I am Ready to Travel!

I am trying not to get frustrated, disappointed or despondent. What we want to do, is go back to Portugal for a couple of months, then travel on to other parts of Europe for a super extended vacation.

We want to spend time in Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, United Kingdom…and this list goes on.

However, we are learning about the 90 day travel limit in the Schengen Area. We’ve already spent 30 days in Portugal, now we want to return to Portugal, with the intent on doing more travels. But, if I understand this process correctly, we can only stay 60 additional days, then we would have to leave for 180 days before we could return again.

It was our dream to stay several consecutive months.

We had no idea, it would mean so much legality or red tape to travel.

I am reaching out to you, my blogging readers, if I am wrong, or there is a way that a US citizen can travel longer than 90 days at a time, please let me know!

Thanks in advance!

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Cautiously Excited!

Ooohhh… I am trying not to get ahead of myself…. but things are happening. We may be on the road, or better yet, in the air, again….really soon. Our timeline is very fluid. It could be as soon as September. Or maybe as late as January.

And if this works out like we hope and pray that it will….we may not be back, at least not the way we are leaving.

Someone is interested in buying our house!

Mother-in-law is being processed into an assisted living facility.

Stay tuned…

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Tragedy, Again…

New York Times article

Crazy! 

Senseless!

Why?

Unnecessary!

Heartless!

Tears!

Who did this?

Prayers!

Stupid!

Intercessions!

Cruel!

Callous!

Cold bloodied!

Weeping!Merciless!

Unkind!

Crying!

Heinous!

I was so sadden when I first heard about this tragedy and even more so when I heard that this happened in Manchester, England. So many of the nice people that we met in Portimão, were either from Manchester or had ties there. 
All involved are in my prayers…

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Post Portugal Trip Thoughts

I’ve been home a couple of days. And what a whirlwind of activity on one hand and a snails pace of doing nothing on the other hand. The first thing that I wanted to to was adjust back to my home time zone. I think that I’m there. I really haven’t done a lot. I’ve been taking it easy. But when we got home, and opened the refrigerator door, you could hear your voice echo…so empty…!!! So I had to go to the stores to get groceries. OMG!! What a culture shock! Prices are so much more here, especially bottled water. And that has increased since I last bought some by over 10%. But when you figure our bottled water is already about 75% more!!!! Double YIKES!! But other then that, I’ve been taking it easy. We went out for breakfast, got carry outs (not takeaways anymore…) for dinner. I’ve watched TV and let the TV watch me. Gone to bed late to readjust my sleep and slept through the nights. When we were leaving Portimão and I packed our clothes to come home, one suitcase held clean clothes. The other large suitcase contains our dirty clothes. The one with the clean clothes has been unpacked and those things have been put away. But the suitcase with the dirty clothes in it, is unzipped and open, with all of those dirty things just staring at me….so I closed the lid…hahaha! Out of sight out of mind!Anyway…what I wanted to do in this final Portimão blog was to summarize my thoughts, ideas and emotions of this trip.

Packing

I knew we were going to be gone almost a month. And I knew that we had access to a washer in our apartment (that no dryer thing, is still mind boggling!). But I wanted to first make sure we had enough variety of clothes for different types of weather and different activities. I packed 14 pairs of underwear for each of us. About 10 bottoms and 12 tops. Hubby had 3 pairs of shoes: gym shoes, tie-up casuals and sandals. I had gym shoes, sandals and two pairs of flats, of which I only wore one pair. And we both had house-shoes. And second, I didn’t want to have to wash clothes every week. But in reality, I did wash every week. And at least two loads every week. The drum of the washer was super tiny, and then with drying the clothes outside, it could up to two days before the clothes were completely dry. I could have packed half amount of underwear for Hubby. He wore the same ones, after they were washed, of course! But I tried to rotate mine. But even with that, I had some that I never wore. Even with the outfits, Hubby had his favorite shirts that he like to wear, again and again and again. I think I wore everything, but one top. But…that was just because I had them. 

