Category Archives: blog

Student orchestra – music on holiday

Just 3 years old, and she already knew exactly what she wanted.

Little Viola saw and heard someone with a violin and at the same time knew: I want to play the violin. Her parents had apparently picked it up intuitively much earlier, and had called her Viola. How beautiful do you want it?

Making music on holiday

We have a few drums, a piano roll, a Portuguese guitar and a small rehearsal for children. The latter was once left by a wealthy mother who, perhaps hopefully, had named her daughter Melody.  Melody was a very nice, smart eight-year-old, with whom I had a lot of fun during a mosaic workshop. The violin didn’t catch on with her. As a Melody you might better become a singer …

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That little violin is not ideal for an adult violinist who has been practising for years and years, but better than nothing. Viola didn’t dare to take her violin with her because it’s a lease. Imagine if something happens to it! And also: it must be transported specially, with a special insurance policy, and that will be pretty expensive.

Playing violin didn’t appeal to Melody, but Viola was very consistent in her desire to become a violinist

Her parents had told their three-year-old daughter that she’d be allowed to play the violin if she still wanted to do so when she was 6 years old. And that was the case. Playing, practicing every day, participating in youth orchestras – it’s a very different childhood than that of many.

I don’t often meet young people who listen regularly to Prokofiev. Or listen to Brahms or Bach while working. It has a somewhat dusty image.

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Unjustified, it turns out. The interdisciplinary ad hoc student orchestra is a kind of a boot camp for young musicians. Playing every day for 10 hours. In the evening they go out to party together.

An intense life as a freelancer in music: work hard, play hard

In this case it is play hard, play hard. Working is playing – now February is the shortest month, but after 10 days of bootcamp your resistance is close to zero. Practicing so much and afterwards so many parties, and therefore very little sleep, a person does not sit in cold clothes.

And then you still have a few weeks to go because then the gigs start!

My respect for young musicians is increasing hand in hand. Not only do they have to work hard – play at least a few hours every day – but they also don’t have much certainty about work after their education. Immediately at the auditions for Performing Musician it is said that it is best to do a study or training next to it. Then at least you have something to fall back on if there is no work.

Unfortunately, we now have no opportunity to enjoy Viola’s musical talents in the absence of a good instrument. Fortunately we can enjoy her cutting and pasting, because like many artfully constructed people, her talent does not stop with music!

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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, 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 Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

Spiders on holidays

I find the spider that I tried to save in the little bucket with bleach where I always immerse the washing-up brush to keep things nice and fresh.

She was suddenly there. That is a typical characteristic of spiders, they’re suddenly there. They can suddenly pop up from behind a shutter (the so-called pop-up-spiders), they can suddenly drop down from the ceiling (I did experience it when I was wondering about 2 spiders on my ceiling when I was just awake – the so-called drop-down-spiders) and you also have the kind I cherish: the web spiders. At least you know where they are from the latter, and they also catch flies and mosquitoes.

As a child I was soooo afraid of spiders

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My mother then said, holding a captive spider in her hand: “You don’t have to be so scared, they’re more afraid of you.” Haha. Yes of course. When I was 10, I was all too happy that she had lived in the tropics, and had experienced so many different types there, so that she was sitting with that spider in her hand, and that I was safe.

But it’s true. The drowned spider in the little bucket just now had come to meet her own fate, because she was afraid of me, and hid everywhere under and between. I wanted to save her, and chased her with my little cup and piece of paper, but she didn’t get it. Even though after a few minutes of hunting, I shouted desperately: “Hey stop, listen! I’m not going to hurt you, you fool, I want to save you!”

Apparently they don’t have 10 ears …

Anyway, I used to be safe at mother’s house. Kind of. Until the next scary bug. (Oh yes, sorry, spiders are not bugs nor insects, but araneae – they have 2 legs more, and about 10 eyes)

Those eyes, that’s not my point. You only see them from those scary magnifications in a magazine or something, and if you quickly turn the page, you’re still innocent and ignorant.

What is it that spiders are so scary?

The two scenarios that I briefly refer to above made a deep impression on me. I closed a shutter, and suddenly a spider pops up, probably as disappointed as I was startled. She must have thought: “Ha! A nice meaty fly!” and popped up to grab it. Too bad. It was just an almost paralyzed-by-fright human. Far too big for a nice snack.

