Where is the best place to spend a birthday?
The Alentejo in Portugal, of course!
A few years ago I met an astrologer who told me that I needed to spend my birthday in different parts of the country in order to be lucky. Every year would require a new location. The words luck, auspicious, abundant, successful will trigger all sorts of things in all of us. I wanted to be lucky specially after a very difficult year but I couldn’t make myself want to chase luck.
I thought that some of the travel suggestions were pretty strange and impossible but I did like the idea of spending my birthday in different places and that is how I ended up in New Mexico, Arizona and in Monsaraz. I decided not to chase luck but to have a fabulous time during my birthday from then on.
Hotel São Lourenço do Barrocal
I chose to spend my 61st birthday at the São Lourenço do Barrocal Hotel in Monsaraz (Portugal).
Monsaraz is a lovely and small medieval town up on a hill surrounded by vineyards on rolling hills below the city. A perfect setting for a birthday.
A special note: We are having a terrible heatwave in Portugal, Spain and other countries in Europe and my house does not have air conditioning. It was getting warmer and warmer by the minute. The evenings did not cool off, there was no breeze so the house felt more like a huge oven. The heatwave and my birthday were fantastic excuses to get out and explore.
More about the São Lourenço do Barrocal
While I drove into the hotel property on the dirt pebbled-dirt road and saw the trees on either side I immediately slowed down, relaxed and actually stopped the car to enjoy my view. The hotel is inside a family-owned herdadade. The herdade produces a fabulous wine and they make their own olive oil.
They have horses for the guests to ride, a fabulous swimming pool waiting for me, bikes, spa, an organic veggie and herb garden and they make their own honey. A little bit of something for everyone.
I left my case in the car to find out where the check in was and how to go about it because I arrived early. I went into the office and from then on I was taken care of.
The concierge suggested that I have lunch while they organised everything.
I opted for a light lunch because of the heat and chose two starters. One was a courgette salad and the other was a tomato and fresh cheese salad. Veggies and herbs from their garden. The staff was attentive and very professional and the food was delicious!
After lunch I went to my room and saw that my case was delivered. I opened the back doors and look at this awesome infinity pool that is not for swimming but just to make us all feel soothed and relaxed. Heaven!
My surroundings were making me forget the heatwave and any other issue I might have had.
The evenings were for contemplation.
I found a spot near the restaurant that was perfect.
The thing that made this spot so special is that as it got darker I could see all the stars. There is hardly any light pollution in the area so this was a treat.
Monsaraz has an observatory where you can learn how to do astro photography and enjoy star gazing. Unfortunately they did not have any events during my birthday so I will need to keep an eye out for their next class or gathering.
The property has two beautiful megalithic stones.
My Birthday Celebration
I spent my birthday spoiling and pampering myself. I woke up early to swim in their gorgeous pool and I had a massage and a facial at their fantastic spa.
About the pool: So far this is my favorite pool!
When I returned from the spa I found a lovely surprise in my room: A scrumptious birthday cake! Thank you Charlotte.
I made my birthday dinner reservation at the same restaurant that I had lunch but this time I sat outside so that I could look at the stars and search for them on my App. I had my own mini observatory. I saw Venus, Jupiter and Saturn as well as the scorpio constellation.
About solo birthdays
The first time that I spent a birthday alone was very strange. I felt self conscious about eating alone. I had never celebrated something on my own but I realised that I needed to get over it and enjoy my location and just take myself to a special place for a meal and go for it. It changed my life!
Notes to the solo traveler
This hotel seemed to attract young couples and young couples with children. I was the only solo traveler and I felt very comfortable and was treated with respect by all. The staff was kind and I was well taken care of. I do recommend this hotel to the solo traveler: Female and male.
I am visiting different boutique hotels in the Alentejo and writing about my experiences but please note that I am not reviewing the hotels per say.
They are notes about traveling solo (not always solo), nice places that I go to and just enjoying the Alentejo.
Feeling very happy