Coming Home, Part One

Trip Start Mar 01, 2014
Trip End Apr 05, 2014

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Flag of Canada  , Ontario,
Sunday, April 6, 2014

We are home and right now very thankful to be sleeping in our own beds with our heads on our own pillows. We are thankful for many things on this journey.

To see the two smiling bright faces of your daughters when you step off the plane at 12:30 a.m. is the best for our very tired eyes. To have the hugs of your children that you have missed terribly, knowing in those arms they are saying, I am glad you are home! We arrived to our house, breakfast prepared for us and lunch for the next day, champagne and fresh orange juice, photographs hung on a banner handcrafted by the two of them with pictures of Tony and I over the past forty years. Very special indeed, we had a toast the four of us, we talked, it was the wee hours of the morning, we are very thankful indeed. I toast them.

When we decided to go to Portugal, we did not know who we would meet along the way. A search on VRBO lead us to Manuela. After an email or two and especially after hearing her voice we knew we had made a good decision about our home away. Throughout the winter she kept in touch with us building up our excitement, no questions were left unanswered. Fernanda who cared for us while we were in Penedo, with her bright smile, her way of making me understand the oh so very foreign words that spilled out of her mouth, teaching me. For the Pinningers, who gave up their "cottage" to us and shared. Thank you all. This cottage will stay in our hearts.

A phone call that came as a result of an ad in the Globe and Mail led us to Europa Travel, a family run travel agency in Newmarket. Tony spoke with Nancy who along with her husband are the second generation to provide what we will tell you is an incredible experience. From that first call with Nancy, Tony turned to me and said, this is the way to go. We discussed the options and left everything in Nancy's hands.  All of the arrangements, our flight to Lisbon, our flight to the Azores, and our flight back to Toronto went without incident on SATA, the Portuguese Airline. Our opportunity to experience the Pousada, this glorious palace from another time. And truly Nancy, we enjoyed our little "rattler" who safely took us over 2500 km. We never would have thought to stop at the Azores, another part of our world that is steeped in history and that is so unique. We loved that little Canadian Hotel. It was obvious that the owners are or were proud of the time they spent in Canada and wanted to bring back some of it to Ponta Delgada. We entrusted Nancy with our friends, knowing she would give them an experience of a lifetime. We know they were thrilled with the opportunities to experience four Pousadas and see a lot of the beautiful countryside and villages of Portugal. When we met Nancy in Newmarket we knew we were dealing with a family run business because she made us feel like family. Thank you.

I also would like to thank Nancy for trying to arrange a mushroom picking adventure for us. When I had mentioned our love of wild mushrooms in my blog, Nancy contacted a friend of hers that was living in the area and offered to take us picking. Unfortunately we had made other plans that day but we appreciated so much the time and effort put into trying to arrange this opportunity.

Nancy has also given us a new word "saudade". Yes Nancy we will long for Portugal, we are so happy to talk about this special country and it's people with a longing to return and see what we have missed. We look forward to seeing you again.

Thank you!

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Mary Fleming on

Welcome home and thank you for the wonderful updates each morning to enjoy with my coffee. I felt like I was there as you do such a wonderful blog.
Hope the snow wasn't to much of a shock to get use to and you must have brought some of the warmth back as it is a lovely fine day out there.

Jennie on

I'm glad you've made it home safely!! And... I'm very much going to miss your blog entries every day!

Deb on

What a wonderful welcome home. The girls outdid themselves. It truly was an amazing trip and your sharing of it each day made it extra special.

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