Who are Elly and Gerard anyway?
Elly Bos-Schoutsen  and Gerard Bos  have been a couple since 1980. Work and study made them roam all over the Netherlands and move many times. Both have an active social life with family, friends and lots of acquaintances. But, things have changed. Since 2018, they have been living and working in northern Portugal.
On a spring evening in 2018, Elly and Gerard were sitting on the sofa watching yet another wildly interesting games programme on television. At the time, they had been living in a beautiful flat with a large terrace in Hoorn for several years. Gearard was self-employed working on commissions from municipalities, but that dried up. Elly had set up a small ironing service. But this wasn't it. So Gerard asked his wife if this was going to be the future: hanging out in front of the tube every night instead of doing fun things. So what are these fun things? From Elly's experience as a Bed NO Breakfast hostess in The Hague Netherlands for over eighteen years, both knew what it had to be. The helm had to change.
The idea did not come out of the blue. Previously, they had looked for a location in Spain and France, but without success. Money proved a breaking point. That did not seem to be the case now, due to the flat's surplus value. The most recent holiday experiences in Portugal and house prices made them focus on that. After all, Portugal? Good food, fine wine, vast, multiple climates, beach, culture, golf courses: oh, yes, speaking Portuguese was a thing.
Elly plunged into the World Wide Web and soon came up with houses. It was clear that they needed to focus on one region. No Algarve: too hot and too many English. No Central Portugal: too dry and too far from airports. So, the North. The North is green, wine, not extremely touristy. That focus emerged in the several times they actually went to see Portuguese houses. In total, they saw as many as 50 of them.
And then they got in touch with the seller of a large house in Vizela. Beautiful weather at the viewings, the house was presented as a palace, everything worked. They went for another viewing with an architect friend who confirmed by eye what was in the purchase papers. On 8 November 2018, after a wonderful "I'm leaving party" both set off with Mina the cat. The moving van with 80 m3 of goods would arrive behind them: help was provided by a sister and cousin. On arrival, the sun was shining. The goods were delivered by the moving company. They drank a glass to the good future. What could go wrong?
It started raining. Electricity failed. Roof leaked. Stove stopped working. Fireplace had no pipe to the outside. The sellers would not move. Gerard and Elly cancelled the sale, waived the deposit sum and were summoned to leave within two days. It was the day after Christmas: everyone was off. They barely networked. But, since Elly had by now been house-hunting on the web almost full-time again, they shared the worry with an estate agent. Who arranged everything within two days: storage, temporary housing and a mover. Great! They could use the storage and temporary space for a month, so there was still urgency. Under pressure, gas becomes liquid: the impossible happened. In the same region, they found another house in early January. That was bought and remodelled. There they now have their Bed & Breakfast and flat.
A major renovation was needed to create five en suite rooms, a new staircase, a bathroom for ourselves and a new kitchen. Portuguese people are not lazy. They are not quick. As a result, the first season, 2019, did not become long enough to realise our other plans as well. Gerard therefore went to the Netherlands in winter 2019 to "earn a swimming pool". In spring 2020, it was built and meanwhile a lovely relaxation garden for guests has been realised, as well as a flat. They cook with some regularity a Mesa de Casa [Portuguese Table d'hôte] and fire up the barbecue.
Our guests come to enjoy nature either passively or very actively. Others come for the history and culture: there is much to see in the immediate surroundings. Enjoyers of wine [Vinho Verde] and food have fortunately also found their way to our Bed & Breakfast. It is also precisely these different elements that have been designated and included by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. In the moments of tranquillity, everyone enjoys the sounds of the countryside and the pool. You are also warmly welcome!
This blog previously appeared in adapted form on "wonenenwerkeninhetbuitenland.nl".
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