these are the posts tagged ‘list’:


visiting a lighthouse

visiting a lighthouse was another item i’ve put on the most recent 101 list, because it’s something i’ve wanted to do for a long time, but never really got around to. lighthouses in portugal are open on wednesdays afternoons though, and visits are free… so it was just a matter of finding the closest one and doing it!

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at the end of november, we drove to vila real de santo antónio to visit their lighthouse. it’s a thing of beauty, guarded by a ferocious beast…

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… which eventually let us in, after barking up a storm. we were the only visitors that wednesday, and the keeper showed us around with all the time in the world, patiently answering our questions and guiding our fingers away from the golden parts. the lighthouse was built in 1923 and is 40 meters high. the fresnel lens is home to a 1000W lamp (the bottom one in the picture) and a lower wattage spare (on top), in case the main one stops working.

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the system has a photovoltaic cell that automatically starts working when the light is low… except for one detail: the curtains! the lantern room is shielded from the daylight with fabric curtains, which need to be manually pulled back at sunset. so every single day, the keeper will go up there and do this job. we were a bit early for the ritual that day… but as luck would have it, we saw another keeper doing it at cape st. vicent a few days later! i made this dodgy video on my phone:

although st. vicent cape’s lighthouse isn’t as tall as the one in vila real, it’s a bit more important: this is where “europe ends”, the southwesternmost point in portugal, and the place where ships from the mediterranean start their journeys north. so it’s no surprise that it comes equipped with double the power (two mighty 1000W lamps) and a huge hyperradiant fresnel lens (one of the largest in the world). pretty cool!

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if anything, this visit to the lighthouse has only served to make me even more curious about these things…

the new year’s get-together

organising a new year’s get-together for friends was on the new 101 list, and 2016 was the year it got done! new years are usually a bit of a dread for us… by the time the end of the year rolls around, we’re still recovering from the xmas family extravaganza, and craving peace and quiet. so this year, we poked a few friends spread around europe and decided to find a quiet place where we could all stay for a few days. we found a cozy airbnb in a tiny town in south germany which seemed perfect for our needs (somewhere central in europe, quiet, near cheap airports, dogs allowed)… so we put on our winter jackets, loaded the suitcases with board games, and off we went!

turns out, we lucked out big time! lienzingen is a charming little place, the kind that you imagine from brothers grimm’s fairy tales. it’s full of half-timbered houses hundreds of years old, carefully restored with love and german precision. we stayed in one of them, and boy, was it pretty!

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the weather was chilly but mostly dry, with soft rime on trees and even a bit of snow on the last days. together we chatted, cooked, played games, explored a unesco monastery, cuddled dogs, munched on warm laugenwecken, stoked the fireplace and discovered the local maultaschen.

it was the perfect start to the new year: low-key, unrushed and in great company. here’s hoping it’ll become a new tradition! :)

making pho

inspired by lucky peach’s summer issue, i decided to try my hand at pho.

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the butcher already saves the marrow bones for me anyway, so it was a matter of procuring the spices and saving up the bones till i had enough for a big pot of the stuff.

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that, and patience. the process takes hours of slow simmering, bones in and out in a methodical dance, culminating in the layering of noodles, meat and herbs over the broth.

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so was it worth it?

pho

YES! goodness, that little bowl was amazing. i’m used to slow-cooking broth, but the spices, ginger and fish sauce really took it to a whole different level.

the dishes though…

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101 things in 1001 days — here we go again!

my previous list ran out of time a couple of months ago, and frankly, i was happy to see it go. moving from germany to portugal halfway through it changed some of our priorities, and i ended up letting go of the list and focusing my energy other things which were more pressing. the list ended up at 38% done, which was rather dismal…

no matter — we shall do better this time around! :) as usual, it took me a couple of months to work through each item on the new list… it does get harder and harder everytime. ideally, you want to be ambitious but realistic, daring but sure you can make it. it’s not easy, but it’s fun and i truly enjoy the process of making the list almost as much as ticking off the items, one by one.

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so anyway, the fourth edition of the list is ready. time to get some coffee and seize the day! :)

a list update: 22% done!

i’ve crossed quite a few random things off my 101 things in 1001 days‘ list in the past few months, so it’s time for a list update. let’s see…

– riding a paddle boat: check!
i spent my birthday this year in amarante with friends, munching on traditional sweets and paddling up and down the tâmega river. the trick to paddle boats is to go slowly! don’t put all your muscle into it, just relax and take it easy :)

– make cheese: check!
we made delicious cottage cheese! the hardest part was locating fresh, unskimmed, unpasteurized milk…
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– reduce our energy consumption in 10%: check!
in 2013, we spent an average of 7.44 kWh/day, but in 2014 this number dropped to 5.32 kWh/day, a 29% reduction! :D

– visit an island: check!
guernsey was all kinds of lovely and we must go back someday.
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– see Daniela get into a university: cheeeeeeeeeeck!
all of that studying back in june/july paid off! the kid managed to get into the nursing school closest to her home, which means she now has a proper chance to finally get out of the village, and do something for herself.
sometimes it’s still hard to believe i saw her come to the world 18 years ago, changed her first diaper in the hospital and all… and now, she’s become this amazing person, a fighter, someone who knows what they want, someone able to make a plan. i’m currently bursting with pride! :)