After more than two years of planning to leave our jobs and start a self-sustainable yoga community, we have finally made it to Portugal where we will set up ‘Keela Yoga Farm’.
We feel very welcome in Portugal, much more so than some of the other counties we have lived in and visited. The Portuguese people are very hospitable and friendly. We have been made to feel welcome by everyone including friends of the family, people we have met at our language school, our extremely helpful airbnb host, people that we met on a course at a farm in Sintra, the list goes on! What we have found is that once people know what our plans are, they offer us with information that they have about a certain region, or where they think the most beautiful part of Portugal is for us to eventually set up. This country is just so welcoming for foreigners, especially ones that are really trying to speak Portuguese, like us. We absolutely love it here and feel like we are meant to be here.
We have spent the first month in the beautiful, cultural and energetic Lisbon where we have been participating in an intensive language course and are sorting out the usual admin that is involved with moving to a new country. There are so many lovely parks and viewpoints which look out across the city. The architecture is stunning, and everywhere we go there is always something to do.
Having lived in a few countries and traveled a lot, I have always tried my hand at the local language but have never really been that successful. This time though, with plans to start a community in Portugal, I am determined to learn the language. So many of the expatriates here have never fully learned Portuguese which must make it harder to fit into the surrounding community. Nearly everyone in Lisbon speaks English really well, and want to reply to you in English so it is hard to practice. However, once we get out to the countryside we hope to practice a lot more as English isn’t so common the farther out you get.
I love that many of the roads in Lisbon are cobbled, lined with tall buildings either tiled with elaborate designs, or each painted with vibrant colours. It is so colourful and energetic. It is a relatively small city but is situated over seven hills, so walking anywhere is like going for a hike in the mountains. I certainly feel the toning in my legs since we have been here from walking up and down them all the time.
We haven’t done a huge amount of sightseeing in the likes of museums and churches as we are trying to keep our spending down, but we have seen a lot from just walking around. Huge marble buildings that are built to last forever are everywhere. We did manage to visit the Botanical Gardens which has free entrance on Sundays, so that we could get a feel for some of the plants and trees that we can have in our ‘Zen Gardens’ which will be part of our farm. This will be a beautiful and relaxing area for yoga and meditation.
We popped out of Lisbon to attend a weekend Food Forestry course at Terra Alta in Sintra. Here we planted some trees, shrubs and ground cover in a ‘guild’ to grow food for the community there in the way that nature intended. This was a useful and informative add on to the Permaculture and food forestry training that we received at Rak Tamachat in Thailand. The course was run by Permaculture expert Doug Crouch who manages food forests all over the world. Look out for my next blog on Food Forestry.
Next, we are off to volunteer and join courses at other projects around the country such as Portugal Yoga Holidays, Awakened Life Project, Osho gardens, A Quinta and Terra Alta. The adventure continues!