We are Freya van Dien (L) and Nadine van Schie (R) and between April 29 and May 9th 2019 we walked the length of the Dão river.
We have been friends for more than 40 years and have shared many adventures together yet this was our first long distance hike. Our plan was originally to go hiking in a more well known and (even) more scenic hiking area like the Pyrenees but lack of funds made us rethink this plan. As it happens Freya lives on the Dão river and, already for a few years, has been dreaming about walking the entire length of the river and possibly turning a walk like this into an official walking route. As the Portuguese say ‘A necessidade aguça o engenho’ (need sharpens the engenuity) and the need to go walking and to explore the possibilities of the Dão valley made us decide to do a Caminho do Dão and make this experience public.
What does the first Caminho do Dão entail?
As mentioned above between April 29th and May 9th we walked and took the first steps in developing ‘O Caminho do Dão’ as a project with the intention for this to become ‘The first nature pilgrim route in the world’. We hope you will enjoy seeing the story unfold and hope to have your support in the effort.
The goals of the first phase of this project:
~ Launching a website that chronicles the first walk and this first phase of the project.
~ Connect to the network of stakeholders and find project supporters.
~ Get to know the best route. Best meaning the most interesting in terms of landscape and the most practical when it comes to sleeping and eating along the way.
~ Get to know people and gather information about interesting places along the way.
~ Ask ourselves the following questions:
How can ‘O Caminho do Dão’ facilitate the physical and mental benefits of the act of walking in the Dão valley? In ways that are additional to the act of walking.
Can ‘O Caminho do Dão’ as a project somehow help protect nature in the Dão valley?
What do we imagine when we think about conservation tourism?
How can we integrate Daoism (also known as Taoism) and the Philosophy of Walking in the project?