Thursday, 20 October 2016

Beach Yoga at Praia de Monte Clérigo

On Friday evening the four of us met with Eve, our yoga teacher and the owner of Prana Casa for a last session of yoga. In the beginning we did a "normal" practice, then we did partner excercises and tried out some acro yoga. Then Eve took over my camera and made us pose in different assanas. We had a lot of fun and it was the most beautiful feeling to be on the beach with really nice people and feel your body do all the things we had been practising all week.

I am so very glad that I went on this yoga adventure in Portugal. It was my first time in a yoga retreat and also the first time I did more than one lesson with the same teacher. I loved all the different practices on the deck, the chanting in the morning, the medidation walk but this beach yoga session was probably the one I will never forget. 

During the last few days back in Zürich I tried really hard to stay connected to my holidays. Each morning I did a bit of yoga, I made myself some oatmeal and I've already been to my first hatha yoga lesson in Zürich and payed for 11 more. I'll give my best to continue...


Praia de Monte Clérigo and Praia da Amoreira

Praia de Monte Clérigo is the second closest beach to Prana Casa. The first time I went there it was close to midnight. I didn't understand how my car worked, especially the lights, so I decided to take it for a little drive. The other yoga students thought I was a bit crazy but I had to get over my fear of the car and I knew the roads would be empty at that time of night. It was eerie to drive through an unknown territory but I got to the beach safely (I didn't actually see it because it was so dark but I heard it) and I came back with a much better feeling about my car.

Next time we went there, was before Corine and I went on our hike along the Rota Vicentina. Before and after the hike we had coffee with Kat who had to stay at the beach after having hurt her leg surfing.

On our last day in Portugal we came back to the beach for another hike, this time towards the other side. As soon as we were on the cliffs, we met lots of cliff fishermen. Fishing there seems so peaceful, there is quite a bit of noise from the waves and it's windy but there is nothing else to do than to look out at the sea. We were actually very fortunate because a school of dolphins swam by just as we were standing there, we could observe them for quite a while.

We walked on until we got the the beginning of Praia da Armoreira. At low tide you can wade through the river to get on the beach on the other side, but when we were there, the water was quite high. We climbed down the bank of the river and then we decided to be brave and go swimming. It was icy at first but after a few minutes everything felt numb, so we didn't feel the coldness of the water anymore. It felt good to be out again on the warm rocks afterwards but I am very glad we did it.

After our hike and a delicious meal with fish soup and mussels we strolled back to Praia de Monte Clérigo and relaxed before our final beach yoga session with Eve.

Praia de Vale Figueira

On Thursday Corine and I set out to discover another beach. We drove past Aljezur and turned south. We left the road a few kilometers before we got to Carrapateira and followed the sign to Vale Figueira.

In the beginning, this new road was slightly bumpy but still ok to drive, but after a while it got really intense. There were a lot of holes in the dirt road and it was also quite steep. We didn't want to risk scraching the floor of Corine's rental car so we left it next to the road and walked the last bit down to the beach. Right before we got there, we were very surprised to see a perfect stretch of well maintained tarmac road. We didn't quite get the logic of only doing the last bit, who's going to enjoy it, if the bit in between is in really bad condition?

The beach was almost deserted and soo beautiful. The waves were really high that day and we had a lot of fun watching two experienced surfers fight their way out and try not to get lost in all that white water. All of a sudden we realised that the tide was coming in. Before the beach disappeared we went for a walk in both directions and I just loved being almost in the middle of the water and the noise of the waves.

We walked back up to our car and drove back towards the main road. Before we got there we had a break at restaurant Sha Bouco and had a lovely galão with two amazing cakes.

In the evening we didn't have a yoga lesson so we went out. We drove back to Praia de Arrifana and had fish and sweet potatoes for dinner. There was also live music and together with all the different colours of the sunset it was quite magical.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Rota Vicentina

Along the southern coast of western Portugal you can hike the Rota Vicentina, a 400km trail mostly along the coast. From where we stayed in Vale da Tehna it's only about 20 minutes on foot to get to the sandy part of the Fisherman's Trail.

