Coronavirus has got us completely under its spell

Blog entry 20.3.2020

Now everything has changed and Corona is our constant companion. No, no, don’t worry. We’re healthy. Only the Corona ghost has been with us since the beginning of the week. 

On Friday we did a portrait of Carolina without any Corona problems. 

Face Europe No. 125-Carolina

Klaus had brought her late, but at least she came when we were about to pack up. If not that would have been a disappointment. At 26 years of age, she is already an experienced and enthusiastic architect, who is very interested in architecture in interaction with nature.

Face Europe No. 125-Carolina
Face Europe No. 125-carolina-work in progress-after 15 min
Face Europe No. 125-Carolina
Face Europe No. 125-carolina-work in progress-after 120 min (2)
Face Europe No. 125-carolina-work in progress-after 90 min (2)
Face Europe No. 125-Carolina
Face Europe No. 125-Carolina

It was already dark when we left for Aljezur. We had already made our way there several times in daylight and the drive to the parking lot of the soccer field we could glide along nice and slowly. There were also hardly any cars on the road. 

The last time there we had celebrated New Year’s Eve with Paul. Since then Face Europe had really got going: 21 portraits in 2 months. 7 Portuguese and 14 other Europeans from Italy (2) Germany (3), Holland (3), Scotland (1), Ireland (1), England (2), Austria (1) and even Switzerland (1). 

On Saturday morning we set off for the vegetable market, which was praised by everyone. We climbed up the path to the market hall on foot after we dared to go on with Big Fredi only to the parking lot at the river.

In the Center of Aljezur

We had no idea where exactly the market hall was. We asked ourselves through and could also see the white delivery car with the oranges right at the entrance. Ulrich had asked us to get a crate of fresh oranges for him. We bought them right at the beginning and Wilfried guarded our achievement while I went into the market hall to be inspired by the super fresh fruit and vegetables. Loaded with cauliflower, broccoli, radishes, tangerines, oranges, leeks and strawberries we could at least make our way home to our car downhill. 

When I went to Intermarche for bread and butter, I noticed a woman with a colorful mouthguard that looked as if it was self-made. All cashiers were wearing rubber gloves. A notice at each cashier asked not to come closer than 1m distance for protection of the employees and yourself. 

We reached Barrão de São João and Ulrich could be portrayed as our last participant before the corona barrier on the open-air stage in front of the cultural centre.

Face Europe No.126-Ulrich-work in progress after 55 min
Face Europe No.126-Ulrich-work in progress after 70 min (2)
Face Europe No.126-Ulrich-work in progress after 90 min
Face Europe No.126-Ulrich-work in progress after 150 min fineshed

The next day the first indisposition of this year kept me in bed for a day. My stomach rebelled.  Thank God for only one day. Whether the cause was too much strawberry and radish the night before or a virus will not be found out. In any case, a day without eating really didn’t hurt. 

We stayed in Barrao de São João until Thursday, mostly reading and inspecting the area.

Nature does not care about Corona

During one hike I met Sofia, a Portuguese teacher. We talked at a distance of 10 meters, she explained to me that she is currently looking for a technique to offer her language course online, because from now on she is not allowed to meet with her students in the cultural center anymore. 

She told me about her project she had done a few years ago. She was interviewing people in the Algarve to find out how they were doing, why they were here and what made them stay. 

She confirmed our feeling that this triangle between Lagos, Sagres and Aljezur is a very special attraction – not just for us – but for a lot of people, and that once you’re there it’s almost magnetic. 

It’s a pity that I can’t take a language course with her. Although, that might be somehow possible… We can make a phone call. We have exchanged our phone numbers and I will definitely contact her. She would also be interested in a portrait on her part. However, this will have to be postponed until after the Corona crisis. 

We had to postpone the appointment with Soehl the filmmaker from Bangladesh, Romania an indefinite date for the same reason. 

What we didn’t want to postpone any longer, however, was the laundry. And so we left the picturesque Barrao de São João on Thursday, 19.3.2020. For breakfast we had served coffee to walkers outside, paying close attention to the safety distance. But it was too much of a temptation to offer a chat to the Austrian Sasha and his companion, a Nigerian-Scottish beauty, who came from London and her German friend. 

In Budens we could do our laundry and in Vila do Bispo we could fill up our water supply and shop at Lidl for at least a week. 

From Klaus I wanted to find out how the Portuguese have adapted the legal situation to the coronavirus. He only knew about it second hand. Allegedly wild parked campers are asked to move to private properties and immediately he offered us to park and live on his farm at any time. What an offer!

Klau’s Farm

When our food supplies run out, GNR is chasing us away and we need a nest, we know where to go. And as a side effect, I get to dig my hands in his vegetable garden, there’s always something to do, he promised!

