Tag Archives: camping

Cool Camping Guide & ANWB

We are writing 2005. How exactly do I no longer know, but I still see the man in front of me in the office. Jonathan. At the beginning of thirty, a bit ruddy, and very enthusiastic. Enthusiastic in an English manner.

He had a photographer with him, and we had to be in the book. In the Cool Camping Guide

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It kind of surprised me. At that time I was busy with everything at the same time, also very enthusiastic – in Dutch, so it went smoothly and efficient.

So many people passed by, curious about what was happening. Portuguese, Dutch, English …

This Jonathan and his companion went to make a camping guide. With very cool pictures. So the Cool Camping Guide

In 2005 that was still a real book. On paper. That’s a lot more hassle than an e-book. You do that pretty quickly – even on your own. A whole team was involved in this paper Cool Camping Guide.

I have noticed that a photographer is very important. And that one photographer is not the other. This was clear, and that still shows

“Olá, hello, hello …. which language do you prefer? Welche Sprache wird es sein?” Usually I can tell by someone’s face. And then a look from the corner of your eye to the number plate is a little extra information, along with the experience that you know that in the preseason you often get northerners who want to enjoy the pre-season rest.

This time it was a bit of a surprise, because the woman spoke very good portuguese. With a German accent, so I knew she had to have german roots. I don’t hear any differences in Portuguese – they can come from the north, south, middle or from Trás-os-Montes, I hear little difference.

But I do recognize Portuguese-Dutch, Portuguese-English, or Portuguese-German

I guessed well. Portuguese-German. And again: they come via the Cool Camping Guide. The book from 2005. Jonathan and his team apparently have made an immortal book, especially in Germany, because I still get people through the Cool Guide. And it’s true what I always call those – always – unexpected guests: “The Cool Camping Guide is great! I always get nice people through them! ”

The best thing is of course: they also like it here. Bingo!

Some are blushing, but it’s true. Exactly the good target group. Prosperous people with a broad frame of mind who’re looking for nice quiet special places but not in a snobbish way. Not to mention that they were   “at the Termas-da-Azenha, they were in the Cosmopolitan, didn’t you see? They were mentioned in “Gute Welt” and did you not read that article in the Snob Magazine?”

It will not have been exactly the next day, but in my memory it is a bit linked to each other: right after that a prosperous gentleman from the ANWB came along who was looking for special camping spots.

I showed him everything, and he became happier and happier

The ANWB is a very large organization. I was very impressed, because well, we were not busy for so long, I hadn’t been marketing our campsite so much until after my divorce, so would this be a good idea? “Yes, yes, this is perfect for our Charming Camping Guide!” laughed the friendly gentleman whose name I forgot (sorry), “this is just a place where a part of our target group is looking for. Quiet, green, different, but kind of Dutch. You will come to our Charming Camping Guide. That’s final.”

Okay. He will know. After all, he has experience with the ANWB target group.

Yesterday I got a parcel with a “selected small camping” flag and a few – as always – unexpected camping guests. Via the Cool Camping Guide.

And the flag? From the ANWB.

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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.

 

A scoop that goes from mouth-to-mouth

“Do you know that you have a real scoop!” Walt calls out laughing from the campsite, “We never stay somewhere longer than two nights!” I’m talking to his girlfriend Ida on the slightly overlying road. They go on the road again after three nights in the Termas.

I excitedly raise both arms in the air and smile wide at them: “Wow, what an honor!”

“Sometimes we say, let’s try to stay somewhere for a week” explains Ida, and Walt adds:” But no, most of the time, we think after one night …. time to go .. . ”

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They got a tip from a friend

“Ah, you are going to Portugal? Then you really need to go by the Termas, you’ll enjoy it,” said André, and since Ida and André have been colleagues for many years and know each other very well and they are quite fond of each other, she followed his advice.

Nice, if that’s the way it goes. Thank you, André!

A recommendation from someone you know says much more than just a review on the net. Sites like Tripadvisor and Zoover would like to make you believe that all humanity looks at their sites, but I honestly do not believe that.

Their marketing techniques are rather unimaginative

Create a need, and then make the product. We too, on the other side of the spectrum, are regularly bullied with mails that make it clear that many and good reviews are essential and that you may make 78% more revenue.

Yes Yes. I hear you. Would it?

That means that we need to bother you with emails in which we ask for reviews. Honestly: do you want that?

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate someone’s rating after a wonderful holiday. I’m always pleasantly surprised. If it goes spontaneously, it’s a gift.

