Newsletter July 2013

About us

The winter was ideal for renovations and maintenance. At the top of our to do – and done – list were the water tank, grounds, and vegetable garden. The water tank had a complete makeover and was provided with new filters.

The olive trees were pruned In March and both hills have been mowed, a haircut that has to happen every other year. The effect is a spread of lovely colors on the hills, like lavender, which grows abundant and wild here. The vegetable garden was prepared for spring. The big planter on the terrace of Casa Amarela was also overhauled.

The holiday houses have been occupied by several overwintering guests. Like Jan and Toos, who are regular Maravilhas guests. Jan, a professional pianist, gave a concert ‑ together with Célia, our Portuguese fellow worker. All guests as well as the Maravilhas team were invited. It was a cheerful evening of singing, drinking and snacking.

Activity weeks

At Maravilhas we organise different activity weeks throughout the year. In this newsletter we would like to spotlight the yoga week.

Monte Maravilhas is an ideal location for a yoga course in Portugal. In the middle of the Alentejo nature you learn to relax through yoga and meditation and to be more in contact with your body and mind. The yoga week is for beginners as well as advanced participants.

The morning begins with breathing exercises (pranayama). The day continues with yoga exercises (both indoors and out) interrupted by refreshing swims in our pool. The program includes an outing to the spectacular west coast (Atlantic Ocean). The lessons are given by Atul Mulji, who has an on going yoga practice in Lisbon, Portugal. There still is space available for the next yoga week, which will take place from 5 – 12 October 2013.

Guests about…. photographing birds

Here are some excerpts from Cees and Jeanette about their experience here:

“We came to photograph birds in the Alentejo. We have done this before in the Algarve. And, believe me, this magnificent area in the south of Portugal has a lot to offer. The vast serras (mountains) in the east between Castro Verde and Mertola are an Eldorado for birdwatchers and photographers. Birds like the little and great bustard bird are often seen here. It takes some effort, patience and time to find them because they are quite shy.

But this is exactly the charm of this area. During the search for them you might find others bird that you hardly ever find anywhere else. With some luck that very long list includes the crested cuckoo, scrounge, lark, impact birds, black-shouldered kite, toed eagle, booted eagle, osprey, kites, harriers, imperial eagle and golden eagle.

The early spring with its full abundance of colors, is a good time to travel around photographing. There is a big chance of clear skies and the light is fantastic. During our stay temperatures were perfect. Which is great, because if it is too hot there are heat waves, which make photographing with a big telephoto lens impossible.

And of course there is the Atlantic coast, spectacular and breathtaking. You can find there many sea and migratory birds on the rocks, beaches, in the dunes and several little ports. Cabo Sardão is such a spot. It was a challenge to make a photo of the alpine swifts with a 700 mm telephoto lens.

To be honest, we were short of time because beside the bird life there is a richness of flowers and different landscapes. Not to mention the unforgettable sky full of stars!

If you want to see the photos from our two week stay at Maravilhas, go to”

Friends of Maravilhas: Monte Sahaja

From 2010 we have new neighbours, who are building a retreat center, which is called Monte Sahaja. On Sundays there are satsangs, meetings with Mooji, a spiritual teacher, during which you can ask questions and meditate. These satsangs are also open for Maravilhas guests who wish to participate.

Tip: Casa Amarela and Casa Mimosa

There are still possibilities to rent a house or caravan or camp in your own tent this summer. Of course it is also possible to come and enjoy the late summer in August and September. The temperature is still extremely pleasant and warm enough to swim in the pool.

Casa Amarela is still available from 17 August onwards. And Casa Mimosa is still available from 10 – 25 August.

Summer events

There are many colorful festivals in the region during the summer among which:

18/07–27/07: Festival Musicas do Mundo in Sines
19/07-21/07: Faceco (year fair) in São Teotonio
07/08-11/08: Festival Sudoest in Zambujeira
02/08-11/08: Feira Medieval in Silves
30/08-01/09: Annual fair in São Martinho das Amoreiras

At the end of September our closest village, São Martinho das Amoreiras, will organize a traditional fado-evening.