Orangen auf Klau’s Farm
Orangen auf Klau’s Farm

But first, I’ll make good on my promise to do the gardening at Gianluca and Emanuela’s. I was allowed to help Gianluca last week when he started to redo his garden. Since they also had to cancel their trip to Tenerife, they now give their energy to their wonderful garden. Who knows how important self-sufficiency will be again in the future. An end of the Corona crisis is not foreseeable. 

We will stay here for the time being!

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Coronavirus, Portugal and Face Europe 

Blog entry Friday, 13 March 2020

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.

Diogo allowed us to use this music dome, which has already served as our studio several times

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.

Face Europe No. 122-Diogo-work in progress-after 50 min
Face Europe No. 122-Diogo-work in progress-after 60 min

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. 

Face Europe No. 122-Diogo-work in progress-after 120 min

Diogo allowed us to take water for our water tank and so we have fresh water again for one week with economical consumption. 

Face Europe No. 122-Diogo-work in progress-after 120 min (fineshed)

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.

Face Europe No. 123-Lisa-work in progress-after 30 min
Face Europe No. 123-Lisa-work in progress-after 45 min

Lisa has an eventful and exciting life both behind and in front of her and is full of zest for life.

Face Europe No. 123-Lisa-work in progress-after 90 min
Face Europe No. 123-Lisa-work in progress-after 135 min

She was highly concentrated and the interview was exciting and as always so valuable for our own lives.

Lisa – Switzerland in the middle of the EU

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.

Face Europe No. 124-Katy-work in progress-after 35 min
Face Europe No. 124-Katy-work in progress-after 95 min
Face Europe No. 124-Katy-work in progress-after 120 min
Face Europe No. 124-Katy

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. 

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Where are the Portuguese hiding?

Blog entry 1.3.2020

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

Face Europe No.117-Jule
Face Europe No.117-Jule

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.

Jean Pierre

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.

Klaus in conversation with Lisbeth

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.

Face Europe No. 118-Klaus-after 40 min
Face Europe No. 118-Klaus-after 70 min
Face Europe No. 118-Klaus-after 120 min

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. 

Face Eorope No. 119-work in progress-Jaap-after 60 min

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. 

Face Eorope No. 119-work in progress-Jaap-after 100 min

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. 

Face Eorope No. 119-work in progress-Jaap-after 120 min fineshed (2)

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. 

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Oh how beautiful is Portugal!

Blog entry 5.12.2019

Lagos on foot was not so breathtaking,

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.

Face Europe no. 105 – work in progress-isa-after 20 min
Face Europe no. 105 – work in progress-isa-after 40 min
Face Europe no. 105 – work in progress-isa-after 80 min
Face Europe no. 105 – work in progress-isa-after 120 min
Face Europe no. 105 – work in progress-isa-after 120 min

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.

Leroy, Kady und Nicholas
Leroy, Kady und Nicholas

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. 

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Face Europe a Jubilee

Blog entry 3 November 2019

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.

Pedro sagt uns für Samstag zu

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. 

Pedros Schwester Nina

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.

work in progress-Face Europe no. 99-Nina after 25 min
work in progress-Face Europe no. 99-Nina after 120 min

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.

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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.

work in progress-Face Europe no 100-Pedro after 25 min
work in progress-Face Europe no 100-Pedro after 60 min

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.

work in progress-Face Europe no. 100-Pedro at the end
Face Europe no 100 – Pedro – Portugal

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.

Nina und Diogo vor Big Fredi

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. 

Face Europe no.99 Nina und no. 100 Pedro

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!

Obrigado
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A week of ups and downs 

Blog post August 22, 2019

Today is Thursday. The second week in Slupsk is almost beaten and was again very exciting

On Monday, Face Europe  portrait no. 66 was built with Jan.

Face Europe session no. 66 Jan / Poland
Face Europe session no. 66 Jan / Poland-after 38 min

Two fixed dates and one vague one for Tuesday had registered, but none of the three appeared. That was a little bit frustrating but for Wednesday we got a commitment and dates for Thursday and Friday. These dates were then met again.

Face Europe no. 67 Tomasz-after 50 min
Face Europe no. 67 Tomasz-after 87 min

And so we made it up to Portrait No. 69. 

Face Europe no. 68 – Pavel / Poland
Face Europe no. 68 – Pavel after 100 min
Face Europe no. 68 – Pavel when looking at his drawing

Portrait No. 70 is planned for tomorrow.

Face Europe no. 69-Wiktoria- after 93 min
Face Europe no. 69 Wiktoria / Poland

For no. 69 we got a lovely girl who was the youngest participant next to Lily in England, both of them being 9 years old.

Face Europe no. 10 Lily / UK

Funny that also Wiktoria since 3 years is living in England, as well as Wiktoria who sat there last week with us.

Face Europe no. 61 -Wiktoria / Poland
Face Europe no. 61 Wiktoria after 106min

She is 19 years old. And so we had the first equality of first names since the beginning of Face Europe.

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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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