Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Bom Día is Good morning in Portugese!


It seems a bit strange how normal it feels to get up about 6 a.m., put on the same clothes I wore yesterday that I hand-washed and hung to dry. In Portugal they nearly flash dry, the warmth, a little breeze and the quick-dry material are the perfect combination. 
Every day is different, with farms, hamlets and villages linked with paths, stone roads, and a little asphalt that wend through olive groves, stands of eucalyptus trees and gardens of beirzo, tomatoes, and cabbage. When I walked from Fátima to Tomar, I followed an acqueduct built by the Knights if the Templar, visited a museum collection of 60,000 matchbooks from 127 countries and enjoyed raucous pasta dinners accompanied by vinho tinto with other pilgrims in the Hostel Tomar. 
Followed by two full days of walking solo, staying on quiet farms or hostels between the main stages where a lot of pilgrims stay, visiting Roman ruins, receiving a gift of a handful of walnuts from a local peasant woman in a dress, headscarf and wellies and discovering what is around the corner! 

My sketchbook diary, note the heat!




Got lucky to stay with Nuno!




Beautiful village where we watched boys showing off on their bicycles in the main intersection. 
B




Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Walking from Alhandra to Valada, Portugal.

Another beautiful day of walking through flat farmland. Thankfully there is occasional shade from the huge reeds that border the road. But otherwise I pull out my umbrella and it is like walking under a tree. It is great. The farmers harvest vast fields of tomatoes with machines, dropping a few along side the road where they are well smashed. 
I had the greatest experience in a small casa, I was the only one there and my handsome host practiced his Fado guitar, fixed me dinner and breakfast . I was the only one there. It has been two and a half days since I have met another pilgrim and that was a couple from Russia.
Walking alone all day I meet myself. It is not that boring.

First light along the Rio Tejo. On the pedestrian path.


Ponds and water flowers of some sort.


Mural of a pilgrim along the path.

Nuno, my gracious host in Casal des Areias in Valada.



Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Walking to Alhandra, Portugal.


Watch carefully for the pilgrim signs, as I do not have a guidebook, but an online app that needs internet. Thankfully, I find a Vodafone store en route and buy a SIM card for internet.
Still, the signs must be carefully followed as there are twists and turns leaving Lisbon.
Right away I met two pilgrims, a couple from Russia, Natalia and Ingrid. But they stayed at the first albergue and I went on, so I may not see them again. 
After leaving the city, it is totally flat, continuing on into farmland with dirt path and roads. Along the river are boardwalks through the wetlands and parks. Lovely.

I spent the night at a fire station offering a mattress on the floor of a large room, clean and I had it all to myself. It was on a donation basis. There was really no place else to stay, so I was grateful.


The town square was lovely. In Alhandra.

Lisbon, Portugal

Sunday I flew from Bordeaux to Lisbon to start the pilgrim walk to Santiago, Spain. Made a quick visit to the castle in the evening and walked out early in the morning.
Castle keep in Lisbon.


View from the balcony of the hostel where I stayed.


Random graffiti in Lisbon.

Bordeaux, France

After Paris my son and his wife flew back to Ecuador. I missed them right away, but took the train to Bordeaux to visit friends, Baptiste and his wife Hannah. Baptiste was my second couch surfer years ago, when he moved to Oregon to get a teacher’s certificate.
We all stayed at his parents home and spent Saturday in the nearby village where they live and commute by train for 30 minutes to Bordeaux. Baptiste teaches and Hannah does some occasional jobs, like an after school program teaching tots. But their big news is Hannah is pregnant with their first child. Everyone is thrilled, but poor Hannah is nauseous most the time.

In front of their apartment.

Dinner in the garden at Baptiste ‘s parents, with his sister. Great food and company.

Paris!

Finished our glorious trip in Paris. To see the Louvre museum I pre-booked tickets for the first entry at 9 am. Upon entry we walked directly to the Mona Lisa by Leonardo di Vinci. My son Damon stood front and center directly in front of the painting for as long as he wanted to, with no one in front of him, for ten minutes, Later he said I never dreamed I would do that! When we left the museum 5 hours later, he told me, that was the best experience of my life! I am so pleased! They flew back to Ecuador this morning, but my travels continue!



Damon and Susana with the Louvre in the background.