This morning’s wind is strong. But it invites you travel close-hauled and discover the beau- ty of northern Portugal.
Nature feels intact, and one can see the harmony that exists between colors and shapes. But it also projects strength and debauchery. Paiva Walkways provides all this. This eight kilometer route leads me along the Paiva River, between its cliffs, waterfalls and impressive landscape. The starting point is Areinho. The river is located between steep rocks, which at the beginning of the trip look like a tender lion lying, sleeping. The route begins. The first step on the wooden structure has been taken, it’s extremely embedded in the purist landscape, but at the same time, it barely touches it. I flow. Paiva is in motion. Its pulse is water itself, its breath is the noise we hear. “Staccato, legato“. Time for reflection.
And so, the landscape transports me, step by step. The atmosphere is clear, the silence is loud, weighty between the poetry and lands- cape. I find luxury in nature, am I hard on natures heels, or is nature following me? My legs follow the road, the rhythm. Each step deter- mines the vagueness. After eight kilometers, I reach the finish line in Espiunca. The road is the goal. I really didn’t want to reach it. And that’s why I decided to retrace my steps. Go against the current. With poetry and nature as my partners.
EVOCATION - SIX SENSES DOURO
Nature is the protagonist, and yet, culture becomes free in the interaction between man and nature. The sustainable retreat Six Senses, is located in the Duero region, where the climates of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean merge, as it clings to the cliffs with their multicolored forests. Here the importance of sustainability is accentuated. It’s the basis of an extraordinary experience and the opportunity to expand one’s senses. Quality and comfort are at the center of everything, enriched by a multi-level program that emphasizes on transferring knowledge.
And so I find myself absorbed in their courses, making my own yogurt, learning pickling techniques and transforming herbs from the garden into curative ointments.
The herbs have a firm place in the culinary preparation of all of the house’s dishes. They are complemented with regional products. The wine list also makes up an important part of the house’s gastronomic symphony, and offers an impressive Portuguese wine culture, classic and natural wines, as well as some biodynamic wines that combine beautifully with the wine that accompanies the dishes.
Sustainability isn’t only found in the kitchen and in the activities, it forms the basis of the place’s sustainable action maxim. It is manifested in the villa’s architectural design, which dates back to the 19th century and was restored and not completely renovated. The tools and ancient interiors symbolize a link with the region and an ode to reusing instead of performing an unconditional renewal.
It’s time to go and immerse ourselves onto our rest.
Thank you, Luís Rebelo de Andrade! In this treehouse, my own past falls on my present. My dream of having my own tree house to camouflage myself among the trees and sing wholeheartedly has been fulfilled. A place where I can find myself, somewhere between heaven and earth.
Designed by the Portuguese architect Luís Rebelo de Andrade, Snake House is part of the Natural Park and the adjacent Pedras Salgadas baths. The tree house’s large front window invites me to dream, to connect my senses with nature. It feels like I’m part of the tree collective. My mind is rooted in the past. My body is anchored in the present.
+ Words and Photos: Jens Wittwer