Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Our Portugal Adventure Begins

with 3 comments

We didn’t need to wake up at an ungodly early hour, because the plan was to leave for the airport around 9:00 a.m., but we were up by 6:30 or so, anyway. We had a rough start due to Cyndie suffering great angst over a computer problem related to her work, and she was struggling to accomplish one last task right up to the final minute before we were to depart. Our friend, Nina (Cindy Ellwein), arrived to drive the “getaway car” to the airport and finally, we were on our way. The flight from Minneapolis to Chicago was pleasant, as was Chicago to Newark, but then at Newark’s airport, we had no signs to follow indicating we needed to go out of the secure area, hop a tram to get to the next gate, and then suffer the whole security process again. I guess you just need to find the right person to ask. Luckily, we had time to spare. The gate for our flight to Portugal seemed very international already and not at all like an American airport. The PA announcements were in Portuguese first and then barely audible in English. We were never quite sure about the status of boarding, but as folks began to make the moves indicating the process was starting, Cyndie executed some of her magic and the gate agent approved her silver card for our early entrance.

I placed my guitar overhead, on the opposite side from our seats, and the man behind me got upset about it, so I moved it to our side. As we settled into our seats, after having pushed hand bags around to fit the tight squeeze, we were asked to swap with a couple that wanted to be by their friends. We had to rearrange everything we had just done, but we switched without hesitation, leaving my guitar and Cyndie’s bag behind in the overhead bin where we were initially seated. The plane remained on the tarmac for about an hour before the pilot announced we needed  to refuel. It was a long wait, but eventually the plane left the ground and our flight wasn’t too bad. I got some sleep, fitful at first, woke up once, too hot, then slept soundly until they turned the lights back on to serve some food. After we landed, while everyone was waiting to exit, the man who had gotten angry at me earlier gestured to the man who switched seats with us. He had him pull down my guitar and Cyndie’s bag and pass them up to us. Very kind. I am able to exchange the knowing nod of appreciation across the distance.

Getting through customs was pretty easy, except we weren’t quite prepared to pronounce what city we were going to. Our stumbling attempts appear sufficient. The wait for luggage seems unjustly long, but all our bags did successfully follow our multiple connections. Finally, after facing the same struggle to identify our destination cities again, we get past the luggage claim officer and walk out to find Victoria and Patricia waiting right in front of the exit for us. They stepped up to get our attention and we shared a wonderful greeting. Our luggage fit perfectly in their car, except we had to load from the passenger doors because the back hatch had been inoperable since having been rear-ended quite some time ago.

We enjoy a pleasant visit during the hour-long drive, beginning the process of getting to know each other. The scenery on the route grows increasingly beautiful. Victoria’s driving lived up to comments Ian had written about it. She doesn’t waste much time. We leave an expressway and enter a small commerce center that is Celorico de Basto and then as we pass from there, the roads become increasingly narrow and rustic, passing up and down through areas with cuts into the earth so there are walls on either side. Occasionally,  buildings appear, right up to the edge of the road. There are no direction signs or other traffic control. Victoria beeps her horn to warn that we are coming around corners as the road narrows to about one car wide. All of a sudden the pavement ends and we are on a rough patch of road that splits a couple of times. We approach a gate and Victoria brings the car to a stop. Patricia hops out and opens it. We are at the farm.

Written by johnwhays

October 8, 2010 at 7:00 am

Posted in Portugal Adventure

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3 Responses

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  1. Yes, Ian, it is! And I am trying to prepare that post for the next entry, right now! So, I’m off to that task… a little later than usual.


    October 9, 2010 at 7:50 am

  2. This is where I come into the picture, isn’t it?


    October 9, 2010 at 7:45 am

  3. Quite a ‘rough’ ride, wasn’t it?


    October 8, 2010 at 5:28 pm

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