Romantic cork shacks and the good life.
After living for one year in Alto Alentejo, the good life continues. Nestled in the fertile valley between two of the most picturesque towns in Portugal, Marvão and Castelo de Vide, is the small village of Escusa where our new home, complete with its two romantic cork shacks, is to be found. Sitting on our terrace and gazing out as the sun sets over the Monte Roxo mountain there is nothing better than spending a relaxing evening savouring some "Porco Preto", delicious organic cured ham, accompanied by a bottle of Alentejo red as we reminisce over the events of the past year and look forward to more of the same.
Right from the very first visits to see how our project was progressing, we were welcomed into the small close-knit village community with around 100 inhabitants. Village life centres on the local "tasca" which provides a much-needed shot of early morning coffee for the workers and then later in the afternoon, beers to quench their thirst. Our neighbour, Sr. Manuel, who lives opposite in his impeccably maintained blue and white house greets us daily with a smile and a "bom dia" while Vitor is an invaluable source of practical help and advice whether it be harvesting the olives and taking them to be pressed for us or teaching us how to care for all our nut trees.
During several very cold damp winters spent in our home in Sintra, we dreamed of returning to the Alentejo where we had once owned a small rental property. With a desire to create something unique, we based the design of the cork shacks on the small round medieval dwellings of the region known as "choças", but added a modern twist to the shape choosing cork to line the exterior walls topped off with a conical roof covered in natural thatch. The stylish minimalistic interiors provide everything necessary for a romantic relaxing holiday, perfect for two.
Our daily routine starts with a run through the beautiful landscape in the shadow of the hilltop town of Marvão with its imposing castle. Every day is different from the varying seasonal palette of colours unfolding before our very eyes while these changes are comfortingly accompanied by the sounds of sheep's bells, the chorus of bird song, and the drill of the woodpeckers on the old chestnut trees. All of this has made us realise just how important and wonderful nature truly is.
The recent pandemic will make people re-evaluate the way they live, what is, in fact, important to them. Personally, it has made us slow down and begin to appreciate all that's around us. There is no need to rush and we have had time to consider how we would like to live in the future, whether it be purchasing bicycles so that we use the car less, planting a herb and vegetable garden, or even adding a third cork shack to expand our business.
With our newly acquired skills, and still lots more to learn about country life as well as managing Cork Shack Marvão, time doesn't standstill. We relish every new day and look forward to welcoming and sharing our experience with our guests.
Here's to the future. Saúde!
Dewi & Clare