Goodbye homeland!

Just arrived guests: future colleagues! They were completely euphoric last night because they just signed the contract to buy their dream house. Now there´re more and more people move from the homeland to come and live here, and it seems they all stay at the Termas for a while. Sleep a few nights, just to take a look at how it goes.

Last week, a couple arrived who will even stay here for a few months, looking for their dream place in the centre of this beautiful country.

Now I’ve been playing with the thought to promote the Termas as a temporary residence, but then for a few years.

Because what happens? I have seen it happen several times. People sell everything after their retirement, and buy a house here.

Totally awesome

They enjoy all the hours of sunshine, they love to work in the garden – no stress, nice and calm, but after a few years it’s not new anymore. They don’t speak the language or almost not, they don’t get contact with the locals that easily, no network anymore, all your friends and family have long been there, they almost don’t see the (grand)children.

And after that, it becomes even more uncomfortable: they’ll get something undefinable physical, and then they’ll be in the medical circuit. Without speaking the language in such a way that you can explain what is wrong with you.

a-middleaged-woman-and-an-older-one-in-front-of-a-house

I went with one of the older residents to the hospital

And then you definitely get in touch with the other culture. A portuguese doctor is an authority, and what he / she says goes. Assertive patients are not appreciated here.

They want to go back home, but it’s very hard to sell the house

Or another variation: people have been on holiday and are lyrical about the climate and the friendly people. We want that too! The road from dream to deed may be a long one, but there are people who walk that path.

Our newly arrived guests bought a house with a few rooms. They will be collegues.

Goodbye homeland!

“You didn’t seem so excited last night when I told you that we’re going to be in the tourist business as well,” Henk says, when he is behind my computer to print his tickets, “is that possible?”

“Yes, that’s right,” I admit hesitatingly, “there are quite some new ones over the past few years … at the moment there’re maybe 40 in the area where you’re going to live. I don’t want to be a miser but it’s a lot of work to get it up and running. ”

Because yes, I already know the other side of Portugal

The Portugal of the vast bureaucracy, of the closed bastion, of how complicated that language actually is, how to adjust your financial requirements to a portuguese level.

The insanely high fines for very minor offenses like having an incorrect version of the complaints book, for example. The inspection has charged a 1,500 € fine for it. Can you believe it?

Or, in the event of illegal rental, fines of 20,000 € plus closure.

“Make it all legal, if I may give you a good advice,” I say, “because you can get huge problems with the authorities and possibly with insurance.”

couple-in-front-of-the-Termas-da-Azenha

But uh-oh, enthusiasm is deaf for warnings

Local residents often come here to have a drink, or visit the Termas to relive their memories, or to take a bath in our wonderful healing mineral water. Certainly in August this often happens. We chat a bit while I serve their super cold beer and Duvel, and they tell me they work in Luxembourg, or in France. Why?

“Life is much better here,” we say to each other, “but it’s a lot harder to earn your money.”

“But if I’m retired,” all portuguese add, “but then I will come back home. The homeland is the best.”

Well … apparently it is one or the other. Fine. I choose for the other.

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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 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.

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