Oh Portugal, it is so good to be back.
To leave the pure blue skies and unfaltering heat of Spain for your more temperate weather well, I can’t deny it was a little bit of a shock. But something about you makes me not feel disappointment for the slight drop in temperature; perhaps it is your heart-stopping beauty.
You are somewhat softer than your neighbour, both in landscape and in personality. Your accent is more a slow dance than a fiery exhibition of your wares. Even your cities amble along at a pace that is more than doable, the mixture of old and new melded together with such beauty and comfort. But no, of course, it is not your cities I am interested in, although my whistle-stop tour of Lisbon is cherished… No, it is your landscape.
Soft and delicate, awash with Spring flowers, as if I could nestle right down at the top of your cliffs and just sleep. The silence I have found here has been much-needed and relished; every last drop. The excited buzz that had infiltrated my body as I wandered through Spain has been replaced with a more mellow hum. But of course I take every feeling, every experience, and try to hold it close, figure it out, enjoy it and so we have become reacquainted again quite quickly.
And yet, amidst your tranquility you are still a little rough around the edges, which warms me to you even more. We, none of us, are perfect and where I do see seeming perfection it leaves my soul cold, which is why I feel warm in your embrace.
So we have dawdled along the intricate streets of a pretty village, buying fresh bread from the bakery van, drinking small coffees in the sunflower-adorned café. We have walked and felt the Atlantic breeze, gazed at the endless sea from up high and regenerated ourselves ready for our last leg, where another very special family-member will soon arrive to light up our hearts (particularly my daughters) and we will all journey inland together, to my most favourite place: the green heart of Portugal.