Portugal …ten days with the American

Getting up at 6 in the morning, I took off from Gerês and drove 4 hours to Lisbon to pick up Tommy. For the first two hours I was driving through clouds from wildfires – a mesmerizing and sad experience. They make a very special and beautiful light, especially with sunsets and sun rises.

Tommy and me spent two more days exploring Lisboa while staying in a beautiful and cozy air bnb.
Our next destination was the South coast – the Algarve. We had booked an Air bnb in Carvoeira. The place had some old time charme and a beautiful ocean view. The coast line was stunning with steep limestone cliffs that lined with caves and grottoes. I had been warned that the Algarve is very touristic and so we found big hotels and the kind of tourists that are super happy when they hear someone speaking in their mother tongue. At some point I pondered why they bother me and if they aren’t just part of the whole and told myself to let go and accept without judging.
We enjoyed hiking along the coastline, swimming in the ocean and soaking up the sun. There I met another beautiful soul that will stay in my memories. In our neighbourhood a street dog was walking around. She was a beautiful mid size podengo portuguese, just about shy of a year old and had a jolly, happy attitude. We played on the beach and she quickly trusted me. Even though she seemed pretty healthy (besides being a bit on the skinny side) the beforementioned tourists pittied her “I think she is close to dying” while she was sleeping in a cave. I laughed to myself. She didn’t leave my thoughts and I tried to contact a Portuguese organization when I got back home but never heard back from them. I hope she is enjoying her life.

After four days we left Carvoeira, driving west along the south coast. We payed Sagres Fortress a visit where we experienced strong winds and had a look around the fortress.
From there we went north. The area felt much different to the southern coast with its touristic towns and square hotel blocks. Here it was much more rugged and empty. It felt good. We arrived in Aljezur where we had a little stop. I really enjoyed the vibes of this little town. I saw backpackers around and their seemed to be an artsy community. We got some groceries and continued to our next destination – a yurt a few kilometres inland. To get there we turned off the main road and followed a sandy, slightly scary path down into a valley of corck and eucalyptus. Our host was a british guy who was developing his land into a “glamping” destination. Spread out on a big piece of land there were a little tree house, a farm house, a stone house, a little swimming pond and our yurt. Together with it came a roofed outdoorkitchen, an outdoor shower, a beautiful deck and a compost toilet. Our host himself was living in a trailer further down the valley. He was an interesting guy and we shared some talks about society, the education systems and nature. The place was tranquil and wonderfully peaceful. I could have stayed much longer but I enjoyed the four days as it was. I enjoyed the deck, the peace and not having to wear that much clothes. One evening we went back to the coast where we had a meal at the Taberna do Gabriel II, overlooking the ribeira de Aljezur mouthing into the Atlantic Ocean. The meal was one of the best once I have had and the grumpy waiter just added to the experience, as he was very charming in his own grumpy way.
Even though we had already put in quite a few hours, this valley, the deck in front of our yurt was the place we spent a lot of time talking about us, our relationship, how and if we should continue. We went through anger and tears. In the end we decided we didn’t want to give up just yet. We decided that I should come and stay in the USA to see how we work in an every day life. Part of me knew then that this wasn’t going to work but I also knew that decisions come when it is time for them.

Our last day was spent at the beach of Odeceixe. From there we drove back to Lisbon, where we had booked a room at a shared apartment.

We said goodbye – to each other and to Portugal. Tommy with a sense of “good to have been here”, me with a sense of “Portugal, what a stunning place you were, I’ll surely be back.”

 

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