Tag Archives: Termas da Azenha

Driving to the supermarket of Jorge Neto

I was craving something. Something salty, tasty, a nice snack. Nothing to be found anywhere. At least not something I was craving for. Unfortunately.

Then you have the choice between sitting yearning or to get up, take the car key and drive to the supermarket in Alqueidão. I also had to get some things for the guests breakfast tomorrow morning, so I had to go there anyway.

Now that isn’t such a punishment, because it’s always fun in the supermarket Jorge Neto. He’s a good-natured forty-something-year-old, who’s been doing this his whole life, and he is good at it. And it’s not such small supermarket – there are 6 employees, and they have almost everything. Including an unbeatable good mood.

He is like social glue in this area

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Like I mentioned: they have almost everything. Freshly baked bread (every day, even on Sundays) and also my favorite: centeio. Brown bread is still not available everywhere, so I always go for a nice dark brown sandwich. They already know: “Todo o centeio?” – all of them? Yes, thank you.

But I don’t come for that now (although of course they go along). Cupcakes for breakfast tomorrow morning … coffee and a cupcake every day keeps the doctor away.

If you need deodorant urgently, or a bottle of liquor, a candle holder for your romantic picnic or a plastic watering can to water your delicate plants – it’s there. They have fresh vegetables from the farmers in the area, even superfoods such as goji berries and mixed nuts. But I do not want something responsible, I want something tasty. Something like… crisps.

TexMex or chili, campeoneta or 3D corn, what’ll it be?

With my 3D bag I pass the butcher’s counter. Fresh goat meat is recommended. Immediately a recipe for a famous Portuguese stew comes to mind.

Yes!

That was what I was craving!

Enjoy this delicious dish together with me. It’s a bit of preparation, but then you have something too! When you start today, you’ll eat it tomorrow – so …  also a lot of anticipation!

But first that bag of 3D …

Nice side effect: a group of guests loved to smell the kitchen so much that they agreed to come and eat.

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Recipe for chanfana

Ingredients for 4 people
1.5 kilos of goat meat – 75 grams chorizo in slices – 1 tbsp sugar – 2 onions – chopped parsley – 75 dl red wine – 4 tbsp olive oil – 1 tbsp fresh chopped coriander leaves – 200g bacon in small pieces – 2 cloves of garlic – 4 bay leaves – 5 cloves – 1 tbsp paprika (not spicy) – fresh black pepper and sea salt

cassarole or römer topf (in any case an oven dish with lid)

Preparation

Cut the meat into large pieces. Mix the salt, the paprika, garlic, sugar, crumbled laurel leaves, coriander and olive oil and marinate the meat with it. Place the strips or diced bacon between them, cut the onions into rings and grind the pepper over it. Shower everything with red wine. It must be completely under. Put the cloves in it and marinate for 6 to 8 hours in a cool place, but not in the fridge. You can do this in the evening, for example, then it’s ready for the oven the next afternoon.

And further:

Preheat the oven to 180º C.
Put the lid on the casserole and let it cook gently in the oven. Check every hour that there is enough moisture in the casserole and add more wine, while stirring gently. When the meat starts to loosen from the bones (after about 3 to 4 hours) add the chorizo cut into pieces of 3 cm and the chopped parsley. Leave to cook until the meat completely falls off the lbones (another 1 to 2 hours). At this stage there are 2 possibilities: serve immediately.

And then I like to eat a simple cooked potato with that and a green salad. So good.

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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 lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque and mini golf, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is 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, and on tuesday on LinkedIn.

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

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.

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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

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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 ....

Loving Vincent, loving the film

Everybody comes in at the same time. I sit fairly in front, because I was just a little late, and the room was already half full. Very glad that I had taken the trouble to buy a ticket in advance. There was a long line in front of the counter, so I could walk straight through the courtyard up to “O grande auditório”.

There you go somewhere, or what?

The performance started a bit later because it was sold out. I was able to see how everyone came in, and I was actually surprised about the habit of the average visitor. All people in dark winter clothing, the coats still on. All with an inner color, because well, it is also cold in winter.

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Maybe I expected a more colorful audience

A group of teenagers, mostly girls with a few boys in between, filled the first row. Assignment for school? A square shaped little woman with light bleached hair and a rabbit fur coat was looking for a spot on the second with her equally square shaped man. I was sitting alone, a few young women with some chairs between us on the same row, and a few moments later another woman was just looking for a place between us.

There was a pleasant buzz. The group next to me greeted a befriended couple, and secretly whispered to each other when a woman with short bright blue dyed hair came in a bit further away. These are city people and art lovers, but blue dyed hair is still just quite special.

