3.5 hours to Portugal… may be more, may be less. It could be construed as wise to update your GPS maps before taking an out-of-country trip. I didn’t.
The “updated maps” on the GPS of our travel companions was almost as “blond” as ours. Brand new beautiful highways cutting through the Portuguese valleys and we were driving completely off the map. Thank goodness for the GPS function of my iPhone.
Portugal is extraordinary. Rugged, mountainous, beautiful. Old farm houses on terraced slopes, green fields of sheep, a small herd of goats on a twisty 2-lane road barely big enough for one blocking traffic. I love this place. The highway views themselves were amazing and then we ended up on an hour long stretch of twisty-turny, stomach-churning narrowness that made me want to stake my claim and camp out there forever. Rustic quaintness embodied. The stretch along the river Douro encouraged a collective “Wow” from all of us. We’d had no idea how extraordinarily beautiful Portugal would be.
We arrived at 4:30 – or was it 3:30? Portugal is one hour behind Spain. We spent our next week asking each other, “Spanish time or Portuguese time?”
Quinta da Nora, our modern, 4-bedroom home on a small kiwi farm was absolutely perfect. We were greeted by a young “suave” guy with a stubbled face and big sun glasses, very reminisent of Don Johnson’s Miami Vice look and a sweet middle-aged gardener who explained everything to me patiently in Portuguese. Daniela, the 80’s throw-back as we’d discover is most of Portuguese fashion, spoke English and seemed friendly, but had little patience for the rambling of the older gardener. The gardener understood my Spanish and with a bit of repitition, we were able to communicate quite decently – my Spanish to his Portuguese. He lives in a small home on the property and takes care of the place.
At midnight as we were ready to say good-night, the fireworks began. And shortly afterwards, the rooster?