January 30. In the green hills of Portugal.

The next couple of days I spent with my friends. It was a fantastic experience: just being around the house, giving a hand to he who needed it, walking the dog, discussing life and literature, and watching the day and some cultural heritage die away in front of the tv at night.


The first morning, I woke up late. My long, healthy sleep and the soft cushions blended in my mind with a protestant twist if you know what I mean, and I asked if I couldn’t do something. Fortunately the answer came “yes” and I went out into the hills to carry some wood. A slope had to be harvested the second time this winter. The work wasn’t too demanding fysically after all, since Bertu the wood-guy really had a mediterrenean working habit. Every twenty minutes there was a cigarette break, in which I sat down gazing over the valley at the Serra Estrela in the foggy distance. What a life, the life and times of me. Bertu drove an interesting kind of gasoline cart to get to the wood. He let me drive it, too and I enjoyed it a lot. The engine roared as we took the curve.

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January 29. In the Countryside.

The breakfast Andre offered me was very good. Especially the strong Portugese cheese called “Queijo da serra” was delicious. Go try that, dear reader, when you are in Portugal. Andre brought me to the bus station, where I bought my ticket to Oliveira do Hospital, a small city in the middle of the country. Then he showed me the Zoo next door, where a lot of fond memories from his childhood originated. He had been there every other weekend as a kid, but his last visit laid several years in the past. I took some pride in the fact that he revisited this place with me as a stranger. We took pictures in the zoo and just enjoyed the outlook of it. We said goodbye there and exchange emails adresses. He would go to Rio de Janeiro a couple of days later, but we’d keep in touch via email.
Again, I had enjoyed some amazing hospitality from a total stranger, it felt so good. Of course, I don’t want to be the receiver all the time. One day, I’ll help other people out. I have sworn for example, to be a couchsurfer until the end of my days. Please remind me of that, when something with the power to corrupt gets hold of me.
I took out my small netbook, which really proved to be a writer’s best friend, and started typing on a sunny terrace in the zoo domain.

At 14:00 I took the bus to Oliveira. In the bus I continued typing with the little computer on my lap. Before getting dizzy and tired, I managed several pages. Then I laid back and enjoyed the landscape at both sides of the road. Even now, in late winter, the hills looked green and the valleys full of life. The trucks on the road were skewed. After Coimbra, where I had to change the bus (the Portugese transportation system it very good and punctual) the roads got smaller and the scenery more beautiful. Higher snow-covered peaks appeared on the horizon. Those about 2000 meter high peaks were in the Serra d’Estrela, Portugals highest mountains, as I learned a few hours later.


In Oliveira do Hospital I called my friend, and he arranged someone to pick me up. So I sat down for half an hour in cafe Portugal trying to make sense of a Portugese masculine magazine, as Charles and Luisa showed up. They greeted me kindly and brought me to a beautiful house in a nearby village. I was offered my own guestroom with an enormous bed and a bathroom – and almost thought “this is too much”. We spent the evening in the living room near the fire place, talking about literature and life in Portugal. The dog Jacco and the cat Napoleon had also chosen the warm room and stretched cosily on the carpet. The were not friends, but respected each other’s presence. It’s as good as it gets – as it is for the Israelians and the Palestinians our conversation had turned to. We shared some cautious hope about the new US government.
When we got tired of talking, the satellite tv was the perfect alternative. It received Dutch tv, on which I’d like to spend a word here. There are two talkshows referring to each other, that account pretty well for everything that happens in Holland. Pauw and Witteman, two acclaimed journalists, invite guests who are related to current issues, and its twin, the show DWDD (de wereld draait door=”the world is getting mad /going on”, where an eloquent panel of Dutch critics discusses with people picked from basicly the same pool i.e. polder. It was interesting to see both shows, it kept me in touch with the country I was born, and the language that I spoke with my mother.
We said goodnight and I felt like a little prince in the big bed.

January 29. In the Countryside.

