Blog entry 11/02/2019

It feels like spring.

The temperature in the morning reminds us of times at home in May, when we have breakfast for the first time in the garden. Only the ocean whispers in the background are different. 

Unlike Valencia, where the sea made loud noises, here we hear absolutely nothing. First of all, the water is much further away, and secondly there are rarely waves. It seems more like a still lake. But even here there is always a little breeze during the day until 5 o’clock in the afternoon.

Saturday was a lazy day. Niko and Marion stopped by soon after breakfast. In return, Denise and Pranava (from Germany) joined us. Denise is Tatoo artist and Pranava has long lived in an ashram, has traveled a lot, was also several years in Tenerife and is a yoga teachers. His original profession was in advertising.

Denise is very interested in the art of portrait drawing and likes to take tips from Wilfried.

We walked together into Dénia, where we visited the attractive pedestrian zone and then shopped at the supermarket.

 Yesterday was mostly relaxed and afternoon André (from Germany) came. He approached us and wanted to know what we intended with our project. He could not figure it out from the homepage. Only our explanation turned out  the EU attitude within him. He moved his departure this morning and had his portrait drawn by Wilfried. Despite the early hour and the rapidly changing sun it became a very authentic picture of André. He liked it really well and also his wife Gisela was very pleased. Maybe we meet each other again, as we both have similar routes.

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Farewell to Valencia

Blog entry 02/09/2019

Well, the farewell is done

It was really hard after 8 weeks to break away from such a beautiful place. Well, the parking lot was not so nice at the first glance. But very practical and full of great people. We wish everyone a safe journey and more interesting experiences.

From Gabriel we received a box of 15 kg oranges as a gift. Then we went on to Valencia Camper Park in order to wash clothes and to dispose waste water. The washing machine took longer than the usual equipment and the dryer took 60 instead of the usual 30 minutes. So we just made it to arrive in time for lunch at Deise and Martin. It was a pleasant afternoon and evening. We stayed over night one block from the beach.

After breakfast at Big Fredi at first we drove to another district of Valencia: Benimaclet where we bought paper and fixative in a very well-equipped art supplier.

For lunch we were invited by Paul and Christl in Denia who took Wilfried’s birthday as an opportunity to invite us to Quantanamera in Dènia. Thank you for the excellent menu! Who ever comes to Dènia, the Cuban restaurant should not be missed. A delicious four-course menu for € 8.50!

We walked along the beach about 2 km, where Christl showed us the parking space which she had found for us. It was really hot and no wind, the hottest day in Spain so far.

Wilfried first wanted to park Big Fredi next to an Englishman, but he did not agree that we were in his sun with our colossus. On the other side Marion and Niko were very happy with our appearance, because they wanted shade for their (small!   – unlike Big Fredi) Mercedes Vito. They were also equally interested in an acquaintance and we invited them over to visit us. It is still pretty cold to sit outside after sunset .

It was a quiet night. This morning we had breakfast at the beach for the second time in Spain!


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Dense last days in Valencia

Blog entry 02/06/2019

On Monday it was still too cold to sit outside and therefore Martin was drawn inside the car

It was exciting  to pursue his career and his life tour through Europe. His persistence has very strongly influenced his life. 

Tuesday began quite peculiar. In the morning we learned from Michael that Christl was robbed during the night. Into her car it was broken in. The bag with money, wallet, cell phone, charger, car keys was stolen while she slept. We could not believe it. We had always felt so safe here. Christl stayed very calm. She was lucky that nothing had happened to her personally and she also kept her passport and her tablet in the car hidden well enough so that the thieves did not take those things with them. 

I helped her to block all credit cards and to call the police. For this incidence it is great to have unlimited phone balances across the EU.

