Sunday, 31 December 2017

A quick summary of 2017

Year 2018 is slowly coming to an end. Today is New Year's Eve. A day full of parties, celebrations, fireworks, countdowns, sum-ups.

I haven't been much around here this past year. I didn't really feel like writing for the most part. Or couldn't really sit in a chair long enough to write a decent post. Not even a good one, but a decent one. No, I don't feel sorry for myself. I needed the break.

2017 was full of life and life surprises for us. It's time for a little summary here as well. I think. Cause I don't think I'm one for summaries. I'll try, though.

Most importantly, our family got a new member. Our baby girl was born in mid-October. (Photo credit: Marta Obiegla)

You might think that having a first child changes your life completely. Having a second might still change it. But adding a third isn't that difficult? Well, I can't agree with that. The dynamics of our family definitely changed. Adjusting our daily routines to include all three kiddos with their personal needs, needs to spend time with us, yet taking care of an infant who still does not have a stable daily routine is a bit of a challenge. Wd're still working on that. But she's healthy, she's growing, she's smiling, she's getting more and more interested in the surrounding world. What more could we want? Both older kids adore the little one.  And tbeh suddenly seem to have grown so much! Especially Paulinka. Now no longer a baby, but an older sister. I know she's almost five now. But where did that time go?

When it comes to travels, we didn't really travel much. Pregnancy usually does it to me. And this one wasn't that much different. But it doesn't mean we stayed home the whole year, as the quiet atmosphere in this blog might suggest.

In January, we spent a week in a hotel just off Ustka, Poland. We spent our time enjoying ourselves, going on walks, swimming in the pool, playing on playground and taking part in the activities organised by the hotel for that winter break.

In March we (K. and I) spent a little longer weekend in London. We tried to see as much as we could considering my (not really only morning) sickness. Obviously, we went to see the Buckingham Palace (it was raining and there were some co struction works going on, but I just had to go there while in Londo ...), We went to see the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben at night, we strolled down the narrow streets of the City, we went to see Saint Paul's Cathedral (but didn't get inside), we walked the Millennium Bridge waiting for the dementors to destroy it (they didn't come, though). We visited  the Tower (K. was there for the first time and I could compare hos much has changed over the last twenty years). We also went to Greenwich Foyal Observatory. Same story as with the Tower. We ate lunch in China Town, had a and in the Italian Corner, visited Lego Store and Nickelodeon Store, got lost among all tbe colourful candies in M&M's world and visited so many bookstores and used books shops that I can't even count. It was a really good trip!

Also in March, I went on a single day business trip to Stockholm. Apart from the morning business meetings that I had to attend, I still had some time for a slow walk down the Swedish capital streets before my flight back to Poland. It was an exhausting day considering my state, but the weather was warm and sunny and I really enjoyed the day.

Me and the kids, together with my parents, spent the beginning of May in Mayorca, Spain. We had a week fu of delicious food and lots of fun. We didn't see much. The weather wasn't too perfecf, either. But I went to see the capital of the island, Palma de Mallorca. It was a really good week.

In June, our guys went on a karate camp. (this photo isn't mine. One of the camp participants took it. Sadly, I don't know who.)

In July we went to see Frombork, Poland. We also walked part of the Polish Camino trail.

In August, we enjoyed ourselves running through the mazes in Bliziny, Poland. We love that place and try to be there every year. The kids left us for the last two weeks of the month and went with my parents to Crete. In the meantime, we visited Sobieszewo (which actually is a part if Gdansk, but you have to leave Gdansk to get there...) and started preparing the house for the arrival of our youngest girl.

In September school year started again. And my parents bought an apartment in Hel. Our kids love the place. I spent the first nine years of my life in Hel. Now my kids are spending at least one weekend a month there. Artur is there with my parents right now. Paulinka was there with them, but got ill and got back home. So we also visited Hel this year.

And that's basically it. Not much, but not little enough to keep me so quiet on the blog.

