Portugal in the Box – #34

Wednesday 2nd July 2008

Barco de Alva

It is a little bit scary to write the date every day, every day is one day later, one day closer to the end of the trip. When I go away like that I always have the problem to come back, in fact I think I would prefer to live on the road, always… I always had a gypsy soul, always dreamed of spending my life on the roads and oceans of the world…
It is already July, only about 10 days are left now until we must go back… Kevin has a gig on the 19th in Germany, and must fly to England before, and we must go back to Turre, then to Albir… then a big working time will start, full of commitments… I am not so keen about it. Once you have tasted freedom , almost total freedom like we have on these trips, it is very hard to come back to normal life… I experienced something like that, even stronger, as I spent many weeks with my brother on a sailing boat. There, the rules of society are even weaker, time and space and life in the spacetime really take on another dimension…

Anyway, still about 10 days to go and Kevin tries to comfort me, saying that it is as much as some people have for their entire vacation! Yes, of course, but I am not the kind of person who finds comfort in the misery of the people having a worse life than me. Generally, that kind of wisdom is a passive one, it never helps solve the problems which hurt your life, it just helps you to survive them.

We have decided to stay in Barco de Alva until the end of the Powerboat competition, which will take place this weekend. We will perhaps make some day excursions around the area, but generally we will try to defend our place by the water and above all by the electric point! I guess at the weekend I will concentrate my drawing on the powerboats and the people around, it is surely a beautiful theme. But difficult. This morning, while Kevin was helping the national English team to pull their boats into the water to make some tests (they had a motor blow up at the last competiton in Lisbon 10 days ago), I tried to make some sketches. The first one was a total catastrophe. The proportions and shapes were totally wrong, and after the second sketch, which was a little bit better, I realised that I had to think in another way about the powerboats: much more in terms of  aeroplanes than of boats! This would perhaps help me to draw them better. I hope I can improve the sketches this weekend, as I really find these boats very aesthetic. Kevin had a long conversation with the oldest guy of the team, he will surely write about it in his own entry in Cafe Crem.
But somehow it is so funny again: although we really are in the middle of nowhere here, and we haven´t seen a tourist for a long time, we have managed to find a place where an international competition takes place. This kind of situation seems to have followed us all over the trip, from the very first beginning!

In the afternoon we had a nice bike ride to an old railway station, out of service now. How sad, somehow! It was a beautiful one, a big one, with a lot of railway stuff  I never saw before in my life:
„How can that be, you are the daughter of a railway engineer!”
said Kevin, as I told him I had never seen a changing turntable before. Well, I will have to ask my father how that can be!
Again we had a bike ride to Spain, across a bridge over the Rio Aguera this time, up a hill.  We still could feel in our legs the effects of the ride two days ago, in fact each turn of the pedal was a nightmare, up the hill or not!

I spent the rest of the day finishing some sketches with watercolour, and watching the whole river traffic with the Douro Cruisers. Quite fascinating… we are trying to find out how many of these boats are cruising the Douro, and until now we have spotted 5 different ones. There is first the Royal Family, on Portuguese flag, consisting of the 3 boats:
– „The Douro Queen”, the biggest and most modern and noisiest one, which has her motor always on and spoils the sensitivity of my ears
– „The Douro Prince”, the most insignificant and oldest looking one,  in fact no character at all…
– „The Douro Princess”, the most beautiful and most romantic one…
I wonder if they have a king too,…
Then we saw the „Vasco de Gama” with a French flag and registered in Strasbourg, and another one, from which I don´t remember the name… Something with Magellan I think. By the way I don´t remember where this guy came from… France?

We are still waiting for all the traffic from the powerboats competition to turn up and chase us from our wonderful powerplace by the river… until now it is only the English team here, although we saw two French vans in the late afternoon, obviously from the French team but without a boat, who parked for a while close to us and looked at us ferociously…
Who will dare to tell us to bugger off???


One Response to “Portugal in the Box – #34”

  1. bob cornelis Says:

    I know what you mean about the re-entry into real life. Many years ago I worked for a company that gave each employee 3 months paid vacation after 5 years of service. When I came back I literally could not remember how to do the work I was doing. I had to surreptitiously watch some coworkers to remind myself – I had erased all of my detailed memory!

    A friend of ours just returned from several weeks in Mexico on vacation and is already trying to figure out a new job that will allow her to simply collect checks over the internet while she sits on a beach sipping margueritas.

    I hope you have a gentle re-entry into your life. And remember to be grateful for the time you had, as it recedes into your memory!

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