Flower and Garden Retreat May 2022: Mafra and Sintra

Here is part two of our Portugal Flower and Garden Retreat this past May! 

For the 2nd part of our retreat, we based ourselves in Aldeia da Mata Pequena a 300 year old village, restored to historical accuracy, near Mafra. This is a super special place that all the guests really connected with. Each person or group stays in their own little cottage but we can walk to each other’s cottages and join at the central house for activities.

Highlights of this portion include:

-A foraging walk with renowned wild plant expert, Fernanda Botelho. We went on a hike with Fernanda and she showed us what we can eat, she also shared some ethnobotany with us, explaining which plants were traditionally used in the kitchen or for utility. After our hike, Fernanda showed us what we could make with our foraged ingredients. We combined our wild foods with a special vegetarian meal made by A Praca Sintra with all locally grown ingredients.

-We foraged for flowers searching with a design-oriented lens and made wild foraged arrangements and flower crowns. We made wire-free flower crowns using a compostable method.

-We made wild centerpieces learning low-bowl mechanics, and stayed a table with vegetarian food that we enjoyed picnic style on our terrace.

-Other highlights included a day out in Sintra for the students, a whirlwind afternoon tour of a palace and formal gardens (that we had almost to ourselves!), and a farewell dinner on the beach. We also enjoyed a picnic style traditional Portuguese meal delivered in baskets by a local cook and her mother. 

-Thank you to all the students, and guests for making this such a special experience. Our collaborators brought so much joy for plants and flowers, we all left inspired. There’s something super lovely about connecting with other flower and plant lovers!

A special thank you to our collaborators who made this such a beautiful experience:

Aldeia da Mata Pequena

Fernanda Botelho

A Praca Sintra

Paula Guimarāes our event producer and co-host.

If you’d like information on future retreats, contact Chelsea here or sign up for our retreat emails. We have just announced a new retreat for May 3rd-May 9th 2023.

*Disclaimer: Despite going above and beyond government regulations for COVID, we had 4 cases of COVID in our group. We have since increased COVID measures to include mandatory PCR testing, and revised our itinerary to only outdoor activities. We’ve also revised our scheduling to include more time between retreats to avoid future cancellations and postponements as much as we can. We will still include daily testing, mandatory vaccination, masking when in transport and indoors, and distancing as necessary. 

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