Today is already Friday, March 13th and we are still standing – our friends and family back home don’t even dare to ask – in the beautiful southwest of Portugal. The last time we came out of Carrapateira was a week ago.
On Sunday, March 8th, the worldwide celebrated Women’s Day, a man was portrayed. Diogo, who leads the restaurant Cato on the way to the beach in Bordeira. He is a man with a thousand ideas, who tries to ground himself and just doesn’t try to implement every new idea. Because this is not always easy for his employees. He rents the restaurant that has a very good review but is hard to keep on a high quality level. Only a few permanent employees work with short-term untrained woofers and workaway people. Diogo loves to cook and also cooks in his restaurant. He is very caring for his daughter and her talants.
As a musician he also built the music dome together with helpers from Klaus, which we have been able to poetrait for Face Europe recently.
Much to his regret Diogo had to postpone the seasonal opening indefinitely due to the corona virus. On 14.3. the summer operation in the restaurant should have started. Now even the opening ceremony had to be canceled.
Diogo allowed us to take water for our water tank and so we have fresh water again for one week with economical consumption.
It was full moon in addition and an icy cold north wind made us quite cold.
On our return to the Bordeira beach, which had almost become home, we met Ulrich. A masseur and body therapist from Germany who would like to join Face Europe. But he had left in the evening to drive to the Spanish-Portuguese border. He is coming back to Monchique and maybe we will be able to meet him again next weekend.
Stefan (German) also approached us to get to know us and a cycling couple (Gisela and Rolf) – also from Germany – what else, admired our car and we told them about the pizza at Emanuela and Gianluca. Spontaneously they agreed, they had wanted to eat pizza for a long time, but it never happened. All the more they were impressed by the delicious pizza and the cosy atmosphere.
At the pizza party we met the young Portuguese architect Carolina, who will also be part of Face Europe.
On Tuesday Lisa and Wolfgang, the two Swiss, joined us. Wilfried likes the idea of letting a member of Europe, who is NOT part of the EU, speak on behalf of Face Europe.
Lisa has an eventful and exciting life both behind and in front of her and is full of zest for life.
She was highly concentrated and the interview was exciting and as always so valuable for our own lives.
On Wednesday the only Scottish woman so far, Katy, was portrayed. Her national pride is deeply ingrained in her soul and has matched our experiences during our trip to Scotland.
Thursday was supposed to be for our relaxation and for the evening we had invited Emanuela and Gianluca to an Austrian dinner.
However, this quietness of the past weeks on the beach of Bordeira was destroyed by a horde of unscrupulous campers. Already in the evening, loud music sounded from their huge boxes, which they had placed next to their cars. From midnight on there was silence, but at 2 am the whole noise started again. We know from experience that such inconsiderate people are not willing to change their behaviour. There is only one thing to do: escape!
Because even during the day the “music” already started in the morning. Not even the loud waves could drown the noise. Luckily we were able to go to Emanuela and serve the food outside at their porch with them.
We had cooked „bacon lentils“ with bread dumplings.
And because Emanuela and Gianluca are incredibly loving and open-minded people, friends came along as well.
One of them: Soehl from Bangladesh is a filmmaker and will be portrayed on Tuesday. So our plan to move on Saturday was postponed again. Who knows what the evil coronavirus will bring us and how our onward journey will be blocked anyway. So we can just as well stay right here, where we feel so comfortable and appreciated anyway and where life is simple and uncomplicated.
Today is already Saturday, March 7th and we are still on the beach of Bordeira.
Loes, who spends her waiting time for her seasonal job at the restaurant Cato, gave Face Europe the honour on Monday.
For Holland we have already been promised a place at her mother‘s house. Certainly also exciting, because her mother is a puppeteer.
Otto and Eva from Styria also got lost on “our” beach and accompanied us to this week’s pizza party. Yes, it is already a tradition to walk to Gianluca and Emanuela once a week and to encourage as many other guests as possible to come along for a delicious pizza.
This time there were ten of us who walked the 1.5 km.
2 other couples were quickly persuaded to come along. They were all enthusiastic about the delicious pizza and the cosy ambience.
