24-25th August 2021
Natur Water Park : https://www.naturwaterpark.pt/inicio
Castelo de Braganca : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castle_of_Bragan%C3%A7a
What3Words location : https://w3w.co/uncork.rocker.variant
After leaving Porto we headed even further north and spent a few hours at Natur Water Park. The Waterpark does have it’s own campsite, but it was expensive and our good friend Pedro (Istas Garden in Porto) had warned us that it isn’t the nicest place to stay. He actually recommended a couple of other Aires that he believed we would enjoy more. So when the boys were thoroughly exhausted from the slides and pools we headed to Braganca.
Braganca’s free aire is lovely and large, it’s set on a hillside over several levels of terraces. Although there is no electricity, all the other services are available including fresh water, gray and black waste points, recycling bins and even daytime public toilets. Although the facilities are excellent, Braganca, like so many other free aires, is all about location as towering above it is Braganca Castle.
Hungry and tired, we set off to explore and hopefully find dinner. Walking up the hill and through the ancient walls we found a stunning Medieval castle which was home to a couple of restaurants, a church and an Abbey. The thing I found most fascinating was the fact that real people still live in the real houses within the castle walls!
While exploring the castle we learned about the Legend of the Princess of the Tower… When the village was still called Benquerença, there was a beautiful orphan princess who lived with her uncle, the lord of the castle. The princess fell in love with a noble young knight who did not possess great wealth. For this reason, the young man left the village in search of fortune, promising to return when he felt he had a worthy fortune to ask for her hand. For years, the princess refused all suitors, until her uncle promised her to a friend, forcing her to compromise. When she was presented to the uncle of her suitor, she confessed that her heart belonged to another man. This revelation infuriated her uncle, who thought of a ruse to coerce her to marry the one he chose. At night, he disguised as a ghost, and went through the ports of the Princess quarters, pretending to be the ghost of her lover, telling her to marry her suitor or otherwise be subject to damnation. As he was about to get an oath from her, the door to her bedroom opened with a bright ray of light, exposing her uncle's treachery. She went to live in the tower and the two windows became known as the Port of Treason and the Port of Light.**
After thoroughly exploring the battlements we continued in search of a pizzeria with lovely reviews. What we eventually found was Big Bobs, and to be honest, despite the unexpected name, the pizzas were very very good.
With contented tummies we headed back to the motorhome for some wine and an early night. The only slight down side we found to this aire was the barking of nearby dogs! I’m not sure when or if they shut up, we were all so tired that we quickly fell asleep.
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