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TDP2021: Day 17-18 – Off-Grid Zoning Out

After yesterday’s trip and a grand welcome at the eco-lodge, I wake up in my room at around 7 am as the sun starts to rise.

No noise except for the wind is to be heard. Everything here encourages deceleration. The room has a brilliant view of the surrounding Compo and the lack of any meaningful mobile phone reception adds to the discouragement of Internet usage. My room offers a good selection of books in various languages.

The goal for my next few days is to unwind and get ready for 4 weeks of ‘digital nomad’-style working in Lisbon before returning to Switzerland.very kind inclusion to the host’s meal and evening

After a night sleeping with open windows and only the wind be heard I wake up to this view

After a night sleeping with open windows and only the wind to be heard I wake up to this view.

 

My hosts are a decade older than me and early risers like me. They advertise (and many of the previous guests raved about) the breakfast – made with love from locally sources ingredients.

My breakfasts looked like this!

My breakfasts looked like this!

 

For me it was not only the beautifully arranged fresh fruit and the eggs made anyway I liked, it was definitely also the location: outside on the patio under a pergola, complete with outside kitchen and clay bread oven and BBQ. I was in no rush and enjoyed breakfast to the max before starting to further explore the expansive grounds on which the house stands.

The house has its own well with pump which is powered by solar energy. The pump fills a reservoir about 150m up the hill which itself provides for water pressure even in case of no electricity.

As they do not add any chemicals to the water, the reservoir is emptied from time to time and the unused water is filled into a small pool which itself is also filled once a week to avoid using chemicals. From there they use the water to water the many, many plants and trees they have planted around the house during the last 30+ years living here.

Pure nature - pure relaxation

Pure nature – pure relaxation

 

Anywhere I go there are either recliners, hammocks or other special places to gaze at the surrounding landscapes. The total grounds cover over 10 hectares – basically anything in view, hills and all, belong to this property.

Another place to relax on their vast grounds

Another place to relax on their vast grounds

 

I spend over an hour exploring and found a few places worth re-visiting when the sun is setting or rising.

There is literally nothing here...except for a TWIKE

There is literally nothing here…except for a TWIKE

 

Speaking of the sun: With the sun back up, I restart the charge at 500W – 100% solar direct-charge whilst 250W remain for the house as the ageing 15+ year-old inverter and solar management system can only handle 750W and 1kW peak for around 45 sec. These are the charges that feel best – absolutely free!

100% pure solar charge

100% pure solar charge

 

As readers of this blog know, I was very curious to learn about the solar battery storage and management system – where was it located? It had its own little house rather far away from the main building.

Even the batteries live in their own little house!

Even the batteries live in their own little house!

 

Huge, 25x25x55cm single-cell led-acid batteries can be found there. Linked by 40mm diameter cables, they form a 24V system which itself is controlled by a super-old, LED-status-only inverter that was running very hot due to the enclosed space but also because of my TWIKE’s ongoing longer-duration load.

The big batteries. Every cell is 2V 1320Ah!

The big batteries. Every cell is 2V @ 1320Ah!

 

My hosts had both asked me if they could have a ride with the TWIKE …to show me their respective favourite part of the close-by Vicentina Coast.

After my first day spent mostly in one of the hammocks and another round of beers and very interesting conversations in the evening, I agreed we could leave and explore the coast early next day.

After every night. Plexiglass killing stuff

After every night. Plexiglass killing stuff

 

Gingerly, I drive down the dirt track to Bordeira with Ed. Today, there are even more people here. Due to Covid, the small café on one corner that had just two very small covered outdoor tables was allowed to place some additional tables outside and they also built some ‘Toldos’ to provide some shade for another 20 spaces on the other side of the square

The effect on village life was marked: everyone had enough space in this Agora to meet and greet – with the restrictions now relaxed, the village has decided to keep things as they are and hopes this renewed sense of being a village. Dorris is already there and the arrival of the TWIKE causes quite a stir.

Bordeira's always-busy town square

Bordeira’s always-busy town square

 

Ed has chosen to wear glasses that match my t-shirt! We’re ready to discover his favourite part of the coast.

Dressed for the event!

Dressed for the event!

 

We took some very small and only partially surfaced roads to the coast.

Single lane roads that lead to the coast

Single lane roads that lead to the coast

 

The reward, however, was worth the drive! – See for yourself!

Drive to the end of the world. Endless blue awaits

Drive to the end of the world. Endless blue awaits

 

Along the coast, we stopped to admire another bay and were approached by a young woman who asked us if we had traveled all the way from Switzerland with the TWIKE? Yes, we answered – and she proceeded to tell us that she had just done the same …with her bike, coming all the way from Geneva!

Random encounters along the road

Random encounters along the road

 

We continued along the coast and arrived at Bordeira beach – a mecca for surfers and kite-surfers.

Driving along the coast on small, hidden roads

Driving along the coast on small, hidden roads

Another one from here, just for good measure

Another one from here, just for good measure

Wow

Wow

Now it was the time to pick up Dorris and take her on a ride. She really loved it – the portion of the coast she showed me was also beautiful!

This coast is just magical

This coast is just magical

 

What a special place the Vicentinan Coast is. Let’s hope the Portuguese Government can protect it from the excesses of the Algarve.

Happy host enjoying the ride in the TWIKE

Happy Dorris enjoying the ride in the TWIKE

 

See Dorris loving the ride in TW560 below:

 

Time was flying – lots of relaxation, reading, having beers on the veranda with Ed and Dorris and then … stargazing. The place was so remote that the stars and milky way were visible without any light pollution – magic!

My activity every night: Stargazing

My activity every night: Stargazing

 

Much too quickly, it is time to pack the TWIKE and drive to Lisbon!

This is where my road to Lisbon starts

This is where my road to Lisbon starts