Location: Celeirós Do Douro to Porto to Rome to Cali
We are blessed. Our children strong and healthy, our friends and family numerous. Abundance is ours. The children are at the powerful, magical age of ceaseless wonder, completely immersed in The Now. Whether or not we choose to join them in the moment is up to us. These special early years of the children’s lives are fleeting and monumental in shaping their belief system. If I had to choose the one thing that is most important to me about our journey abroad this year it would be the time spent with my wife and children. We weathered life in foreign lands together.
The sheer amount of time that our family has been with each other over the last five months has bonded us in ways we aren’t fully capable of grasping. That bond is a part of us now, and we will see it’s fruition unfold with time. What else, I wonder, are we taking with us as we turn the page and return home?
It’s sad to leave. Our first month in Portugal was something of a rough start, but we became attached. We got to know these people. Is that going to happen with every place we spend a significant amount of time in? The Portuguese are just so welcoming and warm. Spirit is high and strong in the country. Maybe that’s a Euro thing. It’s relaxed. The land is fertile. The old world feel is formidable and nostalgic.
We spent 1 month in Celeirós, a village stuck in another time full of deep rooted tradition and warmth that is genuinely Portuguese. Forced to acclimate to it’s gentle pace, the town, it’s people, and the countryside nurtured that calm part of us that sometimes gets neglected. Food trucks come in turn with fresh seafood, meats, produce, and dairy throughout the week to this remote village of less than 200 people. Our Airbnb was incredible here with a plentiful yard and expansive views. Granted we had to evacuate due to a big fire across the valley, but we came back the next day. It was incredibly fortunate to have aunt Rosey, uncle Gino, grandma Carol, cousins Louis and Theo, and best friend tia Quendi stay with us in this remote part of northern Portugal.
As far as big cities go, Porto might just be at the top of the list. Though compared to Lisbon it’s more of a large village. Clean, artistic, theatrical, hospitable, historical, modern, well located…I’m hard pressed to think of something not to like about Porto aside from the hoards of tourists. But who can blame us tourists for wanting to admire such a place. We won’t soon forget the trolley rides along the Douro River out to the coast, or idly sipping cappuccino and eating pastries while listening to old vinyl records as one narrowly passed by. Did I mention fortified wine and chocolate? It truly is the little things.
A missed flight and $1,300 down the drain later we found ourselves back in Roma where we gave ourselves a couple weeks to explore. The lesson here would be to show up to the airport earlier than you think no matter what. In this case it was the lines for the security check that made us late. We should have just gone up to the front of the line. Hindsight. Rome isn’t recommended in August, though, due to the droves of tourists. However, it was a delight to discover new parks and districts like Trastevere. We met a lovely world schooling family who had been traveling for 3 years non-stop! They were inspiring. All the kids played together at the park as if they’d known each other. I love that about kids.
Aunt Rosey picked us up in San Francisco when we got home. The next few months in California tell a story all their own. Almost Christmas now, we’re living in a cozy cottage in the Redwoods paid for by FEMA due to the massive firestorm that swept through Santa Rosa.