The “Table of the Four Abbots” (“Mesa dos Quatro Abades”) trail is in the north of Portugal, the region of Ponte de Lima. The brochure of this trek says that the length of this circular path is 11,7 km. We cut the final part (you can see the blue line in the image below) and did 10 km in 4,5 hours.
Frogs concert near the lagoon
The starting point of this trek is the village of Lugar de Vacariça. We were lazy and started trekking at 11 am. It’s not a very good idea if you consider that now, in the summer days, the temperature can go up to +30ºC. When we trekked the temperature was around +26ºC and we would have appreciated a much cooler weather.
After 3,5 km, we reached the lagoon of Salgueiros Gordos. We stopped there, found a shade, had a snack and layed down for around 2 hours, accompanied by a concert from the lagoon‘s frogs.
Continuing the path
When the heat passed a bit, we continued trekking. It was good that the path was going sometimes through the forest, so it offered some pleasant shade.
After another 3,5 km, we were near the village of Vilar do Monte. At that point the trek was diverting us from a clear path onto a path that went through the bushes. So, at first, we went through there with some difficulty until when we thought that the bushes ended, but in fact they didn’t. We didn’t see how to pass them, so we came back to the clear path that also led to the village.
Table of four abbots
The place that this trek is named after really exists, near the village of Vilar do Monte. It’s a stone table with four chairs in a picturesque location.
The legend says that, in the old days, the abbots from the four neighbouring villages would meet there to debate and resolve the most diverse subjects.
We had our late lunch there and rested a bit.
After it, we started the most difficult part of the trek. The path was always going up. Our smart watches were showing 160 heart beats per minute. So we opted to stop often for a minute or two to rest.
Also, we opted not to do the last part of the path, around 2 km. We took a shortcut instead. This meant that we didn’t go to the place where you can enjoy nice views (Miradouro da Vacariça).
Will we do it another time?
Our views on this trek were different. Pedro didn’t find it very interesting. For me it was a nice trek but maybe also because of the fact that it was the longest trek after my accident. It was very nice to feel that from not being able to walk at all I can do 10 km of walking now. But frankly, in the past, we did much nicer treks in the north of Portugal.
Also, there were three disturbing things during the trek. Maybe because of the heat we were pestered by flies during almost all of the path. At one point Pedro took out the towel and was waving it almost all the time.
Another thing, all the path was full of cows and horses’ “goodies”. If in the beginning we were watching where to step, in the end we just didn’t bother with it. The third issue was that the path was going through the bushes near the village of Vilar do Monte. There, we felt we were in the dead end and diverted from the original trek. Also in the bushes we didn’t choose where to step and very often we went on top of cows and horses’ “goodies”. The good side of this was that those “goodies” had already aged.
In summary, doing this trek once was enough for us. The coordinates of the trek can be downloaded from the Ponte de Lima website.