In the extreme north of Portugal, between the two mountain plains of Castro Laboreiro (to the North) and Mourela (to the East) is the granite semi-circle of Peneda-Gerês National Park. The mountains of Peneda (1373 m), Soajo (1217 m), Amarela (1092 m) and Gerês (1545 m) constitute the only Portuguese protected area that has been classified as a National Park. Additionally, it is recognised as a PAN Park i.e. it is one of only 11 European parks covering an area of no less than 20,000 hectares, and in which the wilderness area amounts to no less than 10,000 hectares, so that the fauna and flora can develop freely.
If you want to expend some energy there are plenty of opportunities, since you’ll find ideal conditions for practising activities such as canyoning or canoeing. If you just want to go for a walk, follow the winding and well conserved path of the Roman road or “geira” and admire the milestones that are almost 2000 years old. Keep your eyes peeled, because you may be able to spot a roe deer (symbol of the Park) or its predator, the Iberian wolf. It is more common to come across Garrano ponies – which are small wild horses that run freely across the hills. Source: Visit Portugal
After completing the Annapurna Circuit I arrived back in Kathmandu via Chitwan NP for some rhinoceros spotting and a white-water rafting trip. Although I managed to stay healthy crossing China and Tibet, Nepal really tested me. My health never really improved after getting ill whilst trekking the Annapurna Circuit. The development of a headache and fever upon my return was a sign that I had to slow down. I would have liked to continue through to Lumbini, Varanasi and New Delhi but I considered myself really lucky being allowed to travel through Tibet. Shown below is an interactive map of my entire journey from Beijing to Kathmandu with hyperlinks to blog posts.
South of Lake Eğirdir, Lake Kovada takes shape in a narrow weathered karst valley. I hired a bicycle from Eğirdir and cruised ~25 kms through apple orchards, saluting the tractor drivers along the irrigation channel that links the two lakes, to explore the National Park. I circuited a small peninsula jutting into the lake along a rocky trail. It was the middle of autumn so the golden colours of the sycamore maples and Turkey oak were contrasted splendidly with the evergreen pines and bleached karst morphology of the park.
Returning to Eğirdir was not so pleasant because I had to battle a headwind and lake-effect snow. I took a detour through the small farming village of Tepeli to buy some fruit cake and when seeing me on a bench outside the store in the cold devouring it, I was beckoned into a Turkish tea house for çay to warm-up. Inside the dense smoke filled tea house were several elderly men and a couple of young soldiers huddled around a kerosene heater. A more authoritative soldier was conducting an interview at a desk at the back of the room. I could see those huddled around the heater were puzzled as to why I was in their village so I pulled out my phrase book and map to explain my trip to Kovada Gölü Milli Parkı to set their minds at ease. After a couple of glasses of sugary çay I bid hoşçakal and was on my way.
The recent Easter break gave me an opportunity to complete a pleasant three day trek with Der Jodlerkönig across the Victorian Alps’ Crosscut Saw. I was questioning Big Ben‘s assessment of it as ‘one of those great yuppy walks of the high country’ until I passed, walking back on Easter Saturday, those of which he speaks so endearing of. I also rated the sensation of being inside a wilderness zone i.e. being able (should I succumb to the temptation) to watch YouTube on a mobile phone to lull myself to sleep after a VB + chorizo + korean noodle Trangia combo meal…
Criticism of my photography isn’t something that usually bothers me, but there was something about Ian Smith’s visit to this blog that left me feeling a bit stale.
I thought the rainforest shot was fairly ordinary. You can see hardly any detail and I wondered why it was included. Also, it is disappointing (for me obviously) to see the stunning colours of snow gums reduced to black and white. Source
Well Ian, I returned to the Mousetrap Falls Complex to expand on the lack of detail you referred to (although I feel it’s now reaching the point of detail overload). It was winter this time and winter means Mount Sabine receives lots of rain. The photograph you critiqued was taken in summer at the very top of the several cascades that form the Mousetrap Falls Complex. But before you start fretting about the lack of colour Ian, after descending as far as I could safely go I put some Velvia into my Pentax for ascension…to rival the Gods of Photography, naturally.