Friday, 13 January 2017

A medieval town of Obidos

As I have already mentioned, from Fatima we drove further south to spend the night somewhere closer to Lisbon. No, we didn't plan to visit Lisbon (or Porto). We wanted to focus on smaller towns. We found a perfect camping spot in Peniche, right off the beach. We could spend the night listening to the ocean, which was amazing. And loud.

Since we got there around 1 p.m., we still had plenty of time to do something, see something. But first things first. It was finally time to hit the beach!

We were finally doing nothing. Resting. Playing. Watching surfers. Running away from waves. We only spent like an hour and a half on the beach, but it felt longer. That's how rested we left it. It felt great.

We promised ourselves to get back here the following day. Cause we were spending two nights there.

 We spent the evening exploring the nearby town of Obidos. One of our favourite places of the whole #Eurotrip2016. It's a small medieval town, surrounded by walls, with a castle looking as if drawn by a kid. For real. K. was so happy to find out that the kinds of castles he used to draw as a kid (he's hardly a drawer. I feel that I should add this information. Sorry, hun), actually do exist.There was also a medieval fair in the town when we visited. We skipped it that evening, though. But there were many people running around town all dressed up, which was perfect. Gave the town even more of that medieval touch.

The town itself is really pretty, full of charm. With white buildings with orange or blue stripes. I simply loved it.

First, we tasted ginja. It's a cherry alcohol drink served in tiny chocolate cups that you can eat, of course. Obidos is famous for ginja, and I'm not surprised, cause it's tasty. We bought bottles of ginja for ourselves, our parents and grandparents. That's the kind of souvenirs I like.

Then we ate delicious dinner and topped it with even more delicious ice cream. We had to burn at least some of the calories, so we climbed the steep stairs and walked part of the town walls. Definitely worth it.

And that was it for the evening. We were all exhausted, cause the day was really hot and sunny. But so exciting at the same time!

Thursday, 12 January 2017

The three shepherd children of Fatima

Having reached the end of the world, we were ready to say goodbye to Spain for now. We drove all the way down to Spanish-Portugese border, crossed it and turned our clocks one hour backwards. We were ready to find a camping site for the night. The third one had a free spot. At that moment we weren't absolutely sure, though. Cause we could have also bought something else... Cause the guy at the... I wanna say reception, only spoke Portugese. We didn't (and still don't). Anyhow, there were plenty of free spaces, so that must have been it after all.

I'll write more about the camping sites we visited some other time. Now, I'm going to focus on the place we visited the following day.

The first place that we visited in Portugal was Fatima. The sanctuary only, though. We had navigation in the car, that was guiding us all the way during the #Eurotrip2016, but it had trouble finding the sanctuary (or I couldn't find the right words to search for it. It's also possible). We figured that there are always road signs that could lead us there. Santiago all over again. Only this time we couldn't count on pilgrims.

Suddenly, I saw a huge cross somewhere in the distance, but close enough. We drove off the main road onto a ground parking lot. A big one, which was good. But it was something like 40 degrees, pure sunshine and hardly any shade. Yeah, it was so good to be back in the car after two hours (or so) spent walking around.

Anyhow, it turned out that the sanctuary was only a five minute walk away from us. So, again, we were pretty lucky.

Why did we decide to visit Fatima? What is so special about it?

Holy Mary appeared six times to three shepherd children near the town of Fatima between May and October 1917. She gave them instructions what should be done to save the earth. What might happen to mankind. She specifically emphasized the necessity of praying the Rosary daily.

She also left the kids with what is known as the Secret. That Secret consists of three parts. First, was a horrifying vision of hell. The second part prophecised the outbreak of WW2. The third part, made public in 2000, predicted the attack on Pope John Paul II (in 1981) and describes the possible outbreak and course of the Third World War.

Two of the kids died not that much time later. Francisco Marto and his sister, Jacinta, got sick on the same day, December 23, 1918. Francisco died in 1919 (aged 11) and Jacinta died in 1920 (aged 10). Their cousin, Lucy dos Santos, died in 2005 at the age of 98.

From Fatima, we drove to Peniche. That was the place we chose for the next two nights. Cause it seemed close to the places we still wanted to see, but it was right on the beach. Yes, finally.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Winter fun!

For the past few years, we've had crappy winters. And by crappy, I really mean crappy. Grey, cold, wet, dark, long, with hardly any snow. And if there was any snow, it was here usually for two-three days before melting completely. Not really what winters should look like. Though it had some positive sides, too. Fewer problems during everyday commute to start with. But the child in me misses snow. Winter should be white. Period.

Ten years ago today our Finnish adventure started. We met a lot of amazing people, had the most snowy winter, got to see St. Petersburg and Tsarskoye Selo, got to visit Santa's village on the Arctic Circle and many more. It was a wonderful time. And so many things have happened since then. I'm not even going to try and name them. Too many.

Las weekend was a long weekend here in Poland. First one this year. And white! It was snowing whole Thursday. So Friday, Saturday and Sunday were all about snow. We spent a lot of time outside, seizing the opportunity to play in the snow to the maximum.

It was still snowing on Friday. But we started the day with a walk to the nearby forest, where we have hills perfect for sledging. We also had a snow fight, of course. Cause what's a winter without a good snow fight. In the afternoon, it was time to hit the garden again (again, cause the kids spent Thursday afternoon in the garden as well). The kids and K. tried to make a snowman, but the snow wasn't sticky enough. They got back home with red cheeks, all covered with snow and happy.

On Saturday morning, we ate a quick (yet big) breakfast, packed the car and an hour later we were on the ski slope. Yes, we went skiing. Even though we live on the coast, there are a few ski slopes in Kashubia region. They're far from big, but enough for us (and many others).

It was the first skiing adventure for Paulinka. And for me as well. Those who know me can assure you that it was huge. Artur didn't forget a thing (or forgot little, me being the one to judge) from his last year's skiing classes. After some time, me and Paulinka went to the bar for some hot chocolate/tea and fries, while the guys continued skiing for some time longer. Us, girls, loved the bar part of the day, too, might I add. It was a fun, yet very cold, half of day. We spent the rest of it at home.

Sunday was all about snow fun again. It was cold, but sunny this time. We went sledging, we were rolling in the snow. We definitely had fun.

The whole weekend was all about fun. Snow fun. Making memories. For me, snow fun is connected with hot chocoloate or hot cocoa once I get back home. And slices of bread baked with cheese. As simple as that. I want my kids to have memories with snow, too. They don't have to be the same as mine. As long as they are good. And hot chocolate/cocoa just has to be in the picture.

How was your winter weekend? Already waiting for the next one? We sure are. (My beloved camera is still dead. It's been too long. So all pictures were taken with mobiles. Which I hate).