Nocturnal dandy in the portuguese winter

It’s a mild Portuguese winter; it has been raining for a week. You know it too well probably: gray skies, hanging low over the fields, and you can’t walk anywhere without your glasses turning into frosted glass.

It reminds me of the first portuguese winter when we just moved

It started beautifully in September. We didn’t know at that time that the summer in Portugal lasts until about mid-October, so we were just as happy every day.

But at the end of November it started to rain, and it never stopped.

A rainy winter is mild, I now know, but then we just came from the Netherlands. They don’t call it “Frog-country” – for nothing!


Every step outside meant wearing boots, looking for an umbrella and a jacket, because it wasn’t raining a little bit. The entire valley was full of cats and dogs. Once, I stayed in bed for three days, literally sick of the rain. What did we do??? Trade in a comfortable house for a renovation project without electricity and running water – well, it runs outside, but nothing inside!

Were we a bit gaga or what?

The winters after that were sunny. Awesome. In the following years you could count the rain showers on one hand. Marvellous! Every day was a party. Sitting in the sun in the middle of December squeezing oranges from your own trees – are we blessed or what? No way gaga!

How stupid were we. After a few years the whole country was so dehydrated that you only had to look intensively at a bush or it was already on fire.

We got a huge forest fire as a bonus.

Now it’s not that dangerous here, because it’s very open and there’s lots of water, but it did come close and raged over the top of the hill. Fortunately the eucalyptus forest was cut down that year, and there were only tiny babytrees.

You understand that I have come to appreciate rain differently, just as the Portuguese winter


We need water. All beings on this planet need water. And I now also know: a rainy winter is not cold. If it’s clear, and sunny during the day, it can sometimes hit zero at night. But not now. It is 16º, according to the barometer. And it’s not windy – thanks to all the gods in the universe!

It is nice to lie comfortably in your warm bed and hear the rain. My window is always open; great to have fresh air when you sleep.

For weeks now, I wake up in the middle of the night from a little bird. At first I thought I was dreaming, but it really is a little bird. In the middle of the night, in the middle of the rain.

What kind of happy dandy that is? In the middle of the Portuguese winter night?

The image isn’t that interesting – it’s my window screen. I was too sleepy to think carefully. It’s about the sound of course.

Anyone any idea what kind of birdie this is?


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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 swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

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