Archive | September 2011

Let’s start…

At every start there is a home and a surrounding to explore and get to know. This is Monchique. A picturesque hamlet of 2800 people set in the Algarve mountains, 8 kilometre east of Fioa, Algarve’s highest point. After an hours drive and about 100 kilometres from Faro airport, the group made up of 7 ladies and 7 men arrive at their guest house home where they will be staying for the 13 weeks ahead. Greeted warmly by the young German couple and fed, introduced to the house rules, moved the girls move into the converted barns rooms, a two floored gallery room in simple timber and IKEA furniture. Quirky!

The first day. The sun, crawling slowly over the back of the hills, is peaking its nose up from the valley. It’s 7:15 and I am admiring the home-grown pumpkins glowing orange reflecting the golden beams of the sun. Like glowing lights in the morning haze. The warmth is greeting the bright blue sky, thuing away the moon which took such a steady stance up there amongst the millions of stars and milky ways dominating the scene since our arrival.

Greeted by the lushest greens, the morning rolled and breakfast served. A whiff of the wild mint, a breeze of the ripe quinces, calling to be cooked, eaten, salvaged and made into delightful jams. But let’s find our feet. Another slow meeting. This just seems to be the pace. It’s definitely time to put aside the watch and let it drop into one’s bag. Meeting all the faces and getting to know who is who. Where do they see the potential in collaboration? Local tales and botany lessons later, everyone’s the same in the dark. It’s about what one wants to make of it, supposedly. The first day may not be the right time to set things in stone. The youngest mainly here for a good time, are getting burned the first day, playing Frisbee at the pool and losing it in a tree and getting smashed at every opportunity possible – getting through three crates in less than a day. The girls more interested in the community thing chatting away on their disappointment, taking things into their own hands. It’s a start and the days will tell. No rush. That naud gonna work.

The tasks I foresee us getting into at first:
– restoration works and building at the guest house where are living.
– making a permaculture garden and digging up the grounds (Frank)
– improving the tourist information available at the guest houses – like a small pack of useful stuff like contacts, maps etc.
– helping out to build/ finish the adventure park (Lucio)
– volunteering at la rocha, conservation work
– community centre – art classes

Things we can do for fun
– climbing – roping
– pottery workshop and shop
– canoeing
– thermal spa
– surfing
– mountain biking
– hiking and guidance