It’s almost comical how much you forget when you leave your home country for an extended time. Upon re-entry the effects of reverse culture shock are just that… a shock!
It seemed as if our flight was never going to leave Porto as we waited – and waited – to board the airplane. Scheduled to leave at 11:30 a.m. we saw the flight crew board the plane at 10:50 a.m. and we knew there was no way. And, 30 minutes later we were still waiting. Finally, we taxied down the runway at 12:30 p.m. and off we flew toward the United States. We were heading home, ahead of schedule, but for a very good reason.
A Return to Santiago de Compostela
After 35 days and 350 miles we walked in to Santiago de Compostela, Spain, on May 17, 2015. We were beyond tired and physically beat. The next day we witnessed the pilgrims mass at the Cathedral and garnered our certificates of completion from the pilgrims office. The day after that… we boarded a train for Porto. Our 48 hours in Santiago were not much more than a blur of exhaustion.
The Historic City of Coimbra
We were told the city of Coimbra was built on steep hills. I thought, surely they could not be steeper than the hills of Porto, right? Wrong. The historic City of Coimbra (pronounced co-eem-bra) is all about the hills and they are definitely steeper than those of Porto, and the cobblestone streets are brutal. By the time we boarded our return train my feet were screaming. But, would I do it all again? Absolutely.
It’s more than a bit odd to be in a place where there is not even a whiff of the Thanksgiving holiday, which I find hard to believe is the day after tomorrow. As we experience the subtle change of seasons here in Porto, we are thinking of those we love most and missing them. It’s bittersweet.
One thing I may not yet have mentioned about the city of Porto is the hills. They’re a bitch. And, there are certain hills that just kick my butt all the way up every time we make the trek, but exercise they do provide. To get from the city center and/or the river front back to our flat, we have no choice but to trek those hills.
Coping with a lousy cold when you’re in the comfort of your home is one thing, coping while traveling is a whole different story. Sure, there’s a pharmacy on every corner in Porto, but try finding a bottle of Ginger Ale on the shelf of the neighborhood market… it ain’t gonna happen. You guessed it, the lousy cold bug has us both down for the count and I don’t have my favorite blanket with which to curl up so I’m a bit cranky. Just a bit.
The Mosque of Cordoba
There are moments in time when one has to come to a complete stop to just take in said moment because one finds oneself in a place of perfection; a place so extraordinarily inspiring it takes ones breath away. For us, that moment happened when we stepped inside the Mosque of Cordoba. Never before had we seen such a place, and most likely never will we again.