We got our first impression on Monday evening when we did a silent meditation walk to the edge of the cliffs. It was a beautiful walk through low trees and bushes and on really soft sand. The light was amazing and it was hard not to regret that I'd left my camera back home even though I can see the benefit of only watching and feeling it. I brought my iPhone along so I took a few photos just to remember it.

The next day we decided to go for a bigger hike, starting in Praia de Monte Clérigo. The sky was a bit cloudy which made for beautiful moody colours and the temperature was just perfect for a long hike (in the end we did 17.6km which isn't bad on sandy ground).

On the way out we were very slow because we took so many pictures. I think we must have repeated "this is soo beautiful" about a million times and it was true every single time. We made it to the point of the meditation walk and then we turned around and hiked back.

On this second half of our way the sun came out which changed the mood of the scenery. I liked the warmth and the brightness, but I think I almost prefer the more subtle light of the morning.

I was really impressed by this wonderful hike and I would really like to walk much more of it. Maybe one of these days I can do the whole length of it.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Carrapateira / Praia da Bordeira

On Monday my yoga buddies decided to learn to surf so I had the day all to myself because I knew that trying to get on a surfing board would probably kill me. I asked Anke (my Navigon voice ;-) and my travel guide where to go and together we decided to check out Carrapateira and the Praia da Bordeira. Just driving there was beautiful. After a short while on the fast main road I took a slower, bumpier road towards the coast with many curves and beautiful trees.

I drove through Carrapateira and ended up on my favourite beach in Portugal. The car park is on top of a little hill which gives you an amazing view all over Praia da Bordeira. Two wooden paths lead down from there. The first one ended on the top of the beach, in the middle of the crashing waves. Here I also saw my first cliff fisherman. They stand so close to the edge of the cliffs that it's rather scary to watch them but I can totally get the fascination of fishing there.

The second path ended at the bank of a small river that I had to wade through to get on the actual beach. There weren't a lot of people on the beach anymore even though the weather was stunning without being too hot. Perfect for a Galão and a bit of knitting in the sand.

We came back to the same beach two days later when the weather was quite different. This time there was no sun but mist and wind. The sea was much wilder and louder and I liked it just as much as the first time.

I don't know why I felt so connected to this beach but I am pretty sure that I will go there again sometimes soon.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Praia da Arrifana


Praia da Arrifana is closest to Prana Casa where I did my yoga retreat. It only takes a few minutes to drive there (and it is possible to walk back home from there at night ;-). The last bit to get down to the beach is quite steep and the beach itself is protected on both sides with high cliffs. All the other students of the yoga retreat took some surfing lessons, but I knew it would be too much for me so I just enjoyed walking along the beach, taking photos, knitting and reading. It was almost too hot for me on the first day but then it cooled down. I really loved the restaurant right at the edge of Arrifana beach, such a stunning view all over the sea and the food was yummie too.

Yoga Retreat in Portugal

I spent last week in Portugal (and I am pretty sad it's over already!!!). The kids were away at Fall Camp and I knew I had a whole week for myself so instead of staying at home and not doing much, I decided to go somewhere I'd never been before and do something I hadn't done either.

I flew to Lisbon where I picked up my superfancy car. It was so technically advanced that it felt more like driving a computer than a real car and in the beginning I had no idea how to use it. I just about found out how the automatic gears worked but all the other stuff eluded me. Nevertheless I made it safely to my destination: Prana Casa Yoga Retreat in Vale da Telha on the Algarve.

I met my teacher Eve and two of my three fellow students as well as a group of soon to be yoga teachers and their teacher Dr. Venky who where doing a yoga teacher training course.

We had yoga outside on the deck in the mornings and in the evenings most days, we did a yoga meditation walk, a yoga nidra class and a yoga beach session with photos on our last evening. I really enjoyed the calm Hatha Yoga we did, it wasn't too hard even for a beginner like me.

During the days we had a lot of time for ourselves. I spent a bit of time in the garden of Prana Casa but most of the time I took the car and went exploring the amazing beaches close by. I took tons of photos that I only just started to go through (I'll post those in a separate post).

On the whole this whole trip was just perfect for me, I feel so relaxed after this holidays and I hope I'll be able to keep doing yoga at home (the first two days were good, I did an online Hatha class both days ;-)