I’d stopped writing in my journal because we were so busy sight-seeing. We took a half day and went to Sintra, a lovely, picturesque town near the Atlantic Ocean. We wanted to see the Moors’ castle, on top of a big hill (yes) surrounded by a huge park. We took the bus up and it was interesting how the driver went around the curves. There were many.
When the castle came into view, it was very enchanting with the many turrets, towers and arabic influence. Like Aladdin’s fairy tale. It also reminde me, in a way of King Ludwig’s castle Neuschwanstein.
You had to go up a little, steep hill to go through the gate. Some people, younger ones as well, walked slowly due to the incline. I just took off, passing them. I was in shape. Nothing to this tiny hill. I heard Cameron calling behind me, “show off! You’re such a show off.” Made me smile. We took a tour through the inner sanctum, where the royals lived. Exquisite furniture, priceless china and the usual pomp.
When the tour was over, we went to the bus station to go back to town. It took a long time and when we found out it would be another 25 minutes, we decided to walk. We were in the walking business, after all. Long, steep hill down, no problem. We made it in record time. Took a cab to the train station as Carrie and I really wanted to see the Ocean. We’d given up Finisterre but were determined to see some water.
To get there, we were told to go by trolley. A real old one. It was open on the sides and the conductor and driver were up front on a small platform. A few other tourists joined us. We were so excited to have this special treat. Then, the trolley went arounda bend and the most god-awful-screeching came alive. This was the sound we heard for over 40 minutes, going perhaps 15 mph, that this ride lasted. Every bend, every applying of the brakes, it screeched. We covered our ears but that didn’t help a whole lot. Spoiled some of the fun of seeing nature at a slower pace. We went past beautiful villas covered in vines and flowers. Tall grasses, trees and shrubs. The view opened up and behind some tall beach hotels, shining in the sun was the Ocean. Carrie and I took our shoes and socks off and ran ‘yohoo-ing’ and laughing down to the water’s edge. Breathing deep the tangy air and watching the waves ride in.
Cameron picked a boulder and was fast asleep after a few minutes. Carrie took her already wet shorts off, and sat in the cold water. I just sat still as my eyes wanderd over the many surface miles. Watching the sea gulls and felt the warm sun on my face. I could’ve stayed there a least another day but, we had to.
I reflected on the little time we had left and what all we had done, where we had been and I felt sad that it was over. I knew when I got back, reality would set in and I would have to deal with the ‘C’ again. Needles, tests, scans and pain.
As I turned to leave, I left one more image in the sand… with some more hope of this being so.
(I’ve forgotten our opera visit in Lisbon. When I saw a poster about ‘Don Carlo’ and date and time, I was so excited and told Cameron and Carrie that I really, really wanted to go. They did, too. We purchased the tickets and asked if our ‘dress’ was acceptable and it was because it’s not all the glitz and glamour anymore. We sat in the 3rd row, right by the orchestra pit, but it was a good view. As soon as it started my excitement deflated. It was one of these modern interpretations. Street clothing, no set to speak of and kids running around with tennis rackets. I looked at Cameron and he just nodded his head as if saying ‘ I know but it is what it is.’ We did stay the whole 4 hours. This opera had been rewritten a few times, as had the ending. This particular ending fizzled out. The love interest of the young tenor was old enough to be his grandmother and thus not believable and the chemistry was missing.
The singing was very good though as was the music. Next morning we had to leave early to catch the bus to the airport. Long lines and security made for a fast good bye from Cameron, as his flight was several hours later. Carrie and I didn’t get to sit together and so began the slow separation and feelings of displacement. It felt as though someone plucked me off the camino and into the plane. At one point, tears welled up at nothing in particular. It’s been continued at home as well. Although I’m glad to be home but the camino left its mark. Nothing tangible, nothing I can grasp and hold except pictures and memories. But, subtle changes and I believe this will work its way through the future.
People asked me, ‘would you go back?’ I answered, well, not right now but perhaps at some point walk certain stages again.
Meanwhile, I saw a German movie about a Pilgrimage to Padua, Italy and I’ve been researching the ‘Jakobsweg’ they just rededicated in Austria. … Beautiful, gorgeous scenery… nice places to stay… good food. Dare I call Cameron and Carrie??