In the other scenario I was in bed dreamily, just awake, the world was still very young and beautiful; my brain started doing its morning gymnastics, and until it was completely awake I was in an in-between world. In that in-between world I looked at my ceiling, which was adorned with an ingenious kind of “who-can-throw-the-best” stucco, and in those stalagites I always saw anything and everything in the in-between world. Kind of a rorschach test

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But I did see two spiders that morning. Two real living spiders. They sat close together at first, and while I kept my focus on them, they parted. That caused me, at that time of my life in particular (what do you mean, projection?), thoughts like: “I have had enough of it what’s with that jumble I am talking about something why do you always do such as you do I suffocate here I am gone.”

I was very curious about the outcome. What happens to 2 spiders when they separate?

The smallest one disappeared in a crack in the side. I’d never actually seen that crack. Hm. That there was a crack where a spider can disappear in …

The biggest one apparently had won the fight, because it was triumphantly almost right above my head. And perhaps she was so euphoric about the victory that she suddenly turned and – boom! – dropped. On top of my duvet, crotch hight.

I was very happy that I had seen that. Imagine that I would not have! Then that myth might be true that you swallow two spiders every night. Brrrr

A few years later. In the meantime there have been a lot of people here, who are sooooo afraid of a spider, so I have to take them out. I always do that the Albert-Schweizer method: a cup over it, a piece of paper underneath it, and like that you can walk outside to let it run in nature.

Spiders are very useful animals, I learned

I can even like them. There are a lot of these light brown types with a cross on their backs (the so-called cross spiders) around here. I think they’re all females, because they all have broad hips and make a fertile impression. But the majority consists of lean longlegs. Kind of like a crane fly without wings (which I always find very moving). There was one near the leg of the counter – I looked right at it – who ‘d caught a fly. That drama went real fast, that fly didn’t have a chance. First that sticky web, and then all those legs that she wrapped him in, very skillfully with freshly woven spinning thread.

I watched admiringly, wishing that I myself also had 4 arms

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All those eyes are not necessary (I have glasses) for all I care, but one or two pairs of extra arms is handy! Can’t science do something with that? Build in a bit of spider genes in our DNA?

Here I am! I volunteer!

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<< previous

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, 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 Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

The making of a mosaic in our BnB

When this one’s finished (well, it is, almost! Just some finishing touches), I thought it was time to do the whole facade of the bathhouse, village-square-center-side.

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This little corner is next to our little café. You’ll see it when you go up the stairs.

Time for a new mosaic project

A friend would come, and she always does some mosaic work when she’s here. And a volunteer would come, so with the three of us I dared to start this quite ambitious next mosaic project.

First step: preparations

My priceless son Broes got a big plastic up, took the high pressure machine and cleaned the first part of the facade. It’s the end of May, we don’t have so many guests yet. It could be done. One day of a lot of rubbish, the next day a stripped-of-paint facade and a clean village square. Piece of cake.

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In the mean time we three were busy making some other preparations

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Most of the time, I have an image in my head of the final result

Then there’s the challenge of communicating to the others. With Astrid it’s not so difficult, we work together for a long time already.  With volunteer Viola it was also not a huge challenge, because I found some drawings as an example to keep everything together.

That resulted in this. So close up, you can’t see the beauty of it – like looking at a pointillist painting by George Seurat at a distance of 50 centimeters.

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Like this, glued to the wall, is better, don’t you think?

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Now, the challenge was to keep it civilized, because there were some guests, and they have the right to be in a nice environment. We started in the corner above the kitchen, where the scaffolding is not in the way. Very nice guests, by the way, they loved to see how it went on.

And it went on! In spite of the heat (a few days of 33º – quite rare, but who cares about that when it’s that hot), protected by sunscreen and parasols, we presevered.

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Yesterday, the glue dried out, and me too. Time to stop – at 8 in the evening. As you can see, this is the result of 8 days work with 3 people (if we don’t count Broes’ work to clean it). The facade is a little bigger; we’ll probably need this whole year to do all this. 

