Two weeks in Portugal: its warm, the sun shines bright, the night skies are filled with stars, there is time to relax, sleep in, walk to the shops, go to the beach; time to breathe; and we all feel so much better for it.

The Apirana’s Tour the World:

AUTUMN: The Netherlands, Eastern Europe and across to Portugal:

What a journey: exhausting but exhilarating at the same time; amazing people, a continuous flow of good food and coffee, comfortable beds and many laughs to relieve the few tense moments when the pressure was too much.

For a few days we tried using the internet on my phone to get directions on Google maps – a welcome relief but a drain on the finances as it chewed up our credit at the rate of knots. We are en route to Lisbon. Our gig has been cancelled for tomorrow night so we are no longer in a hurry and can relax a bit even though we do still have a twelve-hour drive ahead of us. Today we will be trying the non-toll roads. Yesterday we spent over a hundred Euros on tolls and we are told the non-toll roads in Spain are just as good so we are giving it a go.

Looking back over these last weeks:


UK News from the Apirana’s

As we head for the Ferry terminal in Dover, my emotions are mixed. I love this place and still don’t feel the desire in me to travel these roads has been satisfied – I leave “knowing” I will be back again one day. Still I am excited in anticipation of what lies ahead and very glad to be going to the place we call home for the many months we spend in Europe. We will be in Kruiningen in less than a few hours and it will be good to unpack, put our things in a wardrobe and have our own space to chill out between gigs.

For now I can’t help but think back over the events of these past weeks in the UK with so much gratitude: for the people we have met and stayed with, and that have become our dear friends; for the things that have happened sometimes extremely difficult, sometimes overwhelmingly wonderful; for a brief introduction into others inspirational and challenging lives, for the ever present challenge to believe that ALL things do work together for good.


This weekend we fly to Italy to play in Milan, Naples and Rome. We are so excited to be going back to Italy after 12 years and looking forward to meeting up with the wonderful people we met last time and to making new friends. We will be back in The Netherlands doing house concerts in a weeks time.

Portugal to France.

What an amazing month we have had – what an amazing start to our European Tour. We have gone from one amazing place to another, from one amazing family to another, from one amazing experience to another. I could not in these few words give justice to the bounty of goodness and blessing we have experienced these past four weeks. So to all our new and old friends who have made this time possible and so wonderful, thank you. With all our heart, thank you.


Wednesday: today we bought our car. It is a silver Seat Cordoba station wagon (made by Volks Wagon). It is a 1999 model with GPL (LPG) tank fitted, making it very economical to run. Gas is 40 Euro cents a litre here. We are so grateful to friends who have supported this venture and to Denny and Maureen for making it possible by doing ALL the hard work. It will mean we can get around Europe and the UK with ease, and have plenty of room for Molly and Reuben when they arrive in August. 

Santa Barbara de Nexe: the home of Maureen and Denny Hurst

We have been here a week now. Maureen and Denny live in a motor home but rent a house so they can have guests stay with them. Theirs is a life on the road – a bit like a pair of turtles carrying their home on their backs. They are probably the most generous people I know and have given themselves to serve us this entire week. No wonder we love being here. When we were here in 2012 we made some great friends and it has been wonderful catching up with them again. This is a very special place: very much like Queensland in a lot of ways with similar weather and many flowers, trees and shrubs that we have on the Sunshine Coast. Maybe that’s part of the reason I feel so at home here. And of course the sun just keeps on shining.


Christophe and Melissa run a hostel for young people - mostly surfing enthusiasts in Bidart. They are such wonderful people, I can’t wait to come back here for our weekend with them. We eat our own breakfast that I've brought with me. Christophe is away getting breakfast for the guests at the hostel and Melissa is away on her morning run. The two youngest children are there to keep us company with their lovely chatter. Melissa has kindly offered to drive us to the airport to pick up our hire car. I am so relieved to be driving not going in a train, and also to leave behind two of our small bags. We now have one bag packed for overnight stays on our way to Portugal and the other big bag can just stay in the car.


SATURDAY 31.5.14

It was time to say goodbye to our friends and head off on the next phase of our journey. It had been a wonderful week and we are so glad we will be seeing James and Dianne again soon. We have to put half our luggage in their car and half in Mel and Clare’s and squeeze in to a small space on the seat in the back but its only a short distance. On the way to the station I realize I have made a mistake in booking our train tickets. I have booked them from Tours and we are going to Saint Pierre de Corps. I am so relieved when James are not phased by mistake and actually it worked out really well. For 2.80 euro we got on a train from Saint Pierre de Corps to Tours. It just meant instead of three changes today we now had four. This change was fine – we had almost an hour, the next would be fine too – two hours but the third would be risky. We had fourteen minutes to find our next train and get on it. It took an age to find the platform and then when we did it was difficult to tll which train was ours as there were two – going in opposite directions. Of course I chose the wrong one and it wasn’t till I got to the very end before I realized my mistake. To save a bit of time we got on the train at the first class end – there was no way I could run any further with all those bags.

MONDAY 26th to FRIDAY 30th

A week of Chateaux’s, good food (the French do fabulous food – fresh, wholesome and delicious), walks every day, lots of sleep, constant chatter, one small concert after dinner for the owners of our retreat, and wonderful fellowship with our dear friends from days gone by – altogether a wonderful introduction to our time in Europe and an excellent way to get over jet lag.

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