Tag Archives: holiday rentals

Portugal the safest country in Europe

… and I dare to complain about the mayor of the municipality, who promises me things in a personal conversation, and then never explains anything anymore about the coming procedure, so my faith in a politician is tested untill the ultimate limits … while I have heard stories the past few days about the situation in South Africa …. you really can not imagine! I never realised that we’re living in the safest country in Europe!

A person occasionally has a bureaucratic thingy, and the loyal readers of this blog know how big a fan I am of bureaucracy

In addition to the conversation with the mayor, promising things that might happen somewhere in the future, we had a little panic attack about our connection with the outside world. Our internet provider sent a rather incomprehensible letter with too many numbers of articles –  article XXX-16-b of that-and-that date, of law number so-and-so, and if we did not respond before the end of August, we would apparently be disconnected.

It would make life so much easier if they were to write such letters in understandable human language

In the meantime this has been resolved, graças à Deus, because people can’t go without internet in this day and age!

That’s a bit different in South Africa, I heard from Athol Moralee, with whom I had a chat a couple of times.

blog_portugal-the-safest-country-in-Europe

Athol is the father of a South African family and they were our guest for a while. Riveting stories about how it goes “over there”. There your internet just may be terminated, even without a prior incomprehensible letter, and then you can go to the office and ask for an explanation.

First wait in a row of 10 meters for half of the morning, to finally hear you’ll have to pay a fine of 25,000 rand. Yes, of course, the person behind the desk also understands that it’s a mistake and nonsense, but can’t help it as well.

That’s going to cost you several days of intense work

Now our bureaucracy probably will cost me a couple of years of my life, in any case a couple of years of enjoying my life, but we’re talking about another caliber of bureaucracy.

In Johannesburg you’ll have to leave a nice coloured piece of paper if you want results, and that is already past tense here.

It is possible that a portuguese mayor’s invited to go to a “club” with the local contractor, but “over there” that kind of corruption has risen to the highest level. And you’re all affected by that, because those bribes must come from somewhere.

Athol was photographer, news photographer

That was a difficult job. Going out there every day to report on terrible things. Whole apartment buildings taken hostage, murders & killers, accidents and protest marches – lots of protest marches.

“I couldn’t see and certainly not smell it anymore,” he says, fairly excited, and at my amazed look he explains: “They always burn old tires. That attracts attention.”

“Oh, that smells horrible – that stinks!” I say disgusted, and yes: “Yes, I couldn’t smell it anymore! Luckily I got an inheritance. I inherited my family’s business – a trade in antique hinges and locks for classical cabinets and furniture and the like. We’re still making a living of it. ”

He wanted to visit some of those old fashioned shops, we still have those here

Great! I’m also very fond of those, but there are not that many left. In Soure there is one survivor, but in Coimbra you can still find some, though you do need to know where to go.

blog_portugal-the-safest-country-in-Europe

They were happy with my tips. And happy with the peaceful environment in the Termas

I can imagine, Portugal is one of the safest countries in the world, and is ranked safest in Europe. In Lisbon, Porto and Coimbra you stumble across the tourists, because a lot of people realised this. But here in the countryside it’s still quiet. And you rarely smell burnt rubber of tires ….

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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.

 

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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!”

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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 tuesday on LinkedIn.

 

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

First impressions

People who know, always say that the first impression is very important.
Well. We’ll see.
I do not want to be stubborn, but I really have the impression that things are a little different here.

I mean, the first impression doesn’t have to be the best

This story of friends has always stayed with me. They were on their way by boat, and had to dock. They already had some kind of plan, but in the Netherlands it is not necessary to plan everything beforehand, because there are enough marinas, and you can dock your boat for a night on the riverbed. And then you do something with your laundry in a tile and so on.

They arrived in the planned harbor, it became rather bad weather, so continuing was no longer an option.
It all looked a little neglected, quiet, and then with that imminent cloud of sky above it …
The kids were a little nervous about the fact that they did not want to stay there, but the father said firmly, “Let’s just wait for a moment, and tomorrow we will see what we think of it.” And mother said, “We’ll make something beautiful, come on guys, we’re going to bake pancakes.”

