See You Soon

A week later we’re back on the road. Tomorrow we’re leaving our friends behind, and moving on.

A group of people have a picnic

We had the most wonderful time, attended a ton of concerts, and had yummy food and drinks.

There isn’t a better group of people in the world. We will miss them.


Legendary

Best show of the festival. He had us crying.

Amazing performance by The Legendary Tigerman.


The Man

Plenty more later, I’m sure.

Musician sitting close to the amps.


DayTwo, the Bass

Another day is done. A photo of a bass, two of one of the bass players (because they’re the coolest), and that’s about it.

A bass with bokeh

Cool dude, pink shirt. Shades.

Cool dude playing the bass

It’s too late, going to bed.

A singer kneeling on stage


The Gang

A group of people stands in front of the Roman bridge in Chaves

The little ones were left out of this one, but here we are. The group that made the trip to the festival.


N2 2022, DayOne

It was a long, hot, day. And I’m not particularly proud of any of the photos from yesterday. Still trying to find my way around the lights.


Crashed

Toddler sleeping on the hotel room’s floor

tinyMovieStar kinda woke up, tried following mom into the bathroom, and just gave up. The room is not even THAT big, but she couldn’t make it all the way… Sleeping like this for a while now 🤣🤘🏼


Shine Bright

A pair of flashy flip flops

Day One underway.


My Commute

A man crosses a river, stepping on small stones

Eating and sleeping on one side of the river, concerts take place on the other one.

Full disclosure: this is not the only way to cross 🙂


A Tradition is Born

Chaves, the city where we are right now, is the place where tinyMovieStar was conceived. She is from here.

We came back last year, as there was no festival in 2020, and again this one.

2021

2022


Help is Here!

A beer truck parked in the old part of town

Time to go out and have one, maybe?


So. Hot.

Not a lot to report. It’s too hot.

Woke up, late breakfast, a dip in the pool at the hotel, lunch, and then we sat, eating ice cream after ice cream. Small stroll around, and back to the hotel.

Mom pushes a stroller with a toddler

Tomorrow the festival starts, and we’ll have to be outside anyway.

Toddler walks in the heat.


Stroll, and Haircut

Out of bed by 8AM, small stroll to the barbershop, and time for my yearly haircut in Chaves. Love this barber.

Up to date on city life, and hair ready for a few weeks on the road.


Chaves, DayOne

We made it to the wonderful Chaves. At last.

Two girls watch a phone, with a Roman bridge in the background

We were welcomed by our friends, the best hosts in the land.

Two girls on a stairway that leads to a river

On the way we picked up Diana, one of tinyMovieStar’s favorites, and she was acting cute in no time.

A girls takes a photo of a toddler who’s lying down on the floor


bSides From the Weekend

A car is parked in front of a modern looking building. A museum.

A man rests under a Roman bridge. Tables are seen on the foreground.

A red motorcycle helmet with a sticker on it.

A montage of photos covers a window.

Bottles and a fridge. The fridge has magnets with the words “Welcome to Portugal”.

“Exit” painted on a wall.


Sunday Morning

Hotel next to the ramparts.

Waking up in Chaves.

Glass floor with Roman ruins underneath.

Breakfast with Roman ruins under my feet, and getting ready for the trip back to the movieStars.

A ball with Skye from the Paw Patrol on a pool table.

Miss them.


Saturday

Burnt trees.

The drive up was sad. Miles and miles of burnt forest.

Close to the end, a deer crossed the highway just in front of me. I almost cried.

View from Chaves. River, Roman bridge.

A house with a man standing in front of it, covered by a box.

Then it was time to have fun: being with our dear friends, and a concert. Dinner, beer, and back to the hotel.

A musician plays guitar in the garden.


Chaves

Going on Saturday, for a day.

A chair stands between two doors.

A small motorcycle in front of a shop window with a cow on it.

The city center, with old buildings. Dark street.

Can’t wait for August, when the three of us go together for a week. One of the highlights of our year.

Three pine trees with a brick wall behind them.


Vacation: Done

Maybe I should start this one by saying that “vacation” doesn’t really apply when you’re doing it with a one year old, no matter how adorable tinyMovieStar is. Or, better, it’s a different thing altogether, one we’re experiencing for the first time, a far cry from what used to be our “vacation” time.

Having said that, we had a blast.

