Category Archives: blog

A curious combination of guests

We started here with an Idea.

Well, not just an idea, but more of an idea-l. Yes, you could still have one of those back then!

Or am I being too cynical right away?

We started with the idea-l that here in the Termas-da-Azenha people could come together – people who would normally never meet in everyday life.

Well, that idea-l has been put into practice!

I’m still writing on my blog here on Saturday night, almost midnight, because what I promise, I do. So late in the week and on the day is rare, then there is really something going on.

Exactly. There is something going on now

It is really like the devil plays with it. Until the beginning of this month there was little movement – some guests now and then, and in the meantime we tried to perform some maintenance, but because it rained steadily (very good, because that was necessary, and so the stocks are replenished, but rain is always boring and frustrating) –  we could not whitewash outside walls, paint windows, or re-tile swimming pool edges, or level mini-golf course grounds.

Also the volleyball court and the greenhouse had to wait. It rained

I was worried. The 16th of April my family would arrive, with the famous Red Van, and it was raining. Not so nice.

(All my worries were in vain: no rain when they arrived!! Sun, sun and more sun, graças à Deus)

blog_curious-combination-of-guests-Red-Van

And a group of female guests would arrive the next day, a group of 2 coaches and women who wanted to be coached by them … on the beach. That’s their thing.

Beach coaching.

And it was raining. Hm.

We’re only 12 kilometers from beautiful quiet beaches here, so that’s why their choice fell on the Termas.

Very nice. Grately appreciated. But it was raining

In the week prior to the arrival of the Red Van and the beach coaching group, I received a phone call from a nice lady who wanted to accommodate a group of workers.

We dealt with this before. Two years ago we had “The painters” for three months – a group of 20 men who painted the train bridges in the neighborhood, and went home on the weekend.

Good experiences. Neat men, hard workers. They come home late in the evening, take a shower, go eat in the nearby restaurant, go to bed on time, have a smoke outside, only once or twice they’d drop their buds on the street, and park neatly at the designated place.

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This time it’s the same. Hard-working men, who sometimes bring a bottle of beer (one p.p.), work, sleep, and get up again.

Yet a rather special combination  of guests- my family, the beach coaching group and the hard workers, all at once in one village

And they don’t get in each other’s way. On the contrary, almost. You notice almost nothing of the hard workers, but they are very nice, they always say “Boa noite” to the beach coaches when they are resting on their swing couch in Casa Oliveira. Nice, isn’it?

Yet another piece of authenticity in this authentic portuguese place

My sister brings her great qualities as a hostess, and makes a soup with her beyond praise sandwiches when the coaching group is on the patio making mosaics.

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In the meantime, this group of coached women happens to meet a Portuguese-Dutch friend on the beach in Figueira da Foz, and are talking spontaneously (gossiping!?!) very pleasantly about the Termas and the like.

My brother has kindly agreed to take the mosaics in his Red Van, because there is a little time to finish it, and we want to avoid …. brrrr … nasty word … stress

And like this that possible.

Avoid stress I mean.

A curious combination of guests. Exactly as we once thought. But then a bit different.

Amazing, how things sometimes go, don’t you think?

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We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque and mini golf, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Google+, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

 

You like? Please like! And sharing is not forbidden ....

Mineral water, source of all life

“If we take away a T here, and put a T there, with a stop there, then I think it will work,” I say while I point out everything. Broes watches, you can see him think, and eventually he agrees. His mother is not as crazy as he thought.

No, I was not talking about the high Tea, which we have every afternoon (haha) but about the pipes in order to replace the pump. The plumber has no time in the coming month, so we will have to do it ourselves.

The canalizador is a very nice man and he knows his way with water

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We have an excellent arrangement. I call him, I say that we’re not in a hurry, he comes when it suits him. But if we are in a hurry, he’ll drop everything and come right away.

