Category Archives: blog

Stresslevels, before and after

I’ve been accustomed to stressed faces for years.

When people arrive here.

For the good observer the price of the year-round competing, running and hurrying can be seen on the parental faces. The children are not yet that far, and usually they also have something to swipe in their hands, so they’re sweet.

I always think it’s a revelation to see the difference after a few days

I have sometimes thought of making a photo series: “before” and “after”. That’s of course not possible.

You can’t ask that of people you never met before.

“Hello, welcome to the Termas! It’s nice to have you! Can I take a picture?”

That’s a bit strange, right at your arrival.

And it’s not only the stress of the whole year, but also of preparing everything, packing everything, thinking about everything, and arranging everything.

There’s still a lot on the shoulders of women

Mother is still usually the one who arranges for the cat to be accommodated somewhere, that the plants get water, that the passports are okay-ed, that the children pick out the things they want to take with them, etc. etc.

The list is long. Differs per family, of course. Differs per holiday

If you go skiing you take other things with you when you go to a 5 star resort on a tropical island.

I don’t have any idea what to take when you go skiing (nor even 5 star resorts on tropical islands), but I do know what you have to take care of as an average family on an average holiday, what you have to arrange and what to think about.

And to serve you, there is a list here

Hopefully it’s useful, and it helps against small scares in the middle of the holiday as: “Oi, my anti-allergy wasp set is still on the table. Forgotten!”

Perhaps a reassurance: we have such a set here. Because well, here out in the fields there are sometimes wasps between all the butter- and dragonflies …

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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 going to be 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 ....

The target group

I regularly think about it, but I have not been finding the right answer for years.

I know who our target group is not.

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Example? Those people who are counting the threads in the sheets. Not those.

Or those types that find towels of Marks and Spencer’s far below their dignity.

Or people who think they deserve it all: “Because you’re worth it.

Not them. That automatically selects itself, because those people don’t like it here.

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Old houses covered with pieces of tile. What’s fun about that? They don’t see the history, the beauty and all the space. Why? I think: because they don’t have any imagination, nor fantasy or playfulness.

Those people need it for their self-esteem that they drive around in a new expensive car in the latest fashion color with silver edges around the windows. This year again: black – nice in a warm climate.

No problem, as long as it gives status, and the air conditioning is on anyway.

This indicates that you are an Important Person, an I-P

Who’s worth it. And – to keep this hopefully amusing muttering going on a bit – they have to go to a luxury hotel to achieve that. “Usually we go for four or five stars, so yes, this is something else”, a blonde lady in her fourties once said to me, in a well-rehearsed childish voice, and when I saw the big bags under her eyes, I immediately agreed with her.

She had to relax urgently and immediately, do nothing more demanding then browse through a glossy, because it was noticeable that she had a hard life being sophisticated and cool. It takes a lot to be an Important Person! You have to sacrifice something for that.

Is vacation only about luxury?

I think it’s very important what you need at that given moment. There are times when it (life) eats you alive, and that you want to go away. Then such a ***** hotel is very nice. A box spring in a beige room (*), a swimming pool with a gargoyle, a massage and yes please, all-in. Nothing else. No surprises, just predictable, and the same everywhere in the world.

Yes, and internet of course. Hey. How could you do without.

We on the other hand have things to offer that five stars never can or do

We have no stars except that huge amount in the night sky. Or the two mosaiced ones on our kitchen floor.

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And in the spring fireflies – flickering floating little stars that give you the feeling that you’ve landed in a fairy tale. We don’t offer luxury, but comfort.

“Hi Ellen, just an email from me. I’m back home, but not yet completely landed. I have to recover from this holiday – what an experience! I’ve never felt so comfortable anywhere. I am fully charged again from messing around in your garden, as you called it, from the mosaicing, from walking around the Termas, and from those cozy conversations in between. Sometimes about nothing, sometimes about the meaning of life. Very nice, and I’ll definitely come back! And then I’ll take my daughters with me. I hope you can handle that, four women Johnson! “

We once had a guest who didn’t want to go for a day of canoeing on the Mondego with his whole family, but rather stayed here to turn the compost heap upside down. That had his full interest. Somebody has ever been, who said on his third day: “I’m not so much of a sitting person, and we’re here for two weeks. Now I will do my girlfriend a favor, and I will keep quiet and celebrate my first week of holiday, but then I really want to do something. Don’t you have something to build? ”

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And then we all went to throw a floor in the house-without-roof that became the FairyTaleTerrace. He had never had such a good holiday. And the best: his girlfriend too.

