Lotte and Floris’ valley is an idyllic place near Benfeita in the Coimbra district, Portugal. Through the valley flows a slow river with a natural pool that you can relax and swim in. A waterfall will massage soar backs at the end of a hard workshop day. If you have energy to spare a public hiking trail invites you to explore on weekends. Nearby is the beautiful Nature reserve area of Serra do Açor with waterfalls like Fraga da Pena. The native forest Mata da Margaraça is in walking distance. Within an hour drive there is the highest and biggest mountain range of Portugal, Serra da Estrela. Enjoy amazing views on the way to the top of Pico de Cebola (1418m). Nearby is also the Parque de Merendas – Cerdeira where you can join guided hikes, canoeing, environmental workshops and much more. The village of Paradieiros is a cozy spot to have a coffee on the way back from a hiking trip. A bigger village with shops and cafes is Coja, next to the river Alva with river beaches and restaurants. There are daily busses between Benfeita and Coja, leaving in the morning and coming back in the afternoon.

Workshops at this location:

DateWorkshop
Aug 2 – Aug 30 2020Natural Building Workshop
we will build an outdoor kitchen, earthen oven and rocket mass heater

Hosts: Lotte & Floris

Five years ago Lotte and Floris (The Netherlands) arrived in this area with their camper van. Since then they have been part of a contemporary experiment in the evolution of consciousness and culture called The Awakened Life Project. They have lived there and in another sister community and self-built a yurt from scratch which they sadly lost in the wildfires in 2017. After this they decided that they wanted to have a place for themselves and their daughter Isa who is now four years old. Being part of the Awakened Life Project, Floris and Lotte gained a lot of experience with meditation and Self-inquiry. Lotte and Floris are very happy to share their experience with you and would love to create an open atmosphere in this workshop. They will be meditating every morning and will be very happy if you would like to join them. If you don’t have any experience they are also very happy to guide you in that. 

Lotte owns a second hand clothes shop in a village nearby (that you are very welcome to visit!) and is social media manager for The Awakened Life Project. She likes cooking, writing, gardening and anything creative. 

Floris has a company in building Rocket Mass Heaters. From him you can learn all about Rocket Mass Heaters. He also has experience in carpentry, building with (round) wood, cob, hempcrete and clay. He completed a permaculture design course and loves to work on the land, He is also web developer for The Awakened Life Project. 

Project:

Lotte and Floris are in the beginning phase of making their beautiful piece of land into a home. Their dream is to live together with other people within the evolutionary context as lived within The Awakened Life Project. This means living in a conscious, transparent and simple way. How this will look like will unfold over time but right now they are creating spaces and facilities that support that dream. As part of their project they are restoring several ruins with traditional schist walls. They want to experiment with sustainable materials and solutions like hemp, clay, earth floors, rocket mass heaters, green roofs and wood from their land. Since the very start have been reforesting, planting native trees and taking away eucalyptus and pine and experimenting with growing their own food.

They don’t allow the use of drugs on their land, smoking is in a designated area and the use of alcohol within moderation.

Location: Benfeita

The neighboring village of Pardieiros, Benfeita is a cozy spot to hang out and have a coffee after a hike along the Aldeias do Xisto trail, that passes Lotte and Floris’ land and the nearby Schist town Benfeita.

The area of Benfeita has a very lively international community with many people owning pieces of land and living on principles of self-sustainability and permaculture. There is a local educational project where kids and parents come together and many community activities like a local crafts and produce market, a women circle, open-mic and film evenings and a People’s Kitchen every friday night. Also there are communal work days and classes and groups to participate in, such as singing, dance, writing, yoga and many more.

Accomodations

You will be camping in the lovely valley, close to the river that will sing your lullabies. Compost toilets, hot and cold showers, a dining area, yoga/dance space and a cozy hangout communal area will be offered for maximum comfort and enjoyment during this wonderful and transformational time together.

Getting there

By bus

There is a national express bus service (service 20) running direct between Lisbon (Sete Rios bus station) and Catraia do Mouronho which is the nearest stop to us on the EN17, although still around 30 minutes by car. This is the easiest way to get here by public transport. Catraia de Mouronho is the second stop out of Coimbra, shortly after Moita da Serra. It’s a roadside stop in the middle of nowhere with a small café on the other side of the road.

Buses from Porto necessitate a change in Coimbra, and you can go to Catraia de Mouronho, Tábua or Arganil.

We can collect you from Catraia de Mouronho (the closest stop for us) Tábua or Arganil or if you’re travelling to Arganil, a local bus runs to and from the village of Benfeita. However there’s only one bus a day – out to Arganil first thing in the morning and back to Benfeita in the evening (except on Thursdays – market day – when there’s an extra bus in and out of Benfeita in the middle of the day).

By train

For an arrival by train, you can find affordable Tickets on cp.pt, the Portuguese railroad company. There is a train station in the area (the closest is Coimbra-B) and you can take the train from both Lisbon and Porto, but then you have to change from train to bus in Coimbra. The train and bus stations in Coimbra are just a short walk from each other. Book your tickets here

By plane

If you’re travelling from outside Portugal, the nearest airports are Porto (2 hours) or Lisbon (3½ hours). Both have public transport connections to get to Benfeita.

From Coimbra

From Coimbra you can catch a regional Bus to Coja. This is where we can pick you up. Check the local bus service, e.g. on rome2rio.comPlease aim to arrive onsite by Sunday at noon at the latest but if you are coming from far away better to arrive on Friday or Saturday to have time to settle in and adjust.

By (rental) car

If you are planning to stay longer in the area (recommended) or you want to be flexible on weekends, you can also come by car. There is enough space for a small camper, but big RVs might not be able to get through the narrow roads.

If you want to arrive by car, stick to the following route: Coimbra -> IP3 -> Raiva -> IC6 -> Coja -> Dreia