Tag Archives: family holidays in Portugal

Celebrating your holidays in 2020 – question mark or masquerade

A question that’s on everybody’s lips: how will it be, our holidays in 2020?

I suspect that in many cases it’ll preferably not be a staycation. Most people have seen their houses enough now. The big question is of course when we can travel again. Now there are more big questions, but this is one that I already heard many times.

We now look out over a months-long desert of emptiness on the booking calendar

Sounds pretty dramatic, doesn’t it? It’s very ambiguous – on the one hand, I love all this time and space. Now I can do things that I wanted to do for years. On the other hand, it is very uncomfortable to have no coming and going guests after 20 years. No rooms to clean, no breakfast to serve, no questions to answer, no chatting with entertaining guests. No expectations about how much fun this summer will be.

Many people talk about face masks, so we can socialize again

Obligate everyone to wear a face mask in public, to wash your hands thoroughly after every minor event, a little alcohol to top it off (no, not for drinking, for spraying!) – that’s how we’ll prevent more trouble, and maybe go back to a kind of normal life. Many Portuguese already do this by themselves. All the oldies at the village supermarket wore a mask, except for one woman. She apologized extensively.

And before you know it, this will happen again: waiting until people are done talking

masked-people-waiting-for-the-supermarket-blog

All of us outside, neatly waiting: “Bom dia, quem é o último?” – who is the last? I just needed a few potatoes, so I was a bit impatient. Only 5 people are allowed in the store at the same time, as if that helps, because everyone just stands as close to each other as always. The rest waits patiently outside. One old man helped someone who was struggling with her mask. A masked lady on a scoot mobile gestured decidedly that she wanted to park exactly where I was standing, cut the line in half, and then stumbled in right past everyone, saying she has to “talk to Irena.” Two ladies stood inside, with their already paid groceries, chatting for minutes.

Patiência.  

Post-corona etiquette

Patiência – that is the first phrase to be learned in Portuguese. And it also makes sense, I noticed, because with all my thinking of how we’re going to get through this year without any income combined with all those masks around me, I came up with a great idea.

Those white things – you don’t want to be seen with that, do you? Certainly not during the holidays!

Of course we already have a lot of nice fabrics for the kimonos. There must be something useful amongst them. After half a day of YouTubing I know everything there is to know about masks. I’ve been trying something.

homemade-masks-of-Termas-da-Azenha, holiday-rentals-in-Portugal

There are roughly 2 different models. The folded model or the cup model. I suspect the latter is best for people with a big nose. You have them with strings, with elastic bands, with velcro … and I came up with a genius system with a tunnel hem, a strap and an eye, but I could not yet realize that because I do not have the material.

That’ll also be a quest

But first I would really like to know from you all: would you buy a mask from Termas-da-Azenha? Like: how do we help the Termas through the winter? And ourselves through the summer?

Otherwise I’ll end up with all those masks. And no plans of robbing a bank or what.

masked-gunmen-at-the-senate-of-Michigan

courtesy of Reuters

Well, always a silver lining: I’ll have enough experience to sew nice bras… 

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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 https://www.termas-da-azenha.com/en/recreation/: 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, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

Flow, let go, and now: hold tight, holidaymakers!

“I feel my nerves tighten again,” says the mother of two beautifully dressed daughters at the breakfast table, “that is the approaching departure. The end of our camping holiday. ”

blog_flow-let-go-and-now-hold-tight-holidaymakers

I know the feeling. You probably too. It’s my fault she feels those nerves coming up.

Please: breathe, relax, let go …

When I came to bring them their fresh cup of coffee, we had a chat about the last holiday-day, and what that does to you, and I said: “The last holiday I remember, everything was very relaxed, and the last day I was running again, doing everything at once: brushing my teeth while I was sitting on the toilet, putting on my shoes at the same time, and simultaneously throwing the last things in my suitcase. Well, then you know: you’re on your way, back to your normal life.”

The anecdote apparently triggered her nerves, but please, let it go! I certainly didn’t want to stress you out

I immediately try to correct my mistake: “No, not necessary. You were just so relaxed. The best holidaymakers ever. You’re very good at that – you don’t need to stress! I’m sorry!”

It’s not that you go back to a hard and miserable life. You’re content and happy with your normal life – isn’t that so for most people? Here and there a difficulty, a thing, sometimes a disaster or a drama, but in general we lead a pleasant life at home.

I have never done any scientific research, but I have a strong suspicion that I’m quite right with this statement.

And this Belgian family is definitely champion in the area of relaxation

I was busy with my mosaic yesterday afternoon (curious? Read the previous blog) and was hiding behind the shadow net that serves as a door to my mosaic spot. My mosaic spot is near the pool, and the sun is shining on it in the afternoon. That’s why I tried to stay in the shade.