We travelled the country, south to north, down to the middle, and back south after a couple of days in town. It’s not a big country but it feels HUGE when you’re doing it with a baby strapped in the back seat.

movieStar has an amazing talent for in-car entertainment, and that came in very handy all through the month and a half we spent on the road.

The little one LOVES water, and she had the chance to spend a fair amount of the month soaking in it. Beaches (both sea and river), swimming pools (indoor and outdoor), an assortment of buckets and bowls, a portable Ikea bathtub, regular bathtubs, a wooden bathtub, showers of all sorts, a garden hose, and the odd water bottle over the head. She had the chance to try, and enjoy, them all.

That was the main purpose of the time we spent going around: showing her a good time. I think we nailed it.

She met a few family members she hadn’t seen before, and spent time with the ones she had already met. Also managed to meet some of our dear friends who don’t live in Lisbon, and met the ones who do in other parts of the country. All but two of them (a couple with a kid) were missing from this month on the road.

That was also great for a us, and a welcome surprise. We saw everyone! After spending so many months going nowhere, it was awesome to be able to spend some time with them away from the city.

Covid notes

This was the first time we were so long out of our home in a while, so we had the experience of going through all the regular things with the new set of rules. Things are also changing very quickly. Outdoor mask wearing is still mandatory in the country whenever social distance can’t be achieved, and we did that. All of the people we met were already fully vaccinated too. The music festival we attended had an incredibly thorough Covid protocol enforced, and the hotels we stayed at needed proof of vaccination, or a test done on the premises. Restaurants were also following the rules, and we also ended up eating outside all the time anyway. People wore masks when going to the beach, and only removed them when they got to their place in the sand. At the river beaches things were a bit less strict (and kinda scary), at least for me. A LOT of people were not wearing masks at all, but they mostly came from countries where you don’t have to wear them anymore, so they might not be aware of the local rules. Everyone wears a mask in Spain, as far as we could tell.

The North

We went to Chaves, the incredible city where the N2 Festival takes place, home of the nicest group of people in the land.

I was lucky to be invited to shoot this event a couple of years ago, and soon, really soon, they were like family to us. This is the place where tinyMovieStar was conceived, and we take that very seriously! Hahahaha…

We always feel very welcome here, and dream about these days a lot. Great friends, amazing food, and the best music around. Hard to beat. We look forward to our time in town, were sorry we couldn’t make it last year, and extra happy when we knew we’d be able to visit this time around.

Also, next to the Spanish border. We went there.

I had some work to do, of course, so movieStar stayed with the tiny one and tried to make the best out of it. We had a cousin joining us on the trop, with his wife and kid to keep her company. I would join whenever I wasn’t busy with work. Not perfect, but that was as good as we could get it this year. It was very good.

The Village

Both my parents come from the Beira Alta region, close to Serra da Estrela, the highest mountain in mainland Portugal.

When I was much younger we’d go there every year, multiple times. Summer vacation, Christmas, probably Easter too. My godfather lives in the city over there, still does, and all my other uncles (and cousins) would make the trip from their cities and join us there. It was a constant party. Grandpa and Grandma loved having a full house, and there was room for everyone.

The trip up would be a full day, over seven hours long, with a packed car, no air con, the summer heat driving us all nuts. I don’t remember it that way, but it must have been. The heat is crazy during the summer months, it had to be a crazy day.

But the summer was always the best time to be there, as the little villages would be filled with people. The ones who lived in the cities, and the ones who were forced to emigrate to other parts of Europe. The streets packed full, cars with French, German and Swiss license plates. Every village has a party day, with music and loads of food, and you could feel the happiness all around. We’d have multiple trips to Spain, Ciudad Rodrigo and Salamanca the destination of many day trips, and we would also beg my parents to let us stay at my godfather’s place in the city, sleep overs with our four cousins.

In the village we would spend the day outside, running around in the fields, playing with our friends, old and new, knowing we’d see them again in a year, growing up apart but, somehow, together. We’d go back home, but knew they’d be there when the year was done. We had horses, donkeys, cows, pigs, chicken, it was an incredible zoo over there.

And then we grew up. We had jobs and couldn’t make it there every year, others just stopped coming altogether. A few more years went by and my grandparents and some uncles sadly weren’t with us anymore, so my parents weren’t having as much fun, and would only go once a year.

I always cherished the time we spent there, a lifestyle very different from the one we had in the city. I missed it more than I would have thought I would.