Soooo, I think we could have could gotten by with fewer underwear. Jackie’s things took up a lot more room than mine. For me, I needed more shorts. I had two pairs and a short blue jean skirt. I also had a pair of capris and two other skirts that I started wearing more casually. 

Did I forget to pack anything or was there anything that I wished that I’d pack? Hubby did compliment me during the trip to say that he thought that I did a great job in packing. He wasn’t looking for things and couldn’t find them. I felt like that too. But I wished that I had a shoe horn. Why? I don’t use one at home. But when I was packing I ran across one and just tossed it aside. Before we left home, I put a pair of new molded insoles in my gym shoes. Because they were molded differently, it was now more difficult to put my shoes on. I had to really use my index finger to get my heel inside of the shoe. So yep, I could have used that. The other thing was my pseudo-Swiss army knife. Now that, I thought that I packed. Jackie needed a tool to get his SIM card out of his phone and when I looked in my things, that when I realized I didn’t have it. I really thought I had thrown it in the bag to be checked. I could not have carried it on the plane with me. He ended up using my comb as his tool…improvisation! Then later, one of the handles of the cooking pan got loose and wobbly. I could have tighten it, if I had my army knife tool with me. 

But if that’s all I missed, I did pretty good! 

What did I pack that I didn’t need. Because the Wi-Fi was so spotty and difficult to use, I couldn’t use my laptop like I wanted. And this is an older one, so it’s bulky and heavy. I made myself use it just because I had it. I downloaded my pictures off my phone to it, but other than that, I really didn’t use it. The other things that I could have left at home were Jackie’s hair clippers and my heating pad. I knew that I was going to cut his hair while we were gone. Otherwise after 28 days with no cut or trim, he would start looking like Papa Smurf! 

But…I forgot about the electrical current thing. So I don’t use it…but…I was looking for something else, dropped the clippers and broke the blade! YIKES!! When I got home, I had to buy a replacement blade. 30$!!! And then you remember my catastrophe with my heating pad…(Portimão, May 1, 2017, Day 20) now I need to replace that. AGH! I wished that I left those things at home!

I am getting better with packing. I just need to improve, tweak a few things and I’ll be OK. My thing is though, I’ve got the most important thing with me. That’s Jackie. And if we forget anything that we absolutely can’t do without, then we’ll buy a replacement. 

What do we want to do if, rather when we return

 Of course, we didn’t see nor do all that we wanted. When we return, I have a partial list and it’s not in any order…

 – Alvor: There was so much to see there. The old village area. Lots of restaurants. Live New Orleans type music. The sand dunes. Finish walking the board walk. Maybe we could spend a couple nights here.

 – Spain: I mean we can’t be so close and not cross the border, at least. I would love to go to Barcelona and Madrid. I would love to do a Mediterranean cruise!

 – Africa: Who wouldn’t want to go to the Mother Land? I understand there is a three hour ferry from Gibraltar to Morocco. Too cool! Fixe (Remember that word? It means cool)!

 – Lisbon: Portugal’s capitol city. So much to see and to do there. 

 – The mountains that we can see from Portimão. These may be Serra de Monchique.

Why has this trip been such a blessing?

There are sooo many reasons…

– This has been a wonderful blessing from God. He provided the means, financially and logistically for us to be able to do this. Thank You Lord!

– It gave Jackie and I some super alone time. Yes, we’ve been on vacations together. But they’ve all been in predominately English speaking areas. So in Portugal, I felt like it was just he and I. We were able to converse with some people some of the time. But for real conversations, it was us. And we had some interesting, thought provoking talks. And we came out of this so much closer.

– The area was too gorgeous for words. We were simply awestruck by the beauty of God’s handiwork. The blue skies, the teal-turquoise waters. The amazing rock formations. The architectural designs of the historic buildings and churches. The cobblestone artwork. 

