Newsletter January 2015

Winter at Pomarinho

During our annualy 'winter leave' our guests and volunteers have worked incredibly hard. The mood was fantastic, the leadership of Marten was great! Rock roses were removed, oaks and cork oaks were pruned and the trees got pampered with compost. They even baptised a Valkallee (Henk).

Marlies & Koos, our regular managers during the winter, really know how to create a good atmosphere. They organised daytrips for the guests and when we came back from our leave we were welcomed with a lovely meal from all guests. There were also regularly walks with Ella & Maarten (Marten) as guides. Thank you all so much! 

Spotted: the otter

“If only you rise early! It's 7 am, the red light of the full moon disappears behind the horizon while the sun is coming up on the other side. It's the beginning of December and the days are short so I get up early to profit as much as possible from the coming day. It's another beautiful and typical Pomarinho morning: the colour of the sky changes every 5 minutes, you hear and see all sorts of birds becoming active and furthermore it's deafening quiet. I walk around the terrain and see a lot of rinkles in the surface of the small lake. Could it be the fish? Or maybe the water turtles?

I sneak to the waterfront and look for cover. And then I see three brown animals in the water, with a somewhat flat head and whiskers, small round eyes, a long tail and a light coloured chest. They play together, chase each other and dive under the water to reappear half a minute later on the other side. They make a 'girlish' sound, a sort of gaggling. A little further ahead there's a larger one playing on his own. It all looks like a morning ritual.

Then two more appear at the shore on the opposite side. They slide into the water. I keep watching the animals from my shelter for another while untill I have seen enough to go back to the house and start up my computer. And yes: they are what I already suspected: otters. Without a doubt. The description on Wikipedia matches exactly with what I've just witnessed!" Marlies Jansen

Walking holidays 2015

The group walking holidays for the first half of 2015 have been planned. They will take place in March, April, May and June. Once more you can expect beautiful walking programmes, lovely meals and a lot of cosiness. Each month has its own specialties but the nature is always overwhelming. Are you interested in a walking holiday during the spring in our lovely Alentejo? Check the calendar for the exact dates.

Of course you are, as always, also very welcome with your walking club or as an individual walker! You can stay in one of our holiday homes or camp at our small scale campsite where you will be completely surrounded by nature. During your stay we can give you all the information you need about the numerous wallking possibilities in the neigbourhood.

Pomarinho for sale

About 10 years ago we moved from The Netherlands to Portugal to realise our dream in the unspoiled nature of the Alentejo. Our walking paradise is a fact now. Annualy Pomarinho receives many international guests who come over to enjoy the nature and culture at and in the surroundings of our quinta.

Despite of the success we've decided to sell Quinta do Pomarinho in the near future because we are ready for a new adventure. We have enjoyed all the effort and work that has been necessary to build our dream, we are proud of what we achieved and we want to thank all the volunteers and guests who came over to our quinta in all those years and who helped us with realizing our dream.

We are looking for new owners who want to continue or expand our walking paradise concept. Please spread this news around in case you should know anyone who's thinking about undertaking something abroad. Or check out our special mini website campsite for sale to see what exactly Pomarinho has to offer.

Guests about Pomarinho

Often guests send us their travelstories. Please find below two stories we would like to share with you.

Roundtrip Portugal using public transport

“This year my husband and I decided to explore Portugal using public transport. We did the same thing 18 years ago and we were curious if it would still be that easy. This time we went together with two friends of us.

After arriving at Faro airport we took the train to Silves. The same night we found some rooms thanks to our guidebook. Although without bathroom it was just fine. The next day we travelled to Beja via Albufeira where we had to wait for three hours for our connection (but that is something that you just have to accept when travelling with public transport). The residencial we were looking for was fully booked but a friendly lady directed us to Hotel Bejense. We stayed there for Euro 45, the highest amount this trip for a double room.

We stayed two nights in Beja because we also wanted to see the beautiful Serpa village which was not along the way to Évora. We travelled from bus terminal to bus terminal. In most cities we went to the Turismo for a map of the town and sometimes for the address that we found in our Dutch guidebook.