On Wednesday the atmosphere at Big Fredi was a little bit sagging and nobody wanted to work. We would have rather rested and maybe even taken a little nap. Dorothé, Jaap’s partner, was also not quite convinced of the result for the time being and shouted: “that’s me?”
But with the right distance she recognized herself and the interview was also very honest and cordial with her.
When signing at the car, we realized that we should have put Holland further up the car, because all the Dutchmen so far are grown very tall.
Thursday was a quiet day.
On Friday we were invited to “Panela” at Gianluca and Emanuela’s house: a Sicilian national dish made from chickpea flour polenta. It was absolutely delicious. It is made of chickpea flour, water, pepper and salt, which is boiled for 30 minutes like a polenta and stirred firmly. It must then cool in a mould and is then cut into thin strips of about 3 mm and baked floating in the oil. You would not believe how something so simple can taste so delicious.
Of course it is proven again: the cheaper and simpler the food is, the more complex is the production. There was also salad and advocado spread in addition to stuffed eggs.
We would like to invite the two dear friends to an Austrian dinner soon.
Saturday was all about supply and disposal: Sewage disposal, refueling for Fredi and a lot of shopping for us. Our supplies had already run out completely and Lidl had to be visited. It is a pity that I still could not visit the weekly market in Aljezur.
Tomorrow it’s our 15th Portuguese: Diogo, the boss of the Cato Restaurant. After we have already heard so much
French, English, Italian, Belgian, Dutch… …none as shy as the Portuguese.
Where are they? We get to know a lot of people who were not born here and who are interested in our project. What uncertainty is making them hesitate? In no other country has it been so difficult to get hold of locals. We thought we were doing something wrong. But then we received the same answer to our question from Klaus as well as from Gianluca and Emanuela: how do you get in contact with the locals? Very difficult.
But back in chronology:
Jule‘s portrait session was very touching and honest. She looked at her family history, which is only 25 years old, very deeply and reflected on it. She has already matured and taken her life into her own hands. Even if she does not know yet how to realize herself, one thing is very clear to her: she never wants to bend herself for other people, to fulfill other people’s expectations, before she has taken care of her own needs. May she bravely never lose sight of this point of view for the rest of her life. She is a very kind and attentive person, who does not make it easy for herself, but who is still looking for the necessary lightness in life in a very demanding way. All the best on your further
successful course in life. We have been able to learn a lot from you. Thank you, dear Jule!
Our French neighbour, Jean Pierre, who – not shy at all – contacted us right after his arrival next to us and at the same time as Jule, came only a thought too late to register for a portrait. So Jule had priority.
Since he didn’t want to wait one more day, we agreed to meet later, perhaps near Portimão. As he has no telephone as a matter of principle, only he can reach us. We have to wait and see if we will ever see him again.
On Tuesday, exactly one week after the last storm, another storm arose. The kitesurfers liked that. We could see them moving along out of the car. Outside it was not fine at all. Only wrapped up and for the most necessary duties like taking out garbage we dared to go outside. The pizza party planned for that day at Gianluca and Emanuela was postponed to Wednesday. We had invited Nicholas and had to tell him that he could not come for a pizza until the next day.His friend Allen, who originally wanted to come with us from Aljezur and whom Nicholas had just visited, unfortunately couldn’t come after all, which we felt very sorry for. But at least Nicholas could come. 6 more campers from Belgium and Germany joined us. It was the same group that we had met on our last tour in Portugal at the small reservoir. Now the number is complete: We had already met Bernd and Marion again at the beach of Amado. Yes, the energy to meet nice people here in Carrapateira is very positive.
So nine of us walked from the beach to the pizza party and enjoyed the evening and we also enjoyed the breakfast with Nicholas the next morning. He got some more tips from us for his trip to Austria, where he wants to see us again in early May. He wants to dock at the “Garden of Generations” to do something useful. Hopefully he likes it and it will be a fruitful time for both parties. The Garden of Generations is a cross-generation, social-economic agricultural housing project in the making. Nicholas will certainly find a field of activity and a place to spend the summer there.
We are also pleased to have him so close, only 10 km from Nußdorf. Hopefully he will be welcomed as friendly as we were 10 years ago, when the project was still in its infancy and too slow for us to move from planning into action.
We also started the same day at noon and moved one kilometer further to Klaus – an Austrian.
