A month has passed since I’ve posted here and in that time I had a fabulous visit with my niece Susan that included exploring the central and eastern parts of the Portuguese Algarve. Sue is the youngest daughter of my sister Nita and from a family of eight. We had never spent quality time like this so it was a true blessing to get to know her better and be reminded of some of the fun and silly qualities of my Sis. Shortly after Susan left I too left Portugal with a heart full of gratitude for a wonderful winter filled with friends and family, new experiences and the absence of snow. The pictures in this slideshow are a few from Lagos and surrounding towns plus a snapshot of a haircut on my balcony from our friend Raymond an Irish hairdresser who also cut Susan’s hair. Raymond was one of a small group of friends from England and Ireland that Cheryl and I met back in February.
I was blessed to spend Easter and the following week in Paris with Nancy my friend from St. Albert . At one time I told her that if I ever went to Paris I hoped it would be with her since she’s been there numerous times. While I was sitting in the Edmonton airport waiting to leave in January I had a text from her saying she had just booked a hotel in central Paris for the first week of April. Woohoo! Spring arrived while we were there and it’s really true -springtime in Paris is exceptional!
Some of the pictures in the slideshow include Rodin’s museum ( the Thinker), Musee Dorsey (clock photo) where I saw rooms full of the Impressionist’s works. Other pictures of the statues and paintings are from the Louvre where I was allowed to take pictures. We also visited the Pantheon where the remains of Voltaire and Marie Currie to name a few are resting. A highlight was an evening dinner cruise on the Seine River with live music (piano and violin). It was truly a pinch me moment. We finished off the week with a visit to Galleries Lafayette. It’s an incredible set of upmarket shopping buildings where I bought “fancy red lipstick from Paris.” Ask me to show it to you the next time we are together….lol. I’ve included pictures of the ceilings and multiple levels of shops as well as a picture from the rooftop. Continue reading “Homeward Bound”
We all know how time flies…..and my time in Portugal has not been exempt from that phenomena. Today marks my 5th week here. In my last post I mentioned that I was soon to be joined by my friend Cheryl. That visit has come and gone and we lived each day to its fullest or until we ran out of energy, which ever came first. The photos in the slide show are more of Lagos (my temporary home), Sagres the most south westerly point in Europe, Lisbon (including the district of Belem) and Porto… in that order.
While in Lisbon we went to the district of Belem to see the Jeronimos monastery and to visit the home of the “Pasteis de nata.” These little custard pastries are crispy, crunchy on the outside and filled with creamy custardy goodness on the inside. Cheryl and I watched as a couple consumed 12 in the same time it would take me to eat a kitkat bar. There’s almost always a line up down the block for take-aways but we went inside where there is seating for 400+ and a kitchen that produces over 7,000 of these tasty little treats every day. In Porto we had dinner at the Majestic Cafe which is on the top 10 of the most beautiful cafes in the world. It dates back to 1921 when it was known as “the Elite” where, you guessed it…the elite of the city used to met and exchange ideas and discuss different topics over a drink. The name was eventually changed to “The Majestic” and it’s known to be J.K. Rowlings hangout when she was writing “Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone.” And, of course we did our fair share of shopping. Check out the “shoe tube” picture.
I’ve experienced a magic to each day that I could never have anticipated. Kind people who have given their time to share both the beauty of Portugal’s Algarve and their friend network.
A few things we noticed – it’s difficult to find shoes over size 40, cab drivers drive scary-close to other cars, motorcyclists seem to be exempt from the rules of the road and when you stop being hyper aware – mistakes happen. That’s the time when you get cocky and start thinking “I’ve got this!.” Do you know what I mean? I’d been incredibly impressed with myself NOT getting disoriented and always finding my way to wherever I was going AND back. Not to put too much of a fine point on this but it’s REALLY not one of my common attributes. Well I just had to brag to Cheryl about how well I had done for the two weeks before her arrival and she commented on how surprised she was too that we hadn’t got lost in either small towns or big cities. That realization seemed to be the point when we stopped really ‘being in the moment’ and paying attention. As a result we missed a few things – nothing really significant just a train stop here or there but it got me to thinking about losing awareness in general. When I am not “here” in the moment I miss things and start taking things for granted. It’s an unconcious act. I don’t like it. I want to be alert and alive. Susan my niece will be here next Wednesday – maybe her arrival will be a reset for me. I feel excited and blessed for the opportunity to have quality time with her. Sue brings a family connection, a love of life, good hiking energy, a vivacious spirit, and “oh blessed!” Canadian Coffee!!
Until next time,
Continue reading “Staying in the moment”
If you are receiving this you know that you are an important person in my life and I’m thinking of you today on this day of Love. Happy Love Day my Dear!