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Thanks again, T!

There were people working in the garden, making jam, or delicious dinners; once a guest has sewn a beautiful dress, and there have been many who also wanted to glue along a bit with the mosaics. And then we have not even included the pure fun that the FancyDressingRoom produces.

You can’t do those things in a five star hotel. I think: not in any hotel

So yes, my conclusion is actually kind of: our target group consists of people who like to do something during their holidays. Who want to go their own way. They’ll read if they want to read, they’ll mess around if they want to mess around, they’ll go for a swim … well, you understand now.

I guess you catch my drift.

Because they are creative souls.

I say in a trumpy way: we have the best guests. Really fine guests. The best of all.

(*) We claim the term beige room, that stands for: everywhere and always the same with no surprises

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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 going to be 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 ....

Broken mower? Doesn’t matter

There is a big stain on the floor of the adega under the mower. I pretend not to see it. I grab what I need and go.

Then I leave it back in the workshop

There is a big stain under the mower on the floor of the workshop. I pretend not to see it. I take what I need and go.

But if the mower doesn’t start, it stops. Then it can no longer be ignored. Two stains means: leaks. He’s leaking. Oil or petrol. Both not good. No matter what, because he doesn’t work either way.

“Doesn’t matter”, I say to myself, “we just go to the mower repairer, and then I can take a meia de leite and a bolo as comfort in the pastelaria on the way.”

“Doesn’t matter” becomes more and more my motto

If you have a village to maintain (6 houses, 4 rooms, a bathhouse and 2.5 hectares of land) then it’s nice if you can remain somewhat stoic. So I train myself to be unaffected and positive.

Tablesaw blunt? Doesn’t matter, we just bring it to the carpentry workshop on the other side of the valley. And wait for a week.

Those nice shoes, which I ordered on the internet, just a bit too small? Bad luck, but doesn’t matter, they can go to the FancyDressingRoom.

A reservation of 3 weeks will not happen after a long correspondence with many questions (“After long hesitation, we have chosen for France“)? Too bad, doesn’t matter, it was for the end of July so there will be other candidates.

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After a wet spring finally time to mow, but then the mower is broken? Doesn’t matter, we have three of those, so I’ll take another one.

And then I’ll go to Senhor Mário the mower repairer, a very nice man, who knows a lot about those things

I am not enthusiastically greeted, and I can understand that. The floor of his workshop is littered with broken mowers. Senhor Mário apparently has enough to do. “Não tenho pressa – I’m not in a hurry”, I say reassuringly, because I don’t want to burden the man more than he apparently already is. He also has problems with his health, he says; all those broken machines and he himself as well.

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He must apparently vent a bit. That’s fine, we all need that sometimes

The “no rush” approach always works. It’s also true – I can take another mower, so I’m really in no hurry. After a week I get a call that he is ready.

“It was nothing”, says Senhor Mário now almost radiant, “the screws of the tank were a bit loose … vibration of course …. and I have … a very technical story that I don’t understand at all .... the carburetor is now also re-sharpened …”

It was nothing, and it doesn’t cost anything, despite the fact that Senhor Mário apparently was busy with it for a while.

That doesn’t fall in the category “Doesn’t matter” – that is great class!

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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 going to be 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 ....

Super tip for your (vegetable) garden

Last year I suddenly noticed: all the flowers in the village square and in the village square the gardens are pink. The florets, the freesias, the hydrangeas, the geraniums, the Spanish daisies, the succulents, the oleander – all pink.

Now I love pink, so that’s okay, but it’s almost weird. So I have focused on getting a different colored flower in between. And I got a super tip for your (vegetable) garden

Blue asters. Blue windle. An easygrower. I am fond of easygrowers, because they are easy.

We want that, because my fingers sure are pink – clearly not green.

