.

 

   Maria José Dias

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