Shortly after we had called the police two police men stopped next to us to listen to what had happened. Then the Civil Guard appeared and told Christl that her bag was found. The car keys and her driver’s license were inside, and only the cell phone and the cell phone charger she had borrowed from Michael and all credit cards and MasterCard were gone. One can imagine the relief when Christl got the stuff back. Now you have to imagine the two men from the Guardia Civil drove Christl and me to the office where Christl could report the criminal act and then they even brought us back. That was an extraordinary service that no one of us would have expected. We were also brought back in time to start face Europe and I could do the interview with Deise myself. Michael would have – if I had not come back in time – done that instead of me. He had been instructed by Wilfried in a crash course, what questions he would have had to address to Deise. But he was grateful that I took on this role and the session was very easy going and with a lot of laughter and we also had an interested audience. Deise agreed to assist Christl in opening a new account. For this purpose she wanted to come the next day with the bike to bring Christl into the city. 

Kai in the meantime appeared during the afternoon and greeted us warmly. 

Somehow we joked about our pajamas and one word gave the other and suddenly it was clear that we should make a pajama party on our last night. Enrico, the Italian sailor and the entire team wanted to meet in the evening for  a Pajamaparty. Also Deise wanted to come. 

But at night everybody was  kind of tired. The only – loyal Enrico appeared late at night, but he only saw the two of us and in all the other „houses“ it was already dark. So he wanted to go home and we promised to have our last breakfast together in the morning with the whole gang. 

It turned out to be a fine and cozy breakfast with music and farewell. Michael left first. Deise and Christl rode their bikes to Valencia. Deise was so sweet, to come out here and to help Christl to re-open an account or to get any other way to get to her money. Tomorrow we see Christl again at Deise where we are invited for lunch. 

Hard to say goodbye to all these nice people that we were so close. Last night also Marion emerged from France. She is a kite surfer, a musician and a riding instructor. Also a very likeable person. Maybe we’ll see her again on our way to the south. 

We tore ourselves away to continue our way to Naranjas del Carmen, where Wilfried drew a great picture of Gabriel, while we were listening to his stories. We could have continued to listen to Gabriel as it was so interesting. Unfortunately, Gabriel had another appointment so we had to leave his house, but we want to see him tomorrow morning. Since we want to buy oranges and honey and then move on. 

As the project Face Europe develops it gets more and more exciting to listen to the life stories. Thanks to all the people who present us at Face Europe!

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Caught a cold and waiting for Faces

Blog entry 02/02/2019

Never before has a cold lasted that short. The sea air has brought me back to health quickly.

But probably also it was Bettina’s magic bullet which was meant for my knee, that was one reason for my speedy recovery. 

One thing is for sure: I am top fit and healthy. 

The last few days we spent waiting for Paul, Gonzalo and Gabriel. Now there is the last chance in this week. By Friday we want to continue. At the beginning of the week we find out whether it is still Gabriel to be painted on Thursday and whether Paul has got time. 

Our friends Christl and Paul from Austria who stay over the winter in Benidorm, expect us as well. Meanwhile, February has arrived and we still want to see some other parts of Spain. 

The last two days we had heavy storms. In Big Fredi  we felt like in a ship. 

We also have got new neighbors. Michael from the Cologne area in his 40 years old Mercedes, a real cult vehicle and Christl from Bavaria with one of those new vehicles called only “white stuff” or “yoghurt pot”. Here Christl is a brave woman traveling alone, at the age of 59 years and after a lifetime “for the others” now discovered how beautiful it can be to take care of herself. 

This results in exciting and funny conversations, especially if you can laugh at yourself. 

At noon today we were invited by Bettina and Sven for a delicious paella. With sea food animals of all kinds! Simply delicious. She had been pre-ordered and we gathered at Navarro, a beach restaurant, and took the paella to the family home. There Helga was waiting for us and we were seven at the table. The paella was enthroned over many candles in the middle of the table in order not to cool down. The kids love the seafood very much. If I had served something like that to my children, none of my children would have even tried it. 

Thanks for the great invitation!

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Our last days in Valencia are already counted

Blog entry 28/01/2019

Today Alcampo and Leroy Merlin is reopened.  A strong wind from the land feels cool. Otherwise – as always – the sun is shining. The current entry into the solar system is steadily increasing.