I always like to have a mosaic project going on in the summer. Sometimes, there are talented volunteers plus some time in between all the cleaning and cooking. Sometimes, there are interested guests, who have some experience and like to join in for a few hours. 

Making mosaics is addictive! It’s hard to stop

As you can see, because there’s a lot to see in our little village. Come and have a look! We still have some availability this summer … info@termas-da-azenha.com

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<< previous

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, 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 Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

Requiem for the eucalyptus

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I bought the eucalyptuses when they were still tiny with only a few little leaves for 10 cents each

We had talked about it extensively: how much water eucalyptus suck up. While working for a real estate agent, in the preparatory phase of our emigration, I visited a casa-murada-com-quintal (I belonged to the rústico department) where the future former owner had planted an adjacent eucalyptus forest.

Once there was also a very deep hole in the ground, about which the future former told that it had been completely full with water in the past, but since he had planted eucalyptus on this piece of land, you could see the water level drop. Those trees drink that much.

We could almost see it drop when we stood there at that hole, talking. (A portuguese conversation can be quite lenghty.)

Later, when we were talking about dehydrating the fields (which at that time were still part of the Termas, but which we sold later, because what business do we have with fields, urban idiots as we were) the memory of those eucalyptuses came to mind.

It was now clear that the whole of Portugal is full of eucalyptuses, but it brings the country not much good

It dries out the entire country. Now we were exactly after that: dehydration.  Our country of origin is famous for it. We want to obtain the polder-model, as worthy descendants of Jan Leeghwater, but then with trees instead of windmills. 

That is why I bought those seedlings and planted them along the ditch. I accidentally mowed a few while they were still small and were in danger of being choked by the reeds. Despite the unwanted thinning, they were still fairly close to each other.

They were not bothered about that at all.

These eucalyptuses have grown as high as the sky in about 17 years

I had a vague scene in the back of my mind that someday I would hear (while being in heaven) a great-grandchild saying, “Yes, my great-grandmother planted those!” – and then they would have become very beautiful and old and big.

Unfortunately, Fate had something else in mind with those eucalyptuses

Last fall we unexpectedly and unvoluntarily hosted Leslie. Leslie the hurricane. As a result, around 4 eucalyptuses were blown over and fell onto the roof. Fortunately, the damage was limited, but if we can expect more extreme weather due to climate change, it is not so smart to leave Very High Trees too close to your house.

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They had done their best, probably in collaboration with son’s guardian angel, because they had fallen exactly on the concrete edge of the roof above his room. They had not been broken down or suddenly dropped; they had slowly fallen. Said the insurance agent.

The past week I felt like Idéfix

photo:  https://www.vivreasainghin.org/2018/10/11/deforestation/idefix-arbres/

Neighbor Josué had arranged someone who would cut them off and take them away. I had a tendency to howl next to the fallen ones – like Idéfix.

I just can’t get used to the view. The air is so bare. Only blue, without any buds and branches.

It was wise. But sometimes wise isn’t fun at all.

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<< previous

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, 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 Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

The painting course started on the 13th …

They even wake up laughing, I think, as I sweep up the leaves of the nespereira, and I hear the laughter from behind the hotel rooms. How special is that!

Yesterday afternoon Wil, the teacher of the painting course, came into the kitchen with: “Now we all get the giggles” – which I thought was a good sign

Just like I thought it was a good sign that they walked into the kitchen to get milk from the fridge, make coffee or tea, and grab an orange (“So good, it tastes really different from those at home!”) .

And who are “they” – if we may ask?

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The ladies of the painting course, which spontaneously emerged last year during the summer holidays, and which is now becoming a reality. Wil was here last year on holiday with her daughter and grandsons, and found it an inspiring environment for a painting course on location.

All her life, Wil has been organizing painting courses, 73 years old and surely not going to stop! Together with her mate Louise, they’re an unbeatable team

Last night I did what I prefer to do at the end of the day: after taking a shower, do a bit of reading in my comfy chair. The whole painting-course-group was chatting at the large table on the esplanada – right under my comfy chair. It sounded very nice. A lot of laughter.

