OK Portugal I promised Myself I Would do Some Writing

This was prompted by an article sent to me by my health care provider, Baylor Scott and White, Journaling for Mental Health. Although I don’t feel particularly nuts, it was a nice reminder of the benefits of writing on a regular basis. Soooo, I am going to do some free fall writing. I will try to think and write sticking to one topic instead of doing mental kickboxing.

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What is most on my mind? Well, I am recently back from almost a month of travel. We went to Portugal on a Viking River Cruise and Norway on a National Geographic Expedition. I like saying NG Expedition because it sounds very adventurous and spikey. It was verrrrry good. But there I go, avoiding chronology.

Portugal: I didn’t know much about the country…certainly didn’t know that it was a Fascist dictatorship for fifty years ending in 1974! I like Portugal and I like the people and I like Fado music and I like Vino Verde and I reallllllly like the Douro River Valley! We went from Lisbon to Porto then onto the ship, sailing over to Barco d’Alva then back…. lots of Brits and very few Americans. Len and I were pleased with our upgrade to a suite….very nice with a separate living area and two balconies. I learned about harvesting cork and how important it is to the economy. Also that cork really does regenerate so it isn’t as endangered as I once was told. So I had to buy an expensive cork purse. It was the right thing to do. I bought a cup towel in a little shop owned by a mother and daughter. After handing me my change, the daughter said, “We thank you for your help.” What a nice sentiment.

Our ship, the Viking Osfrid is new this year. The crew is all-Portuguese unlike the other Viking ships that are staffed by mostly Eastern Europeans. Seems that Viking contracts with a government owned company that provides riverboat employees—because Portugal is so in need of revenue. I guess it is like buy America….only employ Portuguese! They were extraordinarily polite and friendly. There was a contest to see who could name all the staff members first. Needless to say, I was crazed to win for any challenge and the bottle of vintage port was an incentive….alas, I came in second but had all the names correct. I was just too slow. HOWEVER, I did win an excellent bottle of champagne that I shared with our Chinese-American tablemates.

Hmmm, what did we like best…..the Colouste Gulbenkian art museum in Lisbon aka Lisboa, the National Azulejo (Tile) Museum, the Navy Museum (Len’s choice), the port tasting, and the sailing. I go DSCN0071.jpg into a zone on a riverboat. There were other museums in Lisbon I would like to have visited….a toy hospital museum; a Fado museum (closed on Monday-grrrr.); a museum of sacred art; a pharmacy museum; a Museum of Oriental Arts; and finally a Resistance Museum (my favorite these days).

The food onboard was not as good as I have had on previous Viking ssailings but you can’t screw up breakfast or Portuguese bread! We also enjoyed the silver beverage package that entitled us to unlimited libations. I gained 6 pounds in 3 weeks. I loved recalling the tune Lisbon Antigua, the 1956 hit by Nelson Riddle. Now that was a song for dancing! I may come back to Portugal later but for now it is time to read……looking for a novel about Portugal—A Small Death in Lisbon.

Well damn. My software from the old computer isn’t working on the new computer. I have a new Mac coach coming over this afternoon—someone Anna recommends. She’s been promoted and now way too buys to walk me through new programs. I mourn losing her.

While I am waiting I will talk about a Chocolate Workshop I took today at the Salado Library. Our library really rocks. The class consisted of only 5 out of the 12 who had signed up….Letta, our 84-year-old teacher did a smashing job using You Tube’s The Story of Chocolates her foundation. We had many interesting chocolate flavors to identify, equipment to view, take away chocolate, and promotional materials for the library’s Death by Chocolate event coming up in September. The first year I won first place…..I would like to try something new this year… Ok back to Letta. She golfs every day when the weather holds out, does yoga three times a week, drives a 1954 red Ford Mustang, and works tirelessly as a volunteer for the library. A role model.

OOOPS—just looked at the web version of this I published and a lot of was left off so I am redoing it and I am putting all pictures at the bottom because something is screwy. Do overs.

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