Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Around The World......


Twas The Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas in our temporary home
We sold all we had and are now free to roam
We have not a tree or decorations to share
Because our house is our suitcase with no room to spare

We travel this big world with so much to see
To house sit the world in homes that are free
Our nomadic lifestyle can be stressful yet fun
To be squashed in coach seats and through airports we run

Yet what to my wandering eyes should appear?
But the sights of a new country to visit my dear

From the great pyramids of Egypt so massive and old
To the birthplace of Jesus in Bethlehem, we’re told
Our amazing adventures all over the place
Brought tears to our eyes and put a smile on our face

From cool, London England in the UK we saw
Palaces of the Royals, Big Ben and much more
Then it was off to Scotland, land of bagpipes and plaid
Though we never found Nessie in Loch Ness, how sad

Ireland is so green, and no traveler should miss
Its famous castle in Blarney to give it a kiss
While kissing the stone is really quite fab
The kisser will inherit the gift of the gab

Our travels continued to Europe you see
Where we house sat through Spain for not one month but three
From the white sandy beaches on the Mediterranean shore
From Alicante to Madrid, Pamplona, Valencia, Barcelona and more

A quick flight to the country of Morocco for sure
Where we explored the markets and kasbahs galore
From Casablanca, where Rick’s cafĂ© lies
To Fes, Marrakesh and Rabat’s clear blue skies

The temples of Egypt awaited our flight
That landed in Cairo during the night
Nearby the great pyramids of Giza we saw, as we stood in their Presence We were really in awe
Although riding a camel had filled me with dread as I feared when he Sat Down I would fall off, on my head

Then on to Luxor where we embarked on a cruise that went down the Nile, We had nothing to lose
From temples to tombs, oh my what a sight
Then to the beaches along the Red Sea, oh what a delight.

Over two months we lived in Egypt for free, caring for animals along the Red Sea
With the money we saved by house sitting for free we could afford to Splurge and go on a spree

Since Israel was practically right out the door we headed that way for Holy Land tour
We walked the steps that Jesus once took as it was recorded so long Ago,  In the Holy Book
From where he was born in the manger he lay, to the tomb where he Was Buried, rose and pushed the stone away.

Then off to the Canary Islands we flew for a house sit in Fuerteventura With waters so blue
Palm trees, sand dunes, surfers and more with mountains and Volcanoes in the background to explore

Lisbon, Portugal was our next flight to explore the city and rest for a Few Nights.
The Algarve region is popular for sure with retiree’s from elsewhere Looking for more

Christmas will find us in Portugal you know, house sitting with dogs Without any snow
The New Year will come in with a thrill, in Munich, Germany where we Surely will chill
Fireworks will take over the city with ease where Clyde and Terry surely Will freeze

But travel the world we wanted to do, there’s so much to see for me And For you
Life is so short to wait for that DAY, to do what we dreamed of, so do it Today

It was Christmas in Panama a few years ago, then last year in England With traces of snow
Now we’re in Portugal and next year do we know? Not yet but surely it Will be someplace we’ve been wanting to go

Merry Christmas to ALL from our temporary home, from two retired nomads with so far to roam.




Saturday, December 23, 2017

Lost In The Language Barrier....In Portugal

The trouble with travel can sometimes involve a language barrier and here in Portugal is no exception. When we first arrived in Lisbon and the Algarve Region there was no shortage of people that spoke English. Since both areas are full of tourists and expats with money the locals are just waiting to take some.

Our House Sit Home In Portugal

The Garden


A few days ago we made our way to the Centro Region of Portugal and settled in the village of Sarnadas do Rodao, near the larger city of Castelo Branco. We are house sitting here for five rescue dogs in a private home with lovely vistas all around.

Photos Around The Village



Since we are living around the world things happen along the way so when one of my dental crowns dislodged I needed to go find a dentist to re-cement it, and hopefully one that spoke English. A few days ago we took off to Castelo Branco a nearby larger city and stopped into the first dental office we came across. Once inside we were greeted by a female receptionist that did not speak English but thankfully the dentist there did. A young, female dentist finished up with the patient she was seeing and then quickly took me in to fix my problem.

More Photos Around The Village And Yes These Are Two Way Roads

Nearby Tavern



As we walked into the small clinic that was both dental and medical, we were greeted with bright pink walls that screamed out in femininity.  In fact the theme of the entire place seemed to be bright pink and white, even down to the uniforms that the female staff wore.

Our One Eyed House Mate
Pippa

Chica

Gigi

The Only Boy
Robi

Nina

Since I was also way overdue for a teeth cleaning I inquired about that too. While we were house sitting in El Gouna, Egypt a few months back we both went in for dental cleanings, but the retired German dentist that saw us refused to clean my teeth. He said that I was one of those people that did not build plaque and there was nothing to clean. The dentist here did say I had little plaque on my teeth but agreed that everyone should have a cleaning every six months. As she was only working during the morning she suggested that another dentist could do the cleaning later that day so we agreed to return to the office at 3pm.

When we did return I really needed to use the bathroom which in this part of the world is NEVER called that. Throughout Europe bathrooms as us Americans refer to them are either called, "water closets," or "toilets." In Portuguese the word is "baniero," similar to the Spanish word, "bano" making it easy to remember. And the only other word in Portuguese that we learned so far is, "obrigado/a" which means, "thank you."

