Monday, March 24, 2014

Exploring Portimaio

After my long long long journey and a long and deep sleep, we were ready to explore Portimaio. Palm trees everywhere, I sure do love their climate better than ours!

There was a long pier with a light house at the end. We walked all the way up to the light house. I remembered how much I love the ocean, how much I love water, how much I love listening to the surf, and feeling the wind in my hair. Well, at least I did love the wind in my hair once I bought some hair ties. Yeah, that was another thing I forgot in my 'traveling light' quest. But easily fixed at one of the beach stores.

There were people out surfing. When I was a teenager I used to wind surf, but not on the ocean, just on some local waters. I still remember the first day when I was learning, I fell in the water soooooo many times! It got better after a day, and I really enjoyed it.

Portimaio was protected by a fortress. After walking the pier we visited the fortress and had tea in a cafe up there. Quite a number of steps to make it up to the top!

We rewarded ourselves for the climb by finding our very first Portuguese geocache!

Looks like they don't want any oil drilling in the Algarve. Can't say I blame them.

We felt very safe being protected by this big canon!

Lovely harbour. But look at the clouds. It was not a particularly warm day, so much for expecting a sunny climate. Still beats our home climate though ^^

So many flowering trees! We sure did NOT miss the snow!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Traveling Light

This European trip I decided that I was going to travel light, not have any checked luggage and really cut back on the number of things I carried with me. This totally fits into my decluttering and simplifying quest so I was excited for the challenge.

I managed to put three weeks of travel gear into this small backpack, so did pretty well there. Never felt I missed much (well, apart from nail clippers, but luckily my boy friend traveled less light than I did). I ended up not even using all that I brought, leaving some of it at my mom's for donation to her local thrift store. So could have traveled even lighter!

So why did I have to dump stuff at my mom's, you ask? Well, a visit to the Netherlands means we had to buy and bring home tons of Dutch delicacies. And I knew that this all wouldn't fit into my backpack, so I asked my mom whether she had a bag I could use. And I might have filled up some space in Tom's suit case too...

Not to mention that I found good licorice in Iceland, so that had to be added to the mix too!

Anyway, traveling light worked wonderfully up until then. I have to admit that all this candy sure can't count as traveling light, but it did delight the kids.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Long Journey

Finally time to sit down and tell the story. It all started with a seemingly endless journey. Car, bus, air plane. It seemed like a drag but I also realized anew how much I enjoy traveling. The anticipation. The flight. The people watching. The reading without interruptions.

I had a layover on the Azores, a place where I had never been. I always imagined as a warm and tropical paradise. Well, I clearly was wrong about that, it was cold, rainy, windy and miserable.

I was lucky enough to get a window seat, so enjoyed seeing all the sights from the air.
Lisbon was quite impressive. But even that wasn't the end of my journey.
Took the metro to the train station. I did manage to get my metro ticket in Portuguese at one of those ticket machines, without ever having to switch to English. Made me feel very accomplished. Yeah, I am easily amused ^^
The first thing I saw in Lisbon airport was a stand where I could buy Ben & Jerry's. You gotta be kidding me. I fly all over the ocean, to a faraway and foreign country and I can eat the same ice cream as I can in Vermont!?
Didn't get to spend any time in Lisbon beyond some quick train station pictures.
And I found The Best Clementines at the station, a great snack during the long journey since I hadn't eaten much with all this traveling and by now my body was all like "what about some sleep?" "or food? Nah, it isn't time to eat!"
My train!!!! I used to travel by train so much when I still lived in the Netherlands, but even after living in the States for many years, I still haven't made it into any trains here. It was so much fun to be in an European train again!
Not much to do beyond admiring the scenery and reading more of my book and wondering how many more hours.
And of course the enjoyment of being in a foreign country and see new trees and cows and everything. Yeah, Portugal turns out to have cows too! That must be why they have Ben and Jerry's!
Had bad tea with lots of sugar in the cafe car and wondered how many more hours.
Finally made it to my almost-destination!
Apart from yet another car ride.
And another sunset.
But eventually the palm trees convinced me that yes, I reached my destination. Guess what I did? I was soooooooooo tired, we ate quick dinner and I went to bed. In Portugal!

Saturday, March 15, 2014


Yeah, didn't really keep up with blogging during vacation but figured should start where I am now. Home! Great to be home, but I would enjoy it even more without the snow :p Kids are super happy about the 5,000 pounds of hagelslag and vlokken we dragged home.
We had a wonderful vacation, will share many pictures and stories. After I eat tiramisu, that is ^^

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Travel Time!

We had never been to Portugal
Can't say that anymore

This was the train station in Lisbon.

And we went to the end of the world.

Saw awesome limestone formations on the beach.

And are having an awesome time!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, February 17, 2014

Jack Jumping

When we visited Billings Farm in Vermont

There was an activity called Jack Jumping. It is basically a seat on a ski. You go down the slope.

The best way to stop is to fall off at the bottom... At least that's the impression I got ^^

Showing off how much snow had accumulated on their parking lot. How many weeks will this take to melt????

After Billings Farm we went to a local golf course, where the kids did some more conventional sledding.

Did I mention we are getting more snow tomorrow????

And did I mention how much I hate snow?????

Sleigh Ride

Since we are stuck with all this snow we decided we might as well go on a sleigh ride.

It was pleasant but coooooold.

Last time we were pulled by Tom and Jerry. This time we had the girls.

Of course we had to say hi to the other horses too.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, February 14, 2014

Too Much Snow

Well, we got "lucky" and ended up with about two feet of snow. Raven sure is NOT amused by it!
And of course it has to happen when my boy friend is off to Portugal and I am stuck here with tons of snow. On Valentine's Day. Yeah, feeling just a tad sorry for myself ^^ I'll get over it.

The kids came home early from school yesterday and it has been snowing ever since. Today is a snow day.

It is STILL snowing!

See how the snow is all the way up to the mailbox? I hope our plowguy will show up some time soon, or is he stuck somewhere? He came twice already yesterday and during the night, but much snow has fallen since his last pass.

When I opened the door for Brady this morning, he saw that the snow was up higher than him. He stared at it for a moment, then decisively turned around and proclaimed "I am NOT going out there, thank you very much!"

Erik is lucky since he gets to shovel our walkway AND the neighbor's. He was thrilled when he found out!

The girls on the other hand took it easy. A real snow mattress!

We managed to get Brady out by throwing a stick for him. I mean, there might be snow, but a stick is soooooo desirable that that trumps the inconvenience of the snow.

Of course, he kept losing the stick in the snow, but at least he got some exercise!

Is it spring yet?