– The different culture, foods, what we called being on PT, Portuguese Time. No rushing, no hurries, laid back, relaxed time.
This has been a trip of a lifetime.

Thank you so much for sharing with me. You can continue to follow me at allaboutcheryl. And if you missed any of the travel blogs, all of the days are available for you to peruse…

Until next time!

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Portimão/Dublin/Boston/Detroit

Portimão/Dublin/Boston/Detroit, May 9, 2017, Day 28, our last day….sigh…..

En route to Dublin… then to Boston…. then to Detroit…..and back to Taylor….deeply sigh again….

Does my face say it all on my picture? LOL!! This picture even made me laugh!

But, it has been a truly, wonderful trip. And as the adage goes, all good things must come to an end.

Leaving the apartment went without a hitch. We got everything packed, garbage tossed and the groceries donated to Steve and Kris.

YellowFish, the airport transfer, was right on time. They were early, again. In fact, it is the same driver that Daughter had. I mistakenly thought that it was the driver who picked us up when we first arrived, but Hubby said that it isn’t. I wasn’t at the van when the driver weighed our bags, but Hubby said they were under the 50lb limit, he didn’t remember what they were.

This driver was *VERY* engaging. Almost to the point of being like an Italian, where he did a lot of talking with his hands, *WHILE* driving!!! YIKES!!

We passed this set of statutes when we were almost to the airport. Looks like Stonehenge. They are called ‘*Plane Watchers.’* They are too cool (or fixe, which is pronounced ‘*fish*’)!

Because Hubby checked us in online, we were able to bypass the long check-in line. We just had to check our luggage and get our boarding pass. But unlike our check-in at Metro airport, they were unable to check us in for the rest of our flight. I just hope when we get to the gate that they ask to check our carry on luggage.

Once we went through the TSA checkpoint, we saw a couple places to get coffee. We go to Burger King, where there was the shortest line. But they didn’t have any breakfast items, only hamburgers. I guess that’s why there wasn’t a line there. I got a cappuccino and Hubby wanted an orange juice, but the only juice they had was an orange juice box.

When it was time to find our gate, it looked like we had to go through another checkpoint. This was one was pretty crowded. Hubby left me in line to make sure that we were where we needed to be. OK. So I’m in line. There are lots of people behind me, then these two white guys come and stand beside me. Really?! When the line moves, they work themselves in front of me! If I’d been at Metro I would have said something. But I didn’t want to cause an international incident here in Portugal, so I kept my mouth closed and the Detroit east-sider in me, under control! Then we go through customs and I get another stamp on my passport!! WooHoo!! 

Unfortunately, when we get to the boarding gate, there is no request to check our carry on. Shoot! That’s just one more thing that we have to keep up with. We get on a shuttle that takes us to the plane. While we are riding, a guy sitting behind me coughs….eekkk!!! Cooties!!!! I feel his breath all on the side of my face!!!

After the plane takes off, I see there are some empty seats. One next to us. Two across the aisle. So this is not a full flight. That’s why they didn’t ask to check our bags. There is a poor little baby who is crying up a storm. They sound very miserable; their ears must be hurting. I am saying a prayer for them and their parents. Now the baby is quiet. He must have cried himself to sleep.

We land in Dublin and make it to our gate. We have about two hours before the plane leaves. We are both hungry. There is a nearby snack bar selling deli sandwiches and salads. Then I see on their blackboard that they have pancakes and omeletes! Of course, Hubby asks for pancakes and I get a roasted chicken salad sandwich with a lemon and coconut muffin. My sandwich OK. But it was refrigerator cold. It would have tasted better if it were room temperature. But the muffin was really good. I am going to hate to get on the scales when I get home. Gotta get back in the routine of eating better….

We board the plane, this time Jackie has the window seat. These seats seem to be a lot smaller. I feel so cramped and I don’t have any leg room, my backpack is taking all the space where my feet should go. But I am remembering to flex my legs so I don’t get any blood clots. My sister has put the fear in me!

