Before settling in to our life among the locals in Porto, we spent ten glorious and utterly
lazy relaxing days in Malaga, Spain. It was the perfect respite for two old hobos who needed to unpack and soothe their weary bones after three months of fast-paced travel through nine incredible European countries. Funny thing is, we never intended to land in Malaga. Had it not been for a reunion with vacationing friends, we might never have known the beautiful wonders the city offered.
One of the best aspects of living in another country is getting to know the locals. Spending three months living in Porto afforded us days upon days of just aimlessly wandering the city. They were days of pure bliss. We used to laugh that we could find our way to anywhere in the city but couldn’t name more than one or two streets. And, we could always find our way to the Bolhao Market.
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.
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.
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.