September 30, 2022. At Lisbon, Portugal

Dear Christine.

Yesterday’s parting was painful! Layer upon layer of longing, uncertainty, and anxiety. Thankfully, the flight was without incident, save for a bit of turbulence over the Atlantic. I have lost count of the number of flights that I’ve taken, yet there remains for me something magical in seeing the Earth, it’s places, and it’s people reduced to specks and points of light.

Unlike past flights crossing “the pond“ I slept most of the way thanks to earplugs and an eye mask. Of course, not having you to talk with might have had something to do with it.

Departure from Boston was 11:30 PM eastern time, and we arrived in Lisbon at 10:30 AM. I am 6 time zones from you. About an hour before boarding I happened to look at Facebook and saw that Garry and Kathleen Clifford were at the Boston airport boarding a plane for their home in Glasgow Scotland, via Dublin. They were in the same terminal! Garry reached out today and expressed his regret that we had missed meeting. Perhaps next spring when you and I are walking Hadrian’s Wall in England we can connect. Glasgow is only about a 90 minute drive to the north.

Lisbon airport was extremely busy, but very well organized. I was in a line for a taxi that stretched at least 200 feet yet it only took me about 10 minutes to get a cab. €23 and 15 minutes saw me to the door of my hostel, The Living Lounge.

It is located in the heart of the old city, just a couple of blocks from the waterfront and grand Plaza. My room is simple, the bathroom is down the hall, but it served up a “full-bore” hot water shower that was most welcome after hours in a crowded plane.

The lobby/lounge area is charming and they feature a multi-course dinner every evening for only €15. I signed up for tonight.

I repacked my backpack and in spite of it weighing 25 pounds it is well-balanced and not “overstuffed“. Part of that weight consists of the electronics and camera stuff that allow me to make these posts. It is likely that I will be transporting my pack over the course of at least part of the Camino. I don’t feel compelled to carry it “every step of the way“… Been there and done that.

I’m certain that once you see these pictures of the Plaza, Cathedral, and street scenes in the vicinity, you will remember our visit here in 2018. I really think that we should plan a trip to Lisbon and spend not less than a week here before heading elsewhere.

The weather is spectacular today and the waterfront beautiful. Sailboats, tourists, the 100+ year old trolleys, street performers, and even a random submarine!

I climbed to the top of the main monument and was rewarded with a panoramic view. I even got to see the workmen servicing the clock tower mechanism.

I stopped in a shop and took away a “Bacalhau”. It’s kind of a fried ball-like sandwich made from dried salted cod, cheese, and other ingredients. It’s the only real meal I’ve had yet today but it was wonderful! You would’ve hated it.

Language has not been a problem. I spent most of the afternoon wandering about and I have yet to really “connect“ with anyone. Our “sister”, Kris, flew into Porto today and has booked an apartment in the vicinity of my accommodations. In spite of the fact that she has been hiking England, Scotland, and France over the past 3 months, she says she’s not yet ready to return to Denver. We’re going to talk on Sunday about whether she might accompany me on part or all of my walk. She has a friend who lives on the coast of Spain and she may elect to stay there. This has got to be at least the 10th Camino for Kris. She has forwarded me a list of lodgings on the trail that she has stayed at in the past, both recommended and to be avoided.

I made it to the 12th Century Cathedral and secured my credential, complete with a stamp for Lisbon. I lit a candle (the lowest on the right), said a prayer… and then quickly ducked to avoid any random lightning strikes. None came.

Dinner was wonderful! I shared table with five other people, three young ladies from Italy, and two gentlemen, one a German/Italian and the other (seated to my right) a Brazilian environment scientist now living in the Czech Republic. €15 bought each of us a home-cooked Portuguese feast. I think you would’ve probably passed on the salt fish. Both gentlemen spoke fluent German so I got a little practice in.

A highly styled chocolate mousse.

Beyond breakfast at the hostel I don’t have any real plan for tomorrow other than to wander the streets of this wonderful city. Until then, Sleep well!

Love You, Me.

PS. Many of you who are reading “over our shoulders” know that Kris has been a part of our history for over nine years. For those who do not: We met Kris in Spain while walking the Camino in 2013. She joined us for the last five days and a deep friendship then took root. Kris and her husband, Dennis, have been guests in our home, and we have been guests in their home. In 2018 while Christine and I were in the Netherlands, Kris and Dennis were hiking cliff trails on Scotland’s Isle of Skye. It was there that Dennis tragically fell from the trail, plunging to his death on the shore below.

In 2019 Kris spent a week with us aboard the canal boat we piloted in England, and she plans to reprise that with us in 2023. She has indeed become “our sister”.

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