The lights go out, and everyone shifts with anticipation in an easy position

I am not at the optimal position, the level of my increasing blindness taken into account. Just too far to see it completely sharp, just too close to put on my magnifying glasses. Doesn’t matter, I can understand it, so I don’t have to read the portuguese subtitles. The rest is fine.

I’m immediately sucked into the moving brush strokes that are so typical of Van Gogh. From the beginning, I’m looking at all that splendor with open mouth so to speak. It is so beautifully done, the painted scenes alternate very easily with the gray,er live acted pieces.

The film is in any case colorful

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The protagonist is a young man, the son of a venarable postmaster, whose beautifully painted beard and meekness commands immense respect, who have to deliver Vincent’s last letter to his brother Theo. That’s quite an adventure, because on the way he learns about all kinds of things.

He’s sucked into the story, just like me. I will not give anything away, because if you have not seen it yet, I can heartily recommend it. And if you did, you know what I’m talking about.

Halfway through the film, tears were in my eyes, and I was glad I had a handkerchief with me. The most impressing was the daughter of the doctor, the only one who saw the genius of the painter during his lifetime. That is why every day she puts flowers on his grave, in homage to an artist who was recognized as a genius much, much later.

If a tree falls over in the forest, and nobody sees it, has it really happened?

If nobody sees your genius, acknowledges your efforts, appreciates your life’s work, is it there? Vincent van Gogh was a nervously tormented man, but with a bright connection to the other world. The world of light and love. Who would understand that?

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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 lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque and mini golf, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is 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, and on tuesday on LinkedIn.

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

Great chance to book this: Coaching 50 plus

Okay …, so April 18 to 22. That is Wednesday to Sunday. Just to be sure: up to or t / m?

Wednesday arrival, Sunday departure. Right? A nice long weekend, with valuable coaching sessions, everything included, so no worries about nothing. Coaching 50 plus.

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Anyway: a day has twenty-four hours

And a lot can happen in that. To begin with, you will sleep at least 8 hours in a good bed, in your own room, in a beautiful setting. We can’t say much about the weather, but in general it’s top weather in Portugal in April. Wake up with the whistling of the birds, and you can have breakfast outside in the sun.

Then the sun quickly becomes a grown-up heater, but it never gets really hot here. We are 12 kilometers from the beach as the crow flies, so usually a nice sea breeze passes by in the afternoon. Really good.

The other 16 hours you can spend on the question: what do I do with my life?

It may be the second time in your life that you are wondering: what do I want to become when I grow up? This is not such a simple question for many people. Those who are blessed with a great talent or a clear calling are rare. There are only few who are staring over the sea with the feeling of: “I have to go to sea, I want to sail!”

For most of us it is a bit thougher

At school you discovered where your interest, passion, love and skill lie. Meanwhile you have a whole lot of life behind you, in which you have discovered and developed all that further. Most probably you have developed, discovered, deepened some other skills, knowledge, passions, loves, interests. You left some behind or you still embrace them.

You are the director of your life, and you play the leading role

That has been hard work – being busy: sometimes drowning in your business to-do lists, sputtering romantic dates, muddy relationships and 24 hours on-call for your small children. Sometimes finally rest when they’re all out of the house, the list is ticked off and you have decided to let go of everything and do something you like.

And on a nice day they’re all out of the house for good, and you can do what you like for hours or days. So now you have time to ask yourself: Do you have it all under control at work? Are you bumping against the (glass) ceiling? Are you done with the singing, gardening, the latest form of blablabla-yoga? Are you on a dead end with your walking group? Or with your relationship?

That is getting used to. What now?

“Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose

Janis Joplin once sang, and well, there you are, you have nothing left to lose. Or yes, one more thing of course. One very important fact.

Your life.

What are you going to do with that, there are still a lot of valuable years ahead of you.

Out of all those activities and sometimes chaos and crisis you have torn a lot of wisdom. You have experience, knowledge, skill, and a lot of love in your heart. What are you going to do with that? Which way? What do you find important now? Are you afraid of changes, or are you looking forward to that? Do you have people who support you, or do you really do it all alone, against all odds?

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All questions are answered in coaching 50 plus

A good coach will let you walk around those questions. Why? With the discovery of the question the answer is automatically there. Your answer, that suits you. Someone else with the same question may find a very different answer. That’s hers.

There is no clear answer to these kinds of questions.

And the discovery of those answers is a fantastic adventure with a good coach and a nice group of like-minded people!

I would say: throw in five days and 1143,45 euros, and do this coaching 50 plus!

