Newsletter December 2016
After a busy spring and summer, we are in the fall. The summer was very hot this year and we were happy when the first rains arrived in October. The dust vanished and all the plants and trees revived. Rain also means that we could burn coarse garden waste. By the way, we process most garden and vegetable waste into compost. This is what we use for the vegetable garden and the plants and trees.
The Maravilhas team now consists of Muriel and Kim from the Netherlands and Ashleigh and Jason from Ireland. Muriel and Jason are active in the garden and on the land, resulting in new plantings and pathways. Preparation for the winter also means sweeping seven chimneys and storing the wood supply for the various wood stoves.
The meditation platform has been enhanced with a cane fence against wind and rain. The ceiling is decorated with reed mats. We used it for a lot of activities. In the summer a daily yoga class took place and there were regular meditations. Every Saturday we enjoy music and singing evenings, led by our Irish musicians Jason and Ashleigh.
Animals at Monte Maravilhas
Unfortunately our dog Tara passed away in July. Surrounded by the team and our cats Pingo and Iubi she slowly fell asleep. She came in 2002 to Maravilhas from an animal sanctuary, and was for many years a faithful dog, loved by everyone. We buried her under a tree on top of the hill.
Our neighbor George is a shepherd and he regularly comes with his herd on the land of Maravilhas. The jingling of the bells is a happy sound. The sheep have their food and keep the land clean.
Twice, however, we received an unexpected visit from a goat. He was about to graze on the lawn behind the pool. To the great interest of our cat Iubi, we tied him up with a rope to prevent him from ending up in the vegetable garden! Soon afterwards he was picked up by owner George.
Sweat lodge for guests and team
After leading a ‘vision quest’ group this month, our guest Frans Scheerder offered our guests and team a sweat lodge ceremony. In a beautiful location a round hut was made of bamboo and blankets. Outside the hut, we made a fire and held a stone ceremony.
Then we sat down in the tent in a circle and the stones were put by fire man Navino in the middle of the tent. Once the stones were in the sweat lodge, the door was closed and there was sweating, meditating and singing. An intense event in which a deep contact with the earth and life was experienced. It has a purifying effect on body and mind.
Frans will give a vision quest with sweat lodge again from 7-15 November 2017, together with Geert Graveland. More information: please visit this website.
Activity weeks: walking from Monte Maravilhas
Those who have been here before, know it: Monte Maravilhas is an ideal location for hiking. We have created nine walks with detailed maps for guests who want to walk individually. Our guest and friend Piet van Dam is regularly here to update the different hikes.
Besides individual hiking we organize group hikes week five times a year. This means that for six days you are walking with our guide Monika. The hikes range from 6 – 17 km per day. You walk through authentic Portugal, ancient forests and hillsides.
Monika is an experienced hiker who has been living in this area for the last 20 years. She knows a lot about the trees and plants and is fluent in Portuguese. Four walks are near Maravilhas, one along the west coast and one at the Santa Clara Lake. All meals are lovingly taken care of during the week.
In the next group walking week of December 23-30, 2016 is still place. It is a wonderful time to hike. Experience it yourself and sign up!
Touring at Monte Maravilhas in a buggy
With the many extensions in the recent years there are now a lot of meters to be completed on the grounds of Maravilhas . Especially walking up to the kitchen Lakshmi and camping places on one hill and Casa Azul and Joana on the other hill requires quite a bit of energy.
Our neighbors from Monte Sahaja have since many years electrical and environment-friendly golf carts, called “buggies”. Prem went to visit them in order to try one. She liked it so much that we will soon have ourr own Maravilhas buggy!
Guests about their stay at Monte Maravilhas
Jan ter Horst, participant in the painting week:
Monte Maravilhas is far away from the hectic world. No TV, no images of war, just peace and quietness, then I think: that should really be everywhere. Here you can totally relax but I’m glad I was able to be active by painting under the guidance of Rupa. Trying to put this beautiful area on paper but with your own input. And not to mention the delicious food and super clean room. The family atmosphere, help with washing the dishes and picking figs.
Overall a great week with a lot of laughter. In the morning Tai Chi on top the hill with the rising sun: it is imprinted in my memory. Prem and Rupa, thanks for this great week and maybe see you again.
Familie van der Gaag (Richard, Saskia, Lieke, Ella and Lucie) in Casa Amarela:
Over 10 years ago we got a flyer from Maravilhas, through a colleague, who said: “that’s for sure something for you.” Well, that was true! We felt very welcome and very at ease! We had a nice contact with the staff and other camping guests who like to come and pick figs from “our” fig tree in front of the house.
Casa Amarela was ideal for us and our teenage daughters. Spacious, well equipped and, despite warm temperatures in August inside the house it was nice and cool. The pool also helped cooling down! What a beautiful environment and peace at this place. We wonder how it is here in other seasons! Thanks for everything!
Friends of Maravilhas: our handyman Lars
A familiar face at Maravilhas: Lars. He is originally from Germany and has lived in Portugal since 1997. He has been our main man in construction for many years and helps with any technical faults. Lars is an all-round handyman: bricklaying, plastering, carpentry, plumbing, electricity etc. He prefers to work in authentic Portuguese style with natural materials such as stone found on the land. Casa Joana, the shed at Casa Azul, the Lakshmi camping kitchen, renovation of terraces and water tank, and much more was built by Lars. Even when our cork is harvested Lars is there!
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