A lucky day follows an unlucky day

Blog entry 16/01/2019

The drawing, Wilfried did of  Freya, did not satisfy him. 

Freya seems to be too old on the portrait. He has just looked a little into the future!

He also met her typical facial expression. As Freya was focused more on the story read by her mother Bettina during the session, it was extremely unsatisfactory for Wilfried and it was also exhausting. It was also getting cold outdoors and somehow it soon became uncomfortable. Wilfried would like to create a better portrait at one of our next visits. 

On Monday, a Spaniard should come, which unfortunately also did not show up. It is cumbersome  when people first show great interest, but then do not come. 

Paul’s friend Sebastian saved us again and sat portrait and told us about his life. 

Yesterday we asked Paul to repeat the session – in the hope that the camera works this time. And it did. The portrait and the recording worked out fine this time. 

Then we wanted to wash our clothes in the laundry of the nearby gas station and afterwards get fresh drinking water from the campsite. When we were finished with the laundry, it was already getting dark. The water was denied to us this time. Obviously, it was too dark. Other campsites were not interested in us to sell drinking water either. 

So we chugged 15 km back without water. Then, when even the power supply of the lap top crashed, the mood was once on the bottom. But that can not destroy a the wedding anniversary. New day – New luck! And so it was: instead of 80 € for a new power supply, and a wasted day at Media Markt, we bought a soldering iron and solder at the hardware store next door and with great skill and teamwork (Wilfried and Lisbeth) we managed to repair the broken cable, an obvious normal breaking point of Apple devices. 

And also the adapter which we bought for the water line at the gas station next door fit the faucet and we were able to fill in 80 liters of water. What a pleasure it was to wash the hair and take a shower!

Elena, the Spaniard again did not appear today. Hopefully Brigitte has the decency to appear tomorrow, she is from France. Paul has impressed her that she must come to represent their country well, because the Spaniards are unreliable. 

We just had Fritattensuppe and pancakes. Delicious! Easy and good! 

We probably get hungry soon today, but for this occasion there is always enough cheese in the refrigerator. 

France saves Spain

Blog entry 13/01/2019

The last few days were pretty cool, 12-14 degrees only during the day and in the night the temperature fell then to just above zero.

So 2 days ago we woke up with 2 degrees in the morning in Big Fredi and the next morning with three, and today it had 4 degrees. With the first sun beems the temperature then goes up fast and today we will get 18 degrees again. 

The Spanish are dressed like in winter, with thick jackets, fur collars and woollen scarfs. We walk the few meters to the supermarket with sweatshirt jackets, and without hats. We enjoy and are more hardened and not sick. But even for experienced travelers in Spain, the temperature is extremely low here at the moment. Even Kai, our German neighbor has gone to the warm woolen socks two days ago, which I gave him. Until then, he was only seen in slippers without footwear.

Our Polish neighbors (Zbignev and Sylvia) heat their homes all the time – for Kai this is Sauna temperature and Sylvia is the only one who is sick. She’s already feeling better though. The salty sea air contributes to the rapid healing of the cold. 

We are very economic with our gas consumption, but never cold, and now are still working with our gas cylinder since 12 December. How long it will last, we do not know. The end always comes very abruptly and at the worst possible time, so in the middle of cooking or when it’s dark and cold outside. Since Wilfried must then climb into the rear garage to swap the bottles to the Austrian one, which is always a little complicated. Then we need to connect a full Spanish gas cylinder as soon as possible so that we have the Austrian bottle as a reserve for driving home.

It is now 10:30, the sun radiates the slightly cloudy sky and it has 10 degrees.

Friday was a pure “Office-day” and yesterday Saturday one Spaniard should appear for face Europe. Either he has not taken it seriously last Saturday or he got cold feet, or simply had different plans. How lucky that our new French neighbour, Paul, decided to substitute spontaneously to be portrait no. 35 and the first Frenchman of Face Europe. His country is already prominent in the EU flag painted on Big Fredi and his signature is now the first one of France. Unfortunately, our camera went on strike and there is no records of today. Something was wrong with the memory card. Unfortunately you could not see this during filming. It is terribly shame because Paul had a lot to tell. His approaches to EU I found very exciting.

