Laura Vrijenhoef, The Netherlands

The unexpected beauty of nature in Madeira Island

Steep! Away from the world I knew. Literally. We flew above the clouds, the land we suddenly saw was lying in the same clouds, as if it was not our earth. Madeira. We arrived in the evening and the streetlights made the island look like a Christmas tree…

From the airport to the land of Dennis, Sítio do Pomar, was a journey on itself. In a rented car, we drove through more tunnels than I ever would have believed exist on such a small piece of land. But then, after we left the quiet and flat tunnel filled land, my heart stopped beating. The road became so steep I did not dare to drive any further. Luckily Willem-Martijn was used to drive in Switzerland so we switched seats. By giving her the postal code of Sítio do Pomar, Miss Navigation guided us well and we arrived at Dennis’ place.

South pole

Actually, I did not know Dennis very well. I met him in the church in The Hague once or twice, but did not speak to him by then. Willem-Martijn was the one who contacted Dennis and settled our visit. But Dennis welcomed us if we were old friends, I felt immediately relaxed and the nerve-racking road trip was soon forgotten.

The next morning, we could take a look at our site for the first time. Wow! Without clouds and in full sunlight the view was amazingly beautiful. There was nothing but the ocean we saw between us and the south pole, weird idea.


Dennis told us his plan. First of all, he was going to invite the teacher of all teachers to Sítio do Pomar. To see if that is a match. But the land has other treasures. Over thirty small cottages, the one more perished than the other, are situated here as the remains of an old village. What would our children love to explore this place! Well, actually I myself got really excited by playing archaeologist in the former rooms with in some cases even some decomposed furniture in it. So here lie possibilities and that is exactly what Dennis has in mind. Guesthouses. A lounge room. Rooms for workshops. Terraces, porches, gardens. Bunk room, kitchen, bathrooms.


To make Sítio do Pomar even a greater place, helping hands are needed. Imagine a fairy tale-like area where you can stay for as long as you want, together with loving and caring people, with time to meditate, walk, take a yoga class, singing hymnes and talking about our spirituality with like-minded people, follow nice workshops, participate in beautiful rituals, eat healthy food and enjoy pure nature. I can tell you now that there is no better place to willingly give a helping hand while relaxing at the same time than here on Madeira.

That is what Willem-Martijn and I did. The four days we were Dennis’ guests, we helped him building a wall and tiling a floor (ok, to be honest, it was mostly Willem-Martijn doing this part), we lacquered wooden planks against termites (well, this is where I came in), took care of plants, cooked and ate nice meals and at the same time we met some Madeiran friends of Dennis, we watched the sunset in Jardim do Mar, went out for dinner in Funchal to eat lovely local seafood and I even got used to the steep road trips up and down the island.

Cosmetic workshop

In the meanwhile, the three of us shared thoughts and feelings, ideas and stories and I felt really at home in Sítio do Pomar. One of the things we talked about is that I am used to make my own cosmetics and cleaning products. I did not feel good anymore about spreading petroleum derivatives, a major ingredient of many cosmetics, on my body. Therefor I learned myself to make my own, of nice natural ingredients. After much trial and error, I have lots of homemade recipes and I even give workshops every now and then. Soap and creams are exceptions, but the rest is really easy to do! Lipstick, deodorant, ointments, balms, body butter, you name it! Also, the making of environmental friendly washing liquid and other natural cleaning products is really easy and fun to do! You probably notice that I get really excited about the subject and so Dennis noticed as well. He invited me to give a DIY natural cosmetics workshop at his place in the nearby future. Which I would love to do of course! So, keep an eye on this website if you are interested.


Our four days were over in a blink. The weather was exceptional foggy and wet for the time of the year, but even then, it really was a dazzling place. We knew for sure we would come back here. To help Dennis, to give workshops and just to enjoy. And while I am writing this, back in our flat Dutch country, we are already making plans…