09 August 2013

Levada do Castelejo

Not all the levadas in Madeira traverse the high mountains and snake only across the pristine primeval Laurissilva forest.. Despite being born mostly that way, many quickly find their path, across gentler mountain slopes, to the lower altitude agricultural fields, thus allowing the trekkers an easier approach to an activity that could be, otherwise and in particular situations, hazardous by nature.
The Levada do Castelejo is one of that kind.
Starting the walk at the small village of Cruz, near Terra Baptista, on the Northern coast of Madeira, you can either go left or right along the levada. If you choose the right direction the levada will take you, in about one and a half hour, to its source, deep in the high valley of Faial. On the other hand, if you choose the left direction you can go all the way to Referta, Porto da Cruz and beyond, along a gentle and humanized landscape, with plenty of agriculture fields and fruit trees along the way. You choose.
The starting of Levada do Castelejo, near the village of Cruz, gives us an idea of how proud Madeira inhabitants are of their irrigation system: the locally-called "levadas". Well-kept gardens and houses abound along the way to Referta.
Contrasting with the monochromatic nature of the levadas built deeply in the Laurissilva forest, the ones crossing the humanized landscapes of the lower altitudes are, most of the times, a colour feast for our eyes.
Water is life. And Madeira is no exception to the rule. Most of the times, in the hills of Madeira island, houses are built (or more correctly... were, in ancient days) along the levadas to take advantage of the nearby fresh water supply.
A small bamboo plantation along the Levada do Castelejo, on the way to Referta. A curious sighting along this levada. And a proof that the gentle Madeira climate allows the growing of almost everything.
A small specimen of the "levadas" fauna. If they are bigger in size and appear to be free, be prudent. Sometimes they consider the contiguous levadas as their own backyards. This one, however, was trekker-friendly and luminous in nature.
All the photos taken with the Nikon Coolpix P7100 and post-processed in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, ver. 4.1.

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