In November last year I predicted I would be writing more often on my blog. Well, it didn’t happen… Truth is I have had too much to do. Besides trying to learn some Swahili and Italian, sold our house, emptied it, sold and gave away stuff by the tons, bought a flat in Granloholm, Sundsvall, took a car trip to Lisbon with lots of stuff to the flat there, went on to empty it and order renovations that are now in (slow) progress. I have a new granddaughter since august. Anyway, I’m back now and hopefully not having to go through so many energy and time consuming activities in the future.
As far as learning Swahili I can say that I have completed the Duolingo course and that it gives me some ideas on how the language is built, I have some vocabulary, but without practice I am at a loss. I embraced the much easier Italian language and what prompted me to learn it was that my grand daughter Liv Gudasic is in Florence doing a course in Graphic Design. Hopefully we will find the opportunity to pay her a visit in the future.
Life in Granloholm is pleasant. In a smaller flat we have achieved becoming free of all debts and simplified our life as things are well organized here. We have 200 meters away, the possibility to leave all our waste sorted out and not having to take it by car to the recycling stations. We have a common laundry but can do most of our washing indoors.
The bus runs nearby at regular times without much delay. I travel on a monthly ticket that costs me only 100 Sek. Our cat Abby has settled nicely in.
This new situation
means that we increase our possibilities to travel which is something we look forward
Next coming week we will be receiving a delegation from Makunduchi and this will mean a trip to Stockholm to receive them. More about this in coming articles.
There is always an unexpected Portugal waiting for you… Or as Grandpa says the unexpected is to be expected. Today Grandpa finished off some paper work and was on his way to Carcavelos when he got a phone call to turn around and stay in Lisbon. He could, after all, visit the Finanças there and deal with the papers and then go off to Cascais. It was already sometime after 5 o’clock when Grandpa and Patricia could arrive in S. Pedro where we were all waiting, since a few hours before. At last and after two weeks in Portugal, Grandpa finally came down to the beach to feel the sand and the ocean’s cold water!
Grandpa showed us children, something of the coast life and we discovered several sea snails, mussels and other creatures hiding under the rocks. Once back we were presented with a spaghetti dish with tomatoes and coriander after a dreadful trip for Grandpa who was dying to go to the toilet ever since we got on the train in S. Pedro.
Life can be boring without Grandpa nearby! Patricia and grandpa went off early in the morning to catch the train to Viseu. Once there Patricia’s father Julio and his wife Cristina and daughter Joana were waiting at the station. They all took good care of Grandpa who was able to relax. They did not go to bed before 2 in the morning. What we did? Well… We went to the beach ate a Greek salad and on our way back we got lost in Lisbon looking for a restaurant to eat. Guided by Jonatan and Liv we eventually arrived at the place where we had eaten with Grandpa the evening when we had listened to the opera and Jonatan had a stomach ache.
Portugal is a fantastic country where unexpected things happen all the time! One needs to experience it in order to understand. Patricia believes it is all about holding on to high levels of adrenalin and that people get addicted. For Swedes who do not want everything organized and predictable (if there are any?) it might be seen as relaxing. Grandpa can cope, but gets irritated at times, like when they went to buy train tickets to Viseu and there were no people waiting- but the internet suddenly died. It all eventually started to work again but a lot of time was wasted…
Time is something that we cannot administer very well in Portugal because of the high rate of improbabilities. We were invited by Great grandpa to eat at the “El Corte Ingles”. We were there at the agreed time. Even Great grandpa was there on time but was waiting at another place and had forgotten his cell phone. Grandpa solved the whole thing by contacting Uncle Pedro who in turn rang Leonor. In any case, Jonatan and Liv were given each a check for 30€ by Greatgrandpa and his wife Leonor. Jonatan bought a pair of football shoes
and Liv a schoolbag. We travelled as fast as we could to S. Pedro and Great Grandma Pamela. She was irritated about several things, which had to do with her health. Everyone went off to the beach, as Grandpa stayed with Pedro to go through some papers with a Notary. Great grandma gave a flat to Grandpa. Maybe we will be able to stay there when we come to Portugal next time. So, thank you Great Grandma!
We visited the nearby park, Jardim da Estrela. Then we went off again to Vótetta who showed us, (Jonatan and Grandpa), Paço de Arcos city! Jonatan, who by this time still hasn’t learnt Portuguese, wondered what we were searching for. Then off we went! Sporting’s first home match for the season… The opponents were Lyon with Kim Källström.
A nice experience, with a big crowd and where Sporting presented all their players for the fans. Sporting also won the match 2-0. Kim had to be carried out on a stretcher. Grandpa had to change his place, as a nervous old boy, chain smoked next to him. In Portugal people seem to still think that if the match is played outdoors it should be allowed to smoke. Besides, they believe, that they cannot survive a whole match without a smoke. Well, well… We’ll see… we got out of the stadium rather fast and smoothly even though we reckon there were some 35000 people there.
We children were up late, laughing and talking. For Liv it is her last parent free night, because tomorrow mummy Helena arrives.