I was enjoying my little alone-time upstairs, with the idea that this painting course is becoming a success

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I couldn’t really hear it, but it was animated for sure. One of them was telling something, and that was apparently hilarious because laughter erupted at various pitches time after time. Laughter is contagious. I was grinning like crazy in my chair.

There is not only laughter, there is also work!

Yesterday afternoon there were people here and there with a drawing pad on their lap. Many flowers are painted, because there are so many of those now. In spring it is a party here for that matter. That’s what the butterflies and the bees think too.

I leave everything alone when I see that butterflies and bees like them. We’ll mow later, when everything gets drier. Moreover, I don’t have time for that now, because I have to cook for 11 people!

But all this didn’t start so well, on the 13th …

The bus to the airport broke down, they had to transfer to another bus. “Hurryhurry, we won’t make it to the plane on time!” Someone nervously left her bag with everything in it in the broken bus, and had to go to pick it up with a (very expensive) taxi, while the others were waiting impatiently because the gate was about to close.

It all went well, but it was a real last-minute!

Two and a half hours to recover and to laugh about all this stress, but in Portugal the 13th still applied. They were delayed on the train; someone had jumped before it.

That is of course quite upsetting – let’s respectfully shut up and say no more about it – but anyway more delay.

Finally in Alfarelos, the destination, there was only one taxi. With hands and feet they managed to make it clear that the group had to go to Termas-da-Azenha.

Unfortunately, only 5 + luggage could fit in the taxi

In the meantime I was more or less informed over whatsapp, that it would take at least another hour before everybody would be there. Once again I was happy with my haybox, where the curry & rice was kept nice and warm. A curry doesn’t get bad by standing an hour longer, so that was no point. The weather was nice, 32º – also not a problem.

I asked the taxi driver if he couldn’t recruit some colleagues, and then the mystery was solved. “It’s the 13th,” he said, shaking his head (yes, we all knew that already!) “All my colleagues are in Fátima.” Ah! It fell on top of me! Of course! May 13th , the first time the three shepherd children of Fátima had seen Maria!

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It is full of people in Fátima on the 13th of May, of August and of October

Not a bad day for Catholics. They’re forgiven for all their sins, if they go to Fátima on these days. For heathens like us it’s a bit different though ….

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<< previous

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, 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 Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

Family visit and golden rain

Nobody knows how many times it has been. We’ve all lost count in all those years that we’ve been living here in Termas-da-Azenha. And it’s all caused by fear.

O yeah? What’s up?

Fear of flying, that is what’s up

My brother doesn’t like to fly. Many more people have that (maybe they’ll save our planet because of it). He solved it very simply when we emigrated: he bought a red van. It has since become The Red Van – the Rotterdam – Azenha service, without a timetable but with a whole stevedoring team.

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He came the second year we were here with a van full of memories of our mother, who had died shortly before.

Those things are still scattered throughout our village, just like the next loads, because the Red Van has already been driven back and forth countless times. Fully loaded with useful things such as peanut butter, indonesian food, dressers and couches, but there was also a piano, and a real water pump with 800 liter capacity.

In recent years, the RV usually rides in April, the nicest month of the year

Just a pity that the weather isn’t completely stable in April, despite the beauty of fireflies, starry skies and the scent of orange blossom and eucalyptus. The first week, the family had to deal with with rain and cold-for-the-time-of-the-year.

Fortunately it was a wonderful weather the second week!

I found that very pleasant, because that way they could also have breakfast and / or read in the sun. We come from a family of readers, so books / e-readers are a basic condition for survival. I also found it very pleasant because we are also from a family who like to do stuff.

There were other guests, an ex-volunteer with her family, campers and a group of students with supervisors.

The latter had booked half board. Breakfast is not that hard, but dinner is a different story. My sisters took matters in hand, peeled potatoes (you don’t feed students pasta – they make that themselves all the time) and did the dishes.

At home they have a dishwasher but here there are piles of dishes to wash and dry. I don’t have a dishwasher, because that makes no sense. It only takes much longer

In the meantime, my brother provided the entrance with a whole battery of lavender plants and carnations, weeded the Butterfly Garden and sown even more tasty flowers (tasty for butterflies & bees), planted the Golden Rain (which seems to be happy). My sisters sewn curtains, cleaned their own rooms … too much to mention!