I hope you enjoy the pictures I’ve included. How does one capture the essence of a town/country in a few pictures? Oh well, more to come.
Tomorrow it will be two weeks since I arrived all wide-eyed and exhausted from travel…which by the way was totally smooth. Some of it was truly memorable…like the nurse I met at the Boston airport. She recommended the lobster roll. I added a decadent glass of French wine to pair with it. She shared that she had recently left an administrative nursing role and her career of 27 years. Burnt out and saddened by the system, at least the part she interfaced with for all of those years. She was taking a week to spend with her brother and family to “just be” and we bonded over being directionless and open. I wished we had more time to talk when she needed to run to catch her flight. In a surprising move she grabbed my bill and said “have the most awesome retirement Karen! Thank you for the years you gave to your profession and I hope you have totally awesome experiences in Portugal.” As you can imagine I was totally touched. #sisterhood#healthcareblues#heartconnections.
I’ve found a yoga home to stretch not only my body in Old Lagos – InLight. Karuna the owner gives great massages and has been a helpful guide filled with personal suggestions.
The clown picture is included for 2 reasons, one to mention that last week was carnival/festival week here, although I have to say I missed whatever was happening wherever it was happening. Every. Single. Day. Yesterday being Shrove Tuesday marked the end of activities and now I can stop feeling like I’m missing something. The day I saw the clown I also had just come across two off lease dogs off seemingly out for a bit of an adventure, living their bliss. One black and one brown, both mid-sized standing beside each other on the sidewalk looking out at the folks and traffic passing by like a couple of old ladies I thought. I smiled as I passed them. Isn’t that just sweet I thought as I looked back…to see the black one humping the brown one. (You knew I was going to get back to the Valentines theme didn’t you? LOL.) Anyway, within 10 minutes I saw humping dogs – which I haven’t come across since I lived in Aulac 48 years ago when dogs roamed as they pleased – and a posing clown buying pastries. I’ve included the clown’s picture but none of the dogs ….at their request.
Tomorrow my friend Cheryl arrives for 2 weeks and another sort of fun and adventure begins. Until next time – Sending Valentine Kisses – the European kind…one on each cheek.
I planned a stop in Sarasota, Florida on my way to Portugal to visit Marianne and Tony.
It’s nice once again to feel the ease of travel in January, the pleasantness of the air and the friendliness of our southern neighbours.
My highlight this week has been witnessing LOVE IN ACTION.
My friend/host Marianne has pneumonia. Joinng us for breakfast and dinner is what her energy level allows and we are so grateful for that. Her husband has been everything she has needed him to be to help her return to health along with being a superb host to Lynda and me. He’s a loving, loud and entertaining Italian man who demonstrates his love by making sure his wife takes her medication or returns to bed when he thinks she’s tired. It’s been wonderful to watch.
Sunday Tony made his famous roasted peppers that he’s lovingly made for his family for many years, just the way his Italian mother showed him. We watched that two hour labour of love and it too was a thing of beauty.
Last night we saw and heard the Cleveland Orchestra. On the way home we stopped by the statue you see here – named “Unconditional Surrender.” It’s a replica of the famous Alfred Eisenstaed photo that appeared on the front of LIFE magazine shortly after WWII. The nameless serviceman dipped an unknown nurse for a kiss to celebrate the end of the war. JOY IN ACTION.
Tomorrow I leave for Portugal- my thoughts are about Love and Joy in Action. May your hearts and homes be filled with Love and Joy until we connect again.
“Woulda.Coulda.Shoulda all ran away and hid from one little did.” Shel Silverstein’s poem is floating around in my head this morning as I “did” – begun Tingley Travels – a 3 month exploration of intentional Living. Loving. Laughing in other countries and cultures.
Many of you have asked that I “stay in touch” and share my travels so my intention is to post weekly pictures, observations, and contemplations. I’ll begin from one of my homes – Cleveland, Ohio where I’ve rejoined my tribe of long time friends and their loved ones and I’ll continue that reunion next week in Sarasota, Florida. February 1st I’ll fly the friendly skies to Lagos, Portugal for 2 months to photograph, eat, drink and love my way across the country and into Spain. You’ll see and hear about that adventure not only from my perspective but also from the perspectives of new and old friends and family.
Leaving my girls and their families for 3 months wasn’t simple. But as my oldest said “It will be good for you and for us.” I’m blessed to have a family that I will truly miss and am comforted to know they thrive regardless of where I am n the world.
My picture this morning is Salvador Dali’s “Dream” from the Cleveland Museum of Art. I was fortunate yesterday to once again visit some of this great institution’s treasures in the company of some of my life’s greatest treasures ….long time friends.
Until next time….Big Love and Mind Your “did”.