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Those little white polka dots – no idea what they are called. Also easy types. Very nice. Another remnant of last year, when my brother-with-real-green-fingers sprinkled a handful of butterfly mixture nonchalantly in the garden.

And that is the way to do it apparently

I did the same thing, a week or two ago, and focused on doing it with the same ease and nonchalance. Hop, a little bit here,  a bit there … but no, they just don’t. They just know, those seeds. They just don’t grow.

Now, fortunately, I have a Plan B

In the greenhouse behind the kitchen there are egg boxes with fertile garden soil and very small green sprouts. Also butterfly mixture, because an old fox can’t be caught in one hole. Or something like that. The egg boxes are a nice trick that I found on the internet. You can put them in the ground, without having to transplant those super vulnerable little seedlings.

That goes wrong, of course, and I just want to have an abundant amount of flowers in the Butterfly Garden

For the time being, we assume that this will all work out. Then the next challenge is: watering regularly.

It has happened several times in the past month that I was still watering the plants late at night because I had forgotten. And yes, forgetting one time maybe they’ll survive, but you are too late quite quickly. And there you are with a garden full of dead seedlings.

But there I got the tip-of-your-life, the super tip you’ve always been waiting for

So simple! So easy! And so handy!

My friend Astrid came up with this very good idea when I was sharing my concerns about the growth of the cucumber plants. “You just have to dig in a bucket,” she said, “and you put in something like a fuse, and then they drink for themselves.”

“Yes,” I said skeptically, “they drink for themselves … haha!” I saw those little plants already making little mouths with their little roots. But when my sister also told an enthusiastic story about an unquenchable thirsty houseplant that she kept alive during the holidays in this way, I was sold.

 

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It works great! Everywhere, and with every plant. If only it likes to drink. With a buddleia it does not work, for example, because they do not like so much water. And a lily is also a lot more moderate. But it works great with these other all-you-can-drink-fans!

A step further on the way to the floral wealth that I dream of. In all colors of the rainbow

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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 going to be 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 ....

Small losses because of the GDPR

Multi-talent Bruno stayed! And Mary beautiful painter too!

“Then it doesn’t matter to me anymore”, I say to myself aloud, “I’m really happy with this.” I spent quite a few hours on it, this GDPR situation, and it has unexpected consequences.

The GDPR has a lot of consequences, and you’ve probably been hearing about it a lot during the last few weeks

We will know that our privacy is protected! Boy, what a hassle. Just like you would ever read that kind of thing. Because, um, yes, well, what does it do?

If you receive an email that you don’t want, you can file a complaint

Companies can’t just put you on the mailing list. You really must have enrolled, and if someone should submit a complaint, then the company must prove that the person really wanted it, with screenshots of registration and all.

It started last month. A slowly growing flood of (also unwanted) e-mails with warnings about the new European legislation on data protection. Nice scrabble word, but it simply means that you as a company must put a special page on your site that you send only desired e-mails; that you protect the data you have as well as possible; and that you have proof that you have permission from the person concerned.

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credits to: voxeurope.eu

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I already did two webinars to know more

Then it was really unavoidable that we also had to send out a mailing to ask permission from you to send you mails.

My inbox has never been as full as now. And it is actually and unexpectedly very nice!

“Oh, there she is, she said yes!” (I don’t mention any name any more, because you never know …) – I’m talking to myself behind the computer, “And ah! they don’t want anymore. Well, fine. And look! He joins as well, there she is, and they too, and he …. ooo, how nice, thank you guys! ”

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This day started well. The day the GDPR came into effect. An inbox full of permissions

And some unsubscribers as well, of course. The nice thing is: I know most of them, so welcome back, you all! Nice to see that you stay! Now I know again why I do this – because it’s nice to write a piece every week, but also because it’s apparently appreciated.

And I appreciate that very much in return!

I will do my very best to write a blog every week that gives you a smile, but that is also a bit with you guys of course. If you come here to join in, I have more to write … so yes … 

What are you waiting for, actually?

Join the blogclub   and/or have a looksie at our special offers! And pardon my french, I’m really happy right now!)

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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 going to be 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 ....

