In this short weekend, my volunteer colleague Theo and I went to Poiares, a small town near Coimbra, to participate with other volunteers in a small trainer / lesson on nature, landscape, ecosystem and forests. We were about 15 people of different nationalities, all volunteers, two children specialized in forestry agriculture participated in the days and some very young Poiares boys also participated.
In the first day, in the early part of the morning, we discussed a bit on the subject of volunteering, asking ourselves what it is, who we volunteers are and how an experience of this kind can be useful to us.
After having lunch at the restaurant, we started together with the 2 forest agro-culture experts to talk and debate on topics about nature, the forest, ecosystem, etc ... it was a lot of fun because we discussed in the form of a game, each expressing our opinion and changing it or not, in a very free way, after hearing the idea of others or the word of the experts.
We also discussed and argued about the connection of each natural element to the other, and how these connections are important and delicate, again playing with the visual effect of us and the many threads that connected the keywords.
I really like this way of teaching things, the so-called non-formal education, I find it very funny and strong, because I seem to remember the topics covered better.
The first day ended around 5/6 pm and we had some free time to be together all evening with the other volunteers and get to know each other better, at 10 pm we took the bus and went to the dormitory that hosted us was in Carvalho, a village higher up than Poiares and therefore much colder!
During the second day, after a good breakfast, we took the bus and went directly to the starting point of the trek scheduled for the day, here a forest expert was waiting for us.
This gentleman guided us into the forest and explained a lot of things about trees, which are indigenous and which are not, which are planted by man and which are invasive, perhaps from other continents, it was very interesting because the forest is rich in variety, plant invasions, diversity of species and also of problems deriving from man and not. We drove up to visit a beautiful waterfall and then returned to Poiares to have lunch at the restaurant.
After lunch we spent the afternoon playing in a small park at the "Laser game", for me it was the first time, and I found it very funny. After the afternoon of the game, we said goodbye to the Poiares volunteers and headed to the house in Carvalho to take our bags and return to Coimbra, the departure point of the train back to Lisbon. In Carvalho we ate some chestnuts with some old local gentlemen and then we left by bus for Coimbra.We made a visit of about two hours to Coimbra, a beautiful city with a very pleasant atmosphere.
At around 7.40 we took our train to Lisbon and said goodbye to Coimbra.