The breakfast Andre offered me was very good. Especially the strong Portugese cheese called “Queijo da serra” was delicious. Go try that, dear reader, when you are in Portugal. Andre brought me to the bus station, where I bought my ticket to Oliveira do Hospital, a small city in the middle of the country. Then he showed me the Zoo next door, where a lot of fond memories from his childhood originated. He had been there every other weekend as a kid, but his last visit laid several years in the past. I took some pride in the fact that he revisited this place with me as a stranger. We took pictures in the zoo and just enjoyed the outlook of it. We said goodbye there and exchange emails adresses. He would go to Rio de Janeiro a couple of days later, but we’d keep in touch via email.
Again, I had enjoyed some amazing hospitality from a total stranger, it felt so good. Of course, I don’t want to be the receiver all the time. One day, I’ll help other people out. I have sworn for example, to be a couchsurfer until the end of my days. Please remind me of that, when something with the power to corrupt gets hold of me.
I took out my small netbook, which really proved to be a writer’s best friend, and started typing on a sunny terrace in the zoo domain.

At 14:00 I took the bus to Oliveira. In the bus I continued typing with the little computer on my lap. Before getting dizzy and tired, I managed several pages. Then I laid back and enjoyed the landscape at both sides of the road. Even now, in late winter, the hills looked green and the valleys full of life. The trucks on the road were skewed. After Coimbra, where I had to change the bus (the Portugese transportation system it very good and punctual) the roads got smaller and the scenery more beautiful. Higher snow-covered peaks appeared on the horizon. Those about 2000 meter high peaks were in the Serra d’Estrela, Portugals highest mountains, as I learned a few hours later.


In Oliveira do Hospital I called my friend, and he arranged someone to pick me up. So I sat down for half an hour in cafe Portugal trying to make sense of a Portugese masculine magazine, as Charles and Luisa showed up. They greeted me kindly and brought me to a beautiful house in a nearby village. I was offered my own guestroom with an enormous bed and a bathroom – and almost thought “this is too much”. We spent the evening in the living room near the fire place, talking about literature and life in Portugal. The dog Jacco and the cat Napoleon had also chosen the warm room and stretched cosily on the carpet. The were not friends, but respected each other’s presence. It’s as good as it gets – as it is for the Israelians and the Palestinians our conversation had turned to. We shared some cautious hope about the new US government.
When we got tired of talking, the satellite tv was the perfect alternative. It received Dutch tv, on which I’d like to spend a word here. There are two talkshows referring to each other, that account pretty well for everything that happens in Holland. Pauw and Witteman, two acclaimed journalists, invite guests who are related to current issues, and its twin, the show DWDD (de wereld draait door=”the world is getting mad /going on”, where an eloquent panel of Dutch critics discusses with people picked from basicly the same pool i.e. polder. It was interesting to see both shows, it kept me in touch with the country I was born, and the language that I spoke with my mother.
We said goodnight and I felt like a little prince in the big bed.

January 29. In the Countryside.

The breakfast Andre offered me was very good. Especially the strong Portugese cheese called “Queijo da serra” was delicious. Go try that, dear reader, when you are in Portugal. Andre brought me to the bus station, where I bought my ticket to Oliveira do Hospital, a small city in the middle of the country. Then he showed me the Zoo next door, where a lot of fond memories from his childhood originated. He had been there every other weekend as a kid, but his last visit laid several years in the past. I took some pride in the fact that he revisited this place with me as a stranger. We took pictures in the zoo and just enjoyed the outlook of it. We said goodbye there and exchange emails adresses. He would go to Rio de Janeiro a couple of days later, but we’d keep in touch via email.
Again, I had enjoyed some amazing hospitality from a total stranger, it felt so good. Of course, I don’t want to be the receiver all the time. One day, I’ll help other people out. I have sworn for example, to be a couchsurfer until the end of my days. Please remind me of that, when something with the power to corrupt gets hold of me.
I took out my small netbook, which really proved to be a writer’s best friend, and started typing on a sunny terrace in the zoo domain.

At 14:00 I took the bus to Oliveira. In the bus I continued typing with the little computer on my lap. Before getting dizzy and tired, I managed several pages. Then I laid back and enjoyed the landscape at both sides of the road. Even now, in late winter, the hills looked green and the valleys full of life. The trucks on the road were skewed. After Coimbra, where I had to change the bus (the Portugese transportation system it very good and punctual) the roads got smaller and the scenery more beautiful. Higher snow-covered peaks appeared on the horizon. Those about 2000 meter high peaks were in the Serra d’Estrela, Portugals highest mountains, as I learned a few hours later.