In the evening, Marlon joined from Germany with his family and changed one of his tires. Wilfried noticed it and offered his help, but he was already finished. 

Today we expect Bettina and her family, because Freya, the elder daughter wants to be drawn by Wilfried.

It is a quiet Sunday, a few anglers, walkers, runners and dog owners are just on the go.

Yesterday Zbignev told us his extraordinary adventure he had: He went so his way as he met a rider. The horse was shocked when it saw him and did not move. The woman cried out to him, he should say something, the horse thinks otherwise, he is a monster. Now you have to know that Zbignev is not too great a man, modest and unobtrusive. Monster is the last feature that would fit him. So Zbignev spoke a few words in English, the horse came out of its fear and both could go their way. Wilfried could not keep from laughing and continues the story in his mind.

Teresa number 34 and Public swimming pool SUMA Fitness Club Patacona 

Blog post January 10, 2019

January 9 Teresa arrived on time and for the first time we had changed the scene of painting, so that in the background the sea can be seen and not Big Fredi.

Teresa gushed from her six-year stay in Norway and her growing love for the country and its people. She is full of life and her next journey leads her to the Philippines, where she joins an internship and after that she will be traveling. 

This morning it did not really feel so cold, although it only had 6 degrees. The usual wind, as every day, only came up in the afternoon and was felt at the seaside. 

Today in the morning I packed my swimming gadgets and went by foot to the public swimming pool. The path is not too far and on top of that well known, just one block from Bettina’s home. Arriving at the pool, they wanted to forbid swimming, since I was not wearing such a rubber stuff on my head, scolding itself „bathing cap“. 50 years ago they were abolished  in Austria. I did not expect that there is a country still prescribing such a terrible thing. I argued with the lifeguard that I want to have my money back if I cannot swim here. He then abruptly disappeared into his little room and returned back with a loaner. So I could swim my lengths in the well into tracks divided bathing landscape. The Pool is strictly separated by strings of plastic balls, as in a tournament. I like our pools where everyone can swim, as he wants and is not boxed in. Would they eliminate the cords, everyone would have a lot more space, because the cords themselves take so much space to swim. Well, other peoples, other customs. We want to know the differences between the countries and what exactly is different and we also like to leave the tourist path indeed. The SUMA Fitness Club Patacona is very popular and well attended by the locals. There would have also been a water aerobics group, which I did not attend. With joy I could then – after returning the rubberhat – wash my hair. What a blessing to do this without having to massively save water, as in Big Fredi. Following my bathing expedition I went to Bettina, who gave me plenty of fresh – today harvested – vegetables and then even brought me home in her car. 

Wilfried was busy again in the meantime cutting films. There are now two new films on-line:

time lapse video of Bill’s portrait


time lapse video of Stuart’s portrait

Although they are still about  England, but good things take time. And yes, we do not often have such a convenient place like this. In addition, the external hard drive was necessary for the start of the film cutting and storing. Now it works great again thanks to the super “office”, we call it. In the entrance of the shopping center there are sofas and a number of electrical outlets for charging all devices. This is free available for everyone. In addition, the mall also offers free Internet. The toilet – also located in the shopping center – should also be mentioned here, it protects the filling in Big Fredi. Therefore it is no question to buy all our food here, after all we enjoy the entire infrastructure. The center is open from 9 am to 10 pm also regularly visited by all other stationed RV owners. So you can still meet people in the evening during the „office work“ for a chat if it has already become too cold to sit outside. 

Dentist and Media Markt

Blog entry 8.Jänner 2019

Yesterday was a day without portraits and it was dedicated to the cleaning up and working in Big Fredi.

Since I had broken  the tooth from my implant already a few days ago, it was really time to address this unpleasant task to a dentist. Wilfried accompanied me even with more joy when I told him about Media Markt in Valencia and we could go there after the dentist. He desperately needed a third external hard drive for storing the films.

