Day 1

I’m sitting in the airport in Amsterdam. It’s 1:30 in the afternoon here, 7:30 in the morning at home. The last leg of my trip to Portugal is a two hour flight to Faro, departing in about three hours from now. I’ve already sent a text to Dave; he and MaryLou are at the bus station, waiting to take the bus to Faro. We’ll pick up our rental car there and drive the one-hour trip back to our apartment in Luz together.

The flight from Minneapolis was uneventful. The KLM flight was less than a third full; according to the stewardess, it was so empty due to the Super Bowl game. Since I missed seeing most of the final quarter, I was somewhat surprised to learn that the Eagles had won! Well what do you know! Probably a little too much air in the footballs that Brady used.

I snoozed for about four hours — everyone took advantage of the extra seats and we all had a ‘bed’ across 3 seats. I read my kindle too, and finished the Bill Browder book Red Notice.

Part Two: I sat around in the Amsterdam airport for about 3 hours. I wasn’t tired — it was around noon local time when we landed. I started reading another book. I went for walks. I watched planes taking off and landing. For a while I followed a large group of Chinese tourists around — they were being led by a ‘guide’ who was waving her ‘tour leader’ flag. Most of them were wearing white masks over their mouths. I think they were all lost for a while — they headed a long way down one of the arms of the airport, and soon they were all coming back. Wrong concourse, I guess.

The last leg of the journey was the opposite of the flight I’d just taken. Instead of a large modern jet, this was an old 737. And it was PACKED. My carry-on bag ended up somewhere in the middle of the plane even though I was seated in row 3. But ultimately it got me to where I needed to go, and everything was just fine. I landed in the Faro airport, waited for my ‘oversize’ golf bag to come careening down the luggage chute, and then made my way into the waiting area where I met Dave and Marylou. They had taken a bus from their town and we were going to find our rental car and drive back together. Great.

The rental car ended up being at the OTHER end of the airport, but we only found that out after we’d dragged my luggage across about 4 carpark lots in the cool wind of the evening. After filling out the forms and stopping to fill the empty gas tank, we were on the Autopista (or whatever that main toll highway is called here in Portugal) heading back to our apartment. In spite of Google Maps expertise we somehow ended up on a dark narrow country road, a bit lost. But only for a short while. And then we were there. I parked the car and we gathered up my luggage and crammed into the two small elevators that would take us up to the fourth floor. Home. At least that’s what this will be for the next three and a half weeks.

It was COLD. Colder inside than the temperature outside. But Marylou had made soup which she warmed up for me, along with a fine plate of cheese and cold cuts and crackers. We visited for a while, had a glass of port to go with our ice cream dessert, and then off to bed. A long day. Cold and tired. But Dave got a space heater going in my room, and Marylou found another big warm blanket in one of the closets, and it didn’t take many minutes after my head hit the pillow, and I as fast asleep.