Postcards From 2020: Dreaming of Portugal

Capturing the boardwalk down to the sands of Praia do Guincho.

Having a full bank of memories kept us from going insane during 2020–that and having a beautiful space in which to shelter from the storms around us while we wait to return to Portugal.

For we missed our autumn trip to visit friends near Ericeira, Sintra, and Porto–but we slipped across the US to spend a week in Seattle in late October, which was a balm for both our aviators’ souls and traveling hearts.

We flew with friends around the lakes of Washington state, and over to the Olympic Peninsula, introducing S and his camera lens to a part of the country he’d only seen in passing through SEA-Tac.

We also explored the towns near us in Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, taking day trips to trace the battles of the Civil War, visit craft breweries, and walk historic hiking trails–including bits of the Appalachian Trail, which passes by just a few miles from our current home near Hagerstown.

We also found productive work in making our first efforts at a Random Garden here in Maryland, at Vivenda Vista de Paz. We had irises spring up from past bulbs, and surprises from neighbors and friends alike. Spring and autumn bring lively colors and daily changes to the tapestry around us–and we had more time to enjoy the solitude than we ever thought we would in a year!

But…we miss the light of Portugal. Nossos amigos, vizinhos, e animais. We found we hadn’t spent nearly enough time in Porto to carry us through–or so many of the other places we visited and long to see again.

We miss our weekend trips to the market, and GiGi’s pizza that we’d have following a successful shop. We’ve found only one pizza place here that’s a contender–and it’s within a local craft brewery, so that’s a plus. The local wine has not been nearly so compelling–but we have plans to seek out the best our region has to offer in 2021. And to drink more Portuguese wine…

The moinhos overlook the vinhas near Carvahal.

We miss the festas celebrating the saints, and Carnival in Torres Vedras, and, always the lively streets of Lisboa…from our favorite miradouro guarded by Nossa Senhora do Monte.

And we miss hiking down to the beaches, both the popular ones such as Praia da Ursa, near Cabo da Roca, and the other secret ones that hide tucked into folds of the coastline.

The sentinel rock formations of Praia da Ursa just north of Cabo da Roca.

But most of all we miss the simple pleasure of grilling up sardinhas in the backyard, drinking wine from our friends in the quintas near and far, and savoring the fullness of life that we had in our days in Praia as Maçãs. Will 2021 hold a return to Portugal for a visit? We plan on it…and until then…we just hold those memories in our dreams.

Our backyard lareira grilling sardinhas on our last night together in Portugal in 2019.

All Photos by Stephen Yeates

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