He emigrated 20 years ago and bought a big piece of land here. An organic farm with chickens, pigeons, a swan, cats and a dog, as well as 8 milk cows (they are standing on the pasture outside in a valley) are his animals.
He cultivates the quite big land with the help of Workaway and Woofers. He has had a fascinating childhood with absolutely unconventional parents. A one year long journey with planned wagons through India with a group of 20 people and the attendance of the Waldorf School with a subsequent study of technology have left an important impression on him for his current project. The atmosphere was absolutely relaxed but in no way sluggish as one often finds in a hippy community. Everything was orderly, creative and with a high potential for development among the helpers. We were allowed to take part in the lunch and felt quite comfortable with our neighbours: the family of Carolina from Milan. They are currently visiting their son, who has already been living for 5 months at the farm of Klaus and gave a quite satisfied and relaxed impression. Carolina is professor at the Politechnikum in Milan at the Institute of Urban Architecture and invited us to Milan.
This is a very special anchor, especially since her daughter is studying cultural management and may be able to help us realize our exhibition at the end of our project, which in turn may be an important experience for her professional career.
We were allowed to spend the night on Klaus’ farm. His bitter oranges were processed by me into jam in the evening and passed on to Klaus for tasting in the morning. We were given vegetables from the garden, delicious freshly baked rye bread from the bread oven as well as a load of drinking water for our tank.
Klaus also put us in touch with Jaap, a Dutchman and Diogo (a Portuguese) and made the project mischievously palatable to them by promising them that they would become famous and come into the museum. Both men can be found in the restaurant “Cato” (the cactus). Halfway between the beach and Klaus’ farm is this restaurant, which is also a guesthouse and has recently built a musician’s cathedral in clay. Drums and guitars testified a past “gig” the night before. We were allowed to use the room for Face Europe 119 for Jaap the day after.
Jaap is a rather well-travelled European with 3 siblings, who were all born in different European countries at intervals of 2 years including him: Holland, France, Germany and Italy. His 2nd home is Italy although he was sent to a boarding school in Holland at the age of 11.
His own 4 children are also scattered all over Europe and he is looking forward to his first grandchild who will be born in summer.
Now he is on the road with a 47 year old German “emergency ambulance” or rather temporarily parked at the “Cato”.
When we presented the cars to each other, we suddenly noticed that we had lost our grey water tank. We could not imagine how this could happen. We had noticed absolutely nothing of it. But it must have made a terrible noise. You don’t lose a full 200-litre barrel silently. Right next to the exit of the parking lot we found it: our ingenious waste water barrel. Everything but the locking ring was there.
We collected everything and until we find a new metal band to replace the broken one and a temporary solution will be found, we put a bucket under the drain and pour the grey water into the next meadow. We can do this without a guilty conscience, because apart from toothpaste and shampoo once a week no chemicals are put into the water.
Another Dutch woman – Louz – signed up right there and then for a Face Europe portrait tomorrow – Monday.
The beach of Bordeira is already a very special place. On Friday afternoon a Portuguese car parked next to us with a German-Dutch family living and working in Belgium. They are on a short trip in their rental car.
Diana, the mother is German. The father, Joost, is Dutch. The two daughters, Emma and Paula, grew up with 4 languages and we were cordially invited to make a stopover with Face Europe when we are in Belgium.
In a short time we now have got another contacts in 2 countries that will no longer be a white map.
The pizza from Gianluca was excellent again. It is not only a feast for the palate but actually a perfect total work of art.
What looks like a dance for the viewer when he stretches the dough over his wrists to a flat slice is years of training and hard work. Keeping the fire in the oven happy, getting the pizzas in and out of the oven in time and making permanently fresh pizzas is a bone-hard job.
On this evening of the pizza party we met Anna from Germany, who spontaneously signed up for a portrait.
The Wednesday was fixed due to the weather.
And that was a good thing. We parked Big Fredi on the beach of Bordeiro for a few nights after Emanuela was portrayed on Sunday.
Although she was not feeling well, she bravely held out for two hours and as we learned later, this was the beginning of a stomach flu. Gianluca suffered the same fate afterwards and the two of them were really sick and weak for a week. Fortunately we had not been infected with the virus!
