THE LONG WAY TO PORTUGAL

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen this trip to Europe was in the planning stage, one of the destinations that was “for sure” was to visit my niece Linda, who was living in Tavira, Portugal.   So, as we left our wondrous Vernazza, we travelled north along the Mediterranean passing Genoa following the coastline toward Barcelona Spain.  This route, I would love to do again, not knowing how spectacular the south of France was.

We passed Monaco as the sun set and the sea was pink  Again, I marvelled at the beautiful pines and palms that reminded me of pineapples. We got off the train in Nice, had a buffet dinner that was the closest to Canadian food we had eaten,(Alex was missing the burgers and fries etc.)

 

Now night was falling and instead of looking for overnight accommodation, we chose to purchase a sleeping compartment to continue on to Spain.  Looking back,  it might have been better to stay and see more of that prime part of the world, but we crawled up into our bunks and slept away the night.  Morning found us in Barcelona.  Now, to get to Tavira, Portugal.  It was probably a “mistake” to ask for a train to Lisbon. Just an example of how the mind works, knowing it’s Portugal’s largest city.  We ended up travelling way north into Spain, “off course”, it would be fair to say.The Spanish train was full, but not with tourists. We had been spoiled in Germany and Switzerland with our own compartment, but not here.

We pulled into Burgos, which is far north in Spain.  I found out later that Burgos is one of  the towns on the El Camino  de Santiago, a well know  800 kilometres pilgrimage that people  have walked for centuries and still  do to this day..  I read  Shirley Maclaine’s book of her trek, when she was well into her 60’s.  I also saw the movie The Way starring Martin Sheen, which I enjoyed. http://www.theway-themovie.com/camino.php

Now, back to Burgos, late evening, the sun was gone,  a beautiful cool breeze and agreeable temperatures were a tremendous relief for me (my son Jon once said that I would love to live in a wind tunnel!). We checked our rolling backpacks, but pulled out our jeans and runners, and headed out into the dark streets. Not knowing anything about the town we landed in, it was truly a night adventure.   Hauntingly beautiful  music  surrounded us, as we walked a tree lined avenue. We couldn’t tell weather it was a live choir or recorded  but it created  mystery and anticipation.   Little did we know this town was famous for the cathedral  Our Lady Burgos from the 13th century.  We found it, but it was too late in the evening to see inside. Instead, near the cathedral  we found a little eating place and Alex ordered suckling roast pig.  Our train left at 2:30 am, so we joined others who were eating, Europeans eat late into the night, but our schedule was conducive to this odd practice.    Eventually, we boarded the train, and once again climbed into bunks with clean sheets and slept soundly.  Next stop was Lisbon.

Was that long round about trip a mistake?  One could say that it was, it certainly wasn’t the most direct or scenic route, but I am willing to say those few hours in Burgos Spain were good, it was memorable, not even knowing where we were, but we were together and we experienced that music in the cool air. Another moment to remember and enjoy.

Alex often said  “even my mistakes turn out right”. Another way to say “all things work together for good” or  “its all good” if we have the faith to believe it.

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