Wednesday, 1 January 2014


Which is not an expletive but a Dutch specialty! Oliebollen, translating as 'oil balls' are 
A small me with tall eucalyptus trees
photo by Dave Greene
traditionally served only at New Year and are said to be the forerunner of doughnuts. Wikipedia describes them much better than I can but basically an oliebol is a deep fried dough ball containing chopped dried fruit. They are served dipped into icing sugar. Albertje seemed to spend most of New Year's Eve making many oliebollen for the bar in the early evening and another camper, Willi, spoke of having made seven hundred of them each New Year when she managed a large campsite in the Netherlands. Willi doesn't even like oliebollen! Dave and I managed to eat ten between us - they're quite small - and they're nice enough but I think Dave summed up well when he said they would be better served freshly cooked and hot rather than cold as is traditional. Cold oliebollen are very oily indeed!

Having spent our customary couple of evening hours in the bar from five to seven, we had a few hours to kill before the New Year moment itself. We should have had dinner, but were already too full (see above) so now have yesterday's salmon and pesto meal to eat tonight instead. How frugal! We (almost) all reconvened at eleven-thirty for a bring-a-plate gathering with Herman covering the bar tab which was kind of him.  In preparation for Bailey being chilly on our return, we stuffed the bed with a hot water bottle kindly given to us by our friends Kim and Chris before we departed. (Yes, Kim, you were right!!)

Our New Year was very civilised with much interesting conversation and bonhomie - we learned one of our fellow campers had been a Royal Marine frogman, another spent forty years in the Merchant Navy.  We now also have a standing invitation to a beautifully situated Swedish guesthouse.  The Dutch don't have a version of Auld Lang Syne so we got a year off from raucous singing. Odd to spend a New Year's Eve without any music though and, as the TV here is tuned to Dutch Sky and their New Year was already an hour past, there was no centralised countdown either - just Albertje keeping an eye on her watch. There was an awful lot of kissing though - thirteen people times three kisses each! 

Since we didn't get to bed until well gone two o'clock, we're both being laid-back today. I had 
Concrete arrow pointing skywards
photo by Dave Greene
thought about a walk for our final full day in Serro Da Bica, but we haven't gotten around to it. Perhaps we will have to pop down for a last look at the gorgeous river Mira tomorrow morning before we depart. It feels strange to be packing up the awning to leave here after having been stopped for five weeks. Previously, moving on seemed the natural thing to do, but maybe we have got ourselves too well settled? I hope we can remember all the things we need to do to get underway?

We think we will definitely come back to Serro Da Bica at some point in the future. A video we saw of the campsite in the springtime, flooded with flowers, was particularly memorable so maybe a return should be on the cards for Spring 2015.

Tomorrow we head to the coast - to the seaside! Dave's daughters are coming out to visit us in a few weeks time and our friends Chris and Marta have recently put ashore in France and are driving this way too. But in the meantime:

Gelukkig Nieuwjaar! 

Feliz Ano Novo!

Happy New Year!

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