Tuesday offered us a different spectacle with a strong storm: Kitesurfers swished back and forth in the freshwater lagoon all day long. The last one only left the water when it was already dark.
On Wednesday after the portrait we agreed with Anna that we could take her to Lagos. Otherwise she would have hitchhiked and so we could enjoy her pleasant presence for a while longer.
We were drawn to Lagos for various reasons. Nicholas’ arrival from Asia and the reunion with him and the urgent need to do the laundry. In Lagos there is a coin laundry where the washing powder is not automatically added. So you can use the machines with your own detergent even without fabric softener.
This is very important for my Enjo cloths, because otherwise they won’t work.
Nicholas suggested that we meet on Thursday. Was that a reunion pleasure! He greeted us with a face mask as he had just returned from Thailand. The coronavirus is causing a lot of people to panic. Luckily we are not afraid of it and do not force Nicholas into a 2 week quarantine like the bridge club who banned him from visiting for 3 weeks.
We spent two nights at the fort between Boca do Rio and Burgau in quite peace and quiet. I was able to go for short walks while Wilfried used the unlimited hours of sunshine to work on his computer and cut movies.
On Sunday we returned to the beach of Bordeira with bright sunshine and almost too much heat. The mood was great and even improved when we suddenly saw Emanuela and Gianluca appearing. Also Jean Pierre from France and Jule from Germany joined us.
Jule, a student of art history, has arranged a portrait appointment with us today, 24.2.2020.
Right after Greg’s portrait, we packed everything up and went off with our “old” and “new” friends on the short trip to the pizza party. The old friends are Marion and Bernd from Germany, whom we already met at the reservoir in March. You can hear Bernd as a Swabian right away and he is very helpful. We recognized him immediately when he was lying under the truck of another car to solve the technical problems professionally.
The new friends, Martin and Sonja, are from Bavaria with their 43 years old truck, which is painted and fitted out in a non traditional way.They are on a 4 weeks vacation right now before they dare to make the jump into permanent camp life.
It was a very special experience, the best pizza, authentic Italian pizza with wafer-thin dough, little yeast, but a whole day program for making the dough. The first pizza of my life that didn’t lie in my stomach like a medicine ball. The motto is: all you can eat.
Gianluca prepared pizzas all the time: vegan, vegetarian, with fish and with meat. The pizzas got cut and everyone could access. It was a party and the weather was perfect.
On Wednesday, after the common lunch, Gianluca was “Portrait of the day for Face Europe”. While he had sat very still for the first 10 minutes, his Sicilian temperament suddenly broke through and it became a lively portrait of a very authentic conversation.
It was already getting dusky when I made my way to the beach of Bordeira. Several mobile homes parked directly at the beach, small children built their sand castles right next to the car and a friendly and relaxed atmosphere could be felt. In absolute darkness I returned to our base at the pizzeria, slept very well and the next day we drove on to Barão de São João. A very narrow village at the end of our trip had to be passed through. Goff, our next Face Europe arrived punctually at the agreed place and we set up our equipment on the public stage in front of the cultural centre. It became a very authentic portrait, where I could follow Goff’s excellent English wonderfully, although he is Irish.
Goff has been travelling together with his son Daniel – each in his own van – for many years and through many countries and continents. Currently he is on his way to Morocco for about 6 weeks and on his further trips to Romania and Greece we might meet again. In the age of WhatsApp and roaming-free Europe we are growing closer and closer together and communication is getting easier and cheaper. We are very grateful for these options.
We spent the night in the forest with a small fire and hot discussions about politics, society and community. It is a beautiful place in the forest, except for the twittering of birds and the buzzing of flies there is absolute silence.
We continue our journey today to the next pizza party tonight at Gianluca and Emanuela’s and tomorrow Emanuela will be portrayed.
Hopefully we will also find willing Portuguese people, that would be wonderful.
On Thursday, January 30th, 2020, we set off for Vila do Bispo, first to fetch water and also to buy some food again.
We then parked at Fortalezza, where parking is officially allowed.
A long walk the next day led us to the restaurant at the harbour and there was a promising conversation with Chris, the boss of the house, whose wife is an artist.He could imagine to join Face Europe, lets us know in any case.
Our walk then took us even further to the beach of Martinhal.
