I’m a bit late writing this blog. I find myself lost in my thoughts more these days and writing becomes secondary when I’m busy.
I moved on to a town called Coimbra. How is it that no one told me about this place? What a beautiful town it is. I stayed in a fantastic hotel called Villa Gale and was upgraded to a room with a balcony view of the valley and the river. I stepped out into the street, I was accosted by Derina a chain smoking, wiry little English woman who needed to vent. She told me that now she is old, she needed to rest more and have luxury holidays rather than 2 days here and 2 days there. She rambled about her health and the weather (which is a typical conversation with a Pom), and finished with telling me that she and Peter are now nearing 60, and that he was upstairs taking a nap after their stressful train trip from Porto. What a shame they had left travel until they were so old! I wanted to interrupt Derina and tell her that I had to go. That even though I am older than her, I was keen to walk around and explore the town, but she wanted to tell me about her allergies, her flea bites that got infected, her infected toenail that was being aired by wearing sandals 🤢, and how she was hoping it wasn’t going to rain.🤦🏻♀️ I was stuck there for half an hour and now have clear thong (flip flop)marks from the blazing sun that was burning my feet. Sweat dripping from my head, I finally excused myself and said I hoped to see her later. I scuttled off down the alley way and escaped to the centre of town.
The streets are cobbled of course, because it is Portugal, and the buildings quite ancient and reeking of history. All I could hear was Australian accents everywhere, so hungry for news from home and eager to talk to someone and call them a dag and be understood, I became the ‘accoster’. I had many random conversations and even met someone from Mornington. I was so chuffed. I took heaps of photos and went back to the hotel, slinking by the reception desk where Derina and Peter were getting directions and complaining about something inaudible.
I waited until the heat of the day had passed and filled in some time by dining at the buffet. My spirits lifted with the rise of each lid as steamed broccoli and carrots, roast potatoes and casseroles peered out at me, their steamy vapors inviting me to fill my plate. I even had roast turkey! I drank local wine and just savored every mouthful!
Luckily I was just finishing my meal when I spied Derina waving frantically, miming something like…can we join you. I hastily grabbed my room key, apologized and mumbled about having to make a phone call. I couldn’t bear it if she continued the saga about her infected toenail whilst I was trying to eat.🤢 it was like being trapped on a cruise ship where the only people acknowledging me were the annoying tourist couple dressed in Hawaiian shirts and straw hats (although Derina and Peter dressed with the English conservatism of the 1950’s)
So off I went again into town to take some evening photos. They tell their own story.