Ola!! Long time no hear and we have our reasons…
In the end of May we explored Northern Portugal and Galicia together with Janick’s mom. Focusing on the natural parks and places inaccessible by public transport, we decided to rent a small car. This time we’re traveling more family style for 9 days.
We started with a good hike in passadiços do Paiva, an 8.7 km wooden boardwalk along the bank of the Paiva river in Northern Portugal. Truly a great walk with views of rocky cliffs and refreshing water along the way, highly recommended and still quite unknown to international tourists! For those who are interested, please note that you might need to book in advance through this website, especially in high season. No worries of busting your wallet, this only costs €1 per person, what a bargain! However, this boardwalk doesn’t make a loop, so we had to take a taxi back to the starting point that costs €15 total for the three of us. But the views and the experience are definitely worth more…
The day after we took it easy by sightseeing in Lamego, a city that owns an exceptional monument, the Shrine of Our Lady of Remedies (in Portugese: Santuario Nossa Senhora dos Remedios). The stunning staircases decorated with statues of saints in lush gardens lead the way up to the church of Our Lady of Remedies. We counted 612 steps to reach the top… So yeah, take a deep breath.
(note: they have a slightly bigger but similar monument in Braga which is much far more touristic)
Driving further west we passed through Vila Real and head to Miranda do Douro, a town in a natural park on the eastern border of Portugal. Too bad the weather was not on our side so we couldn’t see much of it. From there we went north into Spain. Again the weather doesn’t allow us to do many outdoor activities, so we went sightseeing in the northern Spanish cities of Leon and Gijon. Following the northern coastline of Spain, we drove to and through Galicia. There, on the very west coast, we found a hidden gem. Clear blue sea with sandy beaches and lush green pine forests. It could be a tropical paradise, if not for the cold wind. Swimming can wait 😉
Since we’re in Galicia, we can’t miss the infamous city of pilgrims, Santiago de Compostela. So yes, we did the typical tourist things, like going to the cathedral, the park, and km 0, where the pilgrims finish their long journey and enjoy their victory!
Despite its beauty and spiritualism, Santiago de Compostela is swarmed with tourists and filled with souvenir stores. We find it unfortunate, even so, that it makes Santiago lose its charm. Not recommended unless your 65+ and religious…
What Santiago did bring for us was self-reflection…
We started this journey 4 months ago in order to enjoy our time in different countries keeping our beautiful environment in mind. But most of all we started this website to show our visitors how we travel and how we try to put the focus on experiences, without putting our planet under too much stress. Traveling and moving around stresses our planet greatly, there is no doubt about that. And since more and more people start to discover the world this will have a huge influence on our current and future generations.
A perfect example for us is the changing of the global weather patterns. In EVERY place we went during the past 4 months local people said the weather is not normal for that time of year. Either too wet or too cold or both. And we still see this trend up until today being in Morocco… Spain and Portugal offered us (and you!) so much beauty that it’s crucial to pass this to our next generations…
Santiago was the perfect place to rethink our initial motivation and our impact on the environment. Driving around with a car is regrettably not an ecological way of traveling, but in this case, it’s a considerable option with the inaccessibility of the natural parks. We planned to hike up the mountains and immerse ourselves in nature, but unfortunately, the weather stopped us from doing that most of the time (quite ironic right?). Since we are with 3 people in a small car, our ecological footprint is not that bad. Here’s the comparison of the carbon emissions with different means of transport for our 9 days trip:
|Mode of transport||Calculation||CO2 (ton)|
|Car||2500 km (SMART)||0.29|
|Bus||2800 km (assumed the bus has a longer route) = 0.29 ton CO2 per person
0.29 ton CO2 * 3 people
|Train (using all available railways)||1200 km with long-distance train = 0.02 ton CO2 per person
+ car 1700 km (estimated distance where no rail is available) = 0.2 ton CO2
0.02 ton CO2 * 3 people + 0.2 ton CO2
|Train all the way||500 km short distance + 2000 km long-distance train||0.05|
Source: carbon calculator
This means driving a SMALL car with 3 people in it has less carbon footprint than taking the bus. Compared to the train, the car has almost the same carbon footprint (taking the train on currently available railways on the route and drive the rest with the car). Due to the limited places that we could actually visit with the train, only around 1200 km could be covered. So we still need a car for the rest of the journey. In an ideal world there’s a train or green public transport to anywhere, then we would be able to use it for the entire trip and that will lower down our carbon footprint to as low as 0.05 ton CO2, 17% of the CO2 from driving a car. With the rising of sharing economies, self-driving cars and connectivity, we might see this happen one day…
Now that we spent the last 10 days of May with Liliane it’s time for my parents to visit. As mentioned before, we are already in Morocco at this time of writing. And these family reunions don’t give us much time to keep our website updated but first things first 🙂 Morocco is truly beyond our expectations and we will keep you posted on our adventures soon. It’s worth the wait! For those who can’t wait, our Instagram posts are usually updated more frequently, follow @generationwhynet and @jcphotography1987 for more…
At last a big shoutout to our friends of the Conscious Crew who are the true heroes in making our world a better place… Keep up the good work!!
As usual, the rest of the pictures are also updated and can be found here!