Virtuoso Life - January/February 2018 - 100
V I RT U O S O L I F E
It's one of those
luminous Portuguese afternoons when everything seems to glow
from within: the yellow fields of cork trees, trunks casting long
shadows; the hotel pool, glimmering like a limpid lake; and the
chalk-white towns, buildings opalescent under an Iberian sky.
As dusk descends over São Lourenço do Barrocal, ice cubes clink
in Aperol spritzes. Navy-and-white-striped beach towels drape
chaises scattered beneath umbrellas. You may have had ambitions
the week before (bicycling through vineyards or touring whitewashed villages), but the surprising thing is how easily you've succumbed to the region's extreme tranquility. A trio of French girls in
cowboy hats and not much else loll about by the pool playing cards.
Even the Americans you're traveling with are half-asleep, having
finally abandoned their iPads.
Welcome to the Alentejo, one of the quietest places in western
Europe, as well as one of the most up-and-coming. If you're used to
exploring Mediterranean landscapes aged like fine wine, you'll