We're starting new travel adventures in January, though. We're taking our little bunch to Egypt for a little more sunlight. The rest of the year, including the summer holidays, isn't planned yet. Year 2018 is going to be full of family events, though.

Bring it on, 2018!

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Journey in space and in time

Have I mentioned already that Obidos stole our hearts? We have visited it in the evening and then got back the following day to see it in daylight. And we loved both those visits. No, there wasn't a third time. But there's one more thing about Obidos that I'd like to write a few words about.

Every year during summer (I've read it's usually in July, but we visited in August and it was on, so I have no idea if the dates are more or less fixed or not), Obidos becomes host to an event that clearly should take place in a medieval town like this. Obidos becomes host to a Medieval Fair.

The place is being taken over by people dressed in medieval-styled clothes, both knights and peasants. You get a chance to see knights fight (and try it yourself), you get to try delicious foods and drinks. And with so many people running around all dressed up, you can almost feel like you have travelled not only in space, but also in time.

Most activities during the Medieval Fair, of course, take place either in the afternoon or in the evening. But also during the day you can try foods and drinks or watch some shows. Just definitely less that later on during the days.

The entrance to the fair is ticketed. Depending on what you're planning to do during the event, you can choose a suitable package. Either with a costume, or a festive dinner, or just a walk through the fair. It all depends on what you expect and how much you can spend, of course.

We bought just the entrance tickets. We were planning to spend the evening at the beach, enjoying the ocean before we head further down the following day. We paid 7 EUR/adult. Kids got in for free.

Obidos is one of the places we keep thinking and talking about a lot when discussing our Eurotrip2016. Both us and the kids really loved it a lot. But then again, can't you tell from my posts? :)

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Oh, this gorgeous medieval town

Since Sintra clearly didn't want us to see its palaces and we absolutely fell in love with Obidos the previous evening, we simply decided to go back there and see it in daylight.

Spoiler alert - sorry for the massive amount of pictures. I just couldn't resist posting them...

We wanted to see its white houses contrasted with the blue sky. We wanted to see its trees and flowers in their full glory. We wanted to walk the town walls and eat a delicious meal there.

We parked (again) at a huge car park just a two minute walk off the main town gate. I don't think there's any trouble finding a free spot at any time of day. And it was really cheap (the cheapest during our whole trip).

We went through the town gate. The one with Obidos' most famous azulejos. During the day, the town seemed much more quiet. We tried to find a free spot at a restaurant. Any restaurant. It was a real challenge. So that's why the town seemed so quiet. Everybody was dining. We finally made it. We were ready to explore the town a little more now.

The town is small. Most likely smaller than old towns in many major cities. So if you're planning to get lost in the narrow, cobblestone streets... it's not really possible to get lost. But it's gorgeous anyhow. The town is just full of its own, unique charm.

And there are plenty of narrow corners to see. You never know what you might come across, but it will definitely be pretty. At least that's how I remember the town. Peaceful, quiet, pretty.

 You can also always climb the town walls and see the town from a little bit above. Or just sit in one of many cafes and restaurants to breathe in the lazy atmosphere or happen to see a camel walking down the narrow streets (that's what we actually saw during lunch).

The town was set up in 4th century B.C. At least that's when Celts  started settling down in this place. For many centuries (since 1282, to be exact), the castle in Obidos was a traditional wedding gift from monarchs to their newly married wifes. The castle was also the first pousada in Porugal, that is the first historic building turned into a hotel (1950).

In 1755 a massive earthquake hit the town and destroyed it. Luckily, the town was rebuild on its original fundaments, with attention to detail, so it basically looks a lot like it used to in the Middle Ages. You can't see any signs of, lets call it, modern civilisation in the town, such as e.g. TV satellites. That's probably why the town is so full of charm. So unique.

If we ever come to Portugal again, I would definitely love to come back to Obidos.

But if you think it's the last post on a town I loved so much... Well, don't count on it. There's one more thing about Obidos that I'd love to share with you. And I'll do it soon.