What's a Pousada? For those who haven't been to Brazil or Portugal: a Pousada is a hostel, an inn.    
    That was our idea of making a living: A restaurant for me to cook to my heart's content and some rooms to lodge tourists. We had no notion whatsoever about construction work, but with both imagination and determination, anything's possible. I think we didn't do bad at all.    
     See for yourself (you've got to have JavaScript enabled for the slide show):    
    Shortly after we started building, my third child, another boy, was born. As soon as our own house was halfway ready, we moved in.    

All in all, it took us about four years to construct the Pousada, consisting of the first building with the restaurant and our own quarters, a one-room guest bungalow and a bigger building with four guest-rooms. At times we were too broke to pay any laborers, so the work went on rather slow. My love for details didn't make for much speed either. We had a guy work for many months only to carve the patterns I drew for him on the wooden pillars of our living room windows.

    Besides my imagination, some magazines and post-cards from India helped to inspire my designs, and a few old issues of National Geography came in handy as well.    
    Every piece of decoration or embellishment had to be made by hand. In places like India we would have been able to find all we needed and more, whole streets were lined with shops selling everything from ornamental bricks to fancy small walls and crenellations.    
    Here nothing was had easily. An example: I wished to insert some ornamental elements containing coloured glass into the walls of the bigger guesthouse. Those I first had to draw, than a wooden mold had to be crafted by a worker to be filled with cement. Two of the dried and hardened elements each had to be joined together, with the pieces of glass set in between. To get those pieces of coloured glass was two 80 km bus journeys (one to order them and one to pick them up), which adds up to 320 km altogether.    
    The embellishments in the guest rooms had to be hand painted, shelves, doors and benches had to be built, niches shaped, tiles laid. All those extras cost a lot of time and money. Often some traveller would end up helping out with one or the other odd job in exchange for food and lodgings. One such was a sailor, I forgot where he came from, I only remember it was one of the northern European countries. This unfortunate fellow got involved in a traffic accident in Olinda, while the ship he was on had stopped in the port. His legs got injured so bad he couldn't continue with his ship, but had to spend a few weeks in hospital. He was on his way overland to Rio and still was not able to walk without aid when he appeared in Trancoso, and he tiled our first guest bathroom awkwardly hanging in his crutches. He only required an ample supply of heavily laced hot coffee to do an excellent job.    
    A pond was an old dream of mine. In Brazil it was easy to have one. It only cost us a few sacks of concrete. Two guys from New Zealand did the shoveling in exchange for a few days free board and lodging. When a friend went down south, he got us some fish to put in. I remember having goldfish, neon fish, carps and some black ones who's name I can't recall. The water plants came from local rivers. With time, some types of fish disappeared and others thrived. Only two carps made it, but they lived long enough to become quite huge. My daughter told me that meanwhile the carps have died too, presumably due to negligence.    
    In the end, I left Brazil before the biggest and last of the buildings was completely ready. A few of the upper floor windows bear witness to my unforeseen departure, by being rather what I call "Mickey Mouse orientalistic" in style. Luckily, the small Indian balcony was built when I was still around.    
    To design everything, from the general outlay down to the smallest shelf and ornament, and to witness how ideas became solid reality, was a wonderful and very satisfactory experience for me. To leave it all behind eventually was no problem, possessions only too easily make a prisoner out of you.