Yesterday Sylvia helped me with the production of orange marmalade and today the new orange / lemon marmalade was finished and is already filled in jars. It is really delicious. Fruity, sweet and sour and very yummy.

Sunday was a major clean-up day. The carpet, which had served us in the cold very well must be washed and disappeared in the dirty laundry. Thus, you can move the table again and you do not need to lift it.

Yesterday afternoon we walked the 5 km to the port of Valencia along the beach. Patacona Fiesta took place and we saw the well-dressed girls at a photo shooting and also photographed the group. You could see the pride in their clothes literally in their eyes flash.

When going home a fierce wind was blowing against us, which was not so much noticed before as a tailwind.

It was good to rest after the walk. Sylvia invited us to dinner two caravans further, where also Ayu was for some time before she plunged into Valencia nightlife.

Today it was very windy from the land again. In the afternoon Brigitte dropped in. She is the French woman Wilfried had drawn.  After she had bought a sander for renovating her apartment she surprised us with her visit. Now she can go to work. Jean Jaques has left today to France to see his daughter. Also Enrico got some brushes for his boat painting job at Leroy Merlin.

We have not received any message from Naranja Del Carmen regarding appointment for this and next week so far. 

We are looking forward to Thursday and we will see what happens next. 

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Paul is not the same Paul

Blog entry 25/01/2019

Yesterday we were amazed as we were expecting to welcome Paul, who was not Paul.

We did not know her before so, Empar – her sister – showed up and said Paul was sick and she was pleased to be a part of Face Europe insted. Although she speaks very good German, Ayu was here to translate.

It was a happy afternoon in a warm atmosphere. Paul wants to come to be portrayed in a week on Thursday. We wish Paul a speedy recovery! We look forward to you!

Today was the first day that felt really like summer. 23 degrees, no wind – and the Spaniards go still with winter jackets. I was about to take off my sweater and go with the T-shirt, I saw most people still wrapped firmly into warm clothes we only wear in winter. 

Bettina took me one day to her harvest field where she originally wanted to olant potatoes. But since Miguel was not on site, and there also were no potatoes for planting, we contented ourselves with the harvest of her wonderful vegetables and went on to the market. A paradise! Tiger nuts, peanuts, dried figs, and, and, and. We unloaded what Bettina had bought for her in her apartment while I could visit Helga, who has now broken a rib when coughing. Poor person! Hopefully she will be healthy before she has to go home again. 10 days are too short for a real recovery. And then when you are sick when the holiday feeling goes down towards zero. 

Today we tested the sea with our feet for the first time and walked along the beach over confluent streams just about to the level of Bettina’s house. 

The sea was not too cold, the sand already heated up. Great experience this walk on the beach! And that happened on January 25!

I intend to do that more often, it’s very invigorating. 

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Albufera nature reserve and organic oranges

Blog entry 23/01/2019

Yesterday we were invited by Brigitte and Jean Jaques in the Albufera Nature Reserve. It is located in the south of Valencia and is a bird sanctuary.

So far we had only gone to El Saler, but really into the flooded area of rice fields we had not yet gone. We took the RV of the two through narrow streets and alleys and on embankments, which had not been visible in November after a heavy rainfall.

In an excellent restaurant in El Palmar we enjoyed a wonderful paella. The hunger was apparently too great for that we would have photographed the full bowls. It was enough only for the picture of the empty tray.

We talked so much about our Austrian cuisine, so we invited the two on Saturday at noon for pancakes. Jean Jacques loves sweets.

Yesterday was a holiday, but Al Campo had opened anyway.

Actually we would have liked to meet Helga, who is in Valencia since Sunday evening. It is my long-term Austrian girlfriend and for 10 days she is visiting her daughter Bettina. Upon arrival she stumbled, unfortunately, injured her knee and will have to take care of herself. Today she even caught the flu and she has really not had any joy so far during her trip. Tomorrow is Freya’s sixth birthday and she has invited a bunch of kids to her party. I hope Helga can recover and still enjoy her remaining stay.