Sexist on Facebook

Well, I’ll just confess: I’m a sexist. And maybe also a racist.

Yeah, well.

It’s like that. I can’t get out of it. How so, that I have to confess that now, do you ask?

I am confronted.

Facebook is the big culprit; through all friend requests on the Facebook page

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As a company, you’re of course very happy with likes, friend requests and followers. It gives you a feeling of being a big spender.

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We’ve been on Facebook for half an eternity. At first I didn’t understand it, but fortunately I tried it as a private person. Fortunately Facebook does not understand me either. Since they suddenly caught my private account (red handed) as an undercover company account, I was put offline unasked and unwanted, and they made me a Facebook business page, but I also kept two “Ellen Lansers” accounts.

On Mozilla Firefox I am the one, on Google Chrome the other

How is that possible? Don’t ask me. I suspect that even Facebook doesn’t understand itself.

I don’t mind, since I’m actually a twin. One hasn’t turned out to be viable, but it looks like it still lives a bit in me. Maybe that’s why I have energy for two.

So I can easily switch from a Facebook page to the private one or the other private

After years of being active on this beautiful social medium, it’s paying off. There are a lot of people who read the blog on Sunday morning. I see people from a long time ago. I receive a lot of friend requests every day, because there are of course many more people who do the same as me: using Facebook as a showcase for their collection.

It’s a curious phenomenon. I’m old enough to have lived without social media for a long time (then we just went to the cafe or called each other up), but I can certainly appreciate it.

It’s a great way to keep in touch with people you’d never call, or write, or even sent an email. Not because you don’t like them – because it is not that kind of contact.

And that’s a shame. Because there are a lot of ships that pass in your life, of whom you want to know something about, only as if you’re invisible. And that is possible on Facebook.

There are also trends in Facebook friends – at least, I think so

It started a while ago. I had put a nice picture of myself in the box. The big picture was of course one of the Termas, but because the marketing gurus say that you have to be personal (what I am by nature already) I had chosen that photo as an insert. It scored well, apparently, because suddenly Steve, Duncan, Hassan, Jan, Han and everybody wanted to be friends with me.

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I am a fairly down-to-earth type. I think: apparently there is a kind of man who uses Facebook as Tinder. Thank you!

But of course I can’t resist the temptation to expand my collection. So I quickly formulated a few criteria: without a photograph – no; American army – no (huh? Why would paratrooper Steve from Texas want to become friends with me?); I also ignored fotos of red roses, and languages I can’t read – also a nono.

I changed the photo, and with that the offer of friendship requests changed

Now the criteria are different. Women are always ok, except if they have a photo with a huge cleavage. Before you know it, you have been added to a group that shows photos that you can not unsee.

I always check men. Since I got my first “dickpic” (which I initially saw without glasses, so I first looked thoroughly at it with half-closed eyes before I was startled), I always look at how that works out. And there are quite a lot of them that don’t work out.

I don’t accept men from distant countries to the collection either. American soldiers – why? Nigerian boys of 16 – why? People who present themselves in языки, которые я не могу прочитать /لغات لا أستطيع أن أقرأ  / tale what ek nie kan lees nie – I don’t see the point.

So yes. Sexist and racist. I didn’t consider myself as such. Quite confronting.

But for the rest everyone is welcome!

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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 ....

Rest in all its variations

Spring break is over. It was a colorful caravan that passed by.

It started with the arrival of the Red Van. Always a blessing, because there are all kinds of useful things in it. A beautiful chair for one of the houses, a table model freezer for the (hopefully) abundant harvest from the vegetable garden, lots of books for the library and the fabrics that I bought during my last visit to the Netherlands.

There was little time for unpacking, because the next day the ladies from Strandcoaching arrived. Eight women, where we hade to make breakfast, lunch and dinner for. And each a massage and a mosaic workshop.

A nice start of the season, and they brought good weather as well

At the same time there was a group of workers working on the pipe system of a factory nearby. There is a cellulose factory a kilometer or 20 further – the final destination of all eucalyptus trees in the neighbourhood. There they’re processed into toilet paper and coffee filters.

