Just before Christmas, I meet Inge Nijhof, a Dutch artist. I just came down the hill from walking the dog and she tried to get up the hill with her bike. Coincidentally, Inge just arrived with her “bus” from the Netherlands, which she could park on the land of another Dutch lady, Jobs, who lived already for 30 years in Portugal. Inge also owned a camper, left behind during the summer in Portugal and now also parked on the land of Jobs. Her bus was loaded with art work. She even brought some big statues!
Then we met Marlene, a Dutch lady, who owns a Quinta just 5 minutes from my temporary home. In the summer she rents her house out and lives in an enormous tent in her back garden.
The three of us decide to celebrate Christmas Eve together, at Marlene’s cozy place. We are all different personalities, each with our own “history” and reason to be here in Portugal. So instead of being alone with Christmas, I am suddenly with two “soul mates”, which makes it special.
The 25th of December, Inge and I decide to do some sightseeing and have a Christmas lunch to celebrate the festivities. Here in Portugal, Christmas is not such a big celebration. I barely see any decorations, no endless Christmas songs and no crazy shopping spree. Too many people still living in poverty and suffering from the economic crisis.
We decide to go direction Manta Rota, a small village close to the border with Spain, nothing spectacular, but with a beautiful beach. The weather is superb today, one of the warmest days of December. We make a stop in Cacela Velha, as my travel book tells me that this tiny fishing village is on the World Heritage list. So happy we made this stop. Cacela Velha is special and beautiful. The view from high up over the Laguna is amazing. The little white blue fishing houses are picturesque.
I see a sign “for rent” on one of the houses close to the stairs, which are going down to the beach. I take a picture of it, as I already know that I would like to spend some more time in Portugal. Probably, the rental price will be way too high, but you always can try………After a walk over the beach, we drive to Manta Rota and find a terrace in the sun, with mainly other Dutch people and here we have a simple Christmas lunch. We think about all our friends, who are spending this day in the cold and we feel good! And after all, it was not a lonely Christmas!