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. 

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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.

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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:

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.

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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!

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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. 

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Santa Pau and the adventure volcanic area

Blog post December 10, 2018

Slowly life in Besalú started in the morning. Breakfast,

filling up 100 liters of water for 3 €, filling up electricity for an hour by a staggering € 3, emptying the toilet, drain gray water, shopping, all of that took almost until noon. We even did not have a long way to go: our next aim was only about 20 km to the volcano of Santa Margarita. From the parking lot to the volcano it was just a 30 minutes walk. In the middle of the volcanic crater there is a small chapel, otherwise the “Adventure volcano” was nothing else than a nice walk in the woods.

A few kilometres further we went up to the caravan parking lot of Santa Pau, a magnificent medieval castle and town, which we also visited. The first nativity Christmas scenes in and outside the church, full of atmosphere here. No hassle, no bustle. Just beautiful to look at and pause. So I think I like the Christmas season in this way.

The first of the two gas cylinders got empty. It’s time to get a Spanish loaner bottle for gas.

We will go on southward as soon as possible. On Thursday rain is predicted here in the north and we would like to get away from the rain.

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Farewell to Besalú

Peaceful Christmas

How beautiful and peaceful Christmas time can be,

you feel here in Besalú. We noticed no crowded wine stalls or punch stalls. There is not a single Christmas song or any Christmas symbols here in the city except some lights in the streets.
Just peaceful, good-humored people who enjoy the day here with their families. It is so peaceful, we have also enjoyed the day, had barbecued chicken for lunch and in the evening we walked again through the illuminated Besalú. Wilfried took photos before we went to sleep for the last time in this wonderful place.

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Wilfried the Hairy

Blogeintrag 8. Dezember 2018

Now we finally know why Wilfried is so successful here in Besalú:

He had been here in the 9th century as the “King Wilfred the Hairy!”

For this from Wikipedia:
„Wilfred the Hairy and the first independent Catalonia history:

Here Wilfried started at the bottom. He just started out as fine nobleman. In 870 Charles the Bald appointed him to the Count of two small countries in Northern Catalonia, which Wilfried’s meteoric career began. Eight years later, more possessions then were added in the so-called Spanish Mark, an area that served as a military frontier against the Muslims of the Emirate of Cordoba. Not a very popular piece of land, one can think of. There, military skirmishes were fought after all the time and the people were cut off for a long time in masses.“

That must be the reason why Wilfried feels so comfortable here in Catalonia and is so successful. 

After all, he has now made the fifth portrait within 9 days for Face Europe, and two other works made at the Bridge of Besalú: a landscape of the city and one commissioned work. 

Portrait from life of Daniel

Today it was my turn to find Daniel. The owner of a small private brewery in the midst of  Besalú, who told us his exciting life while he was drawn. His girlfriend Ingrid will hopefully forgive him that it took longer today for him to come home! 

We also thank his amiable family!

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Shared experiences

Blog post on Dec. 6, 2018 

40 years Republic of Spain is a real holiday.

Parking lot is fully occupied and Petra and Dieter, who had initially planned to continue to the volcanic area nearby now decided to remain here in Besalú, because they were worried that the volcanic area would be even more crowded and in Besalú there is still enough to see. We also decided that we could as well continue our trip together as long as it is fun for all of us. 

Yesterday Wilfried was asked by Dorian, the accordion player, to paint him together with little Maja on another image. From Maja he gave us a photograph and Wilfried agreed. Dorian was painted life again – as he played on the bridge, the little girl was added from the photo.

While Wilfried was engaged in painting, Dieter, Petra and Lisbeth strolled through the city and joined the thousands of tourists. Dieter tried a Barbecue Chicken and his enthusiasm also infected Lisbeth to purchase such one for a late lunch for Wilfried and herself. 

The afternoon and evening we spent with activities such as reading, knitting, downloading movies and just relaxing.

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Immerse yourself in the variety of Besalú

Blog post 5 December 2018 

Some tight days in Besalú are already behind us.

Time flies by. Since Saturday we enjoy the Spanish heat during the day and the nights are OK even without heating. 

Monday, December 3, Wilfried decided to do an oil painting of the city of Besalú viewing from the bridge. It was a colourful image and he had a lot of fun. 

The accordion player who played on the bridge since days, nodded approvingly when he saw the result. When asked if he wants to get his portrait painted he nodded enthusiastically, and actually the next day at the appointed time he was on the bridge again.

A couple walked past without saying a word to us, but somehow they struck me. The woman had such an open mind and a joyful appearance. 

When we were back to Fredi in the evening, exactly these people very friendly asked us in German where our license plate would from. 

We invited them spontaneously for a cup of coffee. Their mobile home is the four-wheel truck that arrived the same morning on the pitch. It was a fun and long coffee chat with Dieter and Petra, which lasted until 23:00 and was going on to supper seamlessly. None had noticed how late it was. 

Next day, it was Tuesday, and the accordion player was to be painted, but before this time the two women Petra and Lisbeth decided to walk for a while. It turned out to be an almost three hours lasting walk with gymnastics in between on the park benches, the marvel of an old mill, the walk on wobbly bridges until we also discovered the weekly market by chance, where we even bought vegetables and cheese at the last minute. 

Dieter and Peter accompanied us to the portrait painting of Dorian, the harmonica player. 

The conversation with Dorian was not very successful for both parties. So Dorian let his music talk while Wilfried did an oil painting in just over an hour. It turned out great. All pedestrians walking by were amazed and gesticulated appreciatively. 

Today it was Petra’s turn for the 20. Face Europe portrait and the first for Germany. Petra told us a lot about her life. Soon it will be possible to see some videos of the individual portrait sessions on YouTube. For this we need more sun entry into our solar system. At the moment there is just not enough power for cutting movies.

The Irish teacher has not got in contact with us yet so we are now determined to go quickly into the warmer south. On the one hand, the climate is fundamentally warmer and supposedly it will be cold in the north from Wednesday on. We do not desire cold weather at all.

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