In 2018 we build a lot of the basic facilities like a field kitchen, compost toilet and running water. 2019 was the year we got our water-turbine running providing us with loads of electricity and 2020 we began the renovation of a big house in the village. This next to the normal tasks like cleaning the land, extending the vegetable garden and beekeeping.
This year we will be focused on renovating and insulating the roof of the old house in the village. This will become home for us, the community and volunteers in wintertime.
Helping hands are always welcome. The current situation is very back to basic, so if this makes you happy, please come and join the fun! We have two sleeping spaces in a little traditional Portuguese shed and we have extra tents to put up in the magic valley.
We offer free food and accommodation in return for 25 hours of work per week. You are also very welcome to come here and stay for a while if you want to work less hours, or not at all. In this case I ask for a financial contributions between 5 to 10 euro’s per person per night, depending on how much you work, eat along and want to contribute. If you really want to get a taste of this way of living close to nature, we encourage you to stay for at least 10 days. If you want to use the offer of free food and accommodation in return for work, the minimum stay is 2 weeks, so you get the chance to settle in, learn some things and be able to contribute a little bit (or a lot, if you’re a quick learner or staying longer).
We are able to accommodate short stays of less than 10 days (20,- p.p. per night, all meals included).
On appointment we can give a guided 3 hours tour on the land/hike through the magic valley (1 pers., 25,- / 2 pers. 40,- / more pers. 15,- pp extra).
Wild nature and aloneness Self-sustainability
This magic valley we are living in is not a sweet and mellow Alpine meadow. Don’t imagine Maria, the governess of the Von Trapp children, dancing through the grass in ’The Sound of Music’. Rather think of Indiana Jones, making it’s way through steep and rocky mountains, passing waterfalls, thick vegetation and fallen trees. You need a good physical condition and an adventurous mind to love it here.
There are three tiny, sweet and rural villages in the area and we are blessed to have a bunch of wonderful neighbors sharing our way of living. To get to those villages and those neighbors you will have to hike for 15 minutes, or you can drive with us in my electrical jeep when we are going there. The local cafés in two of these villages sell some basic groceries like bread, cheese, (chocolate) cookies, pasta, rice and sugar. To do our weekly shopping we drive to a larger village, half an hour away, and you are welcome to join me.
On our land we are pretty isolated, and if you come here please be aware that it is likely you will spend time alone with nature. We always try to have at least 2 volunteers in the same period. If you are used to a life in the city and a lot of social interactions, this loneliness can be deeply nurturing, but also extremely confronting. Without all the city distractions, most people are facing their longings, fears, expectations and boundaries. Moving through these you have the chance to surrender and wonder, and to connect with yourself and nature. This can be a difficult process though, and I ask people only to come if they feel ready to accept this challenge.
Back-to-basic and ‘work’
To stay here you can use my tents (with a mattress, bed sheets and woolen blankets), or bring your own. There is a compost toilet, a basic field kitchen and a hammock. To shower you can use a little waterfall or the stream. On appointment you can use the wood heated hot shower at the yurt where we are staying. Winter is cold in this area and we don’t have a heated space for guests yet. So we welcome people from March till October. March and April can bring nice sunny days, and the hills get covered with colorful flowers, but evenings, nights and mornings can still be pretty wet and cold. Those two months are therefore mostly suitable for the well trained campers, who love the more extreme weather camping, or for people who bring their own warm space in the form of a campervan.
The work is diverse and ranges from easy to more difficult tasks. Most of it is physical and makes you dirty (or wet). We are not always there to work together, and we don’t like to count your hours. We use breakfast as an anchor point in the day and this is a moment to come together and talk about the day(s) ahead. Most of the days there is a list of things that need doing and you can choose when to do them and how to divide your working hours. There might also be days that we need to do bigger things together and we ask you to join us during specific hours.
Staying with us means getting to know a way of living close to nature. A simple yet complex way. A sweet yet hard life. These mountains offer crystal clear water, clean air, lots of hiking opportunities, sunshine, waterfalls, and so much more. You are welcome to come explore with us.
If you want to visit our place, please send me a message (e-mail or Facebook) with the answers to the following questions.
- What attracts you to spending time in nature?
- What is your experience with camping and back-to-basic living? (please be specific)
- What is your experience with spending time alone? (please be specific)
- What do you think will be challenging for you?
- When would you like to come, and how long do you want to stay?
- Are you coming by car/van/hitch-hiking, or would you like a pickup from the bus station?
- Do you bring your own tent, or would you like to use ours?