Até Mais Portugal – Time to Go

It’s hard to believe (and even to accept), but the time has come to head back home. These have been quite the sixteen weeks and this won’t be the end of the story. I’m at the campsite in Lisbon for another night and tomorrow in the evening I’ll start the journey back.

A visit to Sintra and looking around in Odivelas

I’ve been spending the past two weekends in Odivelas, where Ana lives. It is a suburb of Lisbon, but a separate city. Most people living there commute to work in Lisbon. It is not all posh and pretty like Cascais for example, it definitely has its edges but also more character. It seems more like real life somehow. The area close to where Ana lives has in addition to difficult roundabouts some pretty spots too.

Plenty of pretty street art in Odivelas
The roundabout from hell (one of them)

We went for a short day trip to Sintra a little over a week ago. On our way there we stopped at the Sanctuary of Peninha that has a pretty view to the Atlantic ocean and toward Lisbon as well.

A view from the Sanctuary of Peninha
Looking toward Lisbon from the sanctuary

Sintra is a city close to Lisbon that has plenty of cool stuff to see. I have been to the main sights (Pena National Palace and the Moorish castle) on my previous trips so this was more of a city trip this time.

Sintra sunset colors
Timeframe and planning for the return trip

Next week I will not be working so I can concentrate solely on going north. This week I still am working full so my daily stints won’t be that long until Saturday. The plan is to be back home by the 3rd of December at the latest. I moved the departure ahead by a day in order to leave some room for the unexpected. 4 300 kilometers is a long way so something unplanned is bound to happen.

I will have a brief stopover in Nordhorn again, but not sure for how long yet. It depends mainly on how fast I can get there and how much I still have time left until the third.

It’s not yet completely sure whether I will go through Denmark and Sweden or through the eastern route again. Even though driving through Poland, Lithuania and Latvia was a bit boring it still had its advantages. There are no ferries until the one from Tallinn to Helsinki and that one also for just two hours. Stockholm to Turku is a long one and there might be some time wasted on waiting for the two shorter ones too. I might just wing this and decide when I leave Nordhorn.

Not much to tell about surfing…

The swell has been over two meters and there’s been a lot of wind so I haven’t been surfing the past ten days at all. My wetsuit has finally gotten completely dry (this is a very thin silver lining). I’ve been running and doing more yoga instead just to keep myself fit (and sane). The weather has been really rainy too most of the time. It added to the current wave conditions makes me wonder if my plan to come here for the winter next year really is that smart. I might have to reconsider the timing still.

I will be leaving my surf board here. Ana has some room in her storage room at the attic. There’s really no point taking the board to Finland especially because it really makes living in Naranja quite tight and uncomfortable. I have mainly stored the board under the van, but I have already had a couple of close calls with driving over it. And on my way I will mainly be parking in free spots and there’s no guarantee about the safety either. Also it makes the next trip here easier too. I am planning to fly over in March for a couple of weeks and the board will be here waiting.

Some future thoughts

When I get back home I will start considering my options about keeping my apartment. I really think I could live without it for a couple of years, but I really haven’t thought it through yet. I will have to see whether “subletting” the apartment would be possible too. Officially you have to live permanently in a right-of-occupancy apartment, but there might be some loopholes that I can explore. It would be a temporary solution at least if I can find a way to get it approved.

Then there’s also need to figure out the above mentioned timing of my next Roadnaranja tour down here. Half and half plan would make sense to minimize the driving and not to get too much hassle with taxation and other bureaucracy. But where to time it is the real issue… But there’s a long dark winter waiting in Finland and plenty of time to plan (and to dream) about the next trip.

There’s now something else besides surfing that pulls me this way too. Ana and I have become very close. This is also the part about leaving that feels the worst. I do have some previous experience about long distance relationships and it isn’t that bad really. It’s just that the leaving always really sucks… The excitement about the next meeting makes up at least some of it though. Ana has plans to come for a visit in January as I already mentioned, I plan to fly over here for some time in March.