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Travelling to Alentejo


View Intensive Dressage Week on bejjan's travel map.

You should feel calm when you’re about to travel (fly) when you live close to Arlanda, but for some reason I felt stressed anyway. I knew there was roadworks along E4 between Uppsala and Arlanda which would cause some delay in traffic. That’s why I planned to leave home a little early. But it nevertheless ended up with me standing there packing the bags with stress and left half an hour later than planned. Luckily, Saturday traffic was calm on E4 despite redirected traffic and only one lane in each direction for several kilometers with reduced speed to 70 km/h.

Often you can see the aircrafts descend for landing when you’re close to Stockholm-Arlanda Airport, but not today. Today there were low, dense clouds and really cloudy so it was difficult to see the aircrafts at all. On the way to the Arlanda’s long-term parking’s, you drive by runway 01L which is used when take-off or landing at northern winds. And today it must have been northern winds as all of the sudden, out of the dense clouds, an Airbus 320 appeared above my car at a very low altitude on its way in for landing. I think it was the moment of surprise that almost made me duck in my car. In better weather you would have seen the aircraft at a distance and not been as surprised.

Left the car at the long-term parking and took the bus to the departure terminal. Stepped as usual into the departure hall and walked towards the Self-Service Check In machines (well, where they have been for the last 5 years anyway) to print out the baggage tag (I had already checked myself in online at home). It felt weird after a while… I should have reached the machines by now… confused I started to look around. “What the…??” No machines as far I as could see. Had they removed the machines? Or just moved them? It took a minute or two until I finally saw some Check In machines squeezed into a corner, without any signs saying they were there. Typed in my booking number and followed instructions. But do not think I got any baggage tag… no, only a boarding card. So typical. Now I had to line up for 200 years anyway just to drop off the bag. Sigh. I’s so practical to check in at home, arrive at Arlanda and print out a baggage tag and then leave the bag at baggage drop off… you save so much time!
When I lined up for the TAP Check In Desks, I just remembered… right! It has been the same each time when I’ve flown to Portugal with TAP Airlines. Portugal ought to be the golf-Mecca for the Swedish seniors. Almost all other 300 people in line also had a golf bag each to check in. And since all golf bags are checked in as special luggage, that’s probably why they can’t have a baggage drop off, then someone might check in the golf bag as “normal” baggage… Let’s see if I can remember this, next time I’m flying to Portugal ;)

Time was almost quarter to two when I checked in my bag and gotten though Security Check. One hour left until departure. I had time to do some tax-free shopping before boarding at 2:15 pm. Had obviously made sure I got a window seat, but got a little disappointed it wasn’t an aircraft from the TAP fleet, but an entire white plane that had “Fly White” written on it. Hmm, let’s hope it’s the same quality on-board service and food then. The plane was pushed out from the gate in time and we took off from Arlanda and headed south towards Lisbon. A flight that takes about 4 hours and 20 minutes. The on-board service wasn’t bad. A great lunch was served consisted of quinoa, macarons, warm chicken, steamed vegetables, bread and eco Bregott (butter) and a cookie. And to this some water and white wine of course.

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Touched down at Lisbon Portela Airport just after 6 pm local time, after almost touching the roof tops on the houses close to the runway. When Lisbon Airport was built there were no residential houses nearby, but the capital city and its suburbs has grown during the years and now the airport is surrounded by residentials. Air traffic has since then been adjusted to certain hours a day (with no flights during nights) in order to not disrupt the residents in the area. Now new plans are forming to move the airport to a more remote location outside Lisbon.
To stand waiting for the checked-in bag at the baggage belt can be a real pain. Especially if you once before experienced that your bag has been lost and not travelled with your plane you just disembarked. I waaaited and waaaited and just as I started to feel that uncomfortable feeling that my bag is not coming, it showed up. Phew! Not that fun going on horse riding holiday and your checked in bag with your riding outfit has been lost. Met the driver at the meeting point outside Starbucks and also met another two Swedish ladies (A+M) also staying at the farm during a week, just as I am. It turned out they had arrived on the same flight as me.

We followed our driver to the car and started our almost 2-hour drive to the farm, Herdade Pero Viegas. It had turned dark outside, even in Lisbon, so we barely saw any of the surroundings when leaving Lisbon’s lighted streets. We drove out in the wide-open scenery and continued towards Alentejo region. It was pitch black outside and we finally arrived at the farm we were greeted by Nuno, the farm owner, who showed us to our rooms. It was almost nine o’clock in the evening and they kindly set the table for us to have a late dinner. It turned out we were the only three guests during almost the entire week. Nuno ate with us – as the rest of the week – and there was no risk you would leave the table hungry.

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They served a nice warm soup as starter, followed by rice, potato fries and meat with vegetables. And finally, they served a cake with coffee or tea. As beverages were water, Coca Cola or wine (white/red). All included in the amount payed for this riding holiday.
Tired and with satisfied hungers we went to tour rooms and fell asleep pretty easily.

Posted by bejjan 16:00 Archived in Portugal Tagged traveling Comments (0)

Adeus Portugal – for now


View Intensive Dressage Week on bejjan's travel map.

Had no energy to pack yesterday, so I had a lot to pack down this morning. But it’s always easier to pack everything when you’re going home, than packing when you’re going away. Because when you’re just going home you can throw everything down and don’t have to worry about the bag disappearing on the way home. You’re just going home anyway. It’s far worse packing all your riding gear before a riding holiday and the bag gets lost. Then you have nothing to wear when you’re riding…

A, M and I would travel on the same flight. So, we had to leave the farm at 9 am in order to get to Lisbon in time for our flight at 12.45 pm. Always a little sad to say goodbye to a homely and peaceful place. But we had our last walk on the farm and the stables, said goodbye to Patrícia and her two super-adorable and friendly dogs Pipoca and Mia.

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"Are you guys leaving?"


Lisbon Portela Airport has one major tax-free shop and, as the other times I’ve been there, they have these bog bags with Kinder Mini Bars. You can’t buy these in “regular” stores but only airports, so I took the opportunity to buy two bags. But I know myself too well and these two bags of chocolate won’t last long… ;)

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Surprisingly, a female pilot flew the plane back home to Stockholm-Arlanda. And the closer we got to Sweden the more turbulence it got and it was really dark and low clouds. But the landing was incredibly smooth and soft. You couldn’t even feel the wheels touching the runway before the plane started breaking.

I would really recommend all friends and people interested in going on riding holiday (dressage) to book this place. You can combine as you want. One riding lesson per day or two. Classic dressage or Working Equitation or combine with trail riding. The trail riding will be on the same stallions you ride the dressage lessons on (which is not very common), but you will only be walking. No trot or canter. Amazing personnel doing what they can to please us guests.
Weather was fantastic apart from the first morning with fog. Then it was sunny the entire week without any clouds. In the evenings and nights, you could watch the starlit sky. Temperature was around +20 °C and maybe even more.

Posted by bejjan 16:00 Archived in Portugal Tagged traveling Comments (0)

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