Our program today was another high light. After several attempts, we finally managed to get an excursion to the Crowdfarming Plantation: Naranja del Carmen. It was really stormy and dusty, but very interesting. A model plant, as it should be everywhere. Two brothers, after they had inherited the orange grove from their grandfather which had no profit developed a new marketing concept. You can „plant“ your own orange tree. Then get your name on a label – more information you get on the Website
The oranges are delivered freshly harvested at the customer‘s desired date. Partial deliveries can be also mixed with tangerines, lemons, kiwi fruit, or vegetables. An extra vegetable garden takes care of work during the whole year, so that seasonal work is not necessary. So there is all year for ALL employees work, which is also a good example of employment. 

We got artichokes, broccoli, Radichio  and romanesco as additional presents to our free of charge excursion. Such gifted and with a pre-ordered box of 15 kg of oranges and a glass of delicious mountain honey (with the label Face Europe), we tasted and bought, we staeted our journey home. There were about 20 km to go. Last night, the gas went out just after 6 weeks of operation, we exchanged the gas bottle at the corresponding service station with a new one and we hope that it will last at least as long as the other one. 

Paul will be drawn tomorrow. She is a Spanish friend of Bettina.

The oranges are extremely delicious . Upon arrival I started to prepare jam, part of which is almost finished!

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When are we finally heading south?

Blog entry 21/01/2019

Today is Monday again and we are still in Alboraya.

On Thursday Brigitte was drawn  in Big Fredi as 37. face in the large family of Face Europe. Her friend Jean Jaques was also with us, his English was not so well versed, so he went shopping just before the end of the session. The two are French and have decided to move to Spain permanently. Brigitte was very open and talked about her own mistakes in raising children. As a kindergarten teacher she loved her job, especially accompanying children during their learning of skills.

The next day we were invited by Brigitte into her new apartment, which she possesses since a month. She sold her house in France and now she tries to grow roots here and to adapt the apartment according to her personal taste.

It is certainly beautiful. After lunch Brigitte took us in the area around into two museums. The first one was filled with religious procession altars and showed the linings and rituals of Easter processions in the surrounding churches. The second was the Rice Museum, which Brigitte wanted to show us initially. Mistakenly, we arrived in Catholic museum first and we all looked at each other in a strange way. The Rice Museum was much more interesting. We could well imagine the dust and noise during former operation of this abandoned factory.

Then we drank coffee in a pub. For three drinks I was paying under 5 €. This is really unbeatable.

Wilfried got so sleepy in the pub that we started right after the coffee with our trip home using bus no. 19. That was already familiar for us and we came home quickly.

On Saturday was a cleaning day, nothing else to report, nothing special. The “New ones from Austria”, Kurt and Laura from Weiz joined us in the second lane next to us and were our new friendly neighbors until yesterday morning. We sat together  in Big Fredi with them in the evening, also with Kai, Ayu, Philippe and Pauline. Now Big Fredi  has been already used for eight people inside sitting at the table. Only during smoking breaks a little movement starts when the smokers must get out.

Yesterday morning (Sunday) it was raining a little bit and the mood sank immediately. What’s this? Rain? No blue sky? No sun? But soon the sun turned out again at least for a short time. In the evening we invited Zbignev and Sylvia, the Polish couple, and spent the evening until 22:00. Then, an alarm went off at Zbignev’s phone and the two said good bye immediately.

Later that night – I was doing the dishes – Enrico knocked at the door and invited us for a walk in the particularly warm full moon clear evening air. Wilfried had to be asked two times, but finally he come with us. We “found” a lemon tree whose unharvested lemons would have been spoiled unharvested and Enrico saved some of them from being too great a burden for the tree. The house has been empty for a long time and is offered for sale, he knows because he was about to buy it himself. It is located between highway and railway and is offered so overpriced that it certainly does not find a buyer very quickly. It probably still needs some emergency maneuvers for the lemon tree in the near future. 

Later in the night we decided to try out the lemonade with the freshly harvested wonderful smelling lemons. Enrico came with us in Big Fredi where we prepared the delicious lemonade with honey and hot water in order to strengthen our health.

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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. 

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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.

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