Posted by: Stevie D | July 6, 2012

Heading Northward.

When we left Sagres, we had to pick up certain items in Albufeira, wedding photos and the like. This meant retracing our steps, which I’m never fond of doing. Then there were delays in Albufeira which meant we were quite late leaving. So, instead of travelling north up the west coast of Portugal, we decided to cut straight through the middle. A couple of hours driving bought us to our next temporary home, one which would prove to be more interesting than we had at first envisaged.On our second night there, the owners invited us to a barbeque they were having, and their situation was discussed at some length.

The story of what we found is a personal one to those involved, so I’ll not give names or exact location. However, while the situation these people find themselves in is, of course, unique to themselves, it is also symptomatic of the situations many find themselves embroiled in in these financially difficult times.

In short, couple A, who I’ll call Geoff and Paula, bought this land some six years ago and set about building a home for themselves and some holiday apartments to rent out to pay the bills. They also made space available to motorhomers to stop for a small fee. Couple B, who shall be known as John and Felicity, first visited two years ago, fell in love with the place, and are now permanent residents in their motorhome.

Good plan, one might think.However, the number of visitors never reached the heights expected and finally Geoff, who is not in the best of health, had to return to England, where he works long hours to make enough money to keep the dream alive. Paula, meanwhile, longs for her man to return home to their Portuguese dream where she currently lives alone, but financially, it just can’t happen.John and Felicity however have a plan to help out their friends and, in so doing, themselves. They have a scheme which, they believe, by aiming at a niche market, can make the property financially viable once more. They are also willing to put some money into the venture and all they ask is they they can continue to live there.  Paula though, is a proud woman and feels that their financial involvement would be detracting from the accomplishments of herself and Geoff and that they would be forever beholding to them. Sell up and move on, I feel you all thinking. But no-one is buying property in out of the way places in Portugal anymore. No mains water or electricity. A rough dirt track as an entrance road.

Beneath it’s tranquil facade, we found a torment of uncertainty about the future.

A view across to the nearby reservoir.

The views and isolation are the attractions for those who live there.

I really felt for Paula in her predicament, but I also felt John and Felicity were genuine in their offer. What happens next I’ll probably never know, but I sincerely hope it goes well for them all.

Temperatures reached the mid 40s C whilst we were there, but the evenings were magical.

We left after three nights and headed north once more. We had intended to stop at the town of Fatima, renowned for it’s magnificent church. It is, I’m told, quite a religious town so the irony was not lost on me when we found ‘no room at the inn’. So we took a bite to eat and moved 20 miles down the road to another town with a quite magnificent religious edifice, Batalha. It was quite late when we arrived so we stayed an extra day to take in the sights. Batalha is famed for it’s Monastery, and with some justification.

The Monastery at Batalha is an impressive sight.

Taking over a century to build, it was completed in the early 1500’s. For more information, pop it into Wikipedia.

Batalha is a small town but it’s Monastery is anything but small.

Ornate carvings decorate the entrance.

Yes, I sometimes feel like this in the morning.

Batalha was pretty ordinary except for it’s monastery. But we enjoyed our couple of days there, and it was nice to be in a slightly cooler environment than we had had further south.

Next day we headed north once more, to a place we would enjoy both for itself, and for the options it gave us to explore nearby attractions.

More soon.

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Responses

  1. Quite a different landscape than you’ve been showing us in the past, but that monastery is awesome looking!
    Definitely a sad story about couple A. I sure hope things work out for them…

    • Yeah, the Monastery is a World Heritage site and a very impressive sight. The lady in couple A was desperately unhappy about their situation and she really was a lovely person who deserves so much more.


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