Have we remembered to mention Patricia’s fantastic breakfasts, with fresh bread, croissants, juice, coffee, etc.? Stadium of Light
We had been to see Sporting and Jonatan’s interest for Portuguese football only grew more and more. We decided to visit rivals Benfica. We went to their stadium and got a nice guided tour. Besides looking at their 100 most important trophies on show, we all also had a glimpse of the president’s seats, the changing rooms. We sat on the substitutes benches and met their eagle Vitória. This eagle flies before every home match. Jonatan was also impressed when he heard that Grandpa had on several occasions talked to the living legend Eusébio. During this time Liv and Patricia did the Colombo shopping center, right next door. We rushed to the airport by taxi and managed to arrive on time to welcome Helena. We ate dinner near Rato and were ready sometime between 11 and 12, Swedish time.
The ogre hunt is on, Grandpa, Daniel,David and Patricia
What a lazy day! Grandpa was shut outside, knocked on the doors and windows, but we just slept away. Grandpa and Patricia had gone out to buy another suitcase. They went to the ”Chinese”. There are plenty of these shops in Lisbon. They sell real cheap things and it is Chinese people that own them.
They cannot pronounce R and replace them with L. But everybody knows this.
In the afternoon we went off to Parque das Nações by the underground station Oriente, with the decided purpose to see a film. It became a new experience to all of us as we saw Shrek 4 in 3D. Fantastic experience as Grandpa had to duck several times to avoid being hit by various flying objects that seem to be coming towards us at incredible speed.
Real fun film where Grandpa showed that he hangs on to all sorts of technical development!
After that we went to Baixa-Chiado, another tube station, and looked for the S. Carlos opera house. A concert was taking place outdoors there, with Verdi operas in the program. Grandpa sang all the arias and people looked around from the stage to admire Grandpa. There were so many people there so we could not see much but we heard quite a lot.
Afterwards we sat outside the Brasileira where photos were taken by the Fernando Pessoa statue. We walked home through Bairro Alto where they were thousands of people in hundreds of bars and restaurants. Liv having a bica with Fernando Pessoa
Grandpa and Patricia went off to the Finanças and returned in triumph with the important papers they needed. We walked towards the center of Lisbon and Grandpa showed us places where he had lived and where our dad John had stayed as a child and had enjoyed.
Grandpa discovered that Mr. Joaquim was still standing behind the counter in the small shop on top of the Monte Olivete Street. We went in to the botanical gardens on the opposite side and looked at butterflies and learned about their lives under the supervision of Grandpa. After that we took a well-deserved rest before continuing to the Baixa where Grandpa and Patricia bought shoes for the visit to Amadora.
In Baixa we ate large sandwiches and carried on, towards the Tejo River.
The river was thick with fish and not even Grandpa could explain what they were doing there. But it was a strange sight on all accounts. The evening was rounded up at the Alameda with a show to commemorate the century of the Republic, with artists from Brazil, Cape Verde and fado singers from Portugal. Last of all appeared the legendary Carlos do Carmo whose career and life had been followed by Grandpa through the years. We did not get to bed until one in the morning!
We are really getting lazy in the mornings now. It is all because of the late nights… Naturally this does not apply to Grandpa, who got up, put on his new suit and was picked up by a car that took him and Patricia to Amadora. There he was received by a whole bunch of politicians wanting to show him the parks of Amadora and at the same time eager to collect information about the Aquapark in Sundsvall! They ate for a long time and received the town’s medals. While they were gone we played cards and solved crosswords (a Liv specialty), it got really late before we caught the bus to Belem! We could then visit Jerónimos, The Culture Centre and the Monument to the sea voyagers as we looked up to see the airplanes landing one after another, on their path, right above our heads. After a long walk we sat down for a meal just beneath the 25th April suspension bridge. Butterflies at the Jardim Botanico.
Daniel had had enough after being stung by a wasp and needed a special medicine. His finger had swollen up and it was disgusting to see. Vótetta collected D & D with promises of lots of food and other extras. They went to see Shrek 4 in 3D, which really impressed Vótetta. The others marched off to Cascais under the leadership of Grandpa. There, everyone got to taste different dishes and where there was a place specially suited for Jonatan, as they had a buffet where one could choose from 8 different vegetarian selections. When he sat down his eye caught something that looked like the fish “bacalhau”. We discovered that in Portugal “bacalhau” is vegetarian even though Jonatan did not accept that and gave Grandpa his bits. Patricia managed to find a dress to match an invitation from one of Portugal’s largest municipalities. Even Grandpa had to look for a suit! There was one that Patricia fancied… When we got to hear the price it was €3600. They looked a bit more and then Grandpa thanked everyone for the interest shown. The evening ended with a self composed dinner at the balcony of the hotel.Goodbye Hotel Londres!
