While writing this the river flows by, outside my window. Where we are the river flows substantially due to being influenced by the tide, we are around 20 kilometres upstream from the Atlantic Ocean. The tide difference can be up to 3.5 metres, right now the tide comes in while the wind comes from the South giving the river a rushing flow going up not down.
The Rio Guadiana ends her flow between Vila Real de St Antonio in Portugal and Ayamonte in Spain, creating an impressive estuary which is on the Portugese site a nature reserve. At the end of the river (or for some people the beginning) you not only find several different water-birds including the Flamingo but also salt pans for the winning of the famous sea salt. At times human activities can go easy hand in hand with nature even depends on each other, the salt pans provide for the birds as the ocean provide for the salt pans. The Guadiana has a rich history with many battles therefor you see lots of castles along her shores. Now the castles are nothing more than tourist attraction as the European Union provides no need for canon fire anymore.
The journey of the river starts, as all rivers, high up in the mountains of Castilla-La Mancha in Spain from which she flows interacting with other rivers winding and binding through Spain entering Portugal just the south of Elvas. In modern days she feeds many reservoirs, providing water for agriculture and swimming pooles alike. The last part of the river forms the old border between Portugal and Spain, where we are.
Much of the river stays wild winding through rocky cuts leaving her imprint in the landscape. When looking from above you see the many arms/branches of her site rivers/streams like a watertree in the rocks. How fluid breaks down solid rock year after year carving with patience a ’tree’ sculpture in the surface of the earth. Not only water flows down with the river, also soil, sand, pebbles, branches and all kind of debris which at times we better not recognise. We see small islands coming pass build up by reed with branches holding onto each other to become the resting ‘boat’ for birds hitchhiking on the tide. Yet, all this flowing and moving doesn’t stop the river to be totally silent, being like a reflecting mirror for the land.
You can navigate the river up to Pormaroa, where you find a small jetty for pleasure boats, just down from the remains of the old big jetty from which the train would fill the boats with copper from the mines. Many international boaters, on a variety of yachts, take rest of their sea adventures on the river. They come from different countries been on many seas having plenty of stories to tell and songs to sing. Many of them settled, like us two canal dwellers, on the shores along the river where you see many simple ‘temporary’ buildings and their boats rest close by for trips to the Azoren, Madeira or further an ocean.
The land wanderers also find a great resting place along the river, where they park there campers or vans of all kind of descriptions, contemplating on their next part to wander of to. So really, we didn’t wander of much from Wanderlust, just a different direction and certainly a different flow. No more locks to fill and empty, the bridges do not swing that much here. The water still let our wondering flow, giving us other directions for inspirational mentions by observations. We seem to be a bit on a flow here but it sure feels good.
This morning, before posting this blog, we saw Flamingos on the salt marshes, life is good here, sorry no camera with me.