So we got the action started. After an hour’s walk we reached the office of Dr. Lluch. He took plenty of time and ground my teeth so well that the implant was sitting properly again. An X-ray I could not avoid, it was just included in the price. Since this was a private clinic, and was also English speaking, it was worth the 150 €. Then we received precise instructions on how to best reach the media market – by bus # 19 – and then a short walk, the navigation system indicated the walk on the phone. The journey had paid off, the hard drive was found and then it was the same bus # 19 back towards home. The last stretch we had to walk back though, but it was familiar territory.

Even before the closing of the business of Acampo (ie, so around 21:30) we were able to find dinner food. At 22:00 the shop closes. Thanks to the good sellers who have to work for so long.

Today was another day without any Face Europe date. Tomorrow we expect Teresa as # 34, a Spaniard.

Still every day the sun is shining, it now has 16 degrees, tomorrow it will be 19 degrees before it will be cooler for a few days. But every day more radiant. sunshine. Back home in Austria the people suffocate in the snow, we are glad we do not have any snow. We are not missing it at all.

A king drew a king

Blog post January 6, 2019

The king drew one of the Epiphany.

A nice coincidence: Pablo, the actor, journalist and movie director who acted in the supermarket as an epiphany was guest today on Face Europe as 33rd person and he gave an interview and was depicted as King by the king. He is very personable and authentic and enjoyed the experience of being interviewed himself. Usually he is the person to interview people for his documentary movie about mass graves in Valencia. 

Attention Danger of Kidnapping

Blog post January 5, 2019

Tom was an extremely sensitive and interesting conversation partner

He was Face Europe # 30 and the first Dutchman. Perhaps also because of his musical work he has quite a wide view of things – with his 30 years of age. To work with him in his orchestra would  be quite a bit of fun. Tom comes to visit us every day at the beach when he gets into the wireless lan from company Norauto here next to our parking place. 

It would be nice if we could meet him at his current home address and he could organize a workshop there for us. He also knows enough people who may be interested in a portrait, perhaps. It’s very exciting to see how many “non-Spanish” people are now involved in Face Europe: Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Ireland, Poland. 

Originally yesterday Zbignev would have to be drawn from Poland. But then all of a sudden Hana appeared from Czech Republic, who asked to be portrayed. So much that they even postponed their trip home for another day. So Big Fredi was quickly converted back into a studio and Hana did appear in the evening. 

But now I have to let Little Fredi write his experiences:

Fredi, “Well, I’ve already often experienced that people like me very much, but Hana was head over heels in love with me easily. Felt well indeed ! I like her very much. And then she almost kidnapped me and took me away to the Czech Republic. At the last second she has then refrained from her purpose and I very much hope that we will meet again. How we laughed with her on the previous evening. In the middle of the portrait session the container supplier of Norauto appeared, loudly rumbled at the window and asked Wilfried to leave so that he could replace the container. Cameras, light, everything had to be stowed away safely for a few meters of movement. 

But the portrait then ran smoothly. It is really great class. The way Wilfried gets people on paper (or canvas) is always great. 

Last night after the portrait session Enrico knocked at the door – half-frozen after the trip to Valencia and Kai and Ayu also cuddled into big Fredi. With them the place was really crammed full. And all of them admired me. Autographs I have not given. But that may come later. 

So now I took the computer away from Little Fredi. Otherwise he would never stop to write 

Lisbeth: Today was a sunny and cloudless day, so we could take a shower and wash our hair. At noon Zbignev from Poland joined us as portrait model #32 of Face Europe. A non brainwashed Polish person who is rather quiet and reserved, but during the session he got more and more open. I think he feels more comfortable in our midst.

During today’s meeting on the beach a lot of people walked by, some of which showed interest to be portrayed. A fixed date on Wednesday could be arrange with Teresa. 

Pablo comes tomorrow. He is the actor from Valencia, the holy King of the department store, which I spoke to a few days ago when he distributed candy to the children and asked them about their wishes. That he would fulfill our request for being part of Face Europe so promptly, we did not dare to hope. Am already curious about tomorrow. 

Christmas and New Year 2019

We are back from the blog free time zone. 

