Route of Carabias’ Oak Grove
Saturday March 18th, 2017

Carabias will amaze us with the arcaded gallery that surrounds the Romanesque church of El Salvador from the 13th century, which stands out due to its arches oriented toward the midday and the west. The door is a simple piece of beauty. Precisely, the name of Carabias derives from the Ligurian term “carau”, meaning stone or rock, abundant in the surroundings. Liguria is the Italian region whose capital is Genoa, resulting in the surprising twists words sometimes take through linguistic geography until reaching a place.

After walking through Carabias and a drink of fresh water in one of the two founts of the town and leaving Cardamomo, we will go up the small slope in the little square next to the hotel and after passing it we will turn to the right to reach the highest part of the town. The path rising to the plateau starts there. There are three hundred meters of smooth ascent, although steep, but totally worth it for what awaits us above. It will surprise us to encounter the large expanse of meadow and oak forest. The silence is part of the landscape and the wind running unimpeded will be the only sound we hear in such a singular landscape, along with breathing in, without distractions, the perfume of the sloes and rosemary.

The route crosses the meadow and enters the thick oak grove extended before us. This is made up of Portuguese oaks and some Pyrenean oaks. They are differentiated from one another because the latter has a larger and lobed leaf, although it is not uncommon to find hybrid specimens. Both retain dry leaves on the branches until the following spring, when the new leaves sprout. It is a recent forest, with a majority of young specimens and in good condition. Reasonable usage helps with its good condition, based on the extraction of firewood through “lots” from which the inhabitants of the towns benefit.

Continuing forward we enter the proper oak grove. There, we can walk on flat, accessible terrain for kilometers without being disturbed, unless by a chance encounter with some fallow deer or partridge. It is possible to reach the Atance marsh. In this case, it is preferable to partake of a good picnic and water.

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