12.12.2010 - 12.12.2010
I almost can't believe that the time to say goodbye is here. It really snuck up on me and I am ill-prepared!! It has been an AMAZING time here - thank you Steve. I leave with the fondest of memories and the hope that I will visit again soon. You have been an incredible host, even on those days that you weren't your usual, jolly self (but we know why and it's cool!!). Thanks for going out of your way to make each volunteer's experience special - comfort, warmth, good food, great wine and jeropigo, hard work, a sense of belonging and being part of your great project, many laughs, unexpected treats (like a Sunday lunch downtown, coffee in bed and pasteis de nata), hair-raising rides in the bakkie, a true taste of rural life in Portugal. There are not enough superlatives!!
I was determined to spend my last off day with a pique-nique down at Eiro di Miguel, another stunning abandoned village. Its situation is picture perfect. On the edge of a high drop down to the magnificent Rio Zezere. The weather didn't play along though, and after Steve dropped me off on his way into town, I took a slow stroll down....and down....and down...thinking all the time that I need to get back up again, and also wondering if I might encounter a wild boar along the way. This is their territory and one is permitted to hunt the javali, popular for its meat. So I made a lot of noise as I went along, carrying a branch to make me appear big and strong!!! I didn't get to take a pic of one, but here you can see why I made so much noise!! www.bragancanet.pt/patrimonio/faunajavali.htm ~ and one not so bad here www.bragancanet.pt/patrimonio/faunajavali.htm
The village was soooo disappointing. Nothing like Felgueira and its great character. This place is just plain sad, with few original buildings and many rather uninspiring, ramshackle homes built in plain square forms. So the picnic didn't happen here. I took a VERY slow walk back up to the top, on another route and found my gem!! A perfect little stone cottage, in the mountains, just for Lee. I can see her living here with a goat or 2, a cow, some chickens and a few cats 'n dogs. Steve said he could also see me here.....reclusive, making my brew in a cauldron - if being a healer and making herbal remedies is akin to a witch, then I guess you could call me one!!
And this is why I am totally in love with this place - for me, more beautiful than this is hard to find!
On the road back to the quinta, I found the perfect spot for my pique-nique - crusty bread, home-made hummous, ham, cheese and a small glass of vinho tinto. Simple, but divine! Pretty much describes life here on Quinta da Vinha!