My mom still owns a house there, one that belonged to my grandparents, and we do go up there. But the trips are very far apart. It’s too hot for them, it takes forever to get the house cleaned up, and not a lot of people are there anymore. As I said earlier, it’s not that much fun anymore.

I wanted tinyMovieStar to have that experience, the same one I did, but all her grandparents live in the city now. Luckily, we have found a solution!

Mansinho, one of our closest friends (actually more like family) has a village house, in the place where his parents were born, and he still spends time there. Working from home is also possible over there, as the internet connection is amazingly fast, so he goes up there often.

He has welcomed us there in the past, and we went again this month, with tinyMovieStar. She made a lot of new friends, tried some very different food items, visited her first river beaches (a lot of those in the area), went to Spain again (you can actually walk to Spain, as it’s so close). We will do this again in the future, I’m sure. She loves it, needs it, and we also do.

We took this opportunity to go through Serra da Estrela, and visit a couple of places there. Spending the night at a very nice hotel, and another one that was not as nice, but still good.

Nuno made the trip up from Lisbon, four hours on his motorcycle, and joined us there for a couple of days. He spent most of it going around with the kids, riding his bike.

The South

We’ve been here twice this year. A couple of weeks ago we had such a good time that we came back for seconds!

Already in Lisbon, and thinking the time away this year was done, movieStar thought it would be a good idea to go back to the Algarve, and work from home. So we did.

The place where we ended up is as far from what normally is associated with the Algarve, and that’s just perfect for us. It’s the perfect spot for a few days, the hosts are the greatest, and it sure feels great to drive around in the evening, with the sweet smell of the Algarve in the air. The pool is awesome, and we all had an amazing time, this time with company, a friend was staying in the other house.

We would visit the Algarve when we were kids, and had an incredible time there. We would stay for a week, maybe two, before going up to the village, or abroad. I never got that lovely feeling of enjoyment here again. It has gotten too crowded. But I had a great time this time around.

The Algarve as a whole can be a nice place, with careful research and the right company. I think we got that one right.

We even managed to squeeze in another two visits from friends with babies, and a visit to a family house on the way up to Lisbon. Beach, pool, food and beer. Not bad at all.

And, you guessed it, a ten minute drive to Spain. We went there as well.

Home

Back home, loads of laundry to do, groceries to shop for, and things to get ready for tinyMovieStar’s first day in school. She’s starting next week.

I, for one, know what I’ll do then: rest!


Family

It’s been a great, amazing, sweet, exciting, and busy, week.

We’ve been spending these past days at Chaves, the greatest little city in the country, enjoying the N2 music festival but, above all, spending time with the most amazing group of people one can imagine.

The kids, as they are all kids, who get this show going are the most creative bunch we know. Living far from the big cities they have their work cut out for them, and work much harder than anyone else I have had the pleasure of meeting.

Being invited to come up here was something I never saw coming, and my life would be very different without them. I was surprised at first and thrilled ever since.

They have spent the past two years setting up this edition of the festival, unable to do it last year, unsure about it this time. And yet it happened. And what a show it was!

Being able to watch a live show is a great feeling, one that we couldn’t have for a while now. Having the opportunity to do this together with such a great group is even better.
Witnessing their work, and how it comes alive, is humbling and a chance to see perseverance at play. A learning moment for me.

I also missed shooting concerts, and that was awesome too.

movieStar didn’t get the chance to attend a lot of them, as the little one needs her naps, and meal times, and regular, and early, sleep. I’m sorry for that. It was the only negative thing about the whole thing, not being able to spend more time with her.

Hopefully we’ll come again, next year, and many times after that. For us it feels like visiting the family, with a festival thrown in for good measure. But we would be here anyway, even with no music. We’d be here for the love.


Chaves Life

Busy days at Chaves.

Time to meet old friends again, shoot some photos, eat a TON of amazing food, some beers, and watch an incredible concert.

The festival will take place in August, the official announcement happened yesterday. That’s what brought us up north.

Coming here is always part of the highlights of the year, and we missed it last year. Thankfully we’re back.

Tomorrow we’ll make our way, slowly, home. Stopping at Porto for a night before heading home.

Lots of photos still left to edit.

🌳 Chaves


Week Ahead

Second Moderna shot on Monday. movieStar gets first one on Wednesday. Small assignment on Thursday. Leaving for Chaves on Friday.

Can’t wait!


Things I Love