Tag Archives: holiday houses in Portugal

An Elephant in the room

It is not entirely clear how we got in, but inside we are. Friend B. dives into the bathroom, I look around a bit. A fairly large house with bright large rooms, a bit messy, with lots of stuff and books.

Cozy, I don’t like a modern empty grey house so much

When B. appears (relieved) again, we nose around a bit. We don’t mean any harm, but we giggle a little nervously. “I hear something!” B. Suddenly says, standing completely still, “Shhh!”

I freeze, and yes, a woman and her daughter come in through the front door. “Hey, look at this now,” she says to her daughter, and she hardly seems surprised, “who have we got there!”
“Er …” I stammer, because I don’t know how to start. How do you explain that you have broken into someone’s house, and you’ve been caught in the act?

She laughs, she doesn’t seem shocked at all

B. has disappeared. And the daughter too. Hey, how is that possible? Just gone, both of them, without a trace.

The woman takes me to a large courtyard-like room, where three statues of elephants with the tails twisted together stand in the middle. They’re smaller than in real life. They’re hard but at the same time cuddly soft, and their tails are old-fashioned curly telephone wires.

blog_an-elephant-in-the-room

The woman takes the trunk off the hook, gives it to me and says: “I think you do owe me a story about elephants.” Yes, I can’t deny that, it seems fair.

I try: “Once upon a time there was a little elephant who asked her mother: “Mom, they say you can turn pink. Can that happen, mom? I don’t want to be pink, then everybody’ll always see me everywhere. I’m not a flamingo anyway! They eat shrimps to turn pink, and I don’t like shrimps. And I don’t think pink is a beautiful color, and certainly not for an elephant. Mom? “

Mother elephant answers with a sigh: “Ah, child, weird human talk. You don’t have to worry about that. They also say that you can stand in the room, like: “there’s an elephant in the room.”

Idiotic, of course. We don’t even fit through most doors, so how could we suddenly be in the room? Humans are idiots.”

The woman nods approvingly. “Yes, good, nice start, nice and smooth. And then?”

“Uh … well … I have to think about that …” I ponder, as the courtyard slowly dissolves, the woman becomes more shadowy and sharply articulated thoughts enter the front of my head. Thoughts like: “We have done this before, B. and I, when I was renovating the ElephantHouse …”

My own bedroom starts to take its familiar contours

I stare in the infinite, looking for the dream, but the european flag becomes bluer and more dominant. It is the ceiling of my mosquito net. There’s no escape: I’m awake.

And then there came an elephant with a long snout, and blew this story out

Ah, it’s good already. The sun is shining, so to see, it is a beautiful time to get up. Coincidentally (?) I am working on a great terrace bench for the ElephantHouse. Coincidence?

And anyway I wouldn’t have come any further than the little old-fashioned rhyme:

When you’re mad
Pluck an elephant
Put it on your hat
Tomorrow you are flat

.

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.

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It’s high season. Hi, season!

Until now, it was a bit here, a bit there … a family here, a family there, sometimes the whole village was full for a few days when there is a festival nearby, sometimes full with mothers during Mother’s Day weekend, and in between some campers. From March and on, it’s like that until mid July.

And then high season starts, everywhere

 

Netherland and Belgium have holidays! And since Portugal is the safest, nicest, friendliest country in Europe, which is something more and more people are discovering, our second home country is slowly being filled from top to bottom with rental cars with sunburned people in it.

It’s coming along nicely here

For us, the best part of the high season is that you meet all kinds of different people. A couple of Spanish women, one of which is involved in the construction of Gaudi’s Familia Sagrada, and the other glass artist; a mother with two children who makes a world trip and teaches her children herself, and a dutch couple – he travels around the world for KLM and she is involved in a special theater production in our “home” city of Rotterdam.

High-season-in-Termas-da-Azenha

So, you can hear nice stories

Of course I want to hear everything about that theater production. (You’ll probably not understand one word of all this, but I put the link anyway). My roots are in Rotterdam, and in the theater, so well, what else do you want? And it’s called: “When we left Rotterdam”. The first sentence of the immortal song “Ketelbinkie”. Great, right?

Sometimes I’m sorry I do not live there anymore, because I would really like to go to this show.

 

More than enough material for conversation, because Portugal is number 1

They’ve visited Portugal for years, and that’s the case with all these people – nice coincidence! So, they know Portugal about how it was 30 years ago – so we can also become a little nostalgic.

Ron tells us about the first highway in the south, which was built in ’93 (!) from Seville to Albufeira. Since then, infrastructure has improved, but I remember the holes and pits of years ago very well, when I first traveled here.

Portugal keeps improving and innovating

And that’s very nice, because we’re all used to getting in the car to do something. A day to the river, heading to Coimbra, let’s take a little spin, a day of culture in nearby monasteries and cathedrals or do sports in the dune climbing park.

It’s 3 o’clock and everyone’s out

hammock-in-Termas-da-Azenha

Sometimes, you notice little of it, the high season, here in Termas-da-Azenha. There has been one couple who stayed at home –  I just walked by and had a little chat: “Delightful, that peace and quiet,” said the she of the couple, “I’m just breathing all the stress out – nice with that breeze and the birds … I almost fall asleep. “

“Nice, right?” I say, “well, in the end, you’re in Portugal, south of Europe … a siesta is a part of the deal … sleep well!”

.

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 tuesday on LinkedIn.

 

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