Last week I shared a story about two cities, in two sister countries, separated by politics and by the beautiful River Mino.
Well, not so far from there, flows a smaller river, that meets the River Mino -> River Tea:
In the image below, to the left is Portugal, and to the right is Spain. In the middle is a small island that marks the place where Rio Tea enters.
Here, where I stand the distance is so small that you could throw rocks from one country, into the other one ☺️ But that’s not why you should come here.
Nor you should come for the picnic area, as the shores are full of rocks and not so good to play any sorts of games (like badminton 🏸 ).
But you could try to catch butterflies 🦋 or snakes 🐍 .
As you probably saw while reading the title of this article, the reasons for which I came here, are the 3 medieval bridges that start close to Portuguese border and head towards Ponteareas.
Here is a picture with the first bridge that you will encounter if you travel the route of the 3 Bridges:
Yes it is a metal structure, and yes is for trains, so that is why it comes first 😇
Back to the main course: This is the Medieval Fillaboa Bridge as seen from the back (if you start your journey from the Spanish border region)
View from the front.
Now don’t get tricked by the clear and refreshing water.
In this area, especially Mino River area, a special “fish” likes to swim (in the winter/spring periods) -> the lamprey.
I have no picture of one since there are not so easy to spot (I was in summer, so lampreys stay in the open sea) although Galicia has a festival on 13th of March of every year, so you can see them and taste them; just remember the date.
Still, don’t get tricked by the fact that the only bloodsucking animal is in the water because on this route there are many other surprises 🤫
While walking right next to the river, under the shadow of the trees that follow the water, on one side you will see people taking care of their small parcels, planting vegetables or just cleaning the land for future crops. They even have sheds dead close to the river:
While this is romantic and beautiful in its simplicity, there is another side of this river:
The birthplace of the Spanish Wine.
As you can see, there is no need to spend money on private tours to see beautiful vineyards (see this article).
Most people travel this route on the bicycle and in big groups, so it is rather difficult, at times, to stop to take a decent photo of a butterfly, or even a flower (you know how wind can make a picture look fuzzy).
The second bridge is rather far away from the first one. So if you came by car, and you are not fancy for walking 10km, you could get back in, drive to the next location, drop the car there and continue North to Ponteareas on foot (just 4km, in one direction).
Here, at the second bridge (Ponte das Partidas), there is a small parc, a good place to make a picnic, and a big parking to leave your car (better than leaving it in the wilderness, at the first bridge).
Since the route is smaller, is also more pleasant to walk on and stop every 1 minute or so, to capture another photo:
There are many bridges to cross the River Tea, don’t think there are just the lucky 3 ones.
One of them, I had to cross in order to get that picture of a waterfall (as seen a few scrolls up) and another one was to get a closer look at an abandoned house that resembles with the ones hidden in the forest (close to Vigo).
With all this water around you, please don’t forget to pack your own.
The third, and last bridge, A Ponte dos Remedios, is in the city. In Pontereas.
Every bridge has suffered damage during the wars, especially the one close to the border. Actually, that one is in the worst shape of them all.
The second and third bridge, handle car traffic. They each have signalizations to alert the driver when the road is clear (same goes for pedestrians and bikers).
Overall, every adventure is a great adventure. This 14km route, alongside the river Tea, is a beautiful experience if you wish to stay out of the blazing sun (that doesn’t really come often in Galicia), or if you wish to touch history in the shape of three beautiful medieval bridges.
For me, the nature and the history and the journey alongside a river, made me remember my childhood, with only one difference. I did not have my sister alongside, but my girlfriend and as lucky as I am, she too shares the passion for taking photos (as you saw in this article and other before).
See you next time,