Two people from Scotland made a living in the small village of Aldeia da Serra in the Portuguese mountain-region called Serra da Estrela. They live with several (farm-)animals on a beautiful spot with an astonishing view.
Louise about how it all started:
We are Scottish and sold our house and belongings, put all our tools in a 7 tonne horsebox and drove down here after just one overnight visit to the Serra da Estrela.
Love at first sight
We bought our quinta 5 years ago, in the quiet village of Aldeia da Serra in the north of this mountain region.
Only by integrating fully have we managed to carve a living for ourselves, our village has taken us into their family and we feel the luckiest people on earth.
The house had the roof falling in but the land was the best agricultural land we had seen, and the villagers are so friendly.
The land is only a hectare but now we are self sufficient in most things: we are producing all our own food, which I preserve in my outdoor kitchen.
The restaurant we are opening will have accommodation above and a small shop selling the villages' produce and crafts. It'll be a traditional inn in the centre of the village as the old cafe closed a few years ago.
The people are só friendly here: everybody is behind us.
We already have wine and other drinks for visitors, as the old guys love to come for a beer and tell us what we are doing wrong
We employ our neighbours to do the building with us and my best pal (ánd neighbour) will be employed in the kitchen with me when we open the restaurant.
Sometimes we go weeks without talking with English speakers, our whole life is in the village: they are our family now and we love them so much.
In our second year here it was becoming obvious that no matter how generous and helpful the villagers are, they were in no way going to let us pay them back, so we organised a festival: "festa dos amigos". There are games, the whole street is decorated, there's plenty of home made wines, we shipped in enough haggis for 100 people and we also made pastries for pudding.
We had a local 13 piece accordion band playing all night and we danced in the streets and for one day they ate my food and drank my booze, it was amazing
We have made it an annual event with all the estrangeiros helping to make it a day for the village and for the next "festa dos amigos" we got a dozen inflatable sumo suits for a laugh, it will be hilarious! We are already looking forward to it.
The next year I will concentrate on canning our meat, or whatever is running low, this year its peas and carrots that need restocking.
We keep a breeding pair of pigs, the male is a javali (wild boar), which means neither he or his offspring need any inoculations etc. We have a breeding pair of geese, chickens for meat and eggs, we swap piglets for sheep when I need to restock our mutton and haggis supplies, and of course a donkey to help me with the heavy lifting. We also have two dogs to guard the home and four cats to keep mice, moles and voles from my gardens.
Every animal has its place: producing food or fertiliser and clearing the land or protecting the home.
We were lucky to buy a small pine forest near our land last year so we can supply our own firewood and roundwood construction lumber now.
For work, we practice our reflexology and massage on the local people. And then ofcourse we will have the inn in the future.