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PORTUGAL: Along the Tua River and railway

1 June 2011 No Comment

On the 14th of this month, the employees of the Douro Interior Concession, Lot 6, went on a trek from Brunheda to Foz do Tua (mouth of Tua River). It’s a long time since employees Jorge Carvalho and Abílio Teixeira have been developing this idea that has now been put into practice. “This initiative was initially intended only to the employees of this work and would be a walk among friends, but it quickly expanded to other colleagues within the company, because I have always advocated that putting colleagues from various areas in life-sharing activities should be carried out , so that anyone who integrates this five days per week “family” knows each other personally”, said Jorge Carvalho. The hiking initiative has linked Brunheda’s railway station and Foz do Tua, a distance of about 21 km, via Tralhão, São Lourenço, Santa Luzia, Castanheiro and Tralhariz, including so the municipalities of Alijó (departure and return), Carrazeda de Ansiães (all the way) and S. João da Pesqueira (Foz Tua). Winding paths, ending in a walk over the track ballast, and crossing the Tua railway: that’s what some 30 participants, composed of employees of Mota-Engil Engenharia and their family, have found there. “We knew that, with the start scheduled for seven a.m. in Alijó, it would be an extra effort that could limit the adherence, but all those who have expressed their wish to participate have improvised means to be here the day before and everyone appeared on time, even knowing that the route was rated of medium/high difficulty,” said Jorge Carvalho. All then began to hike, despite the difficulty of the track and the heat still to come. But the good-fellowship and the spirit of adventure emboldened to end this wonderful and walking journey, even for those who experienced this type of event for the first time. “It was a big challenge because this was my first hiking experience and the track was very ambitious: the distance itself, the type of floor, the climate and also the unexpected events that occurred, such as allergies to flowers and plants of that region. But the most important thing was to have overcome all obstacles and to have reached the end with the mission accomplished feeling,” said Paula Maria, one of the participants. Actually, the nature, fauna and flora of the region were factors that leave no one unaffected. For Célia Caipira, who is accustomed to other kinds of hiking, it was not so difficult to overcome the difficulties. She’d rather refer to “the contact with nature” as a determining factor that lingered in her mind, besides the interaction between everyone. “The rail line crosses a magnificent valley of dream landscapes almost unreal, always escorted by the waters of the Tua River, and the quiet and beauty are absolutely indescribable,” she added. The hike had the support of the city councils of Alijó and Carrazeda de Ansiães for the transportation of the participants from the work site to the start of the walk and the return, as well as the distribution of tourist brochures. It ended around 2 o’clock p.m. and was followed by a lunch among everyone, where souvenirs were given and “the bonds of friendship and fellowship among all” were strengthened. The goal was achieved, according to Jorge Carvalho, who confided that “there were already a few challenges to repeat similar initiatives, and even the wish to create a department of Mota-Engil Engenharia employees designed for organising such events.” Given the positive feedback of everyone, we expect more initiatives of this kind, as the organisation tried in this case to provide an activity with reduced costs, where the social relations justify all the sacrifices. And the goals were largely achieved. Let’s hike again!