We began coming here in 1966 and, for many years, this was a weekend home. Originally it belonged to our great-uncle and great-aunt, who owned a hunting ground in Elvas. After my great-aunt died, my father (writer Ruben A.) decided to keep his 16th part of the property and buy the rest from the other heirs.
We loved coming here when we were kids. We used to spend Christmas and Easter here. The Christmases were amazing, and we still have the Three Wise Men that my mother ordered from a local artisan. My father had only one brother, and we used to come with our cousins and my grandfather. Some of us decorated the dining room, others put up the nativity scene, while others decorated the Christmas tree. Whoever was part of one project wasn’t allowed to see what others were doing. On January 6th, we’d slaughter a pig or have any other kind of celebration. We enjoyed those times!
Today my brother Cristóvão owns the house, and I moved to Estremoz four years ago to help him out. Monte dos Pensamentos was, initially, the name of the “monte” in the front but my great-aunt changed it, and it’s been a rural tourism business for some years, undergoing several renovations.
Most people come here to rest but, in fact, you can do many things here. From doing the wine route to visiting Estremoz, which is always a fantastic experience.
We have family keepsakes all over the house. From books about our father, Ruben A., to the Estremoz ceramics pieces and the collection of dishes in the dining room. It’s a house full of stories, and that’s how we want to keep it.
Our story and mission
We’ve been sharing the house with the community for many years. In the 1970s, after my father passed, we began to rent part of the house to country doctors. Later, I moved in for a couple of years, and it was around that time, in the 1980s, that Monte dos Pensamentos became a rural tourism business, but the rooms didn’t have private bathrooms yet.
My brother Cristóvão was the great enabler of Monte dos Pensamentos, and he’s the one responsible for keeping up the house and passing it on to the next generation.
The more substantial renovations happened 22 years ago. We made bedrooms and suites, and turned the housekeeper and the mule houses into apartments. We built the game room, and the old water tank (with ice-cold water that was fun) was turned into a swimming pool that, in the Summers, is a quite refreshing addition.
The green around the house, the coolness of the swimming pool, and the fun at the game room make Monte do Pensamento the perfect starting point for those who want to discover Alentejo. On the other hand, the many nooks and books and magazines spread around the house make it the ideal place for those looking for a few days of well-deserved rest.
Starting point for discovery
Estremoz is quite central, and from here you can reach many places without travelling for long. In one hour you can get to several destinations which is excellent for those who want to explore Alentejo.
I enjoy living here. If we’re stuck behind ten cars, it feels like the rush hour in Estremoz! And if I need to get to Lisbon for any reason, roads are excellent.
Estremoz is in the centre of Alentejo. It’s the most accessible place to reach and, from here, you get to Elvas, Reguengos, Vila Viçosa, Évora, Marvão. There is plenty to see.
To me, strangely, Estremoz is always at the centre of Alentejo. It’s the most accessible place to get to, closer to anywhere else, but isn’t a big city like Évora. Coming to Estremoz is always a fantastic experience, and it feels great being here. No one used to go to Alentejo in the Summers before, but now it’s become a popular destination. And, in our case, the swimming pool makes all the difference on hot days.
You can do many things here without feeling like you’re in the middle of nowhere. And with the wine route, the possibilities are endless!
In addition to marble, Estremoz is famous for its clay figures, recently classified as UNESCO World Heritage, the first of its kind in the world to ever be listed.