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Woman alone on holiday

Only when I take her to the station for her return trip, we find out that Joyce was here because a friend of her neighbor knows me and said that she would end up well here.

As a woman alone on holiday, you look for a trusted address

“How is Jan’s caravan going?” Joyce suddenly asks, as we drive leisurely in the car to Bifurcação de Lares, to drop her off at the shuttle to Coimbra. “Pardon?” I ask back in surprise, “How do you know about Jan’s caravan?”

“That’s what my neighbor asked, if I wanted to ask that. A friend of hers knows you, and that’s how I ended up here,” Joyce laughs.

Well, another proof that the world is small and Rotterdam is a big village.

“Otherwise I would never have found this!” says Joyce during the two weeks that she is with us, “I actually always went to a hotel or to a city with my boyfriend or with my daughter. I’ve never been on holiday alone. But now I didn’t like being in a hotel all by myself – so anonymous, and probably lonely. And I can already see myself wandering through Lisbon or Porto, on my own.”

It’s a revelation for her, this holiday alone

It’s a bit tough in the evening, because there’s no one to talk to, but otherwise it’s one surprise after another. “A lizard on my terrace! And a little frog behind the cistern!” she exclaims enthusiastically, “and on that walk you recommended to me, all butterflies and lots of flowers, how beautiful nature is! I have already called my daughter a few times… she says: “Mom, you can start a study in biology, you’re that enthusiastic!”

We have to chuckle a bit at all that enthusiasm, R. and I. (Am I that blasé? No, actually not, I still really appreciate those lizards, fireflies, frogs, butterflies and flowers, but it has become much more normal.)

R.Z. from A. is the other “woman-alone-on-holiday”

This is now almost her second home. We have known each other for 19 years, we found out (great surprise that time passes so quickly), when she came on holiday with her family for the first time.

Having grown up, she now manages the operations of a large supermarket. She wants to keep her internet presence to a minimum, so I’m not allowed to take a photo, and hence the initials.

“Then you should leave your iPhone at home,” I say, “because it knows exactly where you are and what you are doing.” “Lying in the sun all day long, reading and doing sudoko, and doing mosaics in between,” R laughs. “They can know that! And I have to keep in touch with home, don’t I”

When she first stayed behind as a volunteer, after a holiday with her family, she discovered mosaics. So we are now working hard on that again, addicted as we are. R. less than me, but there has not yet been a holiday without mosaics.

Rhetorical question: Are you what you mosaic?

Joyce fell into it, because when you have to entertain yourself all day, you start trying things. “I have a new hobby!” she exclaims, “this is so nice! But that snail I wanted to make doesn’t look like a snail… It’s not in the right place either….” “It looks more like a sun,” I say, “doesn’t matter, then it’s a sun. Anyway, you made your frog very nice, and your blue flower too. Shall we join it with lilac, or with blue-gray, or both?”

If I made a graph of her enthusiasm, the Y-line would now have risen to great heights.

“They will be surprised at home,” Joyce laughs, “I have never done anything creative in my life. And now I’m going to see if I can do this at home too. There are a few very large stores in Rotterdam because of the Art Academy, do you think they have the necessary things there?”

Another addict …


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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