Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Josh – Free to be free

Forget what I said about Portugal being too perfect. It is just right.
Since my last blog my mind has changed (dramatically) about Portugal. The flowing streams, happy people, flourishing flowers, green grass, beautiful houses and villages and just the inventiveness make Portugal my favourite country I’ve been to (I said dramatically). From our stay in Porto we have driven through the “mountains” and the multi
coloured towns and forests until we met our future; Mos. If you look on a map you will probably see a place called Castelo Branco (if you look on a more detailed map it is possible but highly unlikely that you will see a place called Amieira) that is roughly where Moses (Mos) is.

We came across Amieira, not by chance, but with loads of excitement. First of all I wasn’t sure about Amieira or Mos (moshjz) but after the 2nd, 3rd, 4th,
and 5th time I guess you’ll grow to love a place. It was because of that, the fact that I had many conversations with dad about it and the fact that mummy was so happy, so at home in the wonderful place that you could see the joy seeping out of her, that made me change my mind about Portugal.

Dad had told me that in all the 13 years and eleven months they had been married, not one single time (maybe apart from when
Ellie and I were born) had she been this happy. Constantly these words rang through my head saying “hello brain to Joshua. 13 years! 13 years! Do you speaka da Engleesh? 13. T-H-I-R-T-E-E-N years. Your mother's happiest moment is here. The person, who loves you, cares for you, comforts you and held you for nine months. How does that make you feel dumdum, Mr. grumpy and moany? You’re making that joy level drop. Remember 13 years.” Those words rang through my head, day and night, night and day.

However one piece of the puzzle was still missing in my mind; me. Now that piece of the puzzle is packed in tight with the rest and right now is being welded into place.

When we went there with my Grandfather (who brought us tonnes of new books and school books for the “new school term”) that same joy that seeped out of my mother, seeped out of me. Although Papops held a bit of a grudge (don’t all grandfather’s with really expensive houses in Dulwich village when their son and daughter-in-law are about to buy a ruin) at first, he soon decided that he liked Mos.

We had a great time with Papops. He flew out from Gatwick to Lisbon with a rucksack, a bag, and a 27kilo suitcase full of books that smelt of frankincense (the bag of incense had split). As soon as the books arrived we dived into the suitcase looking for what was ours. We settled in all snug in the back while dad drove and Papops talked about life at home.

Mummy, Ellie and I stopped reading
only once it became too dark to do so. That’s when we saw the lightning. It must have been an electric storm because there was no thunder. The last real thunder storm we experienced was in Andorra (we did have a couple in Italy and France) which was pretty loud especially because it echoed throughout the mountains. This storm was by far the biggest I have ever seen, the whole sky was lit up in a violet light. The splashes of colour from the lightning lit up all the villages and the view that were previously hidden in darkness. The few seconds in brightness showed Papops the view too. It was an amazing experience, driving though the fog with huge bolts of lightning being the only source of light apart from the village street lights (that carried on flickering) and the motor home headlights.

Our destination (one of the 3 campsites we’ve stayed in throughout the week that we’ve been in that area) was closed, so instead we parked up outside the gates to sleep. In the morning we packed our bags and headed towards Amieira, where the news travels quickly between the 20 people that live there (although we’ve heard when there’s a summer party 20 turns to 150). We started our hike by heading towards Quinta then taking the road to Moses. We headed down to Lisbon the next day and after the 2 ½ hour drive we stopped off at a little restaurant to eat.
The first dish was a small plate of salad for the 5 of us. The 2nd plate was huge, almost 3 times the size of the first and piled high with barbeque chicken, beef, ribs you name it. What we have noticed is that the Italians, Spanish and the Portuguese (especially the Portuguese) have a fondness for meat.

We parked up at a campsite in the evening of Moses’ Birthday eve at a campsite just outside of Lisbon.

When the morning came Moses was 2 and got a new collar, Papops left (Moses huffed and puffed all the way through the drive back because Papops is by far his favourite. Although maybe it was because he hadn’t had
breakfast yet and it was 10 O’clock), and we spent the whole day pampering Moses.
We spent the day at the swimming pool campsite and left for a day out in Lisbon the next day.

The old Lisbon, Alfama, is mainly white with splashes of colour from the trams, shops and people. I had a painful limp (dad had cut out my verruca and then put on this stuff that is supposed to freeze it out but instead it was burning into my foot) so we didn’t walk far but we still took lots of photos. We ate out at a Portuguese café called Pois Café (translated in English as Next Café) and actually found three meals with no meat (of course Ellie had to have smoked salmon sandwich with salad, but no tomatoes), Hallelujah! After we had some cakes (I had the cinnamoniest apple strudel, while Ellie
and Mummy shared 4 slices of lemon cake and dad had the best Dutch orange chocolate cake ever. All of them had to be homemade) we walked up (in Lisbon you either go up or down, never flat) towards the 28 tram stop and hopped on the longest going one. Ellie and I got window seats so we could stick our heads out of a 20mph (30kmph) moving tram just to bring them in as soon as a post went by, while mummy took photos and dad sat on his own until he got a chance to come up with us.

Once we left Lisbon we drove up to the coast to check out the best surf (and skim boarding) beaches in Europe. Some of the beaches hold the world championships, so there were people doing 360’s, 540’s, I even saw a guy do a back flip. Kayakers were there doing 720’s there were even boogie boarders their doing tricks. Right now we are outside a beach with the hottest water in Europe and I’m off!


Paulette said...

Hi Guys

Hope all is well, but I can see from your blog that you are having a marvellous luscious time, we miss you all, mercella especially misses you josh and eloise, we cant wait to see you at xmas, do take care and keep on keeping on....

love paulette and mercellaxxxx

marinacruz said...