On this leg of the flight, you get lots of perks. I watched two movies, *Moana* and *Why Him?*(which was the family-censored version!) Now I am listening to smooth jazz. We were given a beverage and a tiny bag of pretzels. Later we were served dinner with the choice of chicken or beef. We both chose chicken. Dinner consisted of baked boneless, skinless chicken breast, with gravy. Potatoes and carrots. A slice of dense brown bread with a pat of the Kerrygold butter. A salad topped with cold pasta. A carton of water and for dessert something that looked like strawberry mousse, but they called it strawberry shortcake. Then they came around with coffee or tea. So we both had coffee. Then later a snack of a mini Cesar wrap with a chocolate crispy, which was pretty good. Then beverages again. This time we got tea. I added the milk and sugar to mine. A proper cup of tea. My iPad says 10:00pm which is still on Portugal time. Right now the monitor is saying that it is 4:58pm in Boston. Then we will arrive in Detroit at 10:20pm.

Currently, there is a little turbulence and when that happens you aren’t to get up, not even to use the bathroom. So when they turn the light back on…(I will try to get a picture of it)…

I don’t or can’t sleep. Hubby is asleep. The rest of this flight is uneventful. Because he is sitting by the window, he sees another plane flying parallel to us, but of course, a ways away. I tried to get a picture of it, but all you can see is the contrail. I think he took a picture. Let me stop and go check his phone. OK…his picture is a little clearer.

Now we are in Boston. OMG!!….we had to go through so many check points, US customs and a USA pre clearance. I had to take my shoes off twice and get my laptop and iPad out twice, then stuff them back into my backpack…Man! That got old really fast! Whew! We have almost two hours before our plane leaves. Hubby smells hamburgers cooking, so he wants one. I’m not hungry. I’m still full from all that they served on the plane. And my inside hip joints are bothering me…why? I can’t walk to keep up with Hubby, who normally pokes along like an old man. So, I had to tell him why and to slow down. We stopped for a minute because I did bring my pain pills with me, so I wanted to look for them in my purse. But since I didn’t need them, I couldn’t find them. I may have repacked them in my checked suitcase. And I think that Daughter used all of my Tylenols when she was here. Aghhhhh😣

Hubby decided to eat at Johnny Rockets. He got a hamburger, fries and a shake. I just got a pop. When we sat at the table waiting for his food, I was able to really search in my backpack…and Thank You Lord, I found my pills. I took one, knowing that when it started working it would knock me out. So I know that I should sleep on the flight to Detroit. Hubby wonders if my backpack was too heavy and that was causing my pain. I don’t think so. I think it was because on the flight we just got off, I had absolutely no where to put my feet or stretch out my legs. I must have been sitting in an awkward position…but I don’t know…maybe…I called Daughter and Son and spoke with them. Daughter has the flu…po’ baby. She just found out today. So her doctor is excusing her from work. I reminded Ronnie about picking us up. Hubby said to make sure he has his house-key to let us inside. That would be a good thing.

Our plane left at 8:10pm. This time, Hubby and I sat across the aisle from each other. And because it was a nighttime flight the interior cabin lights were off. He went to sleep. I couldn’t, not even after taking the pain pill. The TV monitor wasn’t working, so you couldn’t watch a movie, nor listen to any music. I had a magazine with me, so I thoroughly read each article to make this past-time last the duration of the flight.

We were served a beverage, which I declined, and a salty snack. I had Cheez-it’s. The captain told us we were early. Our seats were in row four (from the front!!!) so we were able to de-board very easily. Then I called Son to let him know that we are here.

Getting our luggage and getting picked up, was uneventful. It was so good to see my baby boy after almost a month! And of course being home was great. A huge pile of mail awaited us. I should taken a picture of it. Oh, voicemails! Let me see now how many…only 8. Most people call us on our cell phones. TC had clean sheets on the bed, Thank You Lord! She really helped out a lot and kept the house clean for us.