We could also discover first people while swimming. The airing and walking on the beach barefoot did our toes quite well. The water has about 15* and does not really invite us to go swimming. This is only something for hardcore people.
Finally we even found the house where Leroy and Katy work: Pura Vida Dive House. They had just finished lunch and introduced us to their boss Chris and then showed us around the house. Both Chris and Leroy want to have their portraits done, but they both don’t really have time.
We arrived at Big Fredi’s being hungry and tired and didn’t give up hope for portraits right away.
But after several days we didn’t get any feedback and so we checked Sagres off for Face Europe for now.
At the weekend, a bunch of more colourful and interesting mobiles appeared on the parking lot at Fortalezza, drawing our attention to their meeting on Friday evening with several friends. They invited us to come by and have a drink with them.
That was when we met Greg and Lu. The chemistry was right from the beginning and Greg wanted to join Face Europe.
On Sunday the whole group moved on to a beautiful beach called Praya do Amado.
There a private music group from different destinations awaited us.
On the way there we passed a couple who were walking towards the beach. We asked them if they wanted a ride in Big Fredi and they were very pleased. It turned out that they are an Italian couple – Emanuela and Gianluca from Sicily. They have been living in Portugal for 8 years and organize a private pizza party once a week. They promised to let us know when they have the next party and Gianluca will have his portrait painted the day after the party.
But today it was finally Gregg’s turn before that. The weather was going to be great and we found a place sheltered from the wind, which was also visible to passers-by.
What a relaxed and nice conversation in the middle of a breathtaking landscape. Therefore we found a plateau in front of a currently closed restaurant that was protected from the wind. Not until afterwards we felt how much the sun caught us. For Wilfried the reflecting sea was a strong challenge.
Gregg is an extremely successful and skilled Vlogger and dedicates one of his next YouTube movies to Face Europe. His YouTube Channel.
We thank him for that and of course we hope to get some attention from the big worldwide web for us.
All 5 women we have portrayed in the last few days are concentrated power women
Rosario and Monica are good friends and both do Reiki. Monica has bought a piece of land that she wants to cultivate with permaculture. It is a piece of intact earth and without electricity, water or other signs of civilization: like a white spot. Unspoilt and re-labelled.
Monica immediately introduced us to her mother, who is bubbling over with life energy.
In between came Carla, the hiking guide, to tell us about her experiences with nature and people.
Carla has a small one-woman company as a hiking guide and lives with her 14-year-old son Miguel at the Praya do Beliche. This is one of the two big surf beaches of Sagres. There are 2 (currently closed) restaurants and a stand up paddling, surfing and diving school. One of the restaurants belongs to Carla’s mother. After the Face Europe portrait of Carla we were invited by her mom to a delicious bean soup and dinner.
I got the recipe for the soup today as well as a lot of beans.
They are the basis for the soup but also as seeds for pole beans for cultivation in Austria.
The next morning Carla showed us her huge garden with different niches for her various plants.
It was already noon when we could tear ourselves away from her beautiful garden and drove to Lagos to Paulinha (Monica’s mum). She invited us to her house, where we made ourselves comfortable in a very small space. It is always a very special honour for us when we are allowed to visit someone in private. This is not a matter of course and we are especially grateful for it.
Then after 2 nights in Lagos and a nice walk during the day between we went back to Sagres to the beach of Beliche.
Helena, Carla‘s friend, who is also her neighbour, was portrayed yesterday in her house and we were allowed to spend the night in front of the restaurant at Carla’s mum’s private parking lot again. It’s a good feeling not to be chased away by the GNR ((National Police) because this is a private property and we have permission to stay here with sea view.
During the day I ventured down to the surf beach, countless concrete steps, some of them slippery and covered with sand, I went down to the sandy beach, lined with steep cliffs and caves. Here, nature shows its violence at the rock formations and the constantly rolling waves. It is also the music of the sound of the sea that accompanies us day and night.
the old town touristically opened up as just everywhere. I allowed myself an ice cream. And that in December, because it is so hot. In the city rain changed with sunshine every minute. And in one of these rain breaks I granted myself an ice cream. Pedro contacted us and we made an appointment for Sunday to portray Isa. She is the 9th person now from Portugal.