We hope you had a peaceful Christmas time and gained new strength and fresh resolutions for the new year!

The time has rushed for us and was full of beautiful encounters in a friendly, warm and soul-warming atmosphere. Our Christ Child Ayu was portrayed  by Wilfried in oil on December 24, on the beach at beautiful and bright sunshine. The time flew by. Ayu, the lively Spaniard of the neighboring car talked, talked and talked. It was a pleasure to listen to her. Her joy is like a spark that leaps to her surrounding. 

In the evening, Ayu and Kai were guests at our cheerful “Christmas dinner”.  

During the days after Christmas, the place got filled again with new campers. Poland emerged, a Spanish RV emerged whose owners seemed quite shy to wink at us. Was it the friends of the Kiwis who had been announced by them? Only when the Kiwis at 28.12. reappeared, the mystery was solved. Yes, the friends they had met a year ago in Istanbul, were our new neighbours. Quickly their shyness disappeared and Zoe even overcame her shyness and got herself portrayed. This happened at the last day in 2018. She was born in England but lived in Fuerteventura until 14 months ago. Since then she is travelling with her Irish friend in 46 mostly European countries. I did not know that Europe has so many countries. 33 of them belong to the EU or aspire their membership. 

29. 12.2018 Wilfried even drew 2 persons in a day: at noon Kai was the first and in the evening, our Spanish neighbour Reyes sat with us in Big Fredi while Wilfried drew her. With even two cameras and the 3 of us next to our large LED light it was a miracle to fit it all in. But we made it (even without Angela Merkel)! The evening ended with a Spanish course for me and the idea for the New Year’s Eve was also born: everyone should cook a special dish from their home and share it with the other campers. 

So that was the result: 14 people from 9 different countries cooked, ate, drank, made music together and welcomed the year of 2019. It was great.

Now we have another year time to get used to the year 2019!

Even our Austrian friend Paul celebrated with us and came all the way from Benidorm. 

New Year’s Eve also Enrico, the Italian approached after Zoe had been painted. He was also invited to the New Year’s party by the group and spoiled us with original Italian pesto. Enrico is the owner of a sailing yacht and a great and lovely Iveco motor home. It is about 30 years old but it has character. We would take it immediately. He would also love to get Big Fredi. Today Enrico was the first Italian in the new year who was portrayed by Wilfried. 

It is very surprising to us that here in Spain, not only Spaniards take part in the project Face Europe, but also people of other nationalities. 

When we visit their countries, we do not come very inexperienced, but know a little bit about it already. Tomorrow it is Tom’s  turn (he is from Holland), the day after tomorrow Zbignev from Poland will be drawn. After that we hope to get Pablo whom we met at the department store today disguised as one of the Holy Kings.

Several nations on one spot

Has it already been so many days since we have arrived here in Alboraya?

Blog post December 19, 2018

The days fly by. It’s so comfortable here, we are doing so incredibly well that we do not notice how fast time goes by.

On Saturday we met with Bettina’s family. She is the daughter of my longtime girlfriend Helga in Austria, who has moved to Spain many years ago and now has started a family with two daughters (4 and 6 years old). Since her husband Sven is Danish he talks Danish with the girls, she talks German, and the kids talk Danish, German and Spanish, and they also participate in an English course. They reconcile all that, or rather it all goes into their brain: simply admirable. We enjoyed a little trip with the girls into the park and then we could be spectators and helpers preparing the Argentinean shrimps and a squid and another fish which name I don’t remember, but it tasted delicious. The girls got a kick out of the the tentacles of Oktopusses and made them swim in their hands in the sink. As adults, we have far too many resentments against such a game. But Bettina is an admirable mother and patient with her children. I do not worry about our future as long as there are  kids growing up like them.

After the delicious dinner we had the opportunity to walk back to our Fredis in a half-hour walk, which was very pleasant. We evensurvived an unlighted bicycle road and also to the gypsy shacks.

Sunday, December 16 was dedicated mainly to waving goodbye to Dieter and Petra and getting to know our neighbors.

