A Hippie Community, A Nudist and Secret Waterfalls

06.08.16 Porto, Portugal

A random Friday at a hippie co-op aligned me with my next experience which was out of this world amazing. But before I get ahead of myself I want to talk about the experience dining at an alternative community. Raquel and I went to an event on couchsurfing that was offering a vegetarian dinner for donations. We showed up an hour late ( Portugese people are often fashionably late however this was a bit too late) and we scraped the last pile of left over food on our plates and made our way out to the dinner table in the garden. There was about 15 of us at the event and we ate and talked and laughed quite a lot and got to know many other travellers. It was a great vibe and my first experience in a co-op. Pretty darn cool! We met a man named Miguel who was very charismatic and funny who told me more about these sorts of communities and about Rainbow gatherings. After dinner he told us that he knew of a secret spot in the mountains with a waterfall and we were welcome to join him if we wanted to go on the weekend. Of course we did! Little did we know how dangerous and intense it was going to be!

Dinner Time

Saturday came and myself, Raquel, Noga a girl from Israel and Luka a guy from Croatia piled in Miguel’s car and we were off to Alvao National Park. When we arrived we made our climb down a small section of the mountain and quickly realized we were in for an intense day! We crawled through bushes, our legs cut up from the thorns and tried not to look down. In the process we almost lost our belongings for good. Raquel tried to hop to another rock and threw the backpack she was carrying with all of our things (phone, water, towels, food, camera etc) however it picked up pace and rolled down the whole mountain. We all yelled in unison as it flew down the mountain at crazy speed. At the time I was so annoyed and only now do I realize the comical side of it. A few hours later, Noga became the hero and rescued the bag half way up the mountain.

Ready to Climb

When we arrived we were all in awe of the beauty before us. An untouched waterfall flowing freely down the mountain into a natural plunge pool below. The water was so fresh and clear that the the orange and yellow rock formations could be seen under the water reflecting the sun. I remember seeing so many stones on our climb that looked as if they had been painted wit gold glitter. They were so beautiful in the sunlight. We dived into the cold water, a pleasant change from the heat of the Portugese sun now reaching high into the 30s. Miguel informed us that he was going to swim in the nude as he felt more comfortable being naked.. It was a little surprising as I’ve never seen a 50 year old naked man. Now I have. Its burned into my brain. We all swam and sunbathed for a few hours and took in the natural beauty around us. I was said to leave and I gladly could have stayed all day and night floating in the water feeling the connection to nature.

The Waterfall

Afterwards, We began our jounrey back up the mountain. A harder task than getting down. The rocks were scalding hot to touch in the 38 degrees heat making the climb more difficult. To make things worse we barley had any water and no shelter from the sun. It felt as though we would never reach the top. I questioned my physical strength as well as wondering how on earth people climb Everest and the likes. Thankfully minutes before I felt as if I was going to collapse from heat exhaustion we came to another waterfall. This time with tourists as it was freely accessable via a path from the car park. I ran like lightening into the freezing cold water and my body felt the shock of the temperature change to the core. It was amazing, I jumped off a high rock into the waterfall below and the sensation falling was pretty awesome. Eventually we had to pack our things and say goodbye to the falls making sure to leave it untouched and pristine as when we found it.

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