Our Impromptu

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Family & Friends





Family & Friends: Portugal with Ulli and Family (July 2007)

Ulli and family had invited us to spend a few days with them in the house they had rented from friends in Barril, Portugal, a small village with a supermarket, a gas station, a tire repair shop, a pharmacy/drugstore, a construction material company and a type of "Five and Ten". It was important for us to be there for Julian's birthday. He turned 13 on July 10. And then Ulli asked that we stay for my (60th, uhm) birthday as well. I had been apprehensive about going because Christa was sick, but at the time we made the decision and purchased the tickets, she was still going to work (occasionally) and managed reasonably well.

As the date of our departure approached, it seemed pretty clear that my chances of seeing her again upon our return were getting slimmer by the day, and I was very sad and torn between wanting to see Ulli and family and wanting to stay with Christa. After talking with her about it, we decided to go after all - and after a number of teary good-byes. Christa passed away on July 14.

We left on July 8 late in the evening and arrived in Lisbon on our non-stop flight on Continental from Newark around 1000 on July 9th. Renting our car did not take endless amounts of time, and we were on the highway towards Barril (about 90 minutes driving time North of Lison, not the Barril in the Algarve) before we knew it. The driving instructions were a little confusing, we were not entirely focused. We ended up just South of Torres Vedras, a small town about 30 km (20 miles) Northeast of Barril. Ulli called from time to time to give us instructions on how to find our way. In the end, we trusted Juergen's nose, not my map reading capabilities, and we made it to Barril in no time.

It was a big hello and we were all happy to see each other. The last time had been when we had left our boat in La Rochelle and took the TGV to Cologne. At that time we spent three or four days with them before flying home on a non-stop flight on Continental from Cologne to Newark.

We went food and wine shopping, stopped by a small restaurant where we had a typical Portugese fish dinner, talked a lot, drove around to sightsee (Mafra, Sintra, Torres Vedras, the nearby coastline, mostly South of Barril, went to Cascaix and Estoril and, the day after my birthday, spent a day in Lisbon on a city tour).

We watched movies at the house when the weather was not exactly perfect, enjoyed the fishing village of Ericeira, the "next" town with a larger supermarket and fishermen from who we purchased fresh octopus, caught that afternoon. We cooked, went out a lot, spent time on the beaches - there were many amongst the high plateau, with few people, great surf.

Julian's birthday was spent on the beach, at the house - we had a little celebration (he had already gotten most of his "real gifts" at home before the trip to Portugal but still got books, earphones, a CD, and one or two other toys). We had a birthday cake and generally a good time.

The house was comfortable, with three large bedrooms, a huge living room with space for a comfortable dining area, a desk area where Lippi could tap into the internet whenever he felt like it, and a sitting area around the fire place and the TV.

The latter was very important because, when my birthday rolled around, it became critical to have. We had wanted to go out for dinner in the nicest seafood restaurant in the neighborhood (which meant Ericeira). Alas, it was closed on Monday evening. So, we decided to go out to this restaurant on Sunday night and to go to a lesser but still nice restaurant the following day. Well, the food was wonderful - see the pictures - the mood nice. The boys insisted that we celebrate into my birthday. We played games to cover the waiting time till midnight, and the time just flew. I was sent to my room so they could "prepare". Juli picked me up at midnight, wishing me a "happy birthday". The table was laden by a number of gifts - Ulli and Gabriele gave me an electronic picture frame, a guest book and wonderful pens to go with it. Juergen gave me attachments to my (already received) iPhone and then came the gift of gifts.

My nephews gave me a CD with a video in which they performed rap. Lippi is very much into hiphop. He purchased a computer software program to compose music and wrote the music for my video, then wrote text that rhymed about our relationship (that of my nephews and their "little aunt"). They performed in front of a video camera they had set up in their garden at home, lit 60 candles to form a "60" and then recorded the sound (spoken and music) in a professional sound studio at a friend's parents' house. We watched it three times right then and there, tears streaming down our faces. So much affection, so much love! They spent 30 hours to put this all together, and it is just perfect. I wanted to upload it onto the website but Philipp requested that I don't. He wants me to treat it as too personal to be put on our website. So, some of you might see it when you visit with us, some of you might not. Still, take my word for it, it is unbelievably wonderful. I have watched it many times since we got home, even watched it in the hotel in Lisbon. I am carrying it around with me so that I can watch it any time I want or show it any time I want, as long as I have access to a computer or a DVD player.

Below, you can check out some of the photos I took, can see how much my newphews grew (Lippi is at least as tall as Ulli and Juergen, Juli has managed to bypass me). In our electronic guestbook you can make comments if you like. Enjoy!

"Our" house in Barril and our Excursions to Mafra and Sintra

Click on photos to enlarge!

"Our House in Barril"
Crab Dish
At the small Seafood Restaurant
Juli turns 13 on July 10
At the Beach in Barril
Mafra, Coffee Break, the King's Cloister
Il Palacio in Sintra, built around 1870
Still at the Palacio
Lunch in Sintra (the worst pizza ever)
Towards the Beach of Sao Lorenco

Our Adventure in Ericeira - the Fishing Village

Click on photos to enlarge!

Ericeira - the Fishing Village
Waiting for the Octopus Fisherman to return
Octopus just Caught
Sunset at Beach in Barril


Torres Vedras


The Castle, the Town
...more Torres Vedras Photos
On our Way back "Home" to Barril


My Birthday Dinner, Cake

This was the place for the Video, but Lippi does not want me to post it on the web, and I respect his wish.
The Appetizer with Wonderful Clams? / Mussels?
My Birthday Cake - Delicious!!!

Lisbon or "Lisboa"

In front of our Hotel "As Janelas Verdes"
Mostero de Jeronimos
Impressions from our City Tour (Torre de Belem and Surroundings)
Padrao dos Descobrimentos (Discovery Monument)
Alfama (oldest part of Lisbon) with lots of Authentic Restaurants and "Fado", sad lov e songs performed almost every night
Elevador de Santa Justa (famous Sightseeing Tower)
There are lots more pictures but I chose these to provide you with an idea as to what we saw, what we experienced while in Portugal with Ulli and Family