Monday, July 18, 2016

Stranger in Paradise

Where've I been? In Portugal. It's all the Europe anyone needs: They have cathedrals, cloisters, narrow cobbled streets, great paintings, fish and wine, seashore, vineyards, fountains, Roman ruins, the winningest soccer team that took the EuroCup when I and my fellow tour members were there watchin' on TV rootin' "Port-u-GAL! Port-u-GAL!," and the very best bread in the world, which I'm currently trying to duplicate. Ahem. I got home five hours late, at midnight, because a huge thunderstorm postponed my ride, and early the next morning suited up and first thing, after picking up broken tree limbs, went into my woods, and what do I see there but the yellow carpet of chanterelles I dream of all year. And knew I was home.

The Portuguese are friendly and polite, the youth speak English, and so many of them, all ages, helped me when I couldn't work their subway or the train schedule to Lisbon and felt stupid because all I could say was "Good day" and "Thank you." One day, tired, I pointed at a menu item not knowing what it was, but it was 2 euros (about $2.15 USD) and to my surprise came the most wonderful slice of ham and slice of cheese on one of their marvelous crusty rolls, plus a latte. These people are obsessed with painted ceramic tiles -- on the fronts of buildings and churches, hallways, bathrooms -- and I became obsessed as well, and will soon (after I wash and cook my shrooms) post a few photos of sights that knocked my socks off.

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