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The Botanical Garden of Caldas de Monchique

Here is some more good news! Over the next ten years, ECO123’s employees, friends, sponsors, subscribers and customers will plant more than 1,000 different young trees in the new botanical garden of Caldas de Monchique. To plant a tree, it’s not enough just to make a hole and put a plant in it. A biotope is a complex system that lives by giving and receiving, waiting and growing, while also resting in order to gain new strength and the ability to interact. This story will cover everything that is needed to make a tree feel good on the planet Earth. …

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Are holidays really the best days of the year?

There are regions and economic areas that are sustainable and others that are not. And all it took was for a virus to hitch a lift on the back of tourism, travelling around the world and spreading disease and death, to prove the absurdity that reigns in the hospitality industry. In other words, it is the virus that has shown us that there are limits to tourism in our lives. Is this coronavirus the beginning of the end for a generation accustomed to travelling without limits and the beginning of the end for the tourism sector? For more than 250 …

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Tourist or traveller?

Traveller: a kind of historian who goes in search of the identity of a group of people, undergoing different experiences, documenting them and learning from them; tourist: he who experiences products designed by the tourist industry, the “fast-food” version of the traveller. Travel writing on the Algarve is full of travellers who feel the pulse of the land and its inhabitants, living with them and observing their lives without judgement. A. H. Stuart (1) writes: “the English tourist can be described as a person who travels for pleasure, experience and understanding. The tourist who fails to uphold the rules of …

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Heritage & Nature

Monchique is well worth a visit. Because people who keep climbing up the ancient cobblestone street in the village generally have one goal in mind: the old Franciscan convent destroyed in the earthquake on 1st November, 1755. On the home straight, the cobblestones turn into a footpath that leads to the ruin, on which the word “FAMILY” is written and in which the family of Vidaul Gonçalves lives. In the middle of the convent, between the crumbling walls, they have put up a fence and have both a chicken run and a fine vegetable garden, which feeds them well. Hikers …

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Hiking and Wellness

The varied footpaths in the hills of Monchique reveal a wide variety of themes. In collaboration with the Portuguese Hiking Association ACAMINPOR, ECO123 has put together the five most beautiful footpaths for a thematic hiking week. Arrival on Saturday in Faro in the south of Portugal. You will be picked up there at the station or the airport. Transfer to Caldas de Monchique. There you will spend the ECO hiking week and experience the charm of a spa, which offers you treatments after the hikes. Massages, wellness bath, sauna. On Sunday, you are free to acclimatise as you like. Arrive …

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Nature and Gourmet

Potatoes. Broad beans. Sweet potatoes. Sweet corn. Pumpkin. Carrots. Walnuts. Chestnuts. Acorns. Honey. Onions. Garlic. Cabbage. Apples. Oranges. Pomegranates. Quinces. Figs. Almonds, carob. Olives and olive oil. Medronho. Lemons. Asparagus. Chanterelles and many other wild mushrooms. Bay leaves. Rosemary. Thyme. Oregano. Parsley. Basil. Coriander. Piri piri. The list of products growing wild or cultivated by farmers all year round in Monchique – excellent foods, spices and herbs – is almost endless. Our land is rich in nutrients and good, the soil is black and the climate of sunshine and rain stimulates plant growth on every day of the year. Three …

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Ecotrails Odemira

Pure nature in the Alentejo.

Shaded by trees, the river Mira meanders lazily from Odemira to Vila Nova de Milfontes. For people wanting to spend their autumn holidays here with children and canoes, www.ecotrails.info offer a weekend tour in a leisurely paddling area. As the tide goes out, you paddle towards the mouth of the river, and you paddle back as the tide comes in. Each stretch of just over 30 km of paddling in one direction can easily be covered in two days. You can also add an overnight stop in Casas Brancas.

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Monastery Vallbona

Ruta del Cister

Twenty steps lead up to the second floor of the sandstone stronghold that stands behind metre-thick walls. That’s where the five guest cells of the Catalonian Cistercian monastery Poblet are to be found. Brother Paco, aged 79, alias Francisco Martínez Soria, hands me the key. He shows me the bathroom, broom cupboard and the wall-walk around the monastery. He’s a man of few words: “Singing at one, followed by lunch.” Then he leaves. Bed, desk, chair, shelf, rubbish bin, saint’s image, radiator, desk lamp. Four by two-and-a-half metres. This is where the three-day, 106 km long walk along the Cistercian …

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Comboio CP

By night train to Lisbon.

2002. We’re now living with the euro. But are there other things that unite us? After all, since the second Schengen agreement, we’ve been able to travel all over Europe without any controls. Our dreams of mobility appear to be boundless. Icarus and the flying carpet have become normal. But the maiden voyage of the Titanic showed us how vulnerable we humans make ourselves when we continue to strive for new records and ignore the laws of nature. The moon landing in 1969 was a temporary climax. A short time later, we are amazed to discover that things don’t appear …

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