We’re rarely in a hurry. But of course, you can’t leave your guests without water, can you? It happened once in the past that something was wrong with the system, and I really didn’t know what was wrong. I didn’t have as much experience as I do now. That makes a difference.

And then he was here, at 8 o’clock in the morning, and solved it. By the time the first guests woke up (luckily about everyone wants to sleep longer in the holiday) it was done. Nothing more to worry about.

An everyday hero

Now we’re not in a hurry either. The old pump is just worn after 10 years, and no longer pumps. The system has been invented and implemented by volunteer Ardy, long ago, and it still works. Again praise, Ardy!

It is up to us now to replace that one. Never done it, but I’ve worked with water enough to know, that it always remains a very annoying hole. And that is not allowed.

Water must stay in the tap. Period

It is not called tap water for nothing. Although … our water is spring water – so you can’t say that, really. According to the same logic, you should say … water must be in the spring. Period. Hm.

Well, let’s leave this logic for now …

Pure medicinal mineral water. A blessing for your skin and intestines, but a disaster for your devices. This pump has lasted a long time!

Here we are, with everything we think we need neatly spread out on the table

We make an inventory, we need some more T’s and pieces. Fine, I’ll go to the store.

“Ask for a flexible supply hose”, says Broes when I’m about to leave. I answer:  “Yes, well, I’ve never seen or heard of anything like that – yes, I know, that doesn’t mean anything, but I give you a very small chance. Zero point zero one or something. ”

And I drive away.

But: my son was right. They do have flexible connection hose. Did I know that! Now it will surely be a piece of cake.

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We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque and mini golf, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

 

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Google+, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

 

You like? Please like! And sharing is not forbidden ....

They return voluntarily

“I think portuguese sounds so good,” says Tim cheerfully as I try to avoid a few dogs scurrying along the road, “I don’t understand a word of it, but it sounds good, and that gives me a great holiday feeling.”

He continues: “I first heard it from my aunt’s friend, she met them in Brazil – her husband had died and then after a while she started to travel a bit – and then she met that man. He didn’t speak a word of English and neither did she … ”

“But how did they communicate?” I ask in amazement

“Oh, pretty much with hands and feet … he came to stay regularly, and then they talked a bit past each other – but she did have a friend who spoke Portuguese, so she could occasionally translating … funny is it not? ”

We are at the hardware store, I have to get out and do business. Arrange tiles. Before the lunch break. Otherwise, the store closes, and there is nothing to arrange for half past three.

Too bad, because Tim is a pleasant talker. I remembered that from 12 years ago

They were volunteers, Tim and Jessica. In September, not a bad time at all to volunteer here in Portugal.

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I remember that it was warm. Start a little earlier in the morning because otherwise some things can’t be done anymore. In September, it is better not to plant poles into the ground in the full afternoon sun, for example. Or weeding weeds in the vegetable garden.

“I remember very well that I was annoyed that I stumbled over that one little stone”, laughs Jessica at dinner, “I am also such a klutz in that respect. You have that wide staircase, and the whole village square, and then you stumble over that one little stupid stone.”

Her whole face is laughing. The positive attitude to life radiates from it

“And that André … what happened to that?” Tim asks, “that was a different story!”

Oh yeah, they were here together with André. And Bernadette, the Hungarian volunteer, always modest and smiling. I never know exactly, who knows who, that is almost impossible to remember. There have been so many volunteers in the meantime!

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Young Bart” has been here for almost a year and a half, and once counted how many volunteers there were at that time. He came to 87. I was surprised about that number. That’s a lot! I didn’t have that feeling at all.

I still have contact with many of the volunteers. With “young Bart”, with Tim & Jessica, and so on. You get a bond – it’s not only special  just for them, for me as well.

A number of them become part of the extended family

Sometimes it goes like this: first as a volunteer stay here, and then come back as a guest. Sometimes it’s the other way around. And sometimes people become addicted. Whether as a volunteer, or as a guest.

You may become addicted – I think that’s a good idea!