In Oliveira do Hospital I called my friend, and he arranged someone to pick me up. So I sat down for half an hour in cafe Portugal trying to make sense of a Portugese masculine magazine, as Charles and Luisa showed up. They greeted me kindly and brought me to a beautiful house in a nearby village. I was offered my own guestroom with an enormous bed and a bathroom – and almost thought “this is too much”. We spent the evening in the living room near the fire place, talking about literature and life in Portugal. The dog Jacco and the cat Napoleon had also chosen the warm room and stretched cosily on the carpet. The were not friends, but respected each other’s presence. It’s as good as it gets – as it is for the Israelians and the Palestinians our conversation had turned to. We shared some cautious hope about the new US government.
When we got tired of talking, the satellite tv was the perfect alternative. It received Dutch tv, on which I’d like to spend a word here. There are two talkshows referring to each other, that account pretty well for everything that happens in Holland. Pauw and Witteman, two acclaimed journalists, invite guests who are related to current issues, and its twin, the show DWDD (de wereld draait door=”the world is getting mad /going on”, where an eloquent panel of Dutch critics discusses with people picked from basicly the same pool i.e. polder. It was interesting to see both shows, it kept me in touch with the country I was born, and the language that I spoke with my mother.
We said goodnight and I felt like a little prince in the big bed.

January 28. Lucky in Lisbon

Andre showed me around in his hometown Lisbon. We walked uphill into the Barrio Alto, and he showed me some bars in this lively part of the city. When it became clear that I had no Couchsurfing options open, he very kindly offered me his couch. Relieved of all my worries, I had a very nice evening in a bar with Andre and a girl who was an actress studying a Pirandello play.

Since there was internet, I aired my giddyness in a Facebook-status message “Kamiel is drinking ginger-tea in Lisbon”. I found that it sounded somehow exotic. At about eleven, Andre took me home with his black smart-car, curving sharply through the steep cobblestone streets of central Lisbon. Later that night, he went out again. I felt too tired and preferred the couch, on which I fell asleep over a funny Bunuel DVD.

For today, I recommend the poetry of Ann Hatcherly, a Portugese with an English name. Andre had a Portuguese-Spanish bilingual edition. It’s beautifully crafted language.

January 28. Lucky in Lisbon

Andre showed me around in his hometown Lisbon. We walked uphill into the Barrio Alto, and he showed me some bars in this lively part of the city. When it became clear that I had no Couchsurfing options open, he very kindly offered me his couch. Relieved of all my worries, I had a very nice evening in a bar with Andre and a girl who was an actress studying a Pirandello play.

Since there was internet, I aired my giddyness in a Facebook-status message “Kamiel is drinking ginger-tea in Lisbon”. I found that it sounded somehow exotic. At about eleven, Andre took me home with his black smart-car, curving sharply through the steep cobblestone streets of central Lisbon. Later that night, he went out again. I felt too tired and preferred the couch, on which I fell asleep over a funny Bunuel DVD.

For today, I recommend the poetry of Ann Hatcherly, a Portugese with an English name. Andre had a Portuguese-Spanish bilingual edition. It’s beautifully crafted language.

January 28. Lucky in Lisbon

Andre showed me around in his hometown Lisbon. We walked uphill into the Barrio Alto, and he showed me some bars in this lively part of the city. When it became clear that I had no Couchsurfing options open, he very kindly offered me his couch. Relieved of all my worries, I had a very nice evening in a bar with Andre and a girl who was an actress studying a Pirandello play.

Since there was internet, I aired my giddyness in a Facebook-status message “Kamiel is drinking ginger-tea in Lisbon”. I found that it sounded somehow exotic. At about eleven, Andre took me home with his black smart-car, curving sharply through the steep cobblestone streets of central Lisbon. Later that night, he went out again. I felt too tired and preferred the couch, on which I fell asleep over a funny Bunuel DVD.

For today, I recommend the poetry of Ann Hatcherly, a Portugese with an English name. Andre had a Portuguese-Spanish bilingual edition. It’s beautifully crafted language.