A Very Fashionable Abode
I’m staying in a place called Sabugo, deep in the hilly hinterlands of Lisbon, Portugal. So deep in this hilly hinterland is our current destination, that it took us three trains, a quote of €50 from a local taxi driver, much scratching of heads in bafflement from ticket sellers and a disproportionately large numbers of hills that had to be climbed in the blistering heat with all of our tourist backpackery. And why were we heading to this remote little placed called Sabugo? To stay, on the recommendation of a friend, in a house called the She Pine Tree. Only ever being 30% prepared in advance of my travels, I assumed it was just another nice hostel. Another nice hostel that demanded a bleedin’ epic cross-country journey. But you get here and you realise the She Pine Tree is a little bit special. Presented as a ‘museum-house’ the original owner was (an extremely productive) artist and the house is adorned every-which-way with his paintings and stencils. His two grandsons have since taken over the house and opened it up to the curious traveller. The house is a ramshackle affair with outhouses and windy staircases and deceiving corners and balconies with breath-taking views of the hills. But my-oh-my, it really is the décor that brings this place alive. Arrogant baroque mirrors, statuesque grandfather clocks (a collection of them!) tilting precariously, mahogany tea-chests, creaking chandeliers, antique radio sets, mismatched 1920’s crockery. The place is heaving with charming bric-a-brac and peeling curios. It really is a sight to behold. The ethos of the place is to generally just lounge around, feeding on their impressive library of books, and soaking up the narrative possibilities of the place. And you really have to get on board with that, as the only alternative is to go down to the local pub and wait for it to open (these locals play by their own rules) and try not to get attacked by the feral dogs loitering around the village. However, I believed it to be a truly worthy departure from our traditional fashion reportage.