Almost a year. That’s how long it took us from the moment we first saw the property we fell in love with to the moment we signed the papers that made us its official new owners. Well, 11 months to be exact. Ten, maybe, if you count from the moment we decided we wanted to buy the place.
No matter how you look at it, it has taken quite a while.
We are partly at fault, because we wanted to cross all the T’s and dot all the I’s – have the land cleared enough for a topographer to come measure it, get the old stone ruins on the map, and ensure the registries were up to date. The requirements and pace of Portuguese bureaucracy didn’t help.
But, WE MADE IT!As a result, we are the happy owners of 24 hectares of land adjacent to the Serra da Estrela National Park, a 15min drive from the city of Guarda (population 50k, altitude 1000m, and with all the schools, supermarkets, hospital access, a movie theater, and other elements one could want – but no rush hour traffic, ever. Win!) and a 2h drive from Porto (i.e., the closest international airport).
The land is a 5min drive down a dirt track from two villages, Meios and Trinta, which offer a post office, bank, cafes, and small grocery stores – not to mention a welcoming community we’re still getting to know.So, what next?
Now the real work begins!
Building on what we’ve done so far, our vision is to set up a small eco-tourism project made up of a main house (where we will live), an event space (a second house with a big kitchen and a loft-type space that can be set up as need be for birthdays, yoga classes, coaching/painting/soap-making/your imagination is the limit workshops, and whatever else comes to mind), and four independent units that we can rent out (each with their own bathroom and kitchenette).
It will be a working farm, which means that there will be a productive vegetable garden, and animals – so far, we’re thinking chickens, goats, donkeys and horses, and maybe eventually pigs. We also want a natural swimming pool (probably with a bar).
Tourism and events will be our main source of income, though we are also working on diversifying revenue streams to make ourselves more financially stable. We’re still part of the Pure Portugal team (a great organization that sells rural real estate & a community of like-minded people), I’m getting more into freelance writing, and we’re exploring a few other ideas to add to the mix.
As the optimist, my hope is that by next summer (May 2019), we’ll be partly operational and able to start hosting our first proper guests!
The to-do list is rather intense however, as we have to do everything from renovate the stone buildings (with the help of an architect and engineers, rest assured) to build a pool, find a name, build a website and social media presence, improve the aforementioned dirt track, and continue working on the homestead/farming aspect of our project.
The good news is, all that sounds incredibly exciting to us and we can’t wait to dive in and share our progress – ups and downs – along the way.
So, stay tuned as always, because there should be quite a few fun ways you can get involved if you’re interested in doing so – from coming for an early visit to lend your hands to physical DIY projects to giving us your opinion on names and logos, filling out surveys if and when we need to do market research, sponsoring tree-planting activities, becoming godmother or godfather to one (or more) of our animals, and so much more.Let’s do this!