A nice place to stay, some distraction, some sun, good food, a swimming pool is not so bad (for the children), nice company …. eh, maybe it’s a bit more than I thought.
I’m a holiday specialist, but not an experience expert
I rarely go on holiday myself. Sometimes a week on family visit in the home country, sometimes a few days to here or there in Portugal. To relax a bit of all the work that comes with making sure our guests have a nice holiday. 🙂
Depends on what you want …
We now have a Spanish family who want to show Portugal to their children from 8 to 11. They’re going to see another city every day: Coimbra, Aveiro, Lisbon, Tomar and on the way back to Batalha and Alcobaça, and Viseu. And the beaches: Nazaré, Costa de Lavos, Cabedelo – to play with the waves.
Termas-da-Azenha is almost exactly in the middle between Porto and Lisbon. From here you can easily reach Figueira, Coimbra, Aveiro, Viseu, Tomar, Lisbon and Porto. Although I usually advise my guests to combine the latter (Lisbon and Porto) with the return flight. Of course you can drive all the way up and down, but you can also plan it efficiently and spend the rest of the time doing nice things.
For example, a day of canoeing
Sometimes people get a bit distressed when I bring up canoeing on the Mondego. “Oh no, not that!!” is their first reaction, “Not all the day on such a rocky brook with a lot of other tourists to work your way back over the wild-flowing water!!” Those are people who have the wrong experiences.
Canoeing on the Mondego is a piece of cake. All you have to do is bring your joy of life and sunscreen. You can take your lunch (*) and picnic on one of the river banks you encounter on the way. You can stay away all day long, till 5 in the afternoon. Enjoy the fun with the flowing river, throw eachother in the water (the children), swim a bit (the parents), paddle harmoniously together, and if you’re fed up with that harmoniously paddling you just walk for a while. The Mondego is a river without pretenses. Width is okay, but actually not that deep.
Good food, always great on holiday
We have had chefs here (I really need to mention Jan Zwart from the Netherlands, Belgian Niels le Grandé and Dingo Robberts from Ireland) who cooked so well that the whole village came for dinner. Jan showed us that we had a physalisplant – we didn’t even know. We are not a star chef. Nevertheless, we can cook the stars from the sky with a delicious home-cooked meal. And the most beautiful is: a lot comes from our own garden.
The first crop has already been processed
We have to learn, but you have to think in stages, in the vegetable garden. Depending on your vegetable’s biorhythm. For example, cucumber likes living on this planet from June to September – and then you may want what you want, but they will not do it anymore. And lettuce doesn’t want to grow in summer. That is: if you go with nature, and don’t force things.
So we improvise something, but most comes from our own garden.
It’s a bit premature, so knock on wood
The plants are still small, but nevertheless I already clipped several recipes with eggplant. The zucchiniplant has promising flowers, but the zucchini’s are still small. Doesn’t matter, in my mind they are already in a tasty lasagna. The rucola is just in puberty, but the recipes with their delicious leaves are already in my workbook.
And this also works for beans, tomatoes, basil, gooseberry, dill, parsley, melon, pumpkin, cucumber and of course the champion: physalis.
We eat a bean tomato salad with a dressing of olive oil and herbs tonight.
Delicious! I cheated with the beans, because those come from the market, but in a month we really eat this from our own garden!
(*) We offer it with a packed lunch for 27.50(adults)/ 20,- (kids) till 15). Food, drinks, fruit, water - all in a waterproof barrel with space for your car keys and a small wallet. When you approach your final destination, there'sa river beach-with-café - and you can enjoy a cold beer / fresh drink / ice cream.
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.
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