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I’m blessed with such a family. As Julie Andrews once sang: “… for somewhere in my youth or childhood … I must have done something good …” – otherwise they would never do that?

If you ever have to face the choice: the position of the youngest in a large family is a Golden Choice! I can heartily recommend it!

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<< previous

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, 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 Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

The volunteer who came in a Volkswagen van

Her son Olle is sitting on a stool in the kitchen, radiant and at ease, and chewing a chocolate easter egg. Sixteen years ago, when his mother was sitting here in the kitchen just as radiantly and at ease, he didn’t yet exist.

When she came here with her Volkswagen, she did exactly the same

They arrived late in the afternoon. It was still early in the year, or it wasn’t such nice weather (also occurs here), anyway – she ended up in the kitchen on a stool and met the other volunteers who had been there for a while.

I felt responsible for her well-being, but I had to do something else as well. “Go on, it’s fine,” Arlene said cheerfully, and immediately chatted on with Connie, an older woman who was also here as a volunteer.

She came with an old Volkswagen van, together with a friend-from-Kindergarten. Yesyesyes, such a van:

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It had been a nice trip, together with her Kindergarten-buddy “Wubbe” whom she had named that way long time ago. Wubbe’s real name is Miriam, but of course everyone immediately took her nickname. Wubbe needed a little more time to get used to, like “normal” people. I say “normal” ´cause I’ve always wondered about the lightning speed in which Arlene gained a place in the group.

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As easily as she sat down on that stool; as easily as she talked with everyone (a lot about the Volkswagen) who’d been there for a while, as easily she got a place in group dynamics

The Volkswagen van had some problems, it rattled a little, didn’t pull well – in short, trouble with old age. I offered to go to the nearest garage to see if they could do something about it. No matter how easily Arlene chatted with everyone, to explain in Portuguese what’s wrong with your old van is a completely different story. That becomes “charades” at the highest level.

My portuguese wasn’t so great at the time, and certainly not my technical portuguese, but helped by my youngest of 8, I managed to make it clear that he did a bub-bub-bub at times when he shouldn’t. And that you heard “screeeech!” when you had to put on the handbrake. Up to the ceiling. And that he was wiggling in the bends and did fjutfjutfjutfjut when it really wasn’t appropriate.

Well, that was a serious problem, but they ensured me that they were going to do their best with this Volkswagen van

In the early days in Termas-da-Azenha it was different than now. Logical.

We were playing a little, playing “Catan” in real life, and trying the weirdest things. The FancyDressingRoom was created in that time, and Arlene has been a driving factor in this. Funny, isn’t it, how can things go?

She saw the small room, an idea fell on her head, and given her nature, she immediately came up with it. I already wrote about it in a previous blog – “Red wall, purple wall” and when I apparently pulled a face, she quickly followed up with: “and if you don’t like it, I’ll paint it white again at my expense.”

One thing led to another, and then there was the mosaic floor of the upcoming FancyDressingRoom 1.0 in the hallway. I had once scored boxes full of pre-cut triangles at one of the tile factories in the area, and they now came in handy for the geometric pattern that Arlene was working out with Wubbe.

It’s a little bad weather now. Just like in the north, April is an unstable month, freeze-sunshine-rain-heatwave, and this year it’s rain

Oh yeah. It was necessary. In the north you also noticed last year that the drought gives a chance of forest fires, so you now understand better that rain is necessary. But it’s a pity to have rain during your week of holidays. Especially this kind of nostalgic holidays.

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Even more especially if you’re in a house with 3 teenagers. The Volkswagen van has been sold – maybe she’s still driving around somewhere. Who knows?

Despite the weather, still very nice to catch up again, to recall memories, to treat well-known people and to sit by the campfire as usual. (not just rain, but also beautiful evenings!)

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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, 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.

Dark clouds above Termas-da-Azenha

We are doing well, thank you.

We’re doing the spring cleaning. Cleaning inside and out, throwing away, planting little flowery plants, pruning trees. Washing curtains. Cleaning walls with high pressure, paint, scratch, paste, mow.

