Walking is one of the most simple activities we can engage in and it can generate a profound connection to the world around us, the people we walk with and to ourselves. When we walk we experience a one on one with the world and all its phenomena. If you want to get to know a place, you walk through it.
The Dão valley will tell you a story about a landscape in the 21st century and how it is shaped by the current social, economic and climate realities. A story about how nature survives and struggles and about the many many different ways people interact with the land. As one perceptive hiker said: I find it interesting as a product: romance and reality.
Some of the virtues of walking through the Dão valley:
~ A long distance hike such as this offers the hiker time and space to really feel free in the world and reflect.
~ The trail is called ‘Caminho do Dão’ because it is imagined as a pilgrimage where the hiker, just as on the other Caminho, can experience regeneration.
~ As a hiker and visitor of the valley you literally and figuratively support the people that live here. Your presence and appreciation go a long way in a region that suffers from abandonment.
~ Hiking through the valley over old rural paths brings attention to the value of this environment and can help in the efforts to protect the habitats along the river.
~ Getting to know a river from its source to its mouth can strengthen our bond with and love for the earth and the cycles of live.
The pilgrim walks to be present and to experience regeneration. Many philosophers and sages (Nietsche, Thoreau, The Buddha, Ghandi etc.) have gone before us and it was during the act of walking that their insights came and their work manifested.
The goal of the Caminho do Dão project is to facilitate an experience of being in a healthy relationship with ourselves, others and the natural world.