The best thing my sister and I do during my annual visit to the Netherlands is second-hand shopping.
We’ll go through all the second-hand shops in the area
I love thrift stores. You will find the most beautiful, crazy, special things. I’ve seen an antique sleigh, to name one. Not pretty, but special. And also a whole range of cupboards and sofas and dining room sets, plus all the finds in the bookcases.
Second-hand shops are very scarce in Portugal. And expensive.
They quickly call their wares “Antiquidades”, and then you pay the full price. At some weekly markets you do see ad hoc sellers of – excusez le mot – dolled-up junk. Candlesticks, figurines, a washboard, you know the drill. When you get there, it may seem like a nice purchase, but when you get home with it, some questions quickly arise.
“What on earth got into me? Did I have a seizure? What am I supposed to do with it?”
You just put them in a corner of your existence, and that’s it. So I just completely deleted the second-hand concept here from my existence. Years ago there was a nice shop near Coimbra where I once saw a beautiful wooden cupboard from which you can probably reach Narnia, but I didn’t have a house to fit around it, so too bad.
One of the attractions of second-hand shopping is, of course, that you may find yourself at home wondering why on earth you bought this, but at least you’re not bankrupt.
In itself you can live just fine without second-hand shops
But! Last month the washing machine broke down. That’s where it all started. I always take good care of my things, partly because I hate having to buy useful things when there’s a deadline involved. There is with a washing machine, isn’t it?
A washing machine costs a bunch, so it pays to see what you can buy best. I sent an app to friend Paula, who knows everything and everyone for miles around. “Washing machine broken. You have a good tip?”
Immediately a photo came back of a gold-colored refrigerator, with the message: “Second-hand, nearby, checked and all. Works fine. They also have stacks of tiles.”
It made sense that I was doubly interested. Second hand and tiles too. Hey! Where? How? What? And when do we meet to have a look.
A third reason: it is an associação that helps ex-addicts get back on track. Admittedly on a christian basis, but well, you can’t have everything. Three reasons to go there. Four, because I haven’t seen Paula in a while, nor her (amazing) house. But more about that next time.
The washing machine and kitchen cabinets will be brought on Monday. I could take the tiles myself.
We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal.
A big step, especially with two small children.
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.
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