We made a run to Valencia this weekend. The sellers of the house warned us that Portugal is going to close the border. When the UK closed the air bridge between Britain and Portugal because cases in Portugal are now 28/100k ppl, the Portugese can’t allow Spain’s 150+/100k ppl to cause them to go backwards. Their winter tourism season depends on it, and Britain and Germany are a big part of that. That’s what they told us when they recommended, if we needed anything from Valencia we couldn’t live without for the next few months, we should go immediately. What should have been 10 hours to Valencia took 13. It wasn’t pretty.
We left home at dawn Saturday, but an hour out Jeff realized he had forgotten to put the roof rack on the car. I was driving – we needed that roof rack. I drove us home. Jeff said he would drive on the way out, again, so he took the controls. I asked if he wanted me to punch in the GPS coordinates, again. He said ‘No’, he knew the way. He did not know the way. An hour later of going the wrong way, and some heated words, I plugged in the coordinates and we headed north and east. So we rolled into Valencia at dark. It was a long day.
When we got to the apartment we decided to load up the car immediately, then headed out on the street to get some food. No one in Valencia was wearing a mask. No one. It was surreal. People starred at us because we had ours on. It looked like last summer on the streets with no distance between packed tables. Scary. On Sunday, Spain recorded a new record for cases in one day. Over 12k. Its no wonder. We got to bed around 1am, were up early, heading to our storage unit to get my painting supplies. I need my paints and easel. They’re essential now. With that strapped to the top of the car – with a pile of other stuff – we headed back towards Portugal. This year, fire season in Portugal is one of the worst. Firefighters here are dying in record numbers. The government texted us with warnings all day and when we crossed the border there were warnings every few miles on the reader signs. We drove through some burned out areas and the smoke began to come into the car. We had dry throats, coughs and scratchy voices by the time we got home. But we have all the essential to make it a few more months. Winter coats and boots. Sweaters, as the weather is turning.
We got home in time to watch the sunset and to see a pod of killer whales off shore feeding. They swirled around each other and birds dipped to risk taking the left overs. In the past couple months, we have tried and tried to find a website or information on migratory patterns of sea life off the coast of Portugal but haven’t been very successful. We know there is stuff out there – but what? It was cool to see it first hand. Then Jeff saw this article about killer whales ramming fishing boats off our coast. We see fishing boats all day, every day. Some just on the other side of the waves, very close. It seems man continues to compete with the rest of the creatures of the sea for the dwindling fish catch. We’ve over-fished the oceans. The whales aren’t having it.
We’re home safe and sound. The smoke isn’t bad on the coast and the temps here are cooler, with rain in the forecast. Fall is coming. We can breathe again.