Family Champion Relax was in the pool. Dad, mom, and their two daughters of 6 and 4. The youngest learns to swim with the help of an ingenious floating vest, and a diving mask with a nose. I like that a lot. It’s new, and it seems effective, but sometimes it has a comical effect.

(Not on these girls though, they look cute in everything, they’re the lucky ones!)

blog_flow-let-go-and-now-hold-tight-holidaymakers

I totally missed the visual – hidden behind my shadow net – but the audio was pleasant. I was enjoying the flow of a well-running mosaic, grabbing one after the other exactly-fitting piece, with that pleasant chat in the background.

Everyone with young children knows it, this ongoing, flowing conversation about anything and nothing. Very harmonious, very cozy, it brings out the best in everyone

I couldn’t understand it, they were just a little too far away for that, and I was just a little too much in my flow. But I could distinguish the various languages. Flemish of course, the language of the country where they live, but also Spanish. The language of daddy. And in between French to their french neighbours. And en passant a few French sentences to the daughters.

Who understood it all, and cheerfully went along with all the language changes

Great, if you grow up in such a bilingual or trilingual way! That is a beautiful gift that you will enjoy for the rest of your life. The splashing and sniffing sounds of a child who’s just learning how to swim and is doing her very best, are universal though, and not language-related.

Perhaps their capacity of relaxation has to do with culture. Perhaps this family is champion because they are a two-component family, with Southamerican and Belgian roots. Who knows? There’s no scientific research on that.

blog_flow-let-go-and-now-hold-tight-holidaymakers

I secretly hope that this family – just like all the others who’ve been here – will be able to embed that level of relaxation in their daily life. Take your holiday home! (And leave your work at work.) That you’ll still be able to chat about everything and nothing with your children just as nicely back home. That you can sleep in from time to time. That you’re all going to do some nice things together, and you don’t even have a plan.

Don’t let it go, dear guests! Instead: hold tight! Keep it like this as long as possible!

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<< 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 Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

What do you actually need on holiday?

It’s clear: most children need water. And the adults often too. It is something soothing, sitting by the water. Every fisherman can confirm that (when (s)he’s awake again).

It’s our first necessity of life, water. No life without water.
No fun holiday without water.

So, what DO you actually need on holiday?

There are probably people who can hike endlessly in dry mountainous areas, but even then an unexpected mountain lake is a pleasant surprise. You hear from few people that they’ve had a fantastic holiday in the desert.
And if, then it must have been in an oasis in the desert.

So, okay, water. No problem. We have an abundance of that here

 

blog_what-do-you-actually-need-on-holiday

 

Termas-da-Azenha lies in the delta of the Mondego, and as the crow flies only 12 kilometers from the ocean. Everything comes flowing down from the glowing-hot / dying-cold, so almost uninhabited Spanish plains. Only in the Serra da Estrela, Portugal it becomes livable again.

The Serra da Estrela** is such a hiking area as described above, with unexpected pleasant surprises.

The Mondego begins there, as one of the two rivers that originate in Portugal. There has once been a group of people who discovered the sources here. If they were the same people who discovered that our water has healing* powers – no idea.

The place is therefore very old, but the water remains fine and fresh. It flows from the spanish plateau into a large underground lake, where it is heated by Mother Earth to around 30º.
The previous owner placed a tube in that subterrainean lake – no one knows how and where, pity – so that the well water always flows through the bathhouse.

What a luxury in these times! Always fresh spring water of good quality

As a result, that excellent water also flows into the ditch. Fish like that very much, frogs and langoustines too. This ditch is located behind the hotel rooms, where this summer the children on holiday could greatly appreciate our latest initiative: a thick plank.

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“The fish are nibbling at your feet!” giggled a newly arrived brother and sister, who were sitting on the plank with their feet in the water. It’s not deep, but if you fall into it – which happened of course a few times – you run the risk of losing one of your flipflops in the mud.

And your hair gets wet. Not a disaster. You take a shower, and then you put on your best dress because you’re going to eat out in Figueira da Foz. Enough with that ditch for now.

blog_what-do-you-actually-need-on-holiday

Most children didn’t get enough of it easily. And when the catching of lobsters and fishes was done, they dived into the pool. Their parents thought it was fine. Water nearby, having fun messing around – everyone can relax.
And if you want something a little different, go to the swimming lake or one of the beaches nearby, or drive a little further to a serra**.

You’ll always find water there.

After all, that remains the nicest toy on holiday!

 

* Our water heals skin diseases such as eczema, allergies and even psoriasis patients come clean out of the water. It has always been a spa until the previous owner, Dom Henrique Foja Oliveira, died.
** Nearby: the Serra de Lousã. Magnificent. A little further: the Serra da Estrela, where you encounter beautiful and ice-cold mountain lakes, with beautiful green-turned round rocks.

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<< 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 Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn