Central Portugal – Off the Tourist Trail


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One gentlewomen in Verona

The great thing about working in a new country is discovering new places . On my first day off I got to grips with the Italian rail system, and took  a trip to Verona .

Verona is the closest city to where I am working  So, speaking a mix  of Portuguese / Italian  I managed to get a ticket , for the 20 minute trip from Peschiera del Garda

I really enjoyed wandering around the old city streets , and as it is so close, and easy to get to  I am sure I will be visiting  again

Throughout the Summe Operas  will be performed in the ancient Arena, and I hope to go to one at least.

My introduction to Verona comprised of wandering around, eating  ice- cream, and pizza, clicking away with my camera, and just familiarizing myself with what the place has to offer.

Here’s a glimpse of my day.


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Ciao …. Hello from Italy

It has been a couple of months since I left my lovely Portuguese village to work in Lake Garda for the Summer. After a busy start I have finally got my act together and am sitting in the campsite bar, beer in hand, and ready to write.
The first month was full of the usual ups and downs that come with starting a new job, trying to understand the system & daily routines, and the first few weeks were spent doing something called MONTAGE, which to you and me means scrubbing, cleaning and getting accommodation spick and span for when the holidaymakers arrive.
My hands smelled of bleach from dawn til dusk.

The view of lake Garda from the campsite

The view of lake Garda from the campsite

We opened on the 21st March, and by Easter week all our mobile homes were full. It was definitely a case of learning on the job.
When guests checked in at our reception one of the team cycled in front of their car and took them to their accommodation.
With over 100 families arriving on Easter weekend, that was a fair bit of cycling for 6 people.

Anyone that knows me, knows cycling is not one of my strengths. I am just about able to ride a bike (as long as I don’t have to fit through small spaces, or take my hand off the handlebar) so I am happy to report I did not fall off, or collapse from exhaustion .
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Something that I find even harder than cycling is finding my way from one place to another without getting hopelessly lost . I just have no memory for directions, and even if I go the same way to the same place 5 times, every time feels like the first time.

This is the map of the site,

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So you can imagine my concern.
I was seriously worried that I might cycle off and not be able to find the mobile home. I was overjoyed and amazed that I managed to get my guests to the right place, without taking them on a wild goose chase.
After a month of cycling every day , I am pleased to say the locations are beginning to make more sense, now and my legs are getting stronger by the day.

I have now moved from a mobile home into a tent, where I will live for the next 6 months or so, and been enjoying the sunny warm days.
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On my days off I have started to explore the area.
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The nearby town of Peschiera del Garda .

The nearby town of Peschiera del Garda .

More about that next time


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Hello , Ola , Ciao …. it’s been a while .

I was just looking at my last post (I can’t believe that was more than 3 months ago) and would like
to reassure you that the fumes from my wood burner did not get the better of me.
I am still here !
I just fell off the blogging wagon.

In January I intended to climb back aboard with a look back over the year called ” Picture My Year” but that didn’t happen, and now it’s March.

Lots of things have happened since my last post, and one of those things has been making the difficult decision to leave home for a while.
Although I love my life in the village that time forgot, surrounded by lemon, fig and chestnut trees, lovely neighbours, and adorable goats, I have decided to step back onto the tourist trail for a while, and am due to start work in Italy soon.

As I am travelling light, I haven’t room in my backpack to take all my art/ and craft materials, but I have managed to pack a survival kit; a sketch pad , pencil, micro pens and a small set of watercolours, for when I get any creative urges in my spare time

I hope to keep you updated with what I get up to from time to time, although I have no idea how easy that will be, or how often, I aim to try.

So watch this space..

Until then, here are some photos showing what I have been up to since my last post.


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HAVING THE FLU + WOOD SMOKE = BAD NEWS !

It has been several weeks since my last post, as I have been laid up with the flu, and unable to shake it .
I was surprised at how long it was lasting and 5 days ago I discovered the reason…

WOOD SMOKE !

A friend used a smoke bomb to check my wood burner, as I was a bit concerned, and we discovered that smoke was pouring out from the door and part of the chimney pipe, as well as the pipe being partially blocked .
My carbon monoxide/smoke alarm has obviously packed up, and although I had been aware of smoke in the room, I had convinced myself it was from when I had opened the door to chuck on more wood.

I then read about wood smoke and its effects on health The reason I was not getting better made perfect sense.

HERE is just a part of one article I read ….

◾Although wood smoke conjures up fond memories of sitting by a cozy fire, it is important to know that the components of wood smoke and cigarette smoke are quite similar, and that many components of both are carcinogenic. Wood smoke contains fine particulate matter, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, sulfur dioxide and various irritant gases such as nitrogen oxides that can scar the lungs. Wood smoke also contains chemicals known or suspected to be carcinogens, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and dioxin.
◾Wood smoke interferes with normal lung development in infants and children. It also increases children’s risk of lower respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia.
◾Wood smoke exposure can depress the immune system and damage the layer of cells in the lungs that protect and cleanse the airways.

So 5 days after the discovery and the fire being fixed, I am able to breathe without my lungs burning, the coughing is almost gone, and I am able to walk short distances, and start doing some work again.

THANK GOODNESS !

SO ANY ONE OUT THERE WITH A WOOD BURNER, TAKE CARE .
MAKE SURE YOU CHECK YOUR STOVE / CHIMNEY / AND SMOKE ALARM REGULARLY !


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Dancing on Grapes …


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Food , wine , walks … and a trip down memory lane

Last week a good friend who hasn’t been here for three years, came back for a holiday.
We had a great week catching up with each other , as well as a few trips down memory lane…


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A studious week

This week I have hardly put a foot outside the village. I have been making posters for workshops, and studying most of the time.