algarving weeknotes

weeknotes, 47-48/22

– we took a couple of much needed days off these two weeks, to take care of some life admin stuff and christmas shopping (books for all the kids!). rest day included lunch in a new (to us) tasty thai place in town, and also brunch in a nice café. slowing down feels counter-intuitive and forced, but we need to relearn it slowly.

– visited faro for the annual christmas postcrossing meetup. it was great to see friends again, after 2 years away and catch up with them a bit… but i was exhausted by the end of it. it gave me the chance to do a bit of “#xtremedeltiology” too, which was fun.

– i finished the beautiful ballad for sophie, and also neil gaiman’s anansi boys, which was fun. at some point in the story, the narrator describes a group of flamingos as “a minefield of legs and necks”, and it’s just so perfect! i realized a bit late that this was the second book in a series… might have to go back and read the first one now.

– i’ve been rotating my swims with bike rides around the salt pans, in which i stop now and then to see some birds… at least, that is the idea. on one of the rides, the wind was unbelievably strong and i had to pedal so hard i hurt some tendon in my leg. and on another one, it had rained the previous day, and i really underestimated how much mud there would be… at some point, my bike was so crusted with mud that it just refused to continue. 😅

– it’s officially fireplace season, and i’ve sewn us a heavy curtain, to try and better trap the heat in the living room. it kind of works… but my toes and fingertips are still permanently frozen. :( sigh. the older i get, the more i dislike winter. please, someone teleport me to a warmer climate, or a country with efficiently heated houses.

– potatoes! paulo sent me down a rabbit hole of articles about a “potato diet“… and i promptly got obsessed with the idea of potatoes having some kind of metabolic superpower. i know it sounds weird… but i just cannot resist this kind of experiments, where you take one thing and run with it in the opposite direction of everyone else to test an hypothesis and see what happens. currently planning to eat about a third of our meals as potatoes until christmas, take notes and report back. i’m unreasonably excited about the prospect of more potatoes.

– and speaking of food, we stumbled on odeleite’s “brunch serrano” on the internet and had to check it out. the food offer was immense and to die for, from rabanadas to “migas” with pork meat, not to mention the warm bread and excellent jam. to repeat again soon, and bring friends! :D


weeknotes, 45-46/22

time feels really slow, now that we’re back home. 😅 the days blend with one another, nothing special about most of them, just the normalness of being here. still, there are things to do and they are getting done!

– i chopped a good bit of my hair off, because of swimming pool frustrations. the showers there spray a fine mist of water all over the place… except on your head, which, when you have long hair, is a nightmare. so, off the hair goes!

– through instagram, i heard about revista farta, a new portuguese magazine focused on food. it reminded me of my beloved (but long dead) lucky peach, and i ordered the first volume, which is all about francesinhas! <3

– we watched minari, a bitter sweet korean-american movie. and still on the korean theme, i’ve been reading pachinko, a story set in ww2 times in korea and japan. it’s long, but quite good so far. i’ve also visited the library and came back with a arm full of graphic novels. the first i’ve read, comer beber, was short and focused on one of my favorite subjects: food!

– the weather was nice last week, so we took a couple of days and walked the stretch between lagos and portimão, with a stop in alvor to enjoy the ria. the mosquitos were crazy, but the views around the river were brilliant.

just life weeknotes

weeknotes, 44/22

aaaaah… home sweet home. we didn’t do anything extraordinary this week, and it felt brilliant. just the novelty of of seeing friends again and sleeping in one’s own bed was enough to carry us through the week.

– there are a million chinese characters to review, and a million emails to reply to… but we’re back to our old routines, and it’s kind of nice to work on things we didn’t get to in a long time.

– the house is freshly painted and what a difference it makes. it looks like new! it rained pretty hard on monday, and we didn’t notice any water getting in on the previous trouble spots, so that is a relief.

– we met a couple of new friends and it was nice to just chat with calm people, who listen and talk unhurriedly. how rare this feel these days, that people just let each other talk without interruptions.

– we tested our cholesterol, just to check how we were after so many weeks away eating out, and surprisingly, we’re not that out of range, nor did we gain a lot of weight… i don’t know what kind of sorcery this is, but i’ll take it!

– i missed the beach.


weeknotes 42-43/22

aaaaah… two whole weeks in south tirol, just walking, eating and enjoying our friends and their dogs. we played board games together, perused the books from their library, and met their own friends. it was a much needed reset on an otherwise crazy year.

– hiking hiking hiking. despite the dodgy back acting up, we walked bits of the meran waalweg and höhenweg, as well as other local paths and it was just beautiful. the area is filled with hiking trails, and you can see lots of older tourists on them. plus, there’s all the autumn colors of central europe, which i’ve mentioned a million times already… i don’t think i’ll ever get tired of them.

– we went to an unexpected guided tour of two mummies, and it was really super interesting. mummies are fascinating a priori, but it’s amazing to see experts talk about the things they’re passionate about. just… wow. alas, this was not the time we met ötzi yet.

– it feels like a bit of sorcery that we didn’t gain a single kilo, despite eating our way through süd tirol with gusto. mountain huts, friday markets, restaurants and supermarkets were visited and thoroughly sampled, bellies filled and happy throughout.

– tirol is dairy madness though — i don’t think a single day went by in which i didn’t have to take a few lactase pills to make up for all the delicious milk, yoghurt and cheese i consumed. they’re so, so good, and there are so many hiper-local brands! it really makes me wonder where we went wrong in portugal, and why all our dairy seems to come from 2 or 3 big companies.

– our friend gui opened a youtube channel while we were staying there, featuring some of his gorgeous macro videos. check it out!

– at the end of the two weeks, we took 2 trains, a uber, 1 flixbus and a plane to come back home, and now here we are, home sweet home. i feel light, and i’m trying to hold on to this feeling and remember we can have a break anytime.


weeknotes, 40-41/22

two weeks in berlin! two very busy, very full weeks, with so much catching up with food and friends… two weeks is really not enough time to revisit a place you’ve lived in for a few years. we’ve been experimenting with work schedules and were still mostly trying to work full-time while we were there, so these were some very packed days.

– the first week was all work work work, writing up speeches and preparing for the german stamp event. the event itself had 2 parts and both went off without a hitch, thanks to the months of planning by our postcrossing friends. first there was a formal event with a state secretary and all the people involved in making the stamp, and a more informal event afterwards, with postcrossers. it was a brilliant day, with lots and lots of postcards and so many interesting conversations taking place! really happy to see this stamp come to life.

– after the event was done, it was time to eat our way around the city and catch up with our friends! the kids have grown quite a bit by now, and like to play tabletop games with us and tell us about their collections and adventures! it’s such a beautiful phase, this span of time between 5 and 8 years old — they’re alert and competitive and they want to know things!

– in a neighborhood that seems to have taken a bit of a turn for the worse, our favorite café is still going strong, and it makes me exceedingly happy. other things we ate included hot pot, cheesecake, bibimbap, burritos, spätzle and currywurst, pad thai and khao soi, fatteh and halloumi plates, veggie burgers, donuts (they’re everywhere these days!) and also few german christmas sweets, despite it still being october.

– stationery haul! we visited luiban, where i stocked up on some sticky notes, sarasa pens and midori’s double schedule, which i’d had my eye on for some time. every time we visit, i want to stay in the cozy embrace of this little shop for a long time.

– at the end of the week, we took a train to italy, where we’re staying to visit our friends. i’ve really missed the opportunity for long train rides that central europe offers. we live in such a far corner of the continent, but here everything seems relatively close and reachable by train. how lucky!