After Nos alive and all the festivities in Lisbon I cycled south about 30km to a small town called Aldeia do Meco. I had organized some voluntary work there with the website http://www.helpx.net the same site I used last summer in France. I was to stay for 3 weeks helping out a lady (Maria) with all sorts of jobs around the house and garden. The weather was exceptional as usual as I rode the short journey there. I was excited to stop somewhere for a short time and have some sort of a routine and to do some work.
The house where I was to stay was beautiful. Small, but it had everything you need. A dozen chickens running around the back yard with their baby chicks racing along behind them, all sorts of vegetables growing in the garden providing the freshest ingredients for our meals. I started off with some painting around the house, then some trimming of trees and mowing of lawns,more painting and plenty of sunshine. Once a day we would head down to the beach which was very secluded and out of the way, a naturalist beach as it turns out. Which is not as weird as some of you may think, it seems very much the ‘natural’ thing to do here in Meco and I was embracing it.
The village itself is tiny, walkable and during the week is almost empty, on the weekend however it comes alive! A popular spot for Lisbon residents to hang out on the beach or in the many restaurants and cafes here, the vibe completely changed. No longer a sleepy beach town but a happening place for people young and old. After a couple of weeks here I had met a big group of Maria’s friends who were incredibly nice, I am always amazed at how well everyone speaks English here in Portugal, some better than me! I started noticing more people I recognized around the village after a short time I started feeling like a local in this beautiful place. I also met two young ladies here who were excellent company on my many trips to the beaches around the place, we visited Cabo Espichel which was quite difficult to say as are many Portuguese words as it turns out. The cape was so picturesque with it’s light house and an old monastery that had stood the test of time through the strong winds that whip over the cape. We we’re fortunate to have no wind and to see the place baked in the golden light of the setting sun.
My last week in Meco went so fast, I moved house for the last 4 days to help another lady in the village with some things for her and her friend. The time just seemed to slip through my fingers, the more I tried to enjoy it more the faster it seemed to go. I felt very close to a lot of the people here and I am sad to be moving on. I will miss everyone there a lot and hope I get to back there some day. But there is more of Portugal to see! My friend Matt is joining me now to explore more of Portugal and Spain so I am looking forward to seeing more amazing places.