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Eucalyptus is slaughtered with 9 years, except for our own. They have been there for 15 years, and it is the intention that my great-grandchildren are going to say that their great-grandmother whom-they’ve-never-met planted them. Old eucalyptus are very beautiful, unfortunately they almost never get the chance to grow old.

These men stayed in a few houses together, and actually only came home to take a shower and to sleep. I had little to worry about. Fortunately, because I had my hands full to keep all the rest well fed and relaxed and satisfied with their own artwork.

Victory! The beach coaches went home happy and content after 5 days

Their last night was the first of the rest of my family. This rest had to improvise for a night, but they didn ‘t mind that – they insisted – they didn’t mind at all.

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At full strength my family contains around 50 people. They can’t come all at once, and luckily they don’t have that ambition either. Our maximum capacity is around 35, with an extra bed here and there.

Next came my favorite Family Steady Guests, also at full strength

Now they’re more modest with 7 people, so that was easy. A village full of relaxed, well fed, chatting, laughing, mosaicing people who feel at home. With all that harmony I like to walk an extra mile for a clean towel or a better wire cutter.

As dessert I got a reservation from a group of 27 Italian youngsters, and 5 Hungarians, who joined the international climbing competition in the center of Soure. That was puzzling, carrying extra beds, and cleaning quickly after the departure of the family of steadies.

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My sister willingly went into a room in the bathhouse, after the departure of a part of her family, so that the Hungarians could stay in the ElephantHouse. It was even possible to serve the Italians a suitable evening meal; my son Broes cooks after years of experience an unparalleled pasta-with-tomato sauce.

The final chord was a barbecue on the Fairy Tale Terrace, in honor of a birthday, and then everyone went home again.

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And there we are. Son Broes sits after nights and nights of scrabble, rummycup and yatzee at his computer, and I’m walking around like a zombie. Staring into the big blue nothing, all by myself, on the terrace behind the kitchen.

Peace & quiet. Also fine.

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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 ....

Completely upside down from a bad review

He walked around shaking his head, shoving open all doors with: “Forbidden for unauthorized persons”. Quite a clear message. The sign is in portuguese, but he is portuguese, so no way you can be blond about that. “Oh, is it not allowed? Oh, I didn’t see …. notice … didn’t know what that meant …. Does that red round with that white stripe mean you may not open the door? … Sorry …”

No, he could have known, and yet he did

That is actually quite special for Portuguese. I saw that head shaking from the corner of my eye, but I paid little attention to it. So many people pass by to have a look – that’s pretty normal.

Not so normal for breakfast guests, though.

Both were very friendly when they arrived, when I brought the coffee with breakfast, and when I said goodbye to them. No complaints, only smiles.

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You have to ask for reviews, the marketing gurus say

On Tripadvisor, Zoover, Google, Booking – ask for reviews. I honestly always forget that. And also: I find that a little embarrassing. Maybe it reminds me a bit of long ago, the hassle in the schoolyard, if you were “stimulated” by your girlfriends to ask that cute boy if he liked you too.
There is so much to like already, do I have to add to that?
I am much happier with a spontaneous good review, and fortunately we have quite a bit of that.

A few days later I got a message from the intermediair that we had a review. I clicked through, and got a shock. That same friendly couple, that man who had opened all the forbidden doors so shaking his head, gave a 1.

Do you know how bad that is? A 1 gets your average down incredibly.

Why? What’s wrong? What’s wrong with you? What happened to deserve this?

Fortunately, there was an explanation. Freely translated, it came down to: we may not call ourselves Termas because they found it a mess. Not a spa resort, where they could use a jacuzzi, being massaged together, spent an hour in the steam bath and go with a smooth skin to the breakfast buffet.

Ah! That was a meager consolation, because that means that these people simply can’t or don’t read.

There is everywhere, on every site we are on, that these are ancient baths, called Termas-da-Azenha, a very old place – hundreds of years old, where people have been using the healing water. The first doctor who described it, lived in 1711, and was called Dr. Micael Fonseca. 

The name comes with the place, we didn’t call it Termas-da-Azenha, it was already there

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It also says that we are making a museum out of it, to preserve the old baths and to make 3D mosaics to show how it used to be.

