Tag Archives: B&B

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.


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.”


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.


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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No Boat & Breakfast anymore

“It smelled delicious at your place last night – wonderful smells on the breeze.” I’m kidding, “and then I didn’t dare to pass by with a glass of wine. That would have been too obvious.”
“Aaah! Really? “Ramona looks at me perplexed, “ogosh, that’s too bad! I cooked way too much, and I thought: Ellen could easily eat with me. But I thought it was silly to ask! ”


We’re at the Multibanco in the next village because Ramona never has cash with her. She needed some, and I was going to do some shopping anyway at this super supermarket here.
Like this it’s not necessary to go with that huge motorhome.

It’s off season. It is still quiet

And that’s exactly what she wants. Birds singing, a tractor far away in the fields …. enough noise. She has been at the beach recently:
“I have something like: can you put that sound off? after a couple of days. Then I really had enough.”

Travelling with your motorhome to the wide horizons and do what your heart tells you. Who wouldn’t want that? Yet there are not many who actually do it. It’s not always easy, especially if you’ve just met someone back home. But if your heart continues to yearn, well, who are you to fight that? So, on your way to Portugal!

The Boat & Breakfast was doing well

but there were just too many downsides. People from all over the world came to that beautiful spot, but the boat was her own house also. If there was a booking, she had to remove her belongings, and went improvising in an old motorhome nearby. Now that’s not so bad, especially if it yields nice guests and ditto merits, but eventually it’s enough.

“It was just an ad on Airbnb: “Boat & Breakfast”, and it went very well. I got everything fixed up and bought most things secondhand, and I put that whole story on Airbnb. People thought that was sympathetic. I’ve had really nice guests.”
Ramona is a little wistfully at the memory, “It was a beautiful place with a great view, but it was too much.”

And people were increasingly booking last-minute

“They were at the airport, I got a call that they would be there in a few hours. I had to pack up everything again, and start cleaning lickedy split. Mwah … less you know! ”
“Yes, I know,” I say, “at least, that last minute. That is indeed increasing. Very annoying, because you have to drop everything and you have to run in overdrive as it should be done now now now. I always try to ensure that a number of houses are ready, but you couldn’t do that, of course. ”

“No, I didn’t feel like improvising all the time in that old campervan because of the possibility to get a booking.” she says, “so well, when I had the idea of going to Portugal. I sold the boat and bought the motorhome, and here I am! ”

“Any idea what you’re going to do?” I ask, a little afraid that she’ll answer: start a B B, because I have the feeling that the market is saturated. Quite some start-ups in recent years, in this region certainly a dozen alone. Now Turkey has fallen as a holiday destination, and Portugal seems to be having the best year since ever – but there is a limit.

Luckily no, not a fixed place yet

Maybe a place in a community, such as “Vegan Hill” in the Algarve. You also have something like that in the Serra da Estrela, but hey, it’s very cold there in the winter. It’s a ski area. You wouldn’t expect that in Portugal, but yes: the first year I was driving around here, I was sitting on a sleigh in the snow in the middle of February. Much to my own surprise!

We have to say goodbye. It’s time to move on again

“I have a wonderful time here, nice and quiet, it is such a good place,” Ramona says and gives me a big hug, “and I was thinking if I would take the little dog because it’s a real sweetheart. But anyway … no. ”
“So sorry,” I say, but actually I’m a little relieved. Although I didn’t want the dog, when she landed a few weeks ago – out of the blue, I’ve become quite fond of her. It is indeed a sweetheart, so she stays here.

There should remain a few permanent residents here after all!


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