“Dirt road to Paradise!"
Algarve in Summer:
Next to the enourmous waterparks, private summer- residences , party hotels and hung-over sunbathing teenagers smoking cigarettes we found plenty of Resorts; green and clean, where the more-than-4-legged-bugs are sprayed with pesticides in the mornings for the comfort of the guests who enjoy happy hour till late in their all inclusive holidays.
Turning right at that big supermarket, we unexpectedly entered the 'wild Algarve' within 300m.
Thank God. Dust and dirt roads, sweet scenting trees and bushes, cicades as loud as they can be.... enough spectacularities outside to decide to immediatley turn off the airco and open all the windows of our rented campervan.15 minutes of pure-off-road-joy-for-beginners (-no sight in the rear view mirror, huuge clouds of dust which WE created, sand between our teeth from smiling in the breeze, Yiihaaa!), wind-energy-mills over the green hills showing the tall and white eco minded trend we're witnessing these years....and there….
There are the umbrella-pines.A welcoming tunnel of shade leading us to the ITWA.This truly is a place where on the one hand you'd wish it would never ever develop any further as it is so perfectly basic but SO rich, and on the other hand you'd wish for a green-minded investor to make all the amazing plans and ideas into reality as soon as possible. Solar energy, outdoor showering with a view under solar heated water, hand built eco-compost toilets (poo actually smells good when poo'ed outside, did you know that?).
We were swimming in their freshwater lakes, an amazing pizza-oven was fed with wood from the land, the outdoor kitchen has no roof until late because the milky way is the best roof in the universe, and my white jeans coloured orange by the dust within half an hour….truly great!!
And then, there are the owners. Walking at a slow pace, looking their guests friendly straight in the eyes, making us feel welcome within 30 seconds.The risk takers, the dare devils, the dreamers and the creators.
Inventors, trial and error’ers, succeeders.Every path on the ITWA that has already been realized was dug by their hands, the shovels and big-tools-for-big-rocks were payed with their savings, seeds bought to start the lush organic garden, and harvest to live from ….all from scratch, all with their own hands.
I was in awe.Besides the spacious places to choose from for the campervan, like the one with views (and wind!) on top of the hill, or without wide views but near the outdoor kitchen, the little lake (my favorite!) and the Eucalypt-Dwelling with hammocks and a treehouse, there are nice white tents to rent, or a spacious Geodome, while unwinding from the hectic city life we seemed to have gotten used to.
Being back home in Holland for nearly 20 hours, I have rapidly considered all the possibilities on how to get back there asap. (Heart says: “Sell the house, sell all the Stuff, take the kids and GO…!”
Head says; “ Wait for the 25 euro tickets from Rotterdam airport with Transavia again, and buy eight tickets each time they have that offer!”)What a beautiful place; 30 minutes from the west coast of Portugal to catch great waves, 30 minutes to the pristine beaches of the south to swim at ease and snorkel…
I think it is one of the best places I have been, either for it to stay like this, or to become the proof of how fantastic life can be living off the grid and going back to the real nature of Man.The ITWA’ers are prepared to work hard to realize the Real Joys of LIFE. And they succeeded. Already. Go visit.And trust me, after speaking to the founders and the volunteers, be assured that the ITWA thankfully will never become “one of them all inclusive bug-free-resorts”.