In fact, we do everything to promote that. Watch out before you book! Before you know it, you come back to weed the garden or to paint the wall …

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We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque and mini golf, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Google+, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

You like? Please like! And sharing is not forbidden ....

From dream to reality

Secretly, deep in my heart, I think we are becoming a unique destination. Not the most luxurious, the most beautiful location, the most beautiful view, but absolutely unique.

This is of course due to the water and the mosaics. And the overarching theme: fairy tales

Sometimes things simply fall into place. Did you know that? You didn’t plan it that way, you never thought about it, but it grows while you’re working on it. That is exactly what happened here. There was a plan, an idea, of course. I dreamed of a village – but no idea why. My own village.

Ik-vertrek-van-A-tot-Z

Who would want that?

Who wouldn’t want that?

I have a lively imagination, if I say so myself, and my fantasies always come down to that, in the years of preparation. Our own village. I didn’t know then, that that is not so unusual in Portugal. I  recently received an email from a large broker who had 6 villages on offer.

In various states of dissolution.

It took a while, from dream to reality

It has even lasted almost 6 years. Talk, talk, talk. Making plans. Research – and the internet wasn’t much in those days. Contact with brokers. Calling people who could know something about something. Going there to see in which area we liked it the most. Learning the language. And dream and fantasize a lot.

Not so easy to combine with your work, small children and your normal life that goes on.

But if you are enthusiastic about something, you can move mountains

In that preparatory process I went to live here for half a year. Alone. I would take care of the dutch customers for a real estate agency in Coimbra.

The most difficult half year of my life. It was quite difficult to leave my family behind, and to live in a scarcely furnished house in a small village just above Coimbra. Not so easy to drive every day to Lusatenas, the real estate agency, to barely communicate with people there, because those portuguese people all speak so d … quickly, and I didn’t master the language that well yet.

After half a year I went home again. Lesson learned

The dutch want a house in the mountains with a view at the sea. Preferably a cheap construction, but turn-key. I had made a lot of kilometers, for my own account, seen a lot of houses, and eventually sold only one. The engine can’t run on that.

In that half year I also visited the Termas on my wanderings

A quiet road, a great spot, nicely in the sun …. I sat here at the top of the stairs to eat a sandwich and enjoy the silence and the good vibration. A good, healthy place.

It had been empty for years, then, and it was completely undergrown, broken and decayed.

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Broken windows, grass between the stones, towering brambles everywhere. Sleeping Beauty was certainly not sleeping here, so no way that I thought about signing it up for sales at Lusatenas.

And no way that I suspected that I would live here in a few years!

It was a bit above the budget, but sometimes you have to take risks. We had a large network, and there were many people willing to invest a little. The plans became more concrete and realistic, the day was marked, the tickets were booked, and on 13 september we officially lived in Portugal.

The start of a new life!

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We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque and mini golf, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Google+, on Pinterest, and on tuesday on LinkedIn.

 

You like? Please like! And sharing is not forbidden ....

Beach coaching for women

The beach coaching50plus women are on the app. They’re enthusiastic and young (at least in my 56+ eyes). They want to talk about when we’re going to do the massages, the hours of the meals, what we’re going to eat, the best time for the mosaic workshop. Arranging the details.

They have wishes. They have requirements. They demand quality and care, because they’re used to that.

Perfect.

woman-on-the-beach

I try whatsapp video, and as a woman of 50 plus I am not (yet) very skilled at that

Meanwhile, I am looking at the photo of one of them.

A true woman. A woman with a vest, and boots almost to the knee, and visible lingerie under her little dress. Not sexy or challenging, more nonchalant and self-assured. I think she’s in her mid-thirties.

This is one of the coaches of the group “Women of 50 plus? What tot do with your life?”

I’m curious what is going to happen. My thoughts in advance: encouraging women to keep on participating with the rest, not giving up, learning how to get things done. What do you want to achieve in your career? And how do you manage that? Stand up for yourself! How do you do that in a way that makes you feel good, fulfilled and self-assured?

