-the world as I see it
The internet sure does have its way of drawing us in and getting us entangled in its ever-spreading web. Owing to my interest in structural engineering, you can sometimes catch me spending hours on end, combing through articles on the internet related to innovative and sustainable building design and the restoration of historic structures. Anyway, as long as it’s productive reading I guess it’s alright, at least that’s what I tell myself.
During one such reading bout, I was looking through a compiled list of strange houses in the world. I must say, the more unusual the house, the more interesting it gets. So for all you folks who are looking for total privacy, do not go in for something that is too out of the ordinary. Take the example of the owner of the stone house (Casa do Penedo) in Portugal, who wanted his own little place in a secluded spot up in the hills in Fafe. He ensured that the house was well-integrated with the surroundings, eliminating any incongruity by using the boulders found atop the hill to form the main walls of his house. The house was supposed to be an occasional retreat where he could go back in time, away from the hassles of modern life and enjoy nature’s peace. Unfortunately for him, people saw through the camouflage and word got around that the house was like a real life Flintstones house. Tourists from different parts of the globe started showing up in huge numbers, rendering its very purpose of being a quiet getaway, redundant.
The house features in almost every list of unusual and strange houses in the world –
It is not possible to get to the stone house by public transport, so the best option is to go by car or bike. Locating the exact spot via GPS, beforehand, is a good idea as there’s a chance that you might just drive past it and end up scouring every inch of the hills all around in an attempt to find the house. I had been wanting to visit the stone house for a long time (since the owner doesn’t live there anymore, I don’t see the harm in checking the place out) so when some of my friends suggested that we could drive up there for a picnic, I jumped at the idea. I decided to conveniently forget about the amount of work that I had pending and even though I had to spend the following day glued to my computer screen, the trip was very much worth it.
I must tell you that more than the house itself, I loved what I saw around it. The hills all around are stippled with monoliths like the ones used in the stone house. After enjoying a delicious picnic lunch under the shade of one of the trees on an adjacent hill, we hiked for an hour along one of the demarcated routes. The hills near Fafe are known to have some of the best hiking and biking trails in Portugal.
I decided not to do a write-up on the features of the stone house as it would be a mere repetition of what I’ve read in posts previously written by other bloggers and in articles from travel journals. It is said that nature inspires creativity and inspired I was, enough to bring out the poet in me. Just a fair warning to the reader- I am a rhymer whose poetry skills are in dire need of honing. That being said, here goes:
Against the backdrop of the lush green hills,
We drove to the rhythm of the rotating windmills.
There weren’t any direction boards or signs of indication
For us to know how near or far we were from our destination.
Then we spotted that odd rock cluster,
And the grey tiled roof, as we got closer.
The boulder-formed walls gave the house an undeniable appeal-
a rustic charm, an old-world feel.
The solid steel door and windows of bullet-proof glass,
Installed as a safeguard from vandals and those who trespass,
Were the only tell-tale signs of modernity,
In the entire vicinity.
T’was a picture of serenity,
Away from the hustle-bustle of a city.
I could spend here all eternity
Appreciating nature and its beauty.
P.S: Don’t forget to take a jacket along even if you go in summer, as it can get quite windy. The wind turbines are up there for a reason 😉