Through Portugal's beautiful São Mamede Natural Park, two hours inland from Lisbon, ramblers can follow the old smugglers' route into Spain through cherry orchards and past a slate quarry. You are bound to come across 7,000-year old dolmens (megalithic tombs) at Los Mellizos.
Explore the beautiful and ancient route in the São Mamede hills, and the historic towns of Marvão and Castelo de Vide. This walk starts and finishes in Valverde del Fresno, the most westerly village in the Sierra de Gata just a few kilometres from the Portuguese border. It's an old route used by smugglers in the days when tobacco and alcohol were heavily taxed and later, when guns were needed during the Civil War. Owing its name to the purposes it was used for, the trail was also used to smuggle people in and out of the surrounding areas during war. Later the main goods were coffee for the Spanish and meat for the impoverished Portuguese. The route passes the natural pool in Valverde, open during July and August when it gets considerably hot.
It takes about four hours to walk along the 14.5km long route at an elevation level between 482m-784m. One can admire the River Elvas that runs just at the starting of the trail. The road further along the way splits into two – one leading to a natural pool while the other keeps going on for the more adventurous of the travelers. The place provides a great opportunity to hold campfires in the woods, surrounded by flowering bushes and breathtaking natural scenes. The track descends quite steeply and gives lovely views towards the village of Eljas in the distance, which is worth exploring, especially the old part around the square.
The heart scarab is an artifact carved from dark-coloured stones, the bottom of which is divided into 11 horizontal rows, 10 of which are inscribed with Book of the Dead spell written in neat hieroglyphs that read from right to left. A manifestation of solar deity Khepri, this protective scarab was a symbol of new life and resurrection at the time and was used to prevent the heart of the deceased from creating any opposition for him when passing to the netherworld. Since the sun was thought to die each night and be reborn each morning as a scarab beetle, the insect took on significant regenerative powers. It was beneficial to the deceased to harness these powers so he or she could be reborn into the afterlife. The amulet could either be placed in the tomb or within the deceased’s mummy wrappings, particularly atop the heart.
The people of that time believed that their heart would be weighed against a feather by the funerary jackal god, Anubis before a panel of 42 judging deities, at the threshold of the netherworld. If the heart was lighter than the feather, the deceased would pass to the next life successfully. If it was not, he or she would then be devoured on site by a hybrid hippopotamus monster and cease to exist for eternity. The inscriptions amulet carried were to act as a message from the deceased to the heart that it should not confess to any of the wrongs that the dead person might have committed during his or her lifetime before the weighing-of-his-heart ceremony so as to avoid punishment.
Born: February 02, 1995, Faisalabad, Pakistan
Star Sign: Aquarius
Talent: Computer prodigy
Famous for: Becoming the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional until 2008
Died: January 12, 2012, Lahore, Pakistan
Arfa Abdul Karim Randhawa was a Pakistani student and computer prodigy who, in 2004 at the age of nine, became the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP), a title she kept until 2008. Since then, the young girl represented Pakistan on various international forums and was even invited by Bill Gates to visit Microsoft Headquarters in the United States. Having been born into a Punjabi family of Randhawa clan of Jat, Arfa grew up in a modest household and excelled in studies from the start. She first came to prominence after setting the record for being the youngest MCP 12 years ago.
After returning to Pakistan from a visit to Microsoft headquarters in the states, the computer prodigy was even written about by S. Somasegar, the vice president of Microsoft's Software Development Division, in his blog. On 2 August 2005, Arfa was presented the Fatimah Jinnah Gold Medal in the field of Science and Technology by the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shaukat Aziz on the occasion of 113th birthday celebration of Mother-of-the-Nation. She received the Salaam Pakistan Youth Award the same year from the President of Pakistan.
Continuing to garner praise from the entire nation and honours from the government, Arfa was selected as the recipient of the President's Award for Pride of Performance, a civil award granted to people who have shown excellence in their respective fields over a long period of time, which made her the youngest honouree. In her short life, Arfa made her country proud by representing it on various international forums; she was invited by the Pakistan Information Technology Professionals Forum for a stay of two weeks in Dubai where a dinner reception was hosted in her honour. The event, attended by the dignitaries of Dubai and the Ambassador of Pakistan, saw the young girl being presented with numerous awards and gifts in recognition of her talents and efforts. She was further encouraged in November of 2006 when she was invited by Microsoft to attend the Tech-Ed Developers conference held in Barcelona where Arfa was the only Pakistani among over 5000 developers.
On 22 December of 2011, young Arfa suffered from a cardiac arrest following an epileptic seizure and was admitted to a hospital in critical condition. It was revealed that the seizure had damaged her brain to a considerable extent. Bill Gates extended help to the family by offering to adopt “every kind of measure” for the treatment. He set up a special panel of international doctors who remained in contact with her local doctors through teleconference. By 13 January 2012, Arfa started to improve, but the relief was short lived, as she died the next day. Her funeral was attended by the Chief Minister of Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif. She was buried at her ancestral village in Faisalabad. On 15 January 2012, Shahbaz Sharif announced that the name of Lahore Technology Park would be changed to Arfa Software Technology Park in her honour.