I am now here in a beautiful forest in the Netherlands. Sitting on a bench in the center of a 6 path intersection. In the meantime I think about the path I recently took. That path led to Portugal. The whole financial worries were taken care of. The only thing we (me & Pier) had to take care of were animals. We had a house to ourselves, we had a car to use and we were very close to our friends who lives there. Almost too good to be true right?
About a month ago:
“Okay, in 5 days you will fly to Portugal” she says to us while we are sick in our bed. After some coughing and sniffling, we both agree. Our mission is to babysit a home off the grid. Take care of some chickens, ducks, cats and a dog. Easy peasy lemon squeezy! And if that's not nice enough, the house is in the same mountain where friends of ours live. Actually, they are friends of Pier, but I now also consider them my friends, strangely enough. After 3 days we started to get fitter again and we got out of bed. Filled up with vitamins, packed our bags and go! Even though I don't feel 100% I'm jumping with adrenaline. Our first real adventure together is about to begin! Eeee..... I've been waiting sooo long for this that we can travel together and now we even have a whole house to ourselves. I shouldn't expect too much, then it's always disappointing so I assume the worst. But yes, no matter how hard I try to do that, my head still makes up automatic expectations. We arrived in the beautiful country and a warm temperature welcomed me with a bang. And this in February! The flight was great, we flew in the late afternoon which gave us a nice golden hour on the plane.
On the road again
The owner of the house picked us up from the airport We spent about 1.5 hours in the car to the house, Portugal and Spain are very similar, but not at all. Portugal has such a different atmosphere and appearance than Spain, I couldn't explain it in words, but maybe if you've been there too you know what I mean? Because it was still winter, it soon got dark and obstructed my view from the car. I'm lucky to have such a social friend who can chat with everyone otherwise I would have found it very uncomfortable haha. Not that I'm anti-social but I just don't get along with some people and he was one of them unfortunately. Pier and he knew each other from before and talked to each other. Which I didn't mind, because then I could observe and listen. When the car stopped we had arrived at our destination. It was already dark and the moon and stars were shining like spotlights. He gave us a tour of their living space because the next morning he went on a trip. From that moment on we were surrounded by animals, but he didn't tell us about 1 specific animal.....
With the car that we were allowed to borrow, we cruised on the dusty roads with volume at 10 on the way to the nicest beaches! I can never have enough of the sea. It's always so relaxing with the wind in your hair as you gaze at the surface of a mysterious underworld. If you ask me which beach is my favorite (there are countless different beaches) it would be Luz. This beach may be very popular, but if you go to Portugal outside the holidays, it is a place to be. The orange/red rocks on the left that follow with white fine sand. If you don't like sand, there are also stones on the other side where you can have a sandless picnic and there are even cute little shops!
One specific animal he didn't mention.......
Fleas! A complete disaster to be exact. They were everywhere, even in our bed. I was bitten all over and I felt sooo dirty. The cats peed on the dining table and the mold on the walls decided to live in 3D mode. Conclusion: unlivable. It was surreal to think that they have lived here for years. They were probably drowning with all the work to be done everywhere, that they've gone blind from what situation they're living in now. I am convinced that it had to be, that we were there to shake them up and put them back on the ground. We have decided not to sleep or be here any longer. We only came to take care of the animals then. Fortunately, we were able to stay with our friends and sleep there. We spent a lot of time together and Pier gave me a tour of the area from his childhood. Where he lived (In a valley of a mountain), what he learned there as a child, and fun adventures he had. Still, I found it difficult to keep myself upright. I was on 24/7. Getting to know very nice people and new places which I really love, but I still found out that I (no matter where I am) must have a 'safe space' for myself. A place where I can be alone. It didn't just affect me. My emotions also had an effect on Pier. After some time I was able to find the strength to be at ease again. I sat in the car for hours by myself. It was amazing. For example, I did many things for the first time.
- Climbing a mountain
- Discoverd new fruits
- Drunk water from a waterfall
- Drove in a car
- I've seen the sunset a many beaches
- Stargazed with a guide
- Hugged with donkey's
Back to business
Pensive and pacing, we stood thinking how we could feed the cats and the fish without coming into the house because of the infestation. Pier has tried to wrap himself in plastic sheeting that was on land so that they don't jump on him, but you don't do that for fun either. We had to come up with something else...
*pling!* a lightbulb was visible above Pier's head as he looked at the pile of black pipes. At the same time, we knew exactly what he meant. The plan went like this: STEP 1. Fish out the good potential tubes. We needed 2 STEP 2. Put the tubes through the cat flap in the top of the wall and arrange them so that they reach the cats' food bowls and the fish. STEP 3. Cut to size. We cut the tubes so that about 1 m protruded from the cat flap. STEP 4. We cut a square out of the tubes to pour the feed into. STEP 5. Cover the square with your hand and blow on the end of the tube. STEP 6. Control. Through the window we could see and hear that the feed ended up in the right place. It was a success! Haha The cats could even go outside through the cat flap and their bellies were full.
After this great solution we still had a few days to go before the owners came back. We celebrated Pier's birthday and saw a few more sunsets.
As a big conclusion, we gazed into the clear starry sky where a number of constellations could be seen under the guidance of a guide.
We were brought back to Faro where our plane would leave for Amsterdam.
3 weeks later...
"We're sorry about the situation, thanks for looking out and change will definitely come" was said on the other end of the phone. We were happy to hear that despite everything our mission was successful!
One journey done, Another millions to go.