Come on! Join! It’s fun! Keep moving, literally and figuratively

Yes, of course, but don’t forget the natural course of things. Women – people, because with men it is exactly the same – slow down for a reason. You become milder with age, you know so much more, you see so much more. Ever so often you could save younger people for missteps, if not that you realize that they need it – because you learn from your mistakes.

You can see your own mistakes. Judge them for what they are. Forgive yourself, and others in the process. We are all just people …

That sometimes makes you more modest.

That open, warm, great wisdom, worth more than gold. The warmth of a grandmother (and a grandfather). The wisdom that can listen to the tears of youth. The greatness that realizes that the greatest things are more in small things than in concurring the Matterhorn or flying to Mars.

But the 50plus women beach coaches are also right

Standing still is deadly. What every person lives for is progress, no matter how small. Growth and contributing something to the big picture – no matter how “bad” a person is, that is always somewhere in a corner of his or her being.

I’m curious what’s going to happen

This is the first time they come here, with the intention that it will not be the last. This comes from both sides. They’re looking for a pleasant location that suits everyone as well as possible, I’m looking for nice groups that add beautiful things to the pleasant vibrations here in the Termas.

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April 18th is the day. Four days of intensive human growth around me. Wow!

We’ll keep you posted!

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We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque and mini golf, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Google+, on Pinterest, and on tuesday on LinkedIn.

 

 

You like? Please like! And sharing is not forbidden ....

The art of watching

“No, you do not do anything at all! We’re going to do it the traditional way”  I say cheerfully because my maintenance problem is solved – anyway in theory, “You’re there to supervise, I’m there to lend a hand, Kors is there to look at it and to comment. and Broes does the job.”

blog_the-art-of-watching

We both laugh.
“Oh yes, almost forgotten”  I add,  “and Net comes by now and again to see if things are going well, and to warn that the coffee is ready. Then we get “five from the boss” and then we go on again.”

We’re video-whatsapping about how to handle things with a-wall-with-problems.

As every homeowner knows, you sometimes have to do some work on your house

A thing here, a repair there, a leaking tap or a grubby wall that needs to be painted. We don’t have one but eight houses, so there’s always something going on. Always improvements to make, so we’re nice & busy in the winter.

Now we suffer from a wall that tears. It is not serious, but you have to do something about it. Anchors are involved, has just been decided.

I am happy to be able to consult a technical advisor. My brother-in-law Dik is a handy man, and that is very nice. I’ve learned a lot here, but I still do not know everything!

With more serious maintenance, the procedure is usually:

define the problem – ask various people what they would do – keep using your common sense and keep an eye on your budget – presenting it to the technical advisor (the one you 100% trust) – take time to think – decide which way to go.

Sometimes the latter is very complicated. Sometimes I come to a stage that I think: we break it all down and we start again!

But then it must be very bad. As with the last leak, years ago already, thank god. That took a few days before we could “define the problem”.

No treatment without diagnosis, so that was quite frustrating. In the end it wasn’t so very bad. Just a small leak in a pipe intersection, which needed a new rubber. It happened exactly in the wrong place: right above a ceiling lamp. There was only a plaster ceiling between them.

And yeah, electricity and water don’t go well together.

This wall needs special treatment

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It is mosaiced on both sides. You don’t just hack into it, it has to be done with some more subtlety.

Anyway, the solution is there. And the method.

We’ll do it in the traditional way.

Watch it!

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We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque and mini golf, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Google+, on Pinterest, and on tuesday on LinkedIn.

 

You like? Please like! And sharing is not forbidden ....

(Piano)roll over, Beethoven

The piano tuner sadly shook his gray head. No, there was actually nothing left to do … yes, he could do something, but: “Then I have to dismantle it completely, remove all the strings, replace the felt … that will be about 900 euro.”

I also started shaking my head sadly. “Tjee, 900 euros, you can buy a very nice second hand piano,” we said to each other, and shook hands warmly. Thank you for stopping by, and til next time.

