This is the longer proposal and more demanding but the route and destination are worth it. You will be able to observe the Tagus River, an inescapable geological element, through a century-old bridge of iron architecture. On the way, you will cross a forest that will take you to an “Avieiros” village, where we will catch a boat to do ecotourism and bridwatching(*). Optionally you can visit a museum dedicated to this people with a very own identity.
* FOR BIRDWATCHING YOU WILL NEED TO CONTACT PREVIOUSLY:
Rio a dentro
(+351) 915 880 518
Optionally, you can also visit:
Museu Escaroupim e o rio
(+351) 962 411 168
This proposal includes a visit to the local heritage.
Let’s start parallel to the river, leaving Quinta da Marchanta by the river side exit and turning left. After Quinta da Marchanta, the breakwater of the dam has a vegetal cover. At this point, you should follow the narrow tar-road.
On your left is an old nunnery founded in 1832. Unfortunately you can not visit it. Go ahead.
Go forward with the dike on your right side. Further on you will find the neighborhood of Morgado, formed by the community of workers who once lent their labor to a farm of the same name. Most of the neighborhoods in this village have been formed from this logic.
When you reach the beginning of the neighborhood, even before the dike is once again covered with rock, you will find a pedestrian ramp. Climb up the ramp to the top of the dike to observe the landscape. The path will be over this millenarian construction.
Go a few yards until after the first house. On the right side, there is a hydrometric scale dating from 1877, used until recently to communicate the levels of the waters of the Tagus River. The conviviality with the river is a strong component of life in these stops. On the one hand it is essential for this community of fishermen, boatmen and farmers, on the other hand in rainy years rises to undesirable levels. The network of diques has always served to defend the community in these critical years. Let’s move on.
Go through the neighborhood over the dam. Throughout this neighborhood, you will step on the same stones as the writer Maria da Graça Freire, an important literature figure of the XX’s century, and the same ones that steped the Benfica football player, Jose Rosário, an important player in the first international conquest of the club. At the point where the dam makes a depression near the blue house, it was once on the right side, a river port from which goods were dispatched and arrived. After this point, the vernacular architecture of the “Avieros” neighborhood prevails, a community that left the sea to dedicate itself to fishing in the river.
Continue forward. The bridge begins to glimpse in the background.
We are facing the side of the bridge, so let’s go to the entrance. Here you can see the interior of this railway bridge, which King Carlos inaugurated in 1904, and which he named Queen Amelia.
At the top of the arch on the entrance, it use to be on the latest times of the monarchy, a coat of arms allusive to it, that the people destroyed on the republican revolution in 1910. Today the bridge is affected to the transit road, and the central way serves this transit, so follow the passage on the right. Keep going forward on the way to the river.
This bridge, was built in the style of iron architecture. At the time it allowed the connection of the rail network of the north and the southern railroad, being the point of crossing of the Tagus river more to the downstream. With 800 meters of board, it was at the time the longest Iberian bridge.
Crossing the bridge, we will continue on the tar road, making the curves to which it forces us. We will pass on a small bridge, already near the village of Muge and we will follow the same road until the first treadmill where we will turn right to a road of earth.
This will be the road that will take us to the final destination. The beginning of the course has some things to watch out for, like some rocks on the road and some holes, but 300 meters ahead and the scenery changes completely. After a flat stage, we will probably have to dismount from the bikes given the ascent we will find, but then we are back to the flat terrain.
Here we have to take all the care and watch carefully both sides before crossing the unguarded railway line. The site has a wide perspective, so do not take risks. Wait for the train if it comes down there.
After transpose the railway line, go straight ahead in the next 4 kms, crossing the wonderful forest, passing by the Camper Park until finally glimpsing a village. You will find a crossroad where you have to turn right to visit Escaroupim.
We are finally arriving, and we will turn right after taking the tar road to go to the riverbank that is at the bottom of the street. In the middle we pass the Escaroupim museum, which we will optionally visit. We continue on to the docks, where the boat that we will catch for the Birdwatching awaits us.
Return to Marchanta along the same path.