Transformations and Algarvations

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Despite getting lost between goat herders and villages, our only sign of direction being the occasional other scruffy campervan to try to follow... they are actually following us... we found BOOM FESTIVAL, alongside a lake near to Idanha-A-Nova in the middle of the Portuguese countryside. We queued, picking up an assortment of hitchers, for 5 hours. Endless tracks through Eucalyptus forests and a phenomenal number of teasing brows of hills, definitely just over the next one...
A festival of oneness, art, environment, music, culture and love. We were blown away (literally) by the spectacular, kaleidoscopic structures, intricate and magnificent and almost entirely bamboo. The festival is rooted in ecology: trying to establish an active, sustainable change beyond the Boom land.
From a workshop in mud-building to gong-yoga to floating on our backs in the lake, to the wavey pulse of a didgeridoo playing live psytrance... Purchases could be made using Bitcoin. The de-criminalisation of drugs allowed a testing centre with intention to reduce health risk, publicly reporting safety and purity.
A gathering of 30,000 people representing over 100 countries, united to visualise and manifest an alternative, positive vision for the future. Completely free of corporate sponsorship, no VIP areas or special treatments. It was a transformational week in a transformational place. Typically hard to put into words, holding a place in our hearts, 2 years, until next time. <3

From transformational to transformation... To Obidos to help Mum and Dad and all the animals move into their new home on a hill. All the furniture from Wales that had been in a temporary void somewhere on the planet, arrived, down the track on a double articulated lorry. Standing in the middle of an expanding terrain of packaged objects, Mum ticked off the list each of the expected 210 items.. 'What is all this fucking junk!?... that we have paid to put in fucking storage!?... and paid to fucking bring to fucking Portugal!?... WE HAVE MANAGED TO LIVE WITHOUT IT FOR THE PAST THREE MONTHS.'

'Why do you have to put a bank card in this calculator to make it work?'
Dad, trying to work out whether or not his beers were good value, holding a bank card-reader.

We drove HOT down to the Algarve HOT to visit Angus's Uncle, Aunt and Cousins. Despite the sweaty and dusty greeting from us, they invited us to stay with them for the last two nights of their holiday in the town house they were renting. Up a cobbled street and through a narrow doorway, we found we were to stay for two days in a castle in a tardis. Two houses knocked into one, with courtyards and olive trees, winding passageways and staircases, and balconies leading to secret corners of roof terraces. Over Winter the house is rented out as an art school and one evening we went for tapas with the owner. He made his fortune in the UK in accounting, grew disgusted with money, quit being an accountant, moved to Portugal and lives giving the 'V's' up to the exploitation and greed he witnessed working in capitalism. And generally being incredibly inspiring. He filled our evening with hilarious and unbelievable stories about the spheres of British culture he'd been involved with for so long.

After two lovely days doing family catching up and getting water taxis to islands, we left them to spend four days in Tavira in the Rio Formosa Natural Park. Four days of cycling to villages through salt flats (after missing a turning and getting HOT and cross going the wrong way uphill along the busiest road in the Algarve), emergency stopping when Angus spots a hoopoe... flamingoes... reading a fiction book (post-uni guilt free)... scrambling around in the sand trying to copy the locals digging for cockles... picking samphire... eating cockles and samphire... and being the hosts and dinner at nightly mosquito parties, inside the van.

Thanks to generous relatives, our days begun with freshly squeezed orange juice, and they finished with port. Cheeeers.



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