Toward Portugal

We just got back from Portugal! No, that’s not the name of a town in Texas, it’s a country in Western Europe, right next to Spain, a part of the Iberian Peninsula. We went to see the horses of course! We’d been invited by our friends, who were in turn invited by one of the most prestigious judges of Lusitano horses in Portugal, Bento Castelhano. Bento, by the way is one sure enough nice guy! We were there to see the National Lusitano Horse show.
What was it like for a Texan to be in Portugal? In a word – magnificent! The horses, the people, the weather, the food, the cute white buildings with red tile roofs (some really ancient ones) were all a feast of the senses. It was like being in a dream, or a movie. Expecting the language to be remotely like our Mexican Spanish, however, was absolutely not true! But the majority of people in Portugal speak very good English.If being there was a dream, getting there was a nightmare! We found ourselves bogged down with scheduling problems. We started out one morning thinking to fly to DFW then Philadelphia, where we’d meet with our friends, then on to Lisbon! But it didn’t work out that way. Thanks to the feverish work of the truly unselfish and helpful folks at Easterwood airport in College Station, we were rescheduled, and instead of missing the trip altogether, we were re-routed! Three cheers for the Home Team! We spent one day getting to DFW, then on to Heathrow through the night, and then to Lisbon late the next day. A long taxi ride from the Lisbon airport to Cascais, the Riviera of Portugal, was made entertaining by Joao (of course) our driver, who told stories, explained history and sang songs! He even treated us to a drive along the Atlantic shore, which he stated was the westernmost tip of Europe. Finally we were united with our friends at Vila Bicuda, and immediately whisked off in yet another pair of taxis to the ancient, narrow, winding streets of downtown Cascais, to a seaside restaurant called Ratatouille! In places you could actually touch the walls of the buildings on both sides of the cab. We were definitely not in Texas, Toto!

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