The trip to Lisbon was a success. Liv and Jonatan (now with his Torres shirt) pulled a suitcase each from the hotel to the train station. Then we took a taxi that was driven by a man who had owned a construction company. Grandpa and the chauffeur spoke of world matters before we arrived at R. de S. Bento 638. We set up camp there and ate our first home cooked meal. After that, Grandpa had to go to the Finances which is like our Tax office. Liv accompanied out of curiosity as Jonatan stayed behind to recover from a minor stomach upset. Once at the Financas and after waiting for two hours Grandpa was informed that he needed a representative, and who was his representative? This was a complete novelty for Grandpa who was used to represent and not be represented. What to do? The search for a representative started so the group rushed to Great grandpa’s at Guerra Junqueiro. After a short dispute between Great grandpa and Leonor it was decided in favor of Great grandpa. Grandpa had now found a representative. Grandpa and Patricia went to the shops and Grandpa bought two suits. By doing this it was considered he had saved the shop from a pending bankruptcy! As Liv complained of hunger we visited a Nepalese restaurant that everyone was very pleased with.
On Friday we went to Lisbon. Patricia took the lead on organizing and acquiring, the purchase of many tickets, for a combined travel experience, where the children could try different underground lines. To everyone’s amazement we saw greatgrandpa driving the train to Oriente. Once there, everybody charged to the restaurant area, with all the different fast foods and chose a meal of our preference.
Daniel got a dragon and David a donkey and as far as we all could tell everything tasted delicious including Liv’s doll! The group could now concentrate on the next stage which was the Oceanarium- an enormous aquarium where one could learn about the meaning and importance of the oceans, and why they need to be looked after and preserved. After being intervewed we agreed we liked the pinguins and other diving birds that could swim under the water. Nobody really bothered when Grandpa jumped in to fight a giant shark.
After eating a few ice creams David wanted to go on a tricycle that cost 13 € for 30 minutes. Earlier on Daniel had vomited but got soon better. Jonatan and Liv spent some of their capital and bought a T-shirt and a cuddly turtle at the Oceanarium.
After a visit to Greatgrandma’s flat in Lisbon we ate at a restaurant in a square called Rato where Daniel broke down crying because the people on the table behind us had eaten the last snails
Grandpa hasn’t brushed his hair for a week, but what does it matter, when everyone is on holiday? We started our day by the pool. David wanted some diving gear so he got the others to follow him to to Estoril station where these things were sold. Luncheon was taken outdoors and everyone got something to eat and one more ice cream! Then off again to Algés to meet Vótetta and aunt Gracinda and her daughter Rita. We sat at a café by a park and Grandpa showed everyone how to go on a slide. When we finally came to the flat we discovered a very scared but preety dog-Lady. Grandpa gave some advice on how to train the dog, but realized that he did not have the time to train the dog himself. After that the trip back to the hotel started.. Jonatan and Grandpa wanted to see the match and the others wanted to bathe on the pool. Even Vótetta was there but it did not influence the result. Germany won as we had predicted. We visited the handycraft fair- Feira do Artesanato. Unfortunately David did not come. He stayed behind with Vótetta after another huge meal at the hotel.
The others had great fun and we particularly liked the sleeping dogs that could breathe. Jonatan bought a candleholder for his mum and Daniel got a key ring that one could whistle to. We decided to come back, so Liv could make up her mind on what she wanted. Grandpa talked a lot with a gentleman that owned a company in the entertainment branch. Grandpa could have taken a job there, as he is so funny!!!!
We left Sweden spot on time, on a plane called Florbela Espanca!
This because grandpa drove at a record time from Sundsvall. The newly updated GPS functioned to perfection and for the first time, correctly showed the new road north of Uppsala. The trip went well and we were lucky, to get Jonatan a vegetarian meal, on board. Grandpa offered to land the plane but the captain declined politely but firmly.
In Lisbon there was a huge crowd waiting, in what must be described, as a sort of welcome committee.People ran around on different directions in great excitement as Grandpa held welcome speeches and gave out some information on Lisbon’s history and geography! The group then split up into three different vehicles. Grandpa and Jonatan went off with Greatgrandpa and Leonor (Greatgrandpa’s wife). This was also the first car to arrive at the hotel after a speedy trip with Leonor as co-pilot and Greatgrandpa holding the wheel, in what made us think of the Lisbon rally in WRC. We arrived at the Londres hotel on time to see the second half of the match between Spain and Germany. We saw this, surrounded by loud Spaniards, screaming for joy. The goal scored by David Villa was enough to put Spain on the finals for the first time ever. As the brothers D&D had disappeared for a few hours, Patricia could fulfill a much awaited dream and shared 4 sardines with Grandpa.
Next day Jonatan and Liv went off with Grandpa to visit Greatgrandma. Pamela. Before that, they picked up uncle Pedro, at the beach so he could guide the whole expedition. Pamela was well and stayed at a luxurious home for elderly. Grandpa later invited all for pizzas which was very well appreciated by all concerned. All, were also, very thankful to Grandpa who had managed to acquire tickets for the local train, which seemed to be very complicated in Portugal. Then it was decided that everybody should eat dinner at Vótetta’s. We travelled speedily to Algés. During this trip we all listened to scenes and tales being told from Grandpa’s life to everyone’s overwhelming interest.
Arrived in Algés we got a message that Vótetta was waiting for us at another station. Nothing to worry about…After a while she appeared and all could get into a small car. Grandpa who got to seat in the front offered to push the car on a steep hill but it was not necessary. Everyone was very satisfied with Vótettas wonderful cooking.