The Bestança is one of the last wild rivers of Portugal. Fifty years ago, the valley was full of people who worked the land, ground corn in water mills, produced “green” wine (“vinho verde”), raised cows and produced vegetables in small gardens. Nowadays, most mills no longer work, although some are still well preserved. Many houses have been abandoned and are in ruins. However, a few families persist in living in Bestanca Valley. Corn is still cultivated, but the cereal is sent to be ground in mechanical mills outside the region. Green wine is produced, and vegetable gardens are cultivated. Some families still raise cows fed on hay and pasture.
The tree cover of the valley consists mainly of deciduous trees, such as pedunculate oaks, sweet chestnuts, black alders, narrow-leaved ash and common walnuts. In spring, as soon as the leaves appear on the branches, the landscape is filled with colour, greens, yellows, browns and oranges.
This photograph was captured in the first days of spring, in the early afternoon. The sun was shining in the sky. The first leaves, green, yellow and orange, appeared on the branches of the trees and gleamed in the sunlight. On the banks of the river, some pastures feed the cows that are still raised in the valley. This wonderful scenery was captured with a Hasselblad X1D-50c in crop mode.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor