Tag Archives: Christmas

Hiding from father Christmas

No, it was not like we ducked down, stressed by the sound of a car. It wasn’t that bad, with that hiding-for-father-Christmas. It was not the case that the whole village was crowded. There were a few here and there, a few couples and a family, and a couple of friends.

blog_hiding-from-father-christmas

By the way, even if you are in hiding, there is no escape. The church bell sounds every hour with the well-known: “Silent night, holy night”.

Now you can see (or hear) that as authentic, idyllic and rural

‘The years before it was “Jingle Bells”. Every hour, a bit clumsy, as if there was a child who was still learning to play the chimes. Ping-ping-ping, ping-ping-ping …. blèblèblèblèblèblè … and that starts mid-November, and continues until mid-March. Then you have value for money, because those tapes for the clock tower are on the budget of the ever-shrinking church. Now, there are only two churches left that strike every half hour and hour.

Silent Night is a lot less intrusive and intrusive, if you then necessarily have to replace the classic Avé Maria because of the festivities

Furthermore, it’s not too bad. If you don’t go to the shops or to the city, you can almost ignore Christmas here in the country. Although I like to go to the pastelaria on the days before Christmas or to one of the small family supermarkets in the neighbourhood, to be able to say goodbye to everyone: “Bom Natal à todos!” A group of coffee drinkers even stopped with their conversation, and warmly yelled back a “Bom Natal”. Total strangers. Nice, isn’t it?.

On Christmas Eve we sit outside at a large campfire, with a good glass and a nice conversation

From the corner of my eye I see small silhouettes approaching. “Hey Elijah!” I greet the first silhouette, “everything gut mit ihnen?” There comes Malou too, and a bit behind, because she has to carry the little one who’s not so little anymore, there’s Ruth. “Olá boa noite, fröhliche Weihnachten! How are you?

They are going to make their traditional Christmas walk while daddy Jens is cooking, and then: “… dürfen wir unsere Geschenke auspacken!” Malou dances up and down, while Elijah starts the walk – the sooner you go, the sooner you’ll get back. He has the idea that Santa might have left some Lego behind ….

blog_hiding-from-father-Christmas

They think it’s a nice fire. Totally agree, made by Martin who, as a real outdoor man, can even make such a beautiful sea of flames from wet wood. He was still sitting in the trees this afternoon, chopping off the fresh unwanted branches, and tonight they feed the fire. This is, I believe, a win-win-win-win: as little Christmas atmosphere with kitsch lights as possible (and no heavy meals untill you can’t move anymore), no mandatory family dinners, nice company, cleaning up the garden-mess and a great bonfire.

Christina, another guest, also stops by to have a chat, and brings a bunch of salsa. That’ll go in the soup tomorrow.

Best Christmas ever! Completely fine together with all of those in hiding.

How was it with you? Did you have a good time?

.

<< 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, Futurenet, and on monday on LinkedIn.

You like? Please like! And sharing is not forbidden ....

Volunteer Raquelli Pirelli

“I will check the train again, okay?” I say, while going out the door, “pretty sure that we can find everything on www.cp.pt. It’s quite easy!”

She’s going to the south, it’s too cold here now. If you’re coming from Gran’ Canaria, a tropical island, than you’re not used to cold.

It’s winter now. When they came 6 weeks ago, it was still summer

A sunny winter with almost no rain. During the day it’s wonderful, but when the sun goes down, you have to find your sweater and your vest. Still, always laughing, always positive, although she wears almost all her clothes at the same time.

blog_volunteer-Raquelli-Pirelli

A few days later, I get a phone call. A spanish number. Could it be volunteer … ?

“Hey Ellen!”, a woman’s voice cheers through the speaker, “how are you doing?” Ah! I thought so, it’s Raquel. It’s not such a big succes, over there, and she tells me about it. She thought it was a couple, but it appears to be a man alone. “He’s a nice man, but he does such strange things! He wants to control everything, I have to eat when he says so, even if I’m not hungry, but I have to make my own food. He works long hours, and expects that from me as well. There’s no internet, so that’s why I called. I tried for a week now, but I don’t like it here very much.”

Now she’s almost in tears, so I tell her, that if necessary, she’s always welcome here. “He’s not a bad guy, you know, but he is so … so rude, so insensitive. He wants that I follow him like a dog, and do everything he says. And he takes a bath with the door open. No, no, it’s not like that …I feel completely safe …  he just wants to be in control. So weird.”

Yes, that is quite weird, and quite insensitive

This is not the first weird volunteer experience. The first one, only 2 months ago, was superweird, on a quinta where you were expected to work 12 hours a day – as a volunteer. And hard work as well, digging and wood chopping.

That’s not how it’s meant to be. The second host was very nice, an adorable older english woman, but she talked very much and very fast, all day long. Raquels travelling partner didn’t understand english, only spanish, so all the talking was directed to her.

She was exhausted at the end of the day, because of all the conversation

Yes, I can imagine. Also: admirable. How do you do that, talking all day long? Then they landed here, and stayed for 6 weeks. We built a lovely routine very fast. They preferred to work from 8 till 3, fine with me. We had dinner every night, and for the rest it was harmonious and agreeable.

“I loved that so much, Ellen. I’m going to see if I find something here in the south, but if not, I’m coming to you”, she says, “I’ll let you know tomorrow.”

Her travelling partner Desi, went to another place, because there are not so many hosts accepting volunteers now. It’s december, people are warming up for Christmas, and on the farms is not so much to do. As in the holidayhouses-bussiness.

The next day I pick her up from the nearby trainstation. There was nothing to be found, everybody is relaxing, preparing for Christmas, so: “I came back! I’m going to be a volunteer again, and to search for a place here. You have a steady connection at least!” she says radiantly, full of good intentions.

But there is nothing to be found as a volunteer

It seems as if the whole world slows down a notch in December.

“I found a cheap ticket”, she says the next morning, “I’ll go home, to Gran’ Canaria. My mother is soooo happy! And my brother as well!”

Good decision. Not only you will celebrate Christmas in the sun, but also in the warm presence of your family.

blog_volunteer-Raquelli-Pirelli

Merry Christmas to you all! And for the ones who don’t “do” Christmas: Happy Holidays!

.

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.

 

 

 

You like? Please like! And sharing is not forbidden ....