Thank you, dear givers!

I don’t get it, anyway. I don’t believe in it so much and I don’t have time to make such a mailing. I’ve tried to be like everybody and see what it’s like in the big-people world, but it never goes anywhere.

Could you really ask someone: “And … do you like me?” Because my way of doing things is very personal.

It’s not a big hotel or resort – it’s tiny, and in all cases you get in touch with me or my son. I don’t hire a PA, there is no receptionist, all ideas for the decorations come from yours truly, your house is cleaned by Broes (the son), I make the beds, and the food in the kitchen is made by us both. We do everything ourselves, along with volunteers, which is a very nice way of working.

I’m very happy with mouth-to-mouth advertisement

Because of that tip from André, Ida & Walt also get a different status. It’s a bit more cozy, it seems. They also may do more, as far as I am concerned. They may just enter the kitchen, which is normally only reserved for volunteers and us. Only the nice guests ignore the big “for authorized personnel only” sign. Rightly so.

And it’s also in Portuguese.

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“Normal guests”  can of course get a cold drink, but “special guests” will be allowed in the kitchen to put their things in the fridge if necessary. Can be useful, as we get quite a lot of cyclists during off season, and people who travel light. Small tents because you have to take everything on the plane, and there is generally no mini-fridge in your rental car. Or they come with their own car in which they can sleep, so they don’t always have to set up a tent and possibly just go somewhere.

It’s a very adventurous way of traveling, but just say goodbye to your cold beer at the end of a long day

That cold beer is guaranteed here. And the additional chat as well. Very nice, mouth-to-mouth guests!

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Spread the word!

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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.

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.

The latest trends in holiday country

The whole phenomenon “holiday” is not at all that old – did you already know that? Of course the people over 50 among us know, because they lived in the days that holidays became more and more popular. It became in the 1960s an increasingly evolving phenomenon. Before that time, holidays was more: traveling. And mostly for the upper class, not for everybody.


If you’re under 40, a holiday is completely normal – as if it had never been otherwise


When I was a child, we went camping at first, but soon we hired a cottage. My dad loved to camp, but we found it a lot less attractive to stand for hours – it seemed –  at a tent pole, until Dad had found his way in the mess that we had baptized “The Camel”.
It was a monster of a tent, but it was quite spacey. Probably I would find it beautiful now; he was streaked and had two bumps.
Hence the name, of course.

W
e didn’t to start our holidays at a tent pole – we wanted to swim in the lake, or wander in the hills, or see if there were other children at the campsite. If it was rainy weather, we had to dig a trench around the tent so that the water couldn’t come in. My father had been a sergeant-major in the army, so we were raised with:
“Immediate follow-up of the given orders, without the least contradiction, with the right of later compensation.”
But with a wink, of course.
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1, 2, here we go!


Look at what’s going on now, with a little bit of luck you throw your tent into the air and pops out by itself. (How you get it packed again, I don’t know …) Ok, that’s a very small tent, and it doesn’t have two bumps, nor stripes, nor poles, but it’s so much easier to get things done.
Maybe
you go “glamping” – how do you say that? Going on a glamping trip? Which is, in fact, a holiday house, but without the benefits. After all, there’s everything: real beds, a wardrobe, a cupboard in a real kitchen and a full bathroom with bath and all, if you’re lucky.
Perhaps I’m biased, but I’d rather have a real house. In a tent, I know from experience, you hear everything from everyone. If you happen to have children with sleeping difficulties, or not such a cozy marriage, or on the contrary a very cozy marriage, then you have a thing.


You literally see no hand before your eyes


As a child, I found camping very exciting. We went on night walks, and my father always got lost, so we walked for hours and hours to get back to the tent again. We swam, played, got a tan, were bitten by all kinds of insects, and were completely happy. 
I still remember when I was in my sleeping bag with my gently snoring sisters around me, I couldn’t see anything, not even my own hand in front of my eyes. It was pitch dark. And that’s very exciting!

You probably will not experience that anymore, that it’s so dark, but on the other hand you can choose from lots of things. Sleeping in a waterdrop hanging from a tree, in a hammock, in an old fashioned caravan, a vintage camper, a tree house, a haystack, an iglo, an old tram, ferry, plane, tipi or yurt.
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The last two have actually become a bit common. But now I’m so curious: are there people who do that (and who read this by any chance) and like that?
 
Tell me! I’d really like to know!
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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.

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.