Petra and Dieter moved on to their friends who stay 150 km south of Valencia. Thery are very well there as they posted in the meantime.

Our direct neighbours in front of us are young Spaniards. He cannot speak English at all, she does a bit. Daily they borrow our bottle opener and always smile at us very friendly. Unfortunately so far we have not had contact with them. Our request to turn down the volume of the radio a little bit because we were filming resulted into an immediate shut off of the radio.

The neighbors behind us are Kai and Ayu (Laura). Kai is from Germany, Ayu is Spanish. She also speaks very good German, has lived in Germany for 3 years. Actually, they wanted to start a music band here in Spain together with a second couple, but just now they are in the process that they can or have to leave their partners as they seem to not be reliable. Kai is a trained educator and has also conducted music education with children. As Bettina is looking for a care for her two children at Christmas time and Kai and Ayu will stay here for longer, there is a great opportunity for child care and music lessons. I hope that’s suitable for all of them.

Behind Kais car there is a French car (called Betsy), but whose inhabitants are New Zealanders: Ruth and Alan. Alan has an Irish passport and therefore Wilfried has painted him on Monday as the 23 portrait of Face Europe. He could sign on Big Fredi next to Ireland. It is the first signature for Ireland.

The car was bought in Italy, converted into a camper in France and has big letters in front saying „New Zealand“. Since about 1.5 years they have been travelling through Europe. Their experiences can be found on their blog: www.travel-cook-eat.com

or on Facebook: travelcookeat.

From the title already, you can tell what they like to do the most!

Ruth is very helpful as a blogger with tips on how we can improve our project.

Yesterday, Tuesday, Miguel was guest of Face Europe, and told us about his career as a trade unionist in the tobacco factory and now as a gardener and lessor of his country. Ayu has translated simultaneously. While she is translating into German what she just heard she can listen to Miguel and translate again. An extraordinary talent! Thanks Ayu for your great help!

Today was a quiet day. Bettina picked me up and we went shopping to Aldi. Then a shower and hair wash had to be done before we shared lunch at the Chinese restaurant with Ruth and Allen.

Apart from the uprising wind during the day today it was the warmest day since our trip. In the morning we already had 14 degrees and it felt like a foehn.

In the evening we sat together with the “Kiwis” in their car Betsy and shared the fried sweet pumpkin Bettina had brought to for dessert.

Warm springs in Montanejos

Blog post December 14, 2018

We spent the day indoors at fairly heavy rain the morning.

During a rain break Petra, Dieter and Lisbeth went to the town Onda and sought a reasonable Simcard for the two Chameleon drivers. We were successful, there were 3 telephone companies side by side. A road map, we unfortunately could not find it, but we „stumbled“ into a Turkish shop, peanuts, curry and vegetables were bought. On the way back to the car we could not pass the Mercadona without going in. So only wanting to quickly buy oatmeal we ended up with a big bag of shopping stuff .

Coming back to the cars we had ice cream on the terrace, which had almost dried in the meantime.

We cooked some vegetables and rice, still enough left over for the next day.

This morning we were surprised by a friendly couple from Hungary, which was standing next to having arrived next to us at night. They told us they wanted to the hot springs in the mountains. The idea fascinated us immediately, Lisbeth had the desire for a long time to go swimming. We joined the two and one hour and the usual morning preparations later we were on the mountain. It was stormy and very cold. Even if you were swimming in the warm water coming out and drying would have meant a flu for sure. None of us had a desire for this. The landscape around was very nice. We enjoyed a mini walk and got back to our cars. A short detour north should lead us to the motorway, and from there it would be easier to go to Valencia rather than the serpentine back to Onda.

But we could not foresee that the border between the provinces of Castellón and Teruel means that the time has stopped in Teruel, while one has been built roads in Castellón. The road was consistently on the map as a red road meaning a good road. But at the provincial border it was rather an adventure trail next to an “off-road“. What would happen if a car approaches we thought. But there was not any seen. Dilapidated villages and miles and miles of just curves on a disastrous road.

At the end of the street there was suddenly a wide and paved new road and we turned  to the A23.

