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Estrada Nacional
Estrada Nacional
This highway is very important to the near-by towns and villages. The Estrada Nacional leads south from Vila Verde da Raia to the ancient city of Chaves and north directly into Spain at Verin. Years ago, you had to stop at the border where the border patrol checked your passport and you got a stamp. I loved those stamps! Now with the EU the borders are open and the station is not needed. Most of the lands in the area are farmland where crops such as corn and fruits are grown, and animals - cows, sheep, pigs- are raised. For years, these little villages, including Vila Verde da Raia, were populated mostly by the elderly who wanted to stay as the younger generations went to the big cities of Portugal and to France and Spain in search of more lucrative careers. In the past few years, things have changed. With more modes of transportation (trains, buses, cars) the younger generation has a desire to work in the larger cities of Portugal, or even in Spain, and be able to return home at night to a peaceful bucolic setting where they want to raise there children. Little villages like Vila Verde da Raia are once again full of life, hope, and happy locals. When traveling in Portugal, try to get to some of the little towns and share some time with the friendly residents. If there is a little cafe, enjoy a meal and some local wine. Buy some handicrafts to take home. This will be a highlight of your travels. Most hotel front desks can recommend safe, fun, historic choices.
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