Well….it’s all over….

What a wonderful vacation.

What a wonderful blessing.

I have one more post to add to this blog…my afterthoughts.

Then I will put this blog aside until we travel again. But, you can also follow me under allaboutcheryl.wordpress.com.

Happy trails, until we meet again!

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Portimão, May 8, 2017, Day 27, Our Last Full Day

Today is our last full day in Portimão, Portugal!OMG!! It is a beautifully, gorgeous day here in paradise!

It is already in the mid-60’s at 9am!

This is my kind of weather!

We are treating the two Steves and their wives to breakfast. We are meeting them at 11:30am. I pulled out our suitcases so I can start packing when we get back…so is sooo sad…

Hubby goes goes to the main office to find out what our last day check out process is here at the apartment. He was told that there needs to be a walk-through and that would happen today about three o’clock. Then we get an email from Steve F., asking if we wanted to meet later tonight to play some games. When we see them, we will decline. I want it to just be us tonight. Hubby agreed.  

We met in the lobby at 11:30, and went to Caffé Rocha. Hubby spoke with the owner yesterday when we stopped there to get our ice cream and told him that we were bringing a party of six for breakfast. They were ready for us. They set up a table under an awning and immediately proceeded to take our orders. Hubby, of course, wanted pancakes, and I agreed to let him have some of my omelette. I also ordered a sausage thinking it was going to be the same kind that I had before. The waiter said it was like a hot dog, but if that is what you wanted, that is what he will bring me. I should have heeded that warning. And when he brought my breakfast, it was a hot dog. But because our group was so large and there had been some changes to orders, I kept it. I only ate half of it. 

We had a nice meal. There were plenty of hugs and kisses and goodbyes and let’s stay in touch. Then we all split up to go our separate ways. 

Hubby and I did our souvenir shopping. When we came back to the apartment and I started packing. I was basically able to finish what I could before the property managers came to assess our room. And they were an hour late. No one rushes here. Everyone is on Portuguese Time. The only thing that they said, was to make sure the dishes are clean and the garage is emptied. 

While we were at breakfast, I mentioned that we had some items left over. Steve F. said right away that they would take them. Good! I’d hate to just waste those things. I’m told him that I would leave them in a bag outside of their door before we left.

Hubby wanted to take a walk before dinner. I suggested that we go to the lookout area. We walked over there and just took in the beauty of it all….one last time. I took a couple of pictures and then we were ready for dinner.

He wanted to have a hamburger at Café Del Mar. We sat a table outside and when the waiter brought the menu, we gave him our order without looking at it. We both ordered well-done burgers. They come with fries, chips, and a very tiny salad. I ordered water and Hubby got a coke. The burgers were delicious! (After we return home and I get settled, I will catch up on all of my TripAdvisor reviews.)

After we ate, we sat there for a while for two reasons. One, Hubby was using their free Wi-Fi to do his updates. And two, after the waiter removed our dirty dishes, he never came back. I have surmised that they feel must think it rude to bring your bill without you asking for it. Maybe, its as if they were rushing you away. Maybe that works right now, because it’s not the tourist season and there are always plenty open tables…I would love to know what happens in July.

Now, I’m timing this guy. It was 6:11 when he took our dishes. At 6:49, Hubby was finished with his updates, so he goes inside the restaurant to pay the bill. Again, he has to ask them to take our money!!!

We walk slowly back to the apartment, savoring the moment. 

(Us being silly in the mirrored-ceiling elevator!) This trip has been such a blessing. The two Steves are living the kind of life that we want to live. Traveling the world, seeing and experiencing different people and cultures. But then, Hubby and I are doing things and going places that no one in either of our families has done. And I’m sure, the two Steves probably know someone who is living the life that they want…does this make sense? I had a point that I’m trying to make…I think I’ll just let it go.

