How it began
In 2001, we visited Portugal for the first time. Our son Bas went to college in Lisbon and, being loving parents, we went to see how he was doing. We made a three-week tour, and at some point we ended up in the Alentejo. We went back to the Alejento the year after, taking our sister (in law) Lies. That’s how it all started. The idea of: I could grow old here, but I’d have to do something, and what would I miss, and the weather is so lovely, and the tomatoes are so tasty, and we will miss the children, but who knows where they’ll go, and all our relatives are living quite far away as it is, and here the piglets are still running free, and our friends can come here if they want to see us, and Wynand always wanted to do a spot of catering, and Nel always wanted to live in the dunes close to the beach, and Lies has seen all the reading glasses she’ll ever need to see, and how do we go about it, and let’s check the Internet.
The result: in 2004, we bought an old eucalyptus plantation called Monte do Casarão. Brilliantly situated in the Alentejo Baixo, in a nature reserve, far from the madding crowd. Large enough to start something to support ourselves, since we didn’t fancy slogging away in the Netherlands until retirement only to slip into a life of leisure. Remote, the middle of nowhere, is what we wanted, but that’s also what complicated matters. Water and electricity supplies were not included.
In January 2006 the construction of the infra structure, the cottages and the swimming pool started, and one and a half year later everything is ready. March 2007 we can begin with our new lives.