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Single mother with two daughters on holiday

“Girls!” I shout with my arms open, “That is a long time ago!” We hug each other warmly in the parking lot at the station where I pick them up. The last time they were there was 14 years ago, mother Astrid and her two daughters.

As a single mother on holiday with your two daughters was and is a challenge

Especially because the daughters are very different and now in their late twenties, lead completely different lives. “Did everything go well, guys?” and before anyone can respond, Isabella jumps in with: “We have been looking for the right seats on the train, that numbering makes no sense at all!” Isa is the most outspoken of the three; Julia is a very quiet, withdrawn girl who is much more like her mother in that respect.

“I don’t have to say that you guys have grown up so much…” I laugh, “in how many years we haven’t seen each other…?” We’re all doing a bit of puzzling, and we arrive at the conclusion that it must have been about 14 years ago.

Astrid last holidayed here as a single mother with two daughters in 2010

“I found a photo of the three of us at the Termas-da-Azenha sign,” says Astrid, “so we can tell from that.”

Julia hates to be on a photo so she asked to be inrecognizable. We respect that.

A lot has happened in that time, and we only have four days to cover it all. This mainly happens during dinner. We are somewhat aware of each other’s ups and downs, because Astrid comes here at least once a year and does nice things. Making mosaics, for example, or tidying up the garden a bit.

Not one to sit still or get a tan on the beach, so you’ve come to the right place.

Isabella is more like her mother in that respect, and would like to cook one evening. Delicious, pasta with spinach and flat chicken – that is, chicken fillet that has been flattened with a sturdy pan (for lack of a decent and appropriate kitchen instrument) and then breaded. Beforehand we went to the beach of Cova/Gala to dip our toes in the surf.

“It is now 11 degrees in the Netherlands,” Julia laughs, “here we are at least double that, I think?”

“You should be careful not to burn yourself quickly,” I answer, “lotion up, ladies!”

During the farewell dinner we discuss the situation in the Netherlands. The cabinet formation is a topic of discussion in the house where Isa lives with a group of other young people. They adapted to the circumstances and moved into a beautiful but old building where they all have a room. “We actually share way too much,” Isabella laughs, “not just the kitchen and the bathroom, but also everything that happens to us… not surprising, I’ve known a few people all my life!”

Julia also lives the same way – almost the only way to get a place to live when you are ready to move out of the parental home and start living your own life. Especially if you have a normal income and can’t afford commercial rents.

“It’s a fixer-upper,” says Isa, “the landlord should actually do all kinds of things, but it is very difficult to find people who can, for example, repair the wooden windows and install double glazing. It has a monument status, so you can’t just put aluminium windows in it – which would be much easier, and for which you can find pros … you can only find conmen … ”

We all burst out laughing.

“No pros, only conmen!” I shout out, “very appropriate to describe the situation in the Netherlands – you can’t find any pros only conmen… not for your windows, and not for the government!”


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.

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