That includes travel, accommodation and food, with unforgettable group sessions and expert individual sessions. You can book extras as a mosaic workshop, a massage or a hiking tour. Take a look here.

Bye! Até logo! See you in April!

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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 lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque and mini golf, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is 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, and on tuesday on LinkedIn.

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

Mosaic queen Astrid

“Yes, that one is still the best”, Astrid concludes and points to the earlier train. We have talked about it extensively and counted back: 2 0’clock flying, arrive an hour before departure (it’s January, not crowded, no endless queues at customs – right?), 1 hour by subway …

She’s here for a week, but now she has to go back suddenly and unexpectedly

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The father of the children has died, just suddenly, and so suddenly a lot of things must be taken care of. “The girls” can’t just be told with a phone call.

Even though they are pretty much grown-up, they still live with their mother, but yes, their mother is here now. It is their father and her ex – 16 years ago they split up, and after that they didn’t have so much contact anymore. About the children, and about his contribution for them.

I’m amazed by the way this communication goes

That’s different, if you’re a girl’s mother, you’ll notice. There is plenty of messaging going on, especially after “the girls” have been rashly informed by trusted friends. There is also a lot of going back and forth messaging with these friends going on.

I am a boy’s mother, with an introverted youngest. That’s different! Now we – thankgod – have not yet experienced that their father / my ex suddenly died, but otherwise the communication is very different. Very brief. And how you feel about something is never asked.

The travel insurance does not cover the return journey

What else do you have insurance for? To have the illusion that they will assist you in bad times when everything is running smoothly? Anyway, we are familiar with that grumbling, and it is pushed aside. Too bad, but there are more important things in the world. Most importantly, Astrid have to return to assist her girls in processing their grief.

After 16 years no longer together, but need to arrange practical matters because of the children, you are no longer sobbing in your pillow. It is a shock, an unexpected death, certainly – but for Astrid it is also a pity that she has to interrupt her week of refueling.

Astrid has been coming here for years – first with the girls, then without

One of the regular guests. Long, long ago she came as a volunteer for a week. She liked it so much that she came on holiday with the girls, and since then every summer. A pleasant destination for a single parent family, that certainly is a basis for a relaxing holiday.

The girls enjoyed themselves in the pool and the FancyDressingRoom, and with the other children. The funny thing is, that I have seen them grow up a bit too. And Astrid and I started to work together on some mosaics, and that has actually become tradition.

Before she comes, I often send an inspiring picture: “What do you think of this?” I ask, “for that corner above the cafe?”

“Do you have enough red?” She sends back, “and where exactly will it be?”

She’s left behind several masterpieces

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This time I wanted to keep it modest. In a week you can not make huge mosaics, and then I’ll have to go on with it alone – an unfinished work, which still needs a lot cutting and glueing. This can possibly be done by enthusiastic volunteers, but you do not always have them at hand.

I don’t have time now. I want to make a mini golf, and a webshop for the bathrobes, and a lot of windows need to be sanded and painted, and a couple of bath cubicles need to be turned into a museum, including 3-D mosaic. Plans and ideas enough, but 2018 seems to be the similar to 2017.

If you do not pay attention, the day passed by like that

We say goodbye to Astrid. I’ll finish the mosaic. No problem, it’ll be done in no time. Strength with all this, and we keep in touch. Long live whatsapp!

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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 lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque and mini golf, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is 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, and on tuesday on LinkedIn.

 

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

The world upside down: nice guests, thanks for being here!

It went in a typical portuguese fashion. A timely request for a reservation on new years eve. Nothing wrong with that, you would say, nice to have a group of guests with the Passagem de ano. Then they would come with fewer. Then there were more. Then fewer again. Then an email: “We are six of us,” they wrote, “and we all want to be in Palmeira.”

A couple from  this group has been here before, not so long ago

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I think secretly: that might have been the pathfinders. ‘s Let’s see if this is a nice destination for our New Year’s party.

Apparently.

“I can also arrange the house next door”, I respond, “that might be more comfortable?”

The price remains the same, I just calculate an x amount p.p.p.d.

The following week I received a phone call: they do want the house next door too, because the group expanded again. In rapid tempo. That is the portuguese way: initially so many people, then more, then fewer, then more again, a young man at the counter who came to book a few more – until I thought: I just make everything ready, and then we’ll see however many end up coming.

It is a group of young people. I think mid-twenties. The years that you are still very easy-going in those things. One can sleep on the couch, and they take the sleeping bag with them. They arrange their own food, their own breakfast, and their own entertainment. Muito obrigado.