Then I find it difficult to imagine that you make it a luxurious spa with all kinds of modern facilities, but okay … who am I? This head shaking while opening doors now gets another load – in hindsight.

Anyway, we’re stuck with it. That’ll take a long time before we improved our average again.

And now I have to ask for it anyway, and I find it even more embarrassing.

Thank you very much, Mr Head shaker!
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Wij zijn in 2000 verhuisd van Rotterdam, Holland naar Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. Een hele stap, zeker met twee kleine kinderen. We zijn bezig gegaan met het herstel van een van Portugal’s erfgoederen: Termas-da-Azenha, een oud kuuroord met inmiddels 6 vakantiehuizen, 4 gastenkamers, een kampeerterrein en een een heleboel leuke dingen om te doen. Overal vind je mozaieken en muurschilderingen. Het oude badhuis is een museum, waar je je kunt verwonderen over hoe de dingen veranderd zijn.

Elke week een blogje over wat er zo om ons heen gebeurt. Lichte kost, makkelijk te lezen, een paar minuutjes in een andere wereld. Even wat meer weten over hoe het reilt en zeilt in Portugal. Mocht je je vakantie naar Portugal plannen, zou dit een goede voorbereiding kunnen zijn.

We hebben leuke aanbiedingen op onze site.

Je kunt je abonneren op het blog:

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Nice offer for profiteers

I’m having lunch. Little drowsy from rising early, all numbers and dates I was juggling with, and all those miles I make through the village here. “The family” has arrived not so long ago, and that always brings some extra work – because they themselves do a lot to help us!

“The family” – that is, of course, ours, and they are at home here

They know exactly where the potato peeler is, they fill the fridge with dutch cheese and rye bread (and much more) and nonchalantly ask which house they have been assigned. Some of them always want the same.

My oldest sister wants room 4. Period. Enjoy her afternoon nap on the terrace in the sun and everything on the ground floor. Her knees don’t want to do exactly what knees should do anymore, even though they’re made of titanium, so a person has to adapt.

The other sister assures me several times that it doesn’t matter to them: “If necessary, we put a mattress in the training room, that’s not a problem at all, you know that!” Yes, I do know that, but before I’m going to allow her to sleep on a mattress in the training room, a lot has to happen.

I make the puzzle and make schedules to accommodate all guests well

There is the group of workers, the family Zwart will arrive (a.k.a. Familia Preto – I’ll come back to that) and my family’s there.

You automatically take into account people’s preferences if you know them, so that goes in the equation. My brother-in-law wants a good bed, for example, because he likes to sleep.

Well, all the beds are good, but when you know that, you give someone the best bed you can find, don’t you? Certainly if he’s so nice to finish my greenhouse project on day One, together with my brother.

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My puzzle is exactly right before the group of 27 Italians arrives

Next challenge is the arrival of the other family, jokingly called Familia Preto. They spent years here on holiday with the whole family. Youngest daughter Roos has been a volunteer here for years – a summer without Roos was not a summer.

Now they are going to come with the extended family. The eldest children have relationships, and they come along (or have to come along … or they whined and nagged until they were allowed to go … I want to stay out of that).

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Good for them, because they come exactly while I have a nice offer

I don’t even remember, but it’s so much instead of so much, and the first so much is less. That’s nice, because it’s actually three families – young couples need a lot of space, literally and figuratively. And also: being together all the time is not wanted. You want to be able to sleep comfortably, sit, hang, nap with your mouth a little open, read exciting book or surf to your heart’s content.

On the internet then.

(For the real thing, you really have to drive 20 minutes to the beach and do all that effort to “conquer” the waves.)

So they’re taking advantage of that nice offer

Well, okay, okay, profiteers might not be the right name and a bit exaggerated. They also took advantage of the offer of a price fighter to get here – didn’t mind to get up early, hang around the airport, sit in a full cabin, breakfast on a terrace in Porto and an hour and a half on the highway.

Done with the puzzle. Everybody has the right accommodation. I’m sitting down to have lunch and suddenly I feel a few arms around my neck.

How?! What?! But it is not such a fright … those arms belong to Roos of course.

Familia Preto has arrived! There they are!

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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 ....

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)

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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 ....
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