About us – Jan and Karin
Ola, I’m Karin Immerzeel
I was born in Sassenheim (1960) and grew up in the Flower Region.
I had an education and career in personnel management in the Netherlands. For 21 years I worked as a human resources manager and director/owner at a large cleaning company (SGA) in Amsterdam with 700 employees.
Ola, I’m Jan van Loon
I was born in Steenbergen (1951) and grew up in the south, not far from the Belgium border until I moved to Amsterdam at the age of 16.
Originally I’m a lawyer. My philosophy is that after every five years of hard work there should be time for a sabbatical. In 1981 I spent almost a year backpacking through Iceland and North and Central America. Before we left for Portugal I had a consultancy in the field of working conditions.
How it started
We know each other since 1978 and were colleagues. At a farewell dinner of a colleague the conversation turned to “water strawberries”. Jan said they existed, and I insisted they didn’t. It became a bet for a dinner, which I lost. We now share 36 years of love.
Our cycling tour
In May 1986 we quit our job and got on our bike in Amsterdam. During the 18000 kilometres through more than 18 countries we enjoyed the hospitality of the locals and got to know their cultures. After 18 months, we reached our goal: Beijing in China. From Beijing we returned home in eleven days by the Trans Siberia Express train.
Our Portuguese adventure
When the time came for a sabbatical, we decided not to make a long journey again, but to start something new in another country. After this decision the question was, where are we going? One day it was the Philippines and the next day it was South America. But at the end, you seriously have to figure out where you want to move to. It became Europe, but a lot of countries immediately fell off. Too busy, not nice, too close to the Netherlands etc.
Finally it became Portugal. A country with an inland that is not yet overrun by tourists, has a beautiful varied landscape and above all, it is a relaxed country with friendly people. And also for our dream place in Portugal we had many wishes. It had to be in a place with not too many tourists, we wanted a big piece of land where you could build a lot, quite free but not too far from the village, a nice view and last but not least, we both had to like it. After many wanderings we finally found our dream place, Quinta Vale Porcacho in the green heart of Portugal.
B&B Quinta Vale Porcacho
We bought the old farm Quinta Vale Porcacho in 2005. Before we could start running it as a B&B, we had an renovating project for 3 years. Since 2013, we are running our B&B and our farm as an ecological company. Preserving and improving the environment without compromising comfort and service are important key points.
In 2016 we participated in a Belgian TV program about B&B´s in Portugal. We still have very nice memories of that adventure. For us, the program has been mainly a confirmation that our guests are consciously choosing to stay in a B&B. They don´t want to sleep in an anonymous hotel, but feel that you can be yourself and are also well taken care of.
We love to take care of our guests and let them enjoy our beautiful B&B in a healthy and natural environment. Time and time again, the greatest gift, when guests let us know when they leave, is that they have had such a good time, also because our hospitality.
Our loyal employee Antero is important for our B&B. A Dutch speaking Portuguese who came years ago to take care of the grapes and the estate in his spare time. He is now employed full-time with us and is multi-functional man. With years of experience in the hospitality industry, Antero has also become our cook. Antero loves to let our guests taste the traditional Portuguese kitchen. He uses as much as possible organic products from our own garden. In the summer he prepares twice a week a three course dinner for our guests.