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Car rental companies can be a P in the A

It all went a little differently than planned. You think you’ve worked it all out so nicely, the airline throws a spanner in the works. Last minute message: “Hello dear customer, we are going a day earlier, or a few days later. You may choose.”

Oh, well, thank you very much.

And then the car rental company started to act difficult too

Car rental companies in Portugal are very strict, and strictly adhere to The Rules.

No one knows which Rules those are, probably as stated in the infamous “Terms & Conditions” which nobody ever reads. Whether that belief is justified, I can’t say, but in any case: there you are, with a Mr. Law Officer behind the counter, and you in tears of frustration in front of it.

Very sweet unknown fellow travelers had already offered to make use of their credit card. Exactly what went through my mind when Helmy called with the message that they were not coming with their already-paid rental car, but that they were coming by train. Because you can’t remember the right four numbers at the right time.

And if I wanted to come pick them up.

The car rental company accepted nothing but her own credit card, which she had already used to pay for the car, by the way, but because she couldn’t produce her pin at the time-supreme, the whole deal fell through.

Then I’m actually curious how often it happens that people run off with a rental car – because that’s what it was for, was explained by the officious constable at the desk. If you can understand something, it can be annoying, but okay. You get it.

If something is incomprehensible, it becomes dire straits.

This car rental company was completely incomprehensable

But! If there’s one thing Helmy is good at, it’s to keep the spirits up, and so she was soon on the train with her new love. This new love is called GertJan, and this time he has the honor of being the traveling companion who may come along to the Termas.

“Do you know it’s the fifth time I’ve been here?” Helmy says as we chat and do mosaics. “The first time with my daughter, the second time a friend came over, the third time alone – I used to hang out in the hammock on the Fairytale Terrace, remember?”
“Yeah yeah yeah” I call out, “that’s that famous photo of your feet in the hammock! Of course I remember that! Thé picture of relaxation.”

“I am still happy and grateful that I was allowed to come along,” GertJan says in his deep voice, with a little bit of a wink, “otherwise I wouldn’t have left that review on Facebook.”

(***** “Nothing but hightlights!” – thankyouverymuch)

“Can’t you take a piece off of that man?” I joke to Helmy, “he’s way too tall, dude!” “No, he’s fine like this,” Helmy replies with a sweet smile, “he can stay exactly the way he is.”

True love.

In the meantime, it is very handy that GertJan is so tall, because he can easily reach the top parrot. To clean. And to glue. And to clean. And to grout. And then to clean again.

If this is gibberish to you, then the photo explains everything. They are the ones who made the flying parrots.


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 houses, rooms and a campsite.

You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

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

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