I’m very fond of independent guests

Especially with New Year’s Eve. I have been on the phone for a whole evening with two different couples who were also very portuguese: getting in the car and start driving in more or less the right direction, and by the time you think you’re in the neighbourhood, you call: “Yes hello, we’re here* now, and how should we proceed?”

(* here = where ever that is)

That was long ago, before GPS, and I’ve learned from it

That was the first and last time I spent the whole of new year’s eve on the phone to guess where those two pairs of guests were, and which way their car was headed. And that with two different cars. Just before midnight were finally here, and nobody was happy.

Now they are – every guest is happy and festive

We sat with our group on the one side of the road celebrating, they on the other side. At the beginning of the evening, one of them put on quite loud music, which my son Broes recognized as Daft Punk.

Not bad  – I’m old nag when it comes to music, I often think it’s factory noise, that modern music – but still that I thought with a bit of a fright: Oh dear, yes, that is true, that’s possible too. That they will be playing loud music all evening. Even late into the night.

But no. Fortunately for this old nag it was only that one eruption of about 10 minutes. It went off again, and “they from the other side” partied in the old-fashioned portuguese way: with lots of chatting and laughing, and singing. Portuguese are very good at parties, singing, dancing and laughing. Make no mistake about how important that is in a person’s life!

Portugal, guide of Europe in how to enjoy life

We were of course also chatting and laughing (no, not singing), but you still hear things. That gives a very nice feeling. Nice to know that there is plenty of life on both sides of the village!

By midnight a pan-lid-concert started on the other side. “Let’s see how we find the dishes when they’re gone”, Broes remarked dryly. “It doesn’t sound like breaking dishes,” I said with a smile, “it’s a nice traditional way to chase away the evil spirits. Great! They’ve probably all fled!”

Chasing off the evil spirits got a little out of hand

Well, here it’s not too bad. There’s a large official fireworks show in Figueira da Foz, but we were not able to see anything. At the beginning of the evening, the almost full moon floated majestically in the sky, but by midnight it had disappeared.

There was a firework lover on the other side of the valley who treated us to a beautiful ornamental fireworks show. Thank you!

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Five star review for our guests!

And best wishes to you all – may you be the star of your life in the new year!

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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 lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque and mini golf, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is 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, and on tuesday 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.

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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!

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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 ....

Track and trace

My back is killing me. Everything we do at the moment is lift and bend over, bend over and lift.

We’re making an archery track – I already see it all ready, but unfortunately you can’t photoshop reality. So: bend over and lift, lift and bend over.

blog_track-and-trace_archery-track-in-the-past

This is how it was … mud and reed

Imagine, it would be so great: just click on the stamp, and after a minute all those little stones are nicely spread out on the track

Pity. The worst thing is: no tractor or machine can go there, there’s no entrance wide enough. We therefore have to do a large part manually. Eh … that is … more back-ally.

The petanque track is located before the shooting range. Half in length, but also a lot of those d… little stones. Sorry … that’s my back talking.

The first cargo came with a truck of 10 cubic meters

Any idea how much that is? I didn’t know either, but now I do! The truck just couldn’t get through the gate. We had measured the front, but it went wrong because of the mirrors. They were just too much sticking out. Too bad.

If such a heavy truck is at the bottom of the bathhouse path, it can’t go back just like that. It only can go back empty. It had to be deposited on the spot, but driver Sérgio would come with his miracle machine that afternoon to transport it to the archery track.

Thank God, but there still remained a wheelbarrow or 20. “Não consigo levar isso, tem que fazer manualmente – I can’t pick up the rest, you’ll have to do that with the wheelbarrow”, Sérgio said casually, and left with roaring motor.

We did it this afternoon, moaning and groaning

It was not the first and only bendover-and-lift job of the past two weeks. There was also a whole lot of reed cutting going on. Cutting is fun, but then you have to put those bunches of reeds, which are like a huge mikado game, to get to the fire. Making a fire is also fun, but these are very disorganized ones. You start at the head (because it burns best) and then you have to move it to the tail.

Always hated mikado

The reed is called canas in portuguese, and every inhabitant of the outer areas knows what that is about. If you don’t keep an eye on them, they take over the whole world, together with the blackberries – silvas. We had neglected this piece of terrain a bit, and that was stupid.

In a year they are 4 meters high, and they start right away with the annexation of the surrounding terrain.

The machine could turn the earth, but unfortunately there’s no pull-roots-from-the-ground machine. (Isn’t that a nice challenge for Elon Musk? More useful than moving people to Mars!)

