We are leaving Pocariça tomorrow morning and heading back to Lisbon where we will spend the last three days of our vacation. So, tonight we are packing up our 15 bottles of vinho tinto, 2 bottles of Port and our bottle of cachaça along with all of the souvenirs we bought for people. There will hardly be room for the clothes that we came with and we will have to get an extra suitcase once we get back to Lisbon. When we leave Portugal, we always play a little game called, "How much wine can we get safely back to the U.S."? We have had amazing successes (18 is our record) and terrible tragedies (watching the wine soaked boxes shooting out of the baggage carousel in Chicago, for one). Luisa´s father carefully chooses these wines from his private stock and gives them to us. They represent a connection to him and, obviously, to this place. This makes it all sound so simple but it is of course much more complex than I can explain. Tomorrow, we begin the Farewell Tour. We will have to try to strike a balance between the familial obligations and entertaining the children if we are to maintain the hard won sanity of the past two weeks. There are aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings and grandparents to visit. We are going to go to the Zoo and want try to go to the beach one last time. I feel unprepared for the rush of the next few days. At this point in our past trips, I have been ready to leave and looked forward to the goodbyes, knowing that each one brought me closer to home. This is the first time in 10 years that I feel that I could stay awhile longer.
This is my last post from here. We won´t have access to the internet once we return to Lisbon. When I get back to Minneapolis, I´m sure I will have lots of stories to share. There is an 8 hour flight ahead of us and the joy of a 7 hour layover in Philadelphia with jet lagged children. Admit it...you´re jealous!