Her stories were very personal. Living together in a motorhome with 2 children is surely many times more difficult than only for us 2 persons. And we had been able to practice for a long time before we started our great journey. We admire Isa and Pedro how they manage this in their motorhome.
After the Face Europe meeting we had agreed with Leroy, Kady and Nicholas to meet at a picnic spot north of Vila do Bispo to cook and eat together.
The next day we spent together at this fine place, the only movement I managed was a 5 km long walk. Every now and then – especially when you are together almost all the time – you just need a break. That’s good and gives everyone the chance to be a little bit by himself.
Since yesterday we are now together with 3 other cars and their drivers: Markus, Werner (alias Simon) and Christian. All three are Upper Austrians and we get along quite well. Their great place, which they discovered, they have not only revealed to us, but this afternoon we all drove here to spend the evening at the campfire.
The place has not been discovered in Park4night, but nevertheless also by the Swiss Christoph, who has been here for some time in his tent.
The place should be ideal for the next days, because it is totally in the sun and is unseen from the street behind a small wood. And the next days are only sunny. Our battery will be especially happy about that.
Until yesterday we stood on the beach of Porto Covo, both Luise and Jonas from Germany were portrayed
The weather was much better than predicted, so there is always room for positive surprises. The rain rages in the night and the days are sun-flooded with more or less wind.
Yesterday we cleared our place for other travellers and traveled to the lonely beach of Odeceixe (unpronounceable name, wonderful surroundings). 65 km, a short stop for supply and disposal in Odemira. Now in winter it is indescribably beautiful and quiet here.
We don’t want to have so much imagination and imagine the beaches in summer. It must be terrible. Now, at this time, we have never been chased away by the police. During the high season in July and August one could not travel so relaxed.
Just now I asked Wilfried if he is curious about where we will spend the winter and if we will stay at the same place for 2 months as last year in Valencia. For a while we will stay in Portugal. It is a safe and beautiful country.
Pedro and Isa have meanwhile arrived in Lagos. This is only 40 km away and is already on the south coast, but still on the Atlantic. Only in Algeciras the Atlantic passes in the Strait of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean Sea. Until then it is still a long way and many bays want to be explored.
On the last day of October I set off for a little walk through the city Póvoa de Lanhoso
My destination was the town hall, which was beautifully renovated. I just walked in, went to the first floor and spoke to the first lady I met . Her English was only marginally available, but at least we could communicate so far that she called the tourist information for me and I explained our project Face Europe to the lady on the phone. She advised me to come to the tourist information at 3 pm, so her colleague would have time for a meeting with us.
So we marched – this time together (Wilfried is always a bit coy but enjoys it afterwards) – to the tourist information.
Pedro proved to be exactly the right contact person.
His sister came to him spontaneously and a meeting for the next day was arranged. He offered himself for the following day, at his office.
Nina turned out to be a totally cordial, open and fun conversation partner, who returned to her home town three months ago after several years of working in Switzerland.
She has a six-year-old son and her husband is still working in Switzerland. Although he has a university degree, as a foreigner he only gets jobs as a construction worker. Life abroad is hard, but if you want to make a difference in Portugal and earn a living in a house, you can only do it far away from home. Nina’s son Diogo should start school in Portugal, which is the reason for the spatial separation of the family.
The 100th Face Europe meeting was also something very special. We were able to draw and interview Pedro in the Museum of Filigree Art, which supposedly has its roots here in Portugal. We also got a special guided tour afterwards. Pedro, whom we initially thought was a shy person, intoxicated us with his knowledge and fluency.
Wilfried had long since finished with the picture, I hadn’t even come to the start with my questions when the curfew at the tourist information was already over.
Had we known how much time Pedro had taken for us, we would have even made an oil portrait. Anyway, we enjoyed the warm welcome of the siblings Pedro and Nina. In the evening Nina dropped by with Diogo, which made us very happy.
Yesterday was also the first day when we saw the sun for a short time. In the night a violent storm came up, which also lowered the temperature. Today it is more uncomfortable than the last days and it is supposed to get colder. So now the jacket time starts here as well.
With Nina and Pedro we have not only experienced Portrait 99 and 100, but from now on we are united by friendly bonds. Thank you!