From Évora we went on to Estremoz and from there to Élvas, another beautiful village near the Spanish border. In the restaurant where we had breakfast we could leave our bags. After visiting the town we picked up our luggage and went to the bus station to catch the bus to Portalegre. This time there was no residencial mentioned in the guidebook but we found one ourselves very quickly. We slept in the annexation, left our luggage behind and went to the beautiful carpet museum which was really worthwhile!

Then up to Castelo de Vide, the final stop of our journey. We stayed in the guesthouse of Pomarinho, well known for the two of us. We could use the entire upper floor and terrace while using the kitchen at ground level. This was the only place we had reserved in advance. The two nights became three because there was a traditional festival in Marvão (20 km from Castelo de Vide) that we didn't want to miss.

We went to Portagem by bus and had to climb up 5 km on a road covered with boulders. To us, all over 70 years old, this was no problem at all. The festival was fantastic with snake-charmers, belly dancers, a lot of show and, not to forget, a suckling pig at the spit. After this feast we had to find a taxi that drove us back to Castelo de Vide. Here we visited a restaurant where a band was playing. We knew the guitarist of the band.

The next day we said goodbye to Dolf and Phine from Pomarinho. We went to Portalgre by taxi and from there in two days to Faro. Before flying back to Holland, we explored the old centre of Faro, also really worth a visit. We ended our trip on the same terrace where we started on the first day. The journey was fantastic!” Paul, Mies, Rien and Sjraar

May in the Friends of Nature house

“In May 2014 we (6 friends) stayed for a week in the cosy and beautifully situated Friends of Nature house of Quinta do Pomarinho. Right from day one, after a very warm welcome, we felt at home! Our journey started with exploring Castello de Vide, a beautiful town with castle. The next few days were for walking. We followed several walking trails, varying from 13 to 20 kilometers. They all went to the superb nature. Because of the time of the year, it was not to hot yet to walk.

Dolf visited us every evening to inform about our wishes and plans. We appreciated this very much! We got maps, plans and information about the walks around Marvao and Castelo de Vide. The tour to the artificial lake and the breeding colony of the vultures are absolute highlights! After the necessary efforts we had lots of time to relax at the quinta.

Everyday we could enjoy a delicious breakfast and tasty diner. We ate many things we had never eaten before but they all tasted good. Especially the goat. The best beer of Portugal is not for rinsing your diner!

Each day the fridge was refilled, for which we were very grateful. There's still so much to tell about this beautiful nature area. What impressed us most is the large diversity of birds, the unspoiled nature and the kindness and warmth of the owners. What a strong team! We would like to thank everyone very much for our perfect holiday and maybe until next time. " De wankelaars (Belgium)

Recipe: Sopa de pedra (stonesoup)

The story behind this typically Portuguese recipe is as follows: a mendicant friar arrives in a village where the villagers refuse to give him something to eat. He says "I'll make my own soup if you lend me a cooking pot. I'll use water and a stone." While the friar tastes his soup, the crowd gets curious. "Lovely soup", the friar says, "but it would taste even better with an onion in it." Someone gets him an onion. "A couple of beans would really make the soup better." This goes on until the soup is richely filled. Ingredients: water, a stone and a lot of curiosity!

 Ingredients (4-6 persons)

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 onion, cut in small pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic, squeezed
  • 200 g smoked bacon, diced
  • 250 g smoked pig leg
  • 2 potatoes, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 turnips, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1.5 litre bouillon (vegetables or chicken)
  • 100 g savoy or green cabbage (torn)
  • 400 g red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons of parsley (cut)
  • salt and fresh ground pepper

Heat the oil in a saucepan on medium high. Saute the onion and garlic until they are soft. Add the bacon and fry for 2 minutes. Add the pig leg, potatoes, carrots, turnips, celery, bay leaves and bouillon. Let it boil, reduce the heat and let it cook for 45-60 minutes (capped) until the vegetables are ready.

Add the cabbage and beans and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove the pig leg from the soup and cut the meet into pieces. Put the meet back into the pan, add parsley and season tot taste with salt and pepper. Serve the stone soup with crunchy, freshly baked bread.

A good start!

We would like to thank all guests and volunteers for another very pleasant year at Pomarinho. Although we're already on our way in this new promising year, we still would like to wish everybody a healthy, peaceful and inspiring 2015!

 groeten van pomarinho

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