I began to orient myself about a replacement.

Such a one with candlesticks in front, and beautiful wood crafted legs

My back started to protest immediately, because we got this bitch moved to this place with an incredible amount of effort, and such a one with candlesticks are even heavier.

And all that, because a family of mice was looking for shelter at the beginning of the winter. Which idiot mammal is eating felt? Why do mice do that? But well, okay, maybe not so strange, we’re in the middle of all this green, there are all kinds of animals here, and in fact they have the oldest rights.

They also want to be warm in the winter.

I went looking for a replacement on the internet. I saw a lot of pictures of you-do-not-want-to-know-what-beautiful-pianos, but what it comes down to is that edge of white and black keys. These are ultimately the most important. The model is less interesting.

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Credits: pianotechniek.nl/bijzonderepianos

and yes – I can dream that I have such a great pig piano, but that will never be reality. Just like the one with those candlesticks.

Time to become, to be, and to stay practical.

And then I stumbled upon a role. A piano roll

This seemed something ideal! An electric piano, but then brought back to the essence: those black and white keys. You can roll it up if you want to sit somewhere else. You can turn the volume up and down. Those are two things that I’m already very excited about.

Reason enough to order it.

He’s now on top of the old piano, where the mice have long since been chased away. I think that’s a good place. So, if you like to play the piano, you can do that if you are celebrating your holiday here.

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And as you can see, we also have a (children’s) violin, a (portuguese) guitar, an (old-fashioned) melodica, a (small) drum and a (used) flute. And the pianoroll.

There are quite a few guests playing the piano. I always find it a balm for the soul to hear. Wonderful.

Oh yes, one more thing: “Für Elise” is forbidden. I just heard that one time too many.

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We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque and mini golf, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Google+, on Pinterest, and on tuesday on LinkedIn.

You like? Please like! And sharing is not forbidden ....

A tour to the supermarket (part 2)

Last week I wrote about my little tour to the supermarket, caused by my hunger for something special.

It resulted in a delicious meal, which our guests also enjoyed very much. I had made a spinach quiche for the real vegetarians amongst them, and of course some side dishes.

It was fine, really good, they said

But the tour caused not only a delicious meal for them (and for me) but also something else.

I like to watch YouTube videos, especially as the end of a busy day. These are often video clips by Stephen Colbert for instance. Good jokes, and you immediately know what’s going on in the world. Very nice. I love to combine things.

And then you stumble upon something

Suddenly I was watching an interview with Tony Robbins – a name that sounded vaguely familiar. I read about a meeting with him in the book of Suzan …. about introverts “Quiet”. A meeting with this man would be a life-changing experience – yeahyeah, I think cynically, he becomes a billionaire! That’s probably very life-changing …  for him!

But hey, I was prejudiced, it was a very sympathetic energetic passionate man, with a beautiful story and honesty in his eyes. He was grateful for everything he had. Grateful, you hear more and more people about it.

Be happy with what you have, from time to time realize what wonderful things you have in your life

No, not that nice new e-bike or your idiot i-phone – not that. More along the lines of: the look in the eyes of your daughter when she learns roller skating, or the unexpected help of an unknown passerby when you’re struggling with your hands full at the front door, or the spontaneous smile of the cashier at the supermarket. That you have good eyes, so that you can insert your thread into the needle without any problems. That you can hear the frogs in the pond. Simple, those little things that make you happy.

I got into the car to drive to the supermarket of Jorge Neto for my snack, and drove through my beautiful landscape, nice & slow, in the February sun, with a view on two shiney storks walking through the fields.

How beautiful can it be?

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I saw a group of elderly people sitting comfortably in the sun on a sheltered spot. I took a photo secretly, I would rather not disturb them. The ruins of Amieira is a popular place to picnic – Portuguese people like to do that much, and everywhere – and in the summer the small pool next to the ruins is always full.

