Once discovering the existence of Peneda Geres, I knew I need to check it out. That’s why I included Braga in the first place in my itinerary. Braga is relatively close and it’s a good place as a base if you want to visit the national park, though if you have more time on your hand, better spend a few days in Geres itself. Let’s see how did it all happened…
I didn’t feel my trip rushed at all because I did it all in my own rythm, which can be at times really intense and exhausting for other – hence traveling solo works so well for me – and just spontaneously decided spending only half day in Geres. Basically the day started very early in Braga, where I had my bus at 7:15 am. It was still dark and just a couple more people on the streets when I was trying to figure out my way to the bus station.
Obviously I never have a map, I don’t need it and frankly, I’m not even good with it, it makes me more confused then I am. Relying on locals suits me much more and surprisingly even with all the language barriers you could imagine it works out perfectly eventually. So it happened that early morning too, when I picked a random public bus driver and asked him directions. He spoke a few words in German but the information didn’t help me much because apparently the bus station was too far to make it in time there by walking. I was like: oh,no!!! I’m gonna miss the bus! That’s when I discovered the genuine Portuguese good will. The bus driver literally drove the bus with a few more passengers in it on a different route all the way to the bus station I needed and I catched my bus in the last minute. It was the most impressive thing I experienced! Nobody complained about the change and his face was all brightened when he saw I’m in time for my bus. Wow!
The day continues with other surprises, this time from our beautiful nature: it’s sunrise time.
In approximately one hour Geres is reached and I’m all energized to discover it. At the supermarket where I buy my water and food provision, they speak great English and point me to the trails. Hiking goes well until I reach a point that leads through the forest and I continue my way very brave, though it’s like a jungle and the trail is hard to follow cause all kind of plants with pointy leaves stick to me and I start to don’t see the path anymore. For a minute I become the prisoner of the naughty plants and getting rid of them is quite a work. I decide returning before I completely lose my way, here there’s nobody to ask for directions, and my whole body feels like I had some kind of Chinese massage with those sticks they sting you with. Funny feeling – those naughty plants!
My hiking adventure failed, but instead I found a cute park, which was not a bad replacement.
In Geres you can do shopping, relax at the spa, eat and drink in the few restaurants they have there. But if you really want to see something nice, aprox 5 km away there is a gorgeous lake. Transportation can be problematic if you rely on the buses and your time is limited. So I took a long long walk, which didn’t seem as long thanks to the breathtaking view along the way.
I reached the lake much earlier than I expected, so I guess I walked aprox 5 km?! It was worth it! In the sunny day the water reflected the blue sky and was so inviting that my feet tried it but brrr too cold! Surely I good chilling place though. Quiet and beautiful, great location to connect with nature.