Whether this story has a happy ending, I do not even know

I found that positive attitude very impressive. It’s already an old story, and at that time I was quite stressed myself. That’s also changed a lot, with my new home and living environment. A person learns. Fortunately, however, because if I walk around like a chicken being chased by a rooster, nobody would be relaxed.

Not that you need such a positive attitude here … oh, typical …  now I’ve painted myself in the corner, I believe … how do I talk myself out of this one? Eh … maybe it’s time for some nice pictures, you can see it for yourself:

the-tiger-and-the-couch

the-big-pool-the-terrace-and-the-view

 

What I wanted to say with this whole story is that I strongly believe that our guests belong largely to the positive group. People who see the glass half full.

Maybe it’s getting used to it, because it’s a bit different – Termas-da-Azenha. Perhaps you’re amazed at how it goes. It’s not that different and alternative, but the informal atmosphere sometimes takes some time to get used to.

You can just enter the kitchen for a chat

If it’s calm, and you’re camping here, you can put your groceries in our fridge. If it is unexpectedly fresh, and you haven’t packed warm things in your optimism, you can borrow a vest from me. Or socks. Or both.
You can use the guitar (and if you can play: great!), or do crazy in the dressing room, call “oooooi !!” when you’re playing foossball, and sit down on the cafe terrace with your legs on the other chair.
One person does that easier than the other.

Code word: home

What I notice is, that there’re people who get it right away, and there’s people who have to get used to it. Let’s wait and see. But once that’s done, the farewell is very warm, and often it’s: “Till next time!”
And the next time indeed comes too. Sometimes after years, however, I notice our Facebook page how many people have a bond with the Termas.

Nice though. That is the most beautiful reward that a hostess can ever get. Isn’t it?

Blog_first-impressions

* They came back after 9 years – and remembered that the pool was being built during their first visit.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

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

Musical sunset

“Olá, muito bem-vindo!” I say with a radiant smile and an outstretched hand to the newly arrived Spanish guests, “Posso falar em português – Can I speak Portuguese? E pode falar espanhol comigo – then you can speak Spanish to me.” They come for the Sunset festival.

The group of young men nods

No problem, and we know each other from last year. Then they also came to the Sunset festival in Figueira da Foz. A new festival for electronic music organized on the beach under the big clock.

the-big-clock-in-Figueira-da-Foz

The picture is when it was just finished in the 40’s, and probably the clock is now in shock because it’s too old and dignified for this kind of music …

The Spanish group has grown, last year 5, now 9 men

Like the other groups who come back for a day or 3 maybe 4. There is even 1 group that goes with 8 people in a house meant for 5 – just because they like to be here during the festival.

Groups of young men, groups of young women, and mixed. A group of older women – groups of elderly men an older mix is something we have not had here yet …;) Perhaps this will happen, this year seems to be “Group Years”. Nice though.

Figueira is full, all hotels are full, for the Sunset festival

 

and everyone walks all the time over the street. If you are staying in the Termas, you will drive to the open space of the countryside after the festival and you will have rest. In Figueira you wake up to the flair of your fellow festivalers, but here from the singing of the birds.

The best of two worlds

The following guests arrive. It’s busy – relatively speaking. There are 6 groups, divided between 8 houses and 2 rooms. This man does not smile so radiantly, he does not know it here yet, he’s coming for the first time.

He booked Casa Oliveira for 2 people. Then there’s room enough

His traveling companion is also a man. I show them the house, show everything and say by chance: “If necessary, I can of course make a bed in the other room.”

I do not do this by default, with a booking for 2 people. That is usually a couple, and if it is not, they usually let them know. In this case, too. But they do not really answer, on the contrary, it slides very easily.

Fine. I know enough

It is not so easy to be a male couple in a traditional and catholic country. Portugal has legalized gay marriage years ago, and it came to the news with the first couple to marry. Two women. That’s easier to take than two men.

Rainbows for everyone

Do not ask me why. It makes no difference to me – I assume that everybody has to do what he wants, and you always have that freedom, as long as you do not deny the freedom of another. I respect everybody who behaves in a civilized manner – that is, as long as you do not bother others with your noise and judge you, you can do whatever you want.

It felt as though they had a good time. Here, nobody was paying any attention to the fact that they were two men in their house.

And that will not always be like that in Portugal, I suspect at least!

Sunset-in-Figueira-da-Foz

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 ....