They were sitting there enjoying the sun, protected from the wind, they brought their table and chairs and a pack of cards. They were playing cards together.

That gives you a smile, doesn’t it?

A little further away was a large pile of eucalyptus stems and large mounds of earth. I had seen that earth before, but now there was someone –  I could ask something! I’m interested in dirt; we have some holes to fill, I could use a truckload or two.

It smelled great of eucalyptus, but it was also very dusty. I walked around the truck to see if I could attract the operator’s attention, and yes … but the engine was making too much noise and it was too high to just ask him something.

No problem. The man turned off the engine, climbed down, shook my hand and listened to me with a smile. He explained that it was not earth, but biomass, and filled with roots of brambles and reeds.

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“Oops, we just took them out!” I cried laughing, “nono, so this isn’t suitable anyway!”

He quietly took the time for it: “You are the one of the Termas, right?”

It can be that simple. A nice drive, someone who takes the time talking to you, seeing some people having a good time – you can find that very often here in Portugal. I maybe don’t even realize how much effect it has on your life.

Thank you Portuguese, for giving the good example! Nothing wrong with that, being nice to your fellow (human) beings!

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We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque and mini golf, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Google+, on Pinterest, and on tuesday on LinkedIn.

You like? Please like! And sharing is not forbidden ....

Driving to the supermarket of Jorge Neto

I was craving something. Something salty, tasty, a nice snack. Nothing to be found anywhere. At least not something I was craving for. Unfortunately.

Then you have the choice between sitting yearning or to get up, take the car key and drive to the supermarket in Alqueidão. I also had to get some things for the guests breakfast tomorrow morning, so I had to go there anyway.

Now that isn’t such a punishment, because it’s always fun in the supermarket Jorge Neto. He’s a good-natured forty-something-year-old, who’s been doing this his whole life, and he is good at it. And it’s not such small supermarket – there are 6 employees, and they have almost everything. Including an unbeatable good mood.

He is like social glue in this area

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Like I mentioned: they have almost everything. Freshly baked bread (every day, even on Sundays) and also my favorite: centeio. Brown bread is still not available everywhere, so I always go for a nice dark brown sandwich. They already know: “Todo o centeio?” – all of them? Yes, thank you.

But I don’t come for that now (although of course they go along). Cupcakes for breakfast tomorrow morning … coffee and a cupcake every day keeps the doctor away.

If you need deodorant urgently, or a bottle of liquor, a candle holder for your romantic picnic or a plastic watering can to water your delicate plants – it’s there. They have fresh vegetables from the farmers in the area, even superfoods such as goji berries and mixed nuts. But I do not want something responsible, I want something tasty. Something like… crisps.

TexMex or chili, campeoneta or 3D corn, what’ll it be?

With my 3D bag I pass the butcher’s counter. Fresh goat meat is recommended. Immediately a recipe for a famous Portuguese stew comes to mind.

Yes!

That was what I was craving!

Enjoy this delicious dish together with me. It’s a bit of preparation, but then you have something too! When you start today, you’ll eat it tomorrow – so …  also a lot of anticipation!

But first that bag of 3D …

Nice side effect: a group of guests loved to smell the kitchen so much that they agreed to come and eat.

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Recipe for chanfana

Ingredients for 4 people
1.5 kilos of goat meat – 75 grams chorizo in slices – 1 tbsp sugar – 2 onions – chopped parsley – 75 dl red wine – 4 tbsp olive oil – 1 tbsp fresh chopped coriander leaves – 200g bacon in small pieces – 2 cloves of garlic – 4 bay leaves – 5 cloves – 1 tbsp paprika (not spicy) – fresh black pepper and sea salt

cassarole or römer topf (in any case an oven dish with lid)

Preparation

Cut the meat into large pieces. Mix the salt, the paprika, garlic, sugar, crumbled laurel leaves, coriander and olive oil and marinate the meat with it. Place the strips or diced bacon between them, cut the onions into rings and grind the pepper over it. Shower everything with red wine. It must be completely under. Put the cloves in it and marinate for 6 to 8 hours in a cool place, but not in the fridge. You can do this in the evening, for example, then it’s ready for the oven the next afternoon.

