Looking Backward

We arrived home late last night, and today I am reflecting on the action packed three weeks we just spent in Europe. Our vacation was riddled with complications, COVID-19 regulations, logistical screw ups and health issues.

We loved spending time with our grandson and his parents in Germany (even though he was the little mite who passed on viral bronchitis to all of us)! Our little Nikolas was so inquisitive, joyful and sweet. He was not in the best of health during the week we were with him, but hopefully we were able to provide some measure of support and distraction that was helpful.We see him a few times a week on Zoom calls, but being with him in the flesh was pure heaven. It must have been very strange for him to see us walk through the door when we arrived in Germany!

Before we left Germany Garry was down with the virus, and our daughter in law Jessica had full symptoms. So far, I seemed to be avoiding it.Whew! By day three in Portugal, I was down for the count with lethargy, nausea, sore throat and a nasty cough. We managed to get out for a few days every day in the coming week. Despite our health issues, we fell in love with Portugal and managed to make the best of a bad situation. It was certainly not the type of vacation we had planned, but it did bring us closer to Portuguese culture as we shopped almost every day for food and I even had a doctor’s visit to get support for my trip home. Coughing and hacking on a plane is not something you want to be doing during COVID-19 times, so this young physician, after giving me a thorough check up, loaded me up with Codeine and a couple of other drugs that kept me quiet and comfortable for the trip home.

Our accommodation was just two blocks from the famous Sao Bento train station. Beautiful location, right in the thick of things, but very, very noisy, with restaurants and lots of foot traffic just below us. Fortunately we had floor to ceiling windows that you could open at night once things settled down. And, if you wanted almost dead quiet, there were thick shutters you could open and close from the inside.

PCR Testing went fine, which we did within 72 hours of our flight time. There was some major stress with that flight “disappearing” but I will leave the details of that tale to Garry.

At times during the past three weeks, it crossed my mind that our vacation was “ruined.” Well, it certainly wasn’t what we expected, but one day out I feel privileged to have had some rich experiences while seeing another part of the world. And, sometimes it’s the unexpected, untypical moments that stay with us.

Like cuddling a sick child back to sleep, late into the night. Having my breath taken away by the beauty and magnificence of the Sao Bento Train Station when I popped out of the Metro. Watching the street sweeper in the quiet of the night from my balcony at 3 am, long after the tourists had gone. Feeling so heard and well cared for by the Portugese physician who helped prepare me for my journey home. And sharing all of this, the good, the bad and the ugly with a wonderful man with whom I would trust my life. (Just thought I would throw that in as I have a birthday coming in a few days.)

Yes, all in all, it was a grand adventure and a truly rich journey.

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