Whereas France felt like home because we were so comfortable in a life not entirely dissimilar to our lives in Squamish, what I love about Portugal is that we are so far removed from that comfort and yet it still feels like home.
The language is alarmingly unfamiliar, save for the few simple phrases we’ve picked up, and equally as alarming is that we have not managed to disguise our looks of complete stupor (mouths slightly agape), when we are unable to discern any meaning from the mouths of well-meaning Portuguese.
What we do understand, and more importantly, what we feel, is the welcome of everyone we meet. I am certain, in the more remote interior towns we have visited,that we are among the strangest sights that the locals will have seen for the week, maybe the month, and, judging by the expressions of a few, maybe the year. We are literally high fiving people out of the window.
Here, the smell (again, with the smells) of orange groves, lemons, fresh fish and garlic; the deserted beaches, the tiled houses, and the glow that seems omnipresent over the colourful and too-tight-for comfort (like my jeans) cobblestone streets feels like home.
As an aside, Portugeuse radio stations have so much love for the Biebs (much to the delight of Henley and I). All of the Portugeuse people we’ve come across that speak French have been SO stoked that we are bilingual Canadians, ‘just like Celine’. We’ve also had our fair share of Drake, and, surprisingly, Bryan Adams, which has allowed me to dust off my pipes and bring home the Canadian soft rock (windows down, obvs) like I haven’t done since 1997.
I don’t know if it is just that we have settled into life on the road, but Portugal, I love you.