Hubby is on his laptop.I’m almost finished with this blog. But because the Wi-Fi is soooooo sloooooowwwww…. it may take me another 30-40 minutes to add all the pictures and post it. But once that’s done, all I have to do is make sure that my phone and iPad are charged, then I am finished for the night. I will eat the rest of my ice cream, while I watch some Portuguese TV. 

Adeus!

 

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Portimão, May 7, 2017, Day 26

Sunday Morning!I was glad when they said to me, let us go into the house of the Lord.

We get up today to go to church at ICF, International Christian Fellowship. When we go downstairs, Maria calls a taxi for us. I ask her, showing her my phone, can I take a picture of her. Eventually she understood and the three of us took a selfie. She was so happy. She gave me a hug and called me, ‘friend.’

Because now we know where are going, we are able to tell the taxi driver which building to let us out. 

When we get to the door of the church, we are greeted and I am a handed a bouquet of flowers. Today is Mothers Day in Portuguese. How sweet. Now I get to celebrate three times! Daughter gave me a card and gift before she left. Now flowers today. And then the official Mothers Day when I get back to the States. 

Today is first Sunday. Communion was served. There was communal bread with the wine. My persnicketiness was cringing inwardly. Thank goodness it was a small congregation and about less than 10 people before it got to me. Any more than that and I probably would have refused it. And if it was a communal chalice, definitely NO!

The same lady preached. Her sermon was “The Disciples Journey of Unbelief.” Her scriptures were from Luke 24:36-46 and John 20:24-31.

Afterwards, we helped put the chairs away. We talked to a few people. They had extra flowers left over and asked people to take them. I got a bouquet to give to Maria. Then we left to walk home. 

Initially, we could not get the GPS to work. So we stood on the street for a while trying to figure out which way to go. We knew the how the taxi dropped us off, so we started off walking in that direction. Then Hubby got the GPS working. Once we got into the route, then I remembered how I walked it a couple of weeks ago when I was looking for the church. He turned it off and I led us back. 

When I gave Maria the flowers she was so surprised. She kissed me and said something like ‘me dias.’ But when I looked it up, she probably said, dia das Mães, which means, loosely translated Happy Mothers Day. Literally, it means Day of Mothers.

We changed clothes, then Hubby said that he would cook breakfast for us. How nice! While he did that, I folded and put away the clothes that I washed yesterday. We enjoyed a good breakfast of waffles, hash brown potatoes and turkey bacon. Hubby also had oatmeal. 

I was sitting out on the balcony, when I saw a lady from ICF being dropped off at our apartment. I recognized her because we spoke for a moment and also because she was carrying flowers. What a coincidence!

It’s another beautiful, sunny day in paradise. We put on our swimsuits and go to the beach. OMG!! It’s getting crowded. After we leave, the temperatures are going to jump up by ten degrees!! I’m sure the tourist season here is crazy!

But, this may be the last time on the beach. We wade a little in the water, but it is still ice cold. We stay about 90 minutes. We are really crispy now. And we did use the sunscreen that Daughter left.

On the way back to the apartment we stop to get ice cream for dessert. Then we change clothes and wash the sand off of our feet. Hubbys on his laptop and I’m on my iPad for an hour or so. Then we warm up our leftover Chinese food for dinner. Afterwards we have our dessert. 

I am focused on catching up on my blog, I’m two days behind in posting. Tomorrow is our last full day😱. Hubby decided that we would treat the other two couples to breakfast. We will meet at 11:30. Then he and I need to go shopping for souvenirs and pack (I don’t feel like even starting on that tonight). 

We need to be ready for our airport transfer at 7:50…our flight will leave at 10:50am and we’ll be back in Detroit by 10:20pm with the time changes…this is making me feel sad just thinking about it. So I won’t be. I still have one full day left!

I will enjoy it!

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