Aterra, a Garden of Eden in Portugal
A guest contribution by Carolin Frühauf
As we drive up the hill by car, a little paradise opens up in front of us. There are artistically painted campervans everywhere, with license plates from Belgium, Germany, France, Italy or Spain. A young man in a safety vest, but with glitter on his cheeks, shows us our parking lot. We slowly drive down the gravel road into the valley, where everyone has pitched their tents and an adjacent meadow offers lush grass for the donkey and the horses.
The Terra Gathering Festival was held for the fourth time this year
We have arrived at the Terra Gathering Festival, which takes place once a year in the Ecolodge Aterra is organized.
An Israeli couple with their two children move into the tent next to us. The two live in Faro in the Algarve and moved from Israel five years ago to start a new life in Portugal.
Influences from all over the world
The first stop leads us to the main building at the reception: an Asian-style pavilion stands on wooden posts in the middle of the green. You can peek into the kitchen and behind the bar and guess what the rising smells and vapors might produce later.
Shift to a more sustainable lifestyle
Claudia, the founder, stands behind the counter and gives us our ribbon, as well as biodegradable ashtrays made of bamboo with a cork stopper. We drink a delicious chai tea and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and the laughter of frolicking children.
Claudia and Francisco have realized their dream of a more sustainable life with Aterra. A solar system supplies the buildings with electricity, the composting toilets save a lot of water and the waste from these toilets can be reused as fertile fertilizer a year later.
As a guest you sleep in tipis, family yurts or thatched Rajasthani tents. In all wooden constructions, Franscisco in particular has realized itself with the help of local craftsmen. The interior is a mixture of selected pieces from countries such as India, Vietnam, Thailand and Morocco.
A little globetrotter, a little nature lover, a little free spirit - that's Aterra
Of course, you will also be well catered for in Aterra. In the kitchen, fresh and healthy dishes are conjured up, most of which are homemade and come from the in-house kitchen garden. Many dishes are vegetarian, but if you don't want to go without meat and fish on holiday, you can expect delicious food from the grill.
The famous hiking route of the Rota Vicentina even leads along the Aterra Eco Camp
Near the village of São Teotónio, food is grown on twelve hectares of land, animals are taken care of and holiday guests are welcomed. Aterra is six kilometers from the wild Atlantic coast and the famous Costa Vicentina - one of the most unspoilt stretches of coastline in Europe. The hiking route of the Rota Vicentina even leads directly past the resort.
Relax body, mind and soul
A yurt stands in the middle of the meadow and a few peacocks are walking around curiously. A man looks out and gestures us to come in. It looks like a scene from another world. Utkarsh Vyas, who was born in India, offers a wide variety of applications here. He shows us his massage table, where he practices Indian head massages, stone massages, aromatherapy, Reiki healing and various Ayurveda applications. He pours us tea and with a big smile he calmly runs his way through our black, silky hair. The clock ticks a little differently around Aterra. Everyone seems to have settled in here, no pressure, no excessive effort. Aterra is a place to arrive. With yourself and nature.
Do you want to arrive too? You can find more information about Aterra here
Photo credits: Eder Garrido