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The finale of our joint trip to Porto was much calmer than our arrival or the epic São João party but it wasn’t any less of an adventure. We slept in a bit since we’d been up late at the festival, got dressed, and headed for church. That’s right. All the way out in Porto, we were able to observe the Sabbath day. Hooray! Jack found a building a couple miles away and once we had it on the GPS, we left the hotel.
We walked and walked and walked and made a few u-turns and course corrections…
The streets were pretty much abandoned Sunday morning. Hard to say if that’s typical or if people partied too hard.
…and walked some more…
About the only other creature we saw was a cute, bobtailed cat.
…and walked…
It’s easy to tell these were amazing buildings when they were first built.
 …until we found it!

It’s nice to see a familiar sight so far away from home. We stayed for sacrament meeting, where I understood bits and pieces of what was being said. Then, we chatted with the missionaries, thanked the members, and walked allllllll the way back to the apartment. By then, there were at least a couple people out of their apartments as proof that Porto citizens had survived celebrating.

This has been dubbed Henry’s cool man look.

At the hotel, we were able to talk to the kids for a while and then we both unwittingly fell asleep. The late nights, long walks, and constant barrage of people can take a toll on an introvert. When we woke up from our afternoon nap, we realized we’d missed lunch. Oh, well. Still, we needed to eat, so we left again in search of food.


Again, we walked and walked and walked and made a few u-turns and course corrections, not so much because we couldn’t find anywhere to eat but we couldn’t find anywhere that was open for dinner yet. Or at all. Sunday, remember. Eventually, we did find an establishment that was open and may or may not have snuck another cone of gelato…


Feeling well rested after a leisurely Sunday, we were back at it on Monday. First: wash laundry. Not exactly my idea of fun but surprisingly, even vacations don’t stop dirty clothes from piling up. We (you guessed it) walked (etc) until we made it to a laundry mat and threw everything in one load.

If I’m going to do laundry on vacation, don’t expect me to sort colors and whites.
Anyone recognize the West Bayden hotel in French Lick??

Once we dropped off our clothes, Jack had some work he needed to do (by the way, the whole purpose of the Portugal trip was because he had a work assignment there). When he was finished setting up his virtual reality equipment, we decided we’d better have one more Franceschina for good measure. Who knows the next time we’ll have one?

At the cafe, we were seated and ordered, then I took a peek at the wall. Anyone recognize this building in the photo? It’s the West Bayden hotel down in French Lick that we’d visited during our anniversary! What a fun coincidence to find a piece of Indiana in Porto!


And, lest I forget in some distant future, as we walked back to the hotel, we decided to play a game of air hockey and for the first time in our decades-long relationship, I WON!

Sadly, I didn’t get a photo of the score. Such is life.
The lines between work and vacation were beginning to blur by Monday night. Most of Jack’s coworkers had arrived and they’d invited me to join them for a fancier dinner than what we’d been eating all week. Not sure what to order (I didn’t see a Franceshina on the menu, haha), I asked the waiter what he recommended. He told me his favorite starter, I figured he knew what was good, so I ordered it.

He brought us what looked like two shrimp, a dollop of canned tuna wrapped in seaweed (or fish skin…it was hard to tell), bits of fish that looked like a seagull coughed up, topped with a squirt of green sea foam. It was…interesting. Thank goodness it wasn’t a heaping portion. It’s one of those things we could say we did…and never do it again.


The rest of dinner was fantastic (other than disappointing a few waiters who tried to pour us some wine). I tried octopus for the first time and was pleasantly surprised that it was like soft chicken, other than the suction cups that got stuck on my tongue. We topped it off with dessert and I had what Portuguese people eat on Christmas. That time, the waiter was right when he said it was good.

“I had me a vision, there wasn’t a television, it was a bore, so we read a book.”
And just like that, I was up at the crack of dawn, boarding planes, jostling through customs and security, watching movie after movie over the Atlantic, and then, I was home.
Kate loves her new fan!

I shared the souvenirs I’d got the kids, said adieu to the grandparents, and waited for Jack to get home from his work conference portion of his trip. While we were checking on the animals, riding Stoney, and swimming in the pond, Jack was eating fancy meals, sharing his VR stuff with customers, and enjoying a different side of Porto than what we’d been experiencing.

We counted down the days until Jack came home and life could (very momentarily) return to normal.  

As with every trip, there’s a bit of coming off the traveling high when we return home. There are dishes to do, whiny kids, weeds, and bills. Always something. But the great thing about travel is the experience endures long beyond the actual trip. We’ll miss the blue tile…

…the quirky graffiti on everything and hidden signs around the city…
No idea what this meant but we saw several throughout the city sidewalks.

 …the foreign food (and being able to eat so much without worry about weight gain because we literally walked the distance of a 10k to a half marathon every day)…

Camel drool or bacon from heaven, anyone?

 …and everything else that makes Portuguese what it is. Though we barely scraped the surface of the country, it was fantastic to be able to visit and realize, that the world really is a small place.

And, by the way, the Indy airport now has flights direct to Paris. France, anyone?

Read about what I noticed about Portugal here, as well as Portugal Part One and Portugal Part Two!



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