During the second morning of my brief and beautiful visit to Macdonald Monchique in Algarve, Portugal, I was taken to the local mountain village, Caldas de Monchique. As soon as we’d arrived, I was spellbound – there was so much to take in. The bright greens of the trees, the fresh scent of the giant eucalyptus trees, and the sound of running mineral water that the area is renowned for.
Our tour guide from the hotel was brilliant, explaining how the locals collected the water from a constantly flowing tiny tap, and believed it to be the fountain of youth. Above the tap someone had chalked ‘Don’t waste a minute of your life, when your life can be over in a minute’, which is perhaps the key to eternal youth…
On our way around the village, we found a carob tree growing along the stream, and I got to hold a carob bean in my hand – which was strange, considering I’d only ever eating it as a powder! We also learnt about the history of the village, and the local tea house, a stripy oriental affair that contrasted so well with the organic lines of the forest around us.
In the evening, my friend and I snuck back to the village for a final peek before our last day. Lit by only a few lights, it was a little daunting at first, but once we’d found a spot amongst the leaves and cobblestones it was a glorious place to sit and revel in the greenery.
The biggest thing this tiny town represented to me was an escape away from the city and from screens. In my day-to-day life, I love both of these things – I live on them! The buzz of London has been an obsession of mine since I was a kid, and computers have always fascinated me – they give us so many opportunities to learn, write, document… But in Caldas de Monchique, I was transported to an age and place where neither of these things mattered, and it felt incredibly peaceful.
If you’re ever in the area, I would highly recommend visiting the town and enjoy its health-giving water, writing, and serenity!