Serra do Açor has, in every corner, a majestic and pure air. The hillsides seem to be hand-designed and colored from its untouched appearance. Crossing Serra do Açor is necessary to reach the village of Piódão. During this route, with breathtaking landscapes, growth in us great curiosity and impatience. We wanted to see more of the mountain range, but in between the many curves to the left and right, we were often lurking to see if that was the moment when we would glimpse some sign of the Nativity Village.
When, in the distance, we began to see the shale houses and the blue of the doors and windows that punctuate the terraces of the mountain, we just got astonished. We were not aware of something so genuine and original in our own country.
Piódão is remarkably different. As soon as we arrive, we felt that will that always consumes us when we are in a new place: we have to find out and see everything. Luckily for us, to know Piódão, implies losing ourselves in the narrow and steep streets, with incredible beautiful houses and shale sidewalks, forming a closed labyrinth, irregularly accompanied by a trickle of water: the levada (Portuguese for weir or dam, in this case, a small canal to conduct water).
It is lovely to wander through this amphitheater, as the village is known, given the layout of its buildings. The houses have an impressive aesthetic consistency, taking into consideration the age of its constructions. The whole village, besides overwhelming by its beauty and peculiarity, also fascinates for how the human being adapted to the most inhospitable of the places.
In touch with the inhabitants of Piódão, we realized that the terraces built on that hillside, which is both graceful and sloping, were once the places where all the livelihoods of the families that lived there were harvested. It was a gentleman who, lying in the shade of his shale house, told us that one of the murderers of Dona Inês de Castro, Diogo Lopes Pacheco, is said to have lived in Piódão, surnames that still exist today and dominate in the village: the Lopes and the Pacheco.
Piódão is a village that is starting to open and organize itself for the tourism. More, it has already houses prepared to be rented to those who want to enjoy the beauty and the peace of the place and its surroundings. The village also allows refreshing baths in the small fluvial beach that owns.
In addition, we had the opportunity to get lost in Serra do Açor trails’, and the specific one we chose has about 7 kms - Piódão-Foz d’Égua-Chãs d’Égua. This route showed us an almost untouched fauna and flora, many uninhabited shale houses along the hillsides, and the water of the river accompanying us in a relaxing and peaceful melody.
We went to Foz d’Égua and there we were delighted with the transparency of the cold water that invites to a refreshing dip in the hot days of August. The stone bridges that arise from the river, one of them covered by a clambering plant, and the wooden staircase that leads us to the Sanctuary at the top of the Serra do Açor, make that place an idyllic one.
If there is a country that owns many charms and nooks, it is ours. We are proudly Portuguese and this time was Piódão that surprised us, and we fell in love a little bit more for our country.