I’m Paula. I was born in Mozambique where human relationships were easy and affectionate. Maybe because of these reasons I’m very sociable and love meeting new people. Beeing a innkeeper – for me the best word to describe this new form of life – is rewarding because of that and because sometimes comebacks do happen as well as new friendships. At Figueirinha I cook for guests the same way I cook for my family. Mediterranean inspired dishes make the menu built around the produce available that day in the market and local shops. Simplicity and sustainability are only two reasons for enjoying life at Figueirinha. Here the wind that blows through the valley takes me on journeys till the day its time to departure again to discover other worlds, new and old, visited and unvisited because I also like to return.
I was born in Lisbon, before the first man reached the moon! On May 68, I was in Paris, then Lyon and Brussels. I returned to Portugal in 1974, after the Carnation Revolution. I developed a taste for travel reading the books of Jules Verne and the comic books of Tintin and Corto Maltese. My passion for islands has already taken me from the Azores to New Zealand, from Cuba to Santa Catarina or from Bora Bora to Magnetic Island, but it's in Africa, on the beaches of Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe islands or the archipelago of Quirimbas, where I rediscover myself again. A journalist for over 30 years, I switched the hustle and bustle of newsrooms to the tranquility of a rural tourism in Alentejo. Figueirinha Ecoturismo is also the headquarters of the publishing house Contra a Corrente. Here, I like to welcome friends and travelers from all over the world, sharing experiences around the table, savoring the best that Portuguese and Mediterranean cuisine has to offer.
Always in charge
My name is Lurdes and I’m from Alentejo where I was born and grew up. Lots of people left this region looking for a better life but this is my home and where one can find the best quality of life, the best air to breath and the most amazing mushrooms. I work at Figueirinha Ecoturismo for five years, however it’s not only a way of life, its my second home. I enjoy being helpful, do everything that’s on my reach and my biggest passion are flowers and cats. I’m sociable, playful and persistent. Figueirinha Ecoturismo can always count on me.
Our best friend
Hello! I'm Cookie, an eight-year-old Border Collie. My race originates from the border between Scotland and England, but I was born in Alentejo. I traveled to Madeira and then to Porto, before returning to Alentejo, with my new owners, Paula and Alexandre. Here in Figueirinha, I'm happy! I can walk around the wilderness, run after the sheep - I've had two lambs, Isaura and Clementina - and play with people who visit us, and also catch rain drops. I really like people, caresses, figs and hose bathing when my owners are watering the garden and the vegetables. I also enjoy going to the beach and travel by car. I just don't like cats that much, but well, as my owner says “il faut de tout pour faire un monde” (“it takes everything and everyone to build a world”).
The smart one
Hello! They call me Meia Leca, because I am small and have short paws. But no one catches me when I run after the sheep, the cars, and the wild animals. I may not have pedigree, like Cookie, but I have the fiber and energy of a true Jack Russell crossed with Portuguese podengo, also known as a "rabbit dog". They call me "rufia" because I keep barking when someone passes at the gate, but everyone knows I'm a caring mother. I raised my two daughters, Joa and Mali, and took care of the pussycat Passarinha in its first month of life, here in Figueirinha. I love my owners, who adopted me, Cookie and the cats Alice and Ema. I love crackers and I go insanely happy with a good spaghetti pasta or a good bone. This last one, nobody takes it away from me!
The cats Ema and Alice
The guardian and the adventurous
“Meowing little, always scratching, and never fearing”, this motto by an illustrious Alentejo writer, Fialho de Almeida, reflects Ema’s personality, the most skittish and dominant one. It is easy to recognize by the black tail and black spots on the head. Her sister Alice, on the other hand, is sweeter and tender, though she turns out to be the most adventurous and the best hunter. Stripes on the head and tail are its distinctive features. Both enjoy the good tidbits, the comfort of the living room cushions and the gentle warmth of the fireplace on colder and rainier days. And if you leave them, they will not hesitate to come into your rooms and glamping tents to greet you. Ema and Alice are daughters of Mimo and were born in the neighboring village of Ribeira do Salto in April 2015.
"Diverse breakfast with local produce, very good bread and homemade jams. The place is heavenly and great to ‘turn off’ and feel the nature! The hosts (Paula, Alexandre and Lurdes) are super friendly and make us feel at home!"