And further:

Preheat the oven to 180º C.
Put the lid on the casserole and let it cook gently in the oven. Check every hour that there is enough moisture in the casserole and add more wine, while stirring gently. When the meat starts to loosen from the bones (after about 3 to 4 hours) add the chorizo cut into pieces of 3 cm and the chopped parsley. Leave to cook until the meat completely falls off the lbones (another 1 to 2 hours). At this stage there are 2 possibilities: serve immediately.

And then I like to eat a simple cooked potato with that and a green salad. So good.

.

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque and mini golf, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Google+, on Pinterest, and on tuesday on LinkedIn.

You like? Please like! And sharing is not forbidden ....

An Elephant in the room

It is not entirely clear how we got in, but inside we are. Friend B. dives into the bathroom, I look around a bit. A fairly large house with bright large rooms, a bit messy, with lots of stuff and books.

Cozy, I don’t like a modern empty grey house so much

When B. appears (relieved) again, we nose around a bit. We don’t mean any harm, but we giggle a little nervously. “I hear something!” B. Suddenly says, standing completely still, “Shhh!”

I freeze, and yes, a woman and her daughter come in through the front door. “Hey, look at this now,” she says to her daughter, and she hardly seems surprised, “who have we got there!”
“Er …” I stammer, because I don’t know how to start. How do you explain that you have broken into someone’s house, and you’ve been caught in the act?

She laughs, she doesn’t seem shocked at all

B. has disappeared. And the daughter too. Hey, how is that possible? Just gone, both of them, without a trace.

The woman takes me to a large courtyard-like room, where three statues of elephants with the tails twisted together stand in the middle. They’re smaller than in real life. They’re hard but at the same time cuddly soft, and their tails are old-fashioned curly telephone wires.

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The woman takes the trunk off the hook, gives it to me and says: “I think you do owe me a story about elephants.” Yes, I can’t deny that, it seems fair.

I try: “Once upon a time there was a little elephant who asked her mother: “Mom, they say you can turn pink. Can that happen, mom? I don’t want to be pink, then everybody’ll always see me everywhere. I’m not a flamingo anyway! They eat shrimps to turn pink, and I don’t like shrimps. And I don’t think pink is a beautiful color, and certainly not for an elephant. Mom? ”

Mother elephant answers with a sigh: “Ah, child, weird human talk. You don’t have to worry about that. They also say that you can stand in the room, like: “there’s an elephant in the room.”

Idiotic, of course. We don’t even fit through most doors, so how could we suddenly be in the room? Humans are idiots.”

The woman nods approvingly. “Yes, good, nice start, nice and smooth. And then?”

“Uh … well … I have to think about that …” I ponder, as the courtyard slowly dissolves, the woman becomes more shadowy and sharply articulated thoughts enter the front of my head. Thoughts like: “We have done this before, B. and I, when I was renovating the ElephantHouse …”

My own bedroom starts to take its familiar contours

I stare in the infinite, looking for the dream, but the european flag becomes bluer and more dominant. It is the ceiling of my mosquito net. There’s no escape: I’m awake.

And then there came an elephant with a long snout, and blew this story out

Ah, it’s good already. The sun is shining, so to see, it is a beautiful time to get up. Coincidentally (?) I am working on a great terrace bench for the ElephantHouse. Coincidence?

And anyway I wouldn’t have come any further than the little old-fashioned rhyme:

When you’re mad
Pluck an elephant
Put it on your hat
Tomorrow you are flat

.

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas da Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugal’s cultural heirlooms. Termas da Azenha, a old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and camping ground, there’s also a swimming pool. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere. The old bathhouse is a museum, where you can see how things have changed.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Google+, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

You like? Please like! And sharing is not forbidden ....
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