“Yes! Broes (my son), they went out! Come on, we can go!” Of course, there are guests in the meantime, and nobody appreciates hearing a mower-motor early in the morning. At this time of year, they’re usually Portuguese guests, and they’re generally not up early.

That’s not so bad, because early in the morning you first have to listen quietly to the birds yourself, with your morning coffee, and anyway the grass is still too wet.

blog_dark-clouds-above-Termas-da-Azenha

But now the grass is very wet: it is raining

All our plans are crumbling around us.

April has always been the rainy month. Aprrrrrrrrrrrril and Septemberrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, with the R from Rain.

That has changed, abolished, er … other policies, something with climate change or so.

But he’s back, baby! This is a wet April

Very funny: everyone who lives here is happy with it. Well, sort of. Nobody really likes rain of course. Everything gets messy, and you can’t do anything outside. Not even just to go outside, you first have to find your good shoes and your umbrella.

So we are all a bit ambivalent about it. Glad that it’s raining, because it was too dry for a long time, but yeah … it’s raining …

Yet it is beautiful, those threatening dark skies. “Intelligent people adapt to the circumstances” – I read somewhere, and I try to be intelligent with all my might. Doesn’t always work, because it has now been going on for almost 2 weeks.

Two weeks of being intelligent all the time is a bit too much to ask of a person, if you ask me

I’m going to light a candle for the weather gods, if they’ll just want to turn that climate change the other way again. Preferably towards the 20th of April please? Direction sun and warmth, please, thank you!

Are you joining me, and will you light a candle too?

 

blog_dark-clouds-above-Termas-da-Azenha

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<< previous

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, 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.

All dolled up during the holiday

All my theater clothing went, long ago, in that big truck that brought all our belongings to Portugal.

It spent the first year in boxes, because it took a while before all those things could be distributed throughout our little village.

The first occasion for using it was a colorful evening by the first group of friends, guests and volunteers

That was extremely amusing, everyone dolled up, and singing our heart out. I have a vague memory of a man in a glitter jacket with a sombrero on his head, seriously playing cards with some other strangely dressed people with hats on.

The next step came from the next group of volunteers – someone who said: “I have an idea for that little room on the first floor … one wall red, the other purple … (apparently I had an expression of disgust on my face) … ah! You’ll see, it’ll be beautiful! And if you don’t like it, I paint it completely white again at my expense. What do you think? All your costumes and high heels can fit in there! ”

The end result was indeed beautiful. The floor (mosaic of course) is gorgeous. The best part is that she will be our guest again next week, after almost 18 years. With her whole family, twins and all. I am really curious what she’ll think of the FancyDressingRoom 3.0!

Because: FancyDressingRoom 3.0 is finished

After a few years, that little red & purple room was full – extending on the corridor. The FancyDressingRoom always has been an excuse for me to buy some nice clothes or heels. I no longer wear them (disastrous with those Portuguese pavement!) but it is still a weak point. Hard to resist the temptation.

A few years ago, the FancyDressingRoom went to the ground floor

Everything together: the big room with table tennis, pool and foossball, the library with all board games and children’s books, and the FDR behind it. Great place, but more space. Dangerous! Before you know it, we will bulge out of there again.

blog_all-dolled-up-during-the-holidays

With the move, I started selecting, asking the help of my sisters. With a panel of three you have a better chance that something will be thrown out. We applied strict criteria, and indeed a lot was discarded. I immediately drove to the old clothes container in Alqueidão, because I know myself. Before you know it, I’m going to dig into those bags for that beautiful red blouse “it’s a shame to throw away, it’s such a beautiful color!” – and so on, ad infinitum.

I also have to control myself seriously on the market. Sometimes they have such special things you never see elsewhere

Now we had to move again: the library and the FancyDreesingRoom had to make way for the washing machines

That was a huge move, but well worth it. Now it’s no longer a bit hidden behind the library, but is more part of the big room, where you can play pool & board games, ping & pong, chess & cards, read & use the internet, play the piano and become someone else.

Or just stay yourself and chat with the other guests or have a nice dinner while you admire the creations of your children.

We hope you will enjoy this little video we made to give you an idea of the unique concept of our FancyDressingRoom!

 

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<< previous

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, 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 Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

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