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We took Casa da Lomba, unusually, for two weeks at the beginning of December, as we had business in the area.
The owner, Snr Santos, was ready to greet us upon arrival, and realising we were tired, tactfully showed us the essential workings, urging us to contact him with any questions. The house had been beautifully, and tastefully, decorated for Christmas, and had been immaculately restored, whilst retaining the historic quirks.
Having just come from an excellent 4 star hotel in Spain, the standard was on a par - spacious bedrooms and living areas, complimentary coffee and toiletries, crisp bathrooms and acres of white towels - all with the advantage of a homely feel. We felt instantly comfortable, and with not one, but two, open fires, and plenty of heaters in all the rooms. We slept like babes.
The owners discreetly and promptly solved any small problems - being Scots, we managed to kill the kettle by insisting it provide us with our standard 5,000 cups of tea each day. A replacement arrived well before tea-withdrawl symptoms set in :-)
The house is angled to stay cool in the heat, and the mature garden huge, with plenty of run, play and explore space for children, and an impressively-sized pool and terrace (bit chilly for us to try!). There are also lots of cool areas to sit in of an evening in summer as the sun goes down. Tempting.
Food & shopping are easy - 5 minutes away in Pousafoles do Bispo is a cafe restaurant open until 2pm, and further on, on the outskirts of Pega, a large restaurant open early, with lunch from 12 and dinner from 8pm. Buy superb crusty rolls from the tiny local grocer on Pega's high street, but before 12pm - they'll all gone by evening opening ;-)
Supermarkets in Guarda cater to Portuguese tastes, but you can pick up all the basics. If you're British, take all the tea bags you need for the trip - the only choice is astronomically priced Twinings or Tetley Cha Preto. In tiny sachets. Don't get me started ...
Anyway, the sun shone consistently for the whole 2 weeks, with day temperatures hovering around 10 degrees (what we call 'mild' here in Scotland!), and just a couple of rainy nights. We took full advantage of the empty roads and glorious late Autumn countryside - for driving enthusiasts, I recommend the N18-1 for precipitous switchbacks and breathtaking views.
I could go on, but must finish by saying this is a house, and area of Portugal, that is good for the soul. Even for the tea-obsessed. Just try it.
We had the most amazing week in the Guarda region of Portugal, a mere hour and some from the Spanish border. The hosts were really helpful and enthusiastic about the house and the many antique family heirlooms that adorn the house going back 3 generations.
The villa has everything you would need with a really well equipped kitchen, comfortably furnished lounge and dining area with a generous supply of local wine and spirits, WiFi, Satellite TV, DVD player and lots of board games. The bedrooms and luxury bathrooms were beautifully decorated clean. The beds comfortable and loads of wardrobe space.
We enjoyed our evenings taking in the views of the valley below and dining Al fresco as the weather was still lovely and warm. Long walks after dinner and a really idyllic setting for a thoroughly well earned and relaxing break. We used our week to go visit many of the historic market towns such as Guarda, Belmonte, Gouveia and Covilha; but for me the really gem was the little know towns of Penamacor and Sabugal adjacent to the national park of Serra da Malcata which we also visited the same day.
All in all - it was just what we wanted. Would love to return some day for a fortnight - If you are after something different and away from crowded beaches and are looking for some genuine relaxation, then then is your spot..
Thanks Fernando and Pedro for all you kindness and help.