I regularly stand with my back to the newly acquired view

Not because I’ve got eyes in my back, or because this heavily infested part of the body can see how gorgeous it looks, but because it’s the side of the sun. I bend over once, stay like that and chop all the clay clumps, grab a bunch of roots, chop and shake the earth out, and throw the rest on a big pile. To burn later. Ha! Sweet revenge!

You just become barbaric

… and this is how it looks now!

But we’re already almost done. And it will be beautiful! Anyway the view is great. The archery track has a protected spectator’s place. So you can see that your child or your partner is a future Legolas, or a Robin Hood, or a Wilhelm Tell.

Now, for starters, we will be shooting at the target. Apples on heads is more for the advanced.

Of course you can’t just start shooting around. You can only do this by appointment, under supervision, and if you’re at least 20 centimeters higher than the arch.

We will continue with the petanque track. Next goal: the minigolf course.

There are a lot of new games coming, in the Termas. Track and trace!

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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 ....

Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobe

Introducing: B&B&B

I dream of a brown long house coat. The fabric is printed with yellow and brown stripes, with little flowers on them. They’re embroidered by gold thread. It’s a beautiful deep medium brown, like a chestnut leaf in autumn. The yellow is very modest, and the flowers and the gold thread make it real special.

From behind it falls to the ground, from the front the fabric makes a nice arch. There’s the closure, something bronzy. It has a good collar, it has a perfect fit, and in my most extravagant dreams it has something like a peacock’s tail. Made of half-round pieces of the same fabric. Preferably bordered with gold thread.

Nice, to daydream like that

Years ago there were two ladies who wanted to start a web shop in bathrobes, made by portuguese seamstresses. In those days it was not yet such a jungle of web shops, so that went pretty well. The ladies were not satisfied with the offer of bathrobes (terry, on the knee, making you fat, boring, not very elegant, but practical) and made their side hustle from their frustration.

I was involved: whether I could cause portuguese seamstresses. “Sure,” I bluffed, but in reality I had no idea. I did not know one portuguese seamstress.

An advertisement in the supermarket was the solution

I was called by lots of seamstresses, they all wanted to make bathrobes very badly. (You don’t have to expect that anymore, they already have a job at the supermarket. There are 2 clothing producers left in Portugal.)

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this is the Green Glitter, one of our bathrobes

After the first selection we agreed to meet with 3 seamstresses in 1 day. The bathrobes ladies, let’s call them Christina and Maria, came from the Netherlands and were hosted in the Termas for a few days.

Little side story:

Last summer was the fifteenth summer with a village full of guests. Very nice. It was a harmonious, cozy summer. Due to circumstances my son Broes and I did it together, without the “TermasTeam”. That was hard work, but it was doable.

I don’t rent out from saturday to saturday. You can arrive when you want (well, with a reservation, in the summer). That makes a big difference.

Cooking is a matter of organizing well. A Very Good Cleaning at the beginning of the season also makes a big difference. And further, it is getting up, going on and keep on laughing.

And if you can do that, you can do everything

For a little longer I had a feeling like: time for a new challenge. And there these bathrobes suddenly fell out of the sky. In my dreams then. After some soul searching and fantasizing, I started writing down what’s involved – opening a web shop and making house coats and bathrobes, and that seemed feasible.

I requested permission from Christina and Maria to take over their idea, and luckily they gave their blessing. They had stopped with the bathrobes shop by then. It had been more work than they had thought, and it was their intention to do as a side hustle. Next to your normal life.

Yes, I know that pitfall now

I’ve also been sucked in, and now I’m in it over my head. There is a normal sewing machine, an overlock, a high cutting table, a thread rack, a pattern table, and there is at least 35 kilometers of fabric in a special room. There are also the finished coats, made by Gina.

Gina works in the supermarket (yes, how do you think I got that wisdom?) and is very enthusiastic about the plan. She’d rather return to her old profession yesterday than today.

Well, so, now I have to …

The ideas fall from the heavens right into my head, but it’s no time for dreaming anymore – now it’s time for concrete action. How does a person open a webshop? And how does that work with marketing?

This blog seemed like a good start. There are photos on the site and on Facebook. And on Etsy. Gina made a green glitter bathrobe, and a cashmere one. A pair of father-son coats. Nice & warm. Nice & cool. Long or short. Easy to roll up, to take on a holiday. A vintage bathrobe, and an elegantly long one. Not so many yet, but maybe you find a nice Christmas gift among them.

Blog_Bed-&-Breakfast-&-Bathrobes

breakfast in colourful bathrobes is much more fun!

And I have found my brown-yellow-gold striped dream fabric!

Only the time is missing to make a nice bathrobe out of it …

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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 ....
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