Then there was the matter of the receptionist entering my name and information into the system which involved some sign language trying to tell her that the first dentist had already done that. But we managed to get through our day at the dentist for a total cost of 80 euros....40 to re-cement my crown and 40 for a cleaning.

Next was a trip to Inter Marche, a local grocery store chain to pick up some food. Once again figuring out what the signs said and what the items were was a challenge. While Portuguese is very similar to Spanish in the written word, it's pronunciation is totally different. And we have been told that the two countries do not get along so speaking Spanish here to get by is not acceptable.

But Portuguese is a lovely language to listen to and we are especially enjoying the music on the radio stations. Christmas songs and other popular  tunes sung in a beautiful romance language is music to our ears, literally.

We are enjoying the inexpensive lunches out here which is typically a bowl of Portuguese soup and a roll for around 2.5 euros each. Before the homeowner left we enjoyed dinner out with her at a local restaurant. Half a chicken grilled in a tasty garlic sauce served with small potatoes that had been squashed down flat and topped with spices, along with a salad, bread and a drink for only 4.50. Cheap and tasty!

The only downside of eating out in restaurants is that smoking IS allowed inside buildings here, which we really hate. While shopping malls, clinics and some building we've been into don't seem to allow smoking, the smaller restaurants and coffee shops DO. But we have noticed that throughout Europe, Egypt, Israel and countries in Africa that smoking is still a quite popular habit that most people take part in. The US, UK and even Panama seem to be smoke free nations that encourage people not to indulge.

Portugal is known for Port Wine which comes from its Porto Region so while we are here we just had to try some. Not that we really wanted to of course, but a traveler must do some of these things along the way. And while eating with ones husband who gets up to use the "water closet" perhaps his sneaky wife might drink his glass of port too? Not that I'm talking about me of course, but just saying that this could happen. Perhaps I did need a bit of assistance stumbling back to our hotel after that meal in Sintra, since the road was hilly and cobblestoned.....that was the only reason of course.

So off we go out again today to explore the Centro Region of Portugal and see what trouble we can get into......along the gringo trail.

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Magical Mysteries Of Sintra, Portugal......

A majestic castle sits high on the hilltop looming down over the charming, cobblestoned village below. An imposing, white palace takes center stage with its fairytale-like, cone shaped chimneys. I feel like a Princess in a story book just waiting to be whisked away by Prince Charming who just happens to already be at my side.

Palacio Nacional de Sintra














These were from around the Town



















This is the village of Sintra, Portugal that is dripping with ancient history and medieval charm. Since we arrive late in the afternoon we don't have too much time to explore today. We set out on foot up the hill into the village to explore the National Palace. It seems that wherever we look, in every direction there are more magnificent buildings to see and we are in awe. Tomorrow we head out early to take in the sights of this magical, mysterious city of Sintra.......along the gringo trail.

The Allure Of The Algarve Region Of Portugal......

After a few days in Lisbon we headed to the southernmost tip of Portugal known as the Algarve Region. For years we have heard friends and other travelers rave about the beauty of this area which is full of retiree's from all over the world. We based ourselves in the city of Lagos (pronounced La-gosh) smack in the center of the historic district. From the third story window of our apartment hotel we looked out on the plaza full of shops, restaurants and people all enjoying the beauty of this seaside village.

These Pictures are from around the town of Lagos



Lunch for 3.50 Euros....Green Vegetable Soup And A Chorizo Sandwich
 On Homemade, Brick-Oven Baked Bread
























Since it's always nice to meet up with fellow travelers and like-minded people that retired abroad like ourselves, Lagos was no exception. For several years we had heard about a couple named Anita and Richard who did their own version of slow travel around the world. And a remarkable coincidence is that PRIOR to moving abroad they lived in Corpus Christi, where we used to live yet we never knew each other. Anita worked as a pharmacist in a hospital, someplace that Clyde as a paramedic and firefighter knew all too well while delivering patients. And since I worked for doctors and medical equipment companies, I often had to deal with pharmacies so perhaps our paths crossed at some point? And we even discovered that we had friends in common from Corpus yet we never met until our lives crossed paths here in Portugal.  Anita and Richard's blog can be found at:
https://noparticularplacetogo.net/

Anita and Dick on the right|
Their friends Shelly and Ken on the left


They slow travelled looking for that perfect place to settle and fell in love with Portugal's Algarve Region where they happily live today. It was fun to be welcomed into their world and hear about life in Portugal, a place we surely will be returning to.

These Pictures are of the Living Statue Christmas in Lagoa















While in the Algarve Clyde was contacted by one of his Facebook friends, an Englishman named Mark who has been following this blog for years. Initially Mark found this blog while researching places to retire like Panama and kept following us on our adventures.  He too settled in Portugal in a little town called Alvor, about 30 minutes from Lagos. It was great to meet up with him for coffee and hear why he fell in love with this country that he now calls home. Regretfully, we forgot to take a photo of us with Mark to share here.

This my favorite!  The Grottos of Algarve!
















As for the rest of this blog I shall let the photos tell the story of Portugal, its stunning beauty, magical scenery and adventures we are having......along the gringo trail.