Without any delays we reached Alboraya at about 4:15 p.m.. The high waves splashing over the stone walls in front of the promenade were very impressive and showed the power of the water. The stiff breeze will hopefully slow down tomorrow. We know the square in front of the hardware store Leroy Merlin already from last year and we also founda good place right at the promenade. Palm trees, sandy beach and a wild sea in the afternoon light welcomed us as friendly as our neighbor. He did it in Bavarian. Lower Bavarian exactly. Home advantage because since two days here. Well informed.

We had dinner at Big Fredi and enjoyed part 2 of our yesterday’s delicious food. Good thing we had left halve in the pan for today. For dessert Petra and Dieter were our guests. We had a fluffy Pannetone cake.

The sea rages outside. For tomorrow we have arrang to meet Bettina’s family. We are curious how the two girls have developed within the last year!

It is again quite cold

Blog post December 12, 2018

The journey from Santa Pau was very romantic.

We climbed the first few hours on a winding road, the map showed a “Scenic Route”. As we reached the plateau, we saw the landscape disappear beneath us like an ocean of dense fog. The bad thing about it is that soon we had to dive into the same mist and beautiful sunlight in the solar system was gone for some time. Until later the fog everywhere else dissolved. 

Our goal for the day is a special workshop for Dieters car (he wants to make an oil change)

and the coin laundry for Petra and Lisbeth. Petra has found both on the Internet to be in Tarrega. 

We walk or rather drive different ways: Dieter remains on the outskirts waiting for the oil change at 5 p.m. with his “chameleon” while Petra together with her dirty laundry goes into Big Fredi and we women enjoy ourselves  at the laundromat. As our garments certainly not bite each other in the machine, we decide to put the stuff together on each of a machine with 18 kg and 13 kg (once 60 degrees and one 40 degrees) and after 30 minutes our complete laundry is washed. Another 30 minutes in two huge drying machines and we drag the finished washed clothes back to the car which is only a few steps back, where Wilfried is waiting in deep concern for us. The concern is not our washing procedure, no, he has forgotten to bring the gas bottle adapter for Spain at home. And  – as it is written on the Internet in the forums that it is absolutely impossible to get anything like this in all of Spain. Petra and Lisbeth leave the emotions aside (anger, resentment, …) and come up with a pragmatic decision: how to get the adapter from Austria and to whom we could send it and who could do that for us. As it should go quickly – before namely our second Austrian gas cylinder is also running down – we call Michaela at home in Nussdorf and ask her for help. She could check the next morning during daylight if she could find the adapter. She is quite nervous because of many duties with her parents and right away we regret to have asked her. Lisbeth finds another solution the same evening: there is a camping accessories shop near Tarragona, which has, according to Internet exactly this adapter in stock. 

Wilfried has prepared a delicious supper – while the women had sorted out and cabinet folded the laundry.  This was also enough for Petra and Dieter. 

At night at temperatures just above zero the heater failed completely. The reason for the complete failure in the heating system might be the regulator, because there simply is not enough gas in the pipe. Dieter has a spare regulator in the car, which is only for 30 instead for 50 millibars. For now the problem is solved. Lisbeth has put on seven layers, her fur shoes and her headband but standing outside during the solving of the gas problem in the morning has made her stiff of freeze in cold weather. Only after a long time she thaws in the car and really warm, it is only in Tarragona, in front of the camping shop. Full of hope we go to the entrance: Closed for inventory. Wilfried sees many people in business, who are eagerly counting goods. Lisbeth, who does not want to give up so quickly tries from behind the closed store to find an entrance. As a woman comes out of the business she explains that today is closed. Lisbeth begs that this is an emergency and we would freeze to death(Dieter gave her the tip: emergency !!!) and the lady really served us. We get a pressure regulator and the adapter for the Spanish gas cylinder. It is like a big gift for us. We are very grateful to buy both at even a great price. 

Several gas station stops later and an hour after Dieter and Petra we arrive at the camper stop in Onda near Villarreal. It is a great parking space again and there we will wait for the rain tomorrow.