Our next destination wasn’t too far away, a thirty or so minute drive north along the coast to a small place called Sao Teotonio, I had managed to find us a little weekend organic retreat where Permaculture was practiced. Set in a forest but close to the coast it looked and sounded perfect. When you are following directions that tell you to turn down a country track, no matter how sure you are that you are on the right track, there is always something that makes me stop and question. “Do you think this looks right, he didn’t say anything about going over a stream, he said the track would bend to the left after about 500 metres, do you think we have gone 500 metres yet, shall we turn around and go back?”
We arrived at the house and at first it didn’t seem like anyone was home. But as I peered through the large glass window I could see someone sitting on the sofa. It wasn’t long before David, the owner, met us and gave us a tour around his property. Both David and his wife were Psychologists and they were in the process of building a large studio/workshop where they would be able to hold classes etc, it had an amazing roof terrace and beautiful views towards the forest. The property hosted an old shrine which was protected by law so this had been turned into a meditation and yoga centre, again with the most stunning views towards the forest. The retreat also hosted a natural pool, which was almost luminous green and rather inviting, only we had arrived a tad too late for a dip, but the frogs (and there were tens’ of them) didn’t seem to mind.
The retreat was broken out into a couple of parts, a building that hosted several rooms, all on the ground floor, facing the garden with a little outside table and a hammock. It was nice to kick back in the hammock and admire the Permaculture garden David had created, the tomatoes, squash and aubergines were doing really well, one of the chickens however was not, it was been pecked at quite badly by the other two. So this is where we would be spending a couple of nights in a cozy double bed, a welcomed sight after a week on a blow up mattress, with a flush toilet, another welcomed sight, somewhere I could pee in comfort without the worry of been seen through the window and we even had our own little kitchenette, but we were up for a bit of socialising so we headed up to the big communal kitchen where Olof got set to cook us up a feast. Also staying at the retreat were a young couple from the UK, Claire a fellow northern lass and her husband Michael, taking vacation in Portugal and celebrating their wedding anniversary, so we all settled down for our evening meal and good conversation, before we knew it the bottle of red was empty and we were already into Sunday morning.
Walking around “an almost” strangers kitchen and taking food from their fridge in order to make yourself breakfast should seem a little strange no? But that’s just how David prefers it after losing his resident chef. I guess that is one of the downsides of having Wooffing couples. But luckily the resident gardener had stayed and he was doing a really good job looking after the mandala and other parts of the garden.
The kitchen here is beautiful, jars and jars of natural foods containing cereals, beans, herbs, spices and teas. Baskets full of fruit and veg from the permaculture garden and two fridges full of good, healthy produce, the only problem was deciding what to have for breakfast.
It’s funny how the smell of coffee brings people into the kitchen, luckily I had placed a large coffee pot on the stove so there was plenty to go around.
Over Breakfast we met a new Wooffer to Orla, Frank from Ireland who had been in Portugal for a little while, I picked his brain over places to go in Portugal and learned how he also had spent some time on Tamara, starting to wish we would have at least done a day visit there.
We were opting for a leisurely day today, a chance to weed through mails, start to write some of our blog and pull together a video for all the friends we had made over the last six years whilst we had lived in Gibraltar, which brought back so many fond memories, what an chapter of our lives Gibraltar had been.
Before we knew it the day had vanished and the full moon was out, everyone was starting to congregate by the outside oven for Pizza. Portugal seems to love their Pizza and if you have outside space a Pizza oven seems to be the norm, as do weekly Pizza nights. David had so many pizza’s on the go which was perfect as I was one hungry bunny. It was the anniversary of Claire and Michael today so it seemed like the perfect moment to open up the bottle of Pomegrante Wine that I bought in Isreal a couple of years ago, one of the many items we’ve been lugging around in the car, it needed to go and it was a good choice, it was pretty delicious and suprisingley a good accompaniment for the pizza.
I lost count of how many Pizza’s we ate, whilst chatting to Dave about Orla and Portugal, we had many an interesting and insightful conversation but perhaps the most enlightening for me was the discussion about Ayawaska. I have a zero tolerance when it comes to drugs but listening to a Psychologist talk at a somewhat scientific level about this substance was exceptionally interesting, leaving me with a “Note to self” to research into this a little more, please note, that’s only to read about it not to take it.
We ended the evening with a praying mantis photo shoot before hitting the sack for our last night at Orla.
Nice lay in, late breakfast and a leisurely check out, it’s a Monday that feels like a Sunday.
Today we had planned a day at the beach so it’s no surprise that the sky is grey and it looks like it’s about to rain and rain it did, to the point where we were warned that we should leave soon or the car wouldn’t make it back up the track……but maintaining a leisurely pace actually worked to our advantage. Before we knew it the sun was out and it dried up all the rain, not sure about incy windy spider but praying mantis was back out again.
To the beach, we were in the part of Portugal where a national park protects the coast line so we really were spoilt for choice when it came to beaches but we settled on a tiny little village called Odeceixe, where the river joins the sea creating a beautiful estuary, picture perfect.
We almost dropped a booboo by parking the car in the main part of town which would have resulted in a disappointing visit, but given something didn’t feel right about the “you have reached your destination announcement” we carried on driving until we met the beach side village which was pretty non-discript in itself but the beach was lovely. After a very confusing lunch order, which resulted in a burger, minus the bread bun, we jumped into our swimmers and ran into the river, not quite prepared for the coldness of the water. Before long our time had run out and we made our way back to the car to start the drive back down the coast to Lagos before it got dark.
If you happen to live close to an Estuary, at the point where the river enters the sea, you could save a fortune on gym membership by taking this type of daily workout: