Small Town Life

So what is life like in when you are living in a hotel room, in a strange town, in a strange country?  I am the glass 1/2 full kinda gal, and we are trying to find the good in all this.  The first good news is that Bill is improving; how many more days until he can test negative, and do a day of paddling, is still to be seen but the recovery has started for sure.  Life right now means wearing a mask pretty much 24×7 except when we take our turn on the patio.  This allows us to get some fresh air, and maintain some kind of social distance between us 😉

We are under very good care of a kind and thoughtful hotel owner, with whom I text regularly.  We are getting 3 squares a day, and actually share one portion since they are so generous, and we are not very active.  Variety, however, is not the strong suit.  It’s usually some kind of cooked meat with fries; and when I ask for a salad, it is either tomatoes or lettuce. We have been  provided the Coke Zero when we have asked, as well as hot water for tea, so all is good!   Maybe this will be the ideal weight-loss program.   

From our vantage point on our balcony, we are getting to see what happens in this little, sleepy town.  The most excitement is watching the tour buses come in to pick up, or drop off, passengers for the Douro River cruise boats.  I’ve dubbed it the Bus Ballet .  There are currently 4 ships docked here and about 10 buses just drove past me to drop off passengers!   Then the fun begins as these huge buses navigate their way back up the narrow street and find a way to park, I think waiting to pick up passengers that will arrive tomorrow morning.  Each driver has their own way of making a multi-point turn and then backing up into this parking lot.  

Each day, several motor bike groups of between 3 and 5 bikers, pass through they town.  Sometimes they stay for a meal, sometimes even overnight.  The hilly and winding roads in this part of the world are ideal for bike touring, so it’s not surprising. 

It seems that this part of the world is also attractive to cyclists, laden with camping gear.  I think we have seen at least 4 per day, either single, or in pairs.  These are the brave ones.  The roads are hilly and don’t have decent shoulders.  Saving grace is that there is not that much traffic (except big tour buses!)

There is a stand across the street, laden with fruits, woven baskets, hats and some other stuff.  It’s staffed by 3 people but I  yet have to see them sell anything.  I’m sure their market is the cruise ship passengers, but we really do not see many of them walking around the town.  I’m not sure how they make a living.

Our big outing today was a 45 min walk while our room was cleaned.   The town is bigger than we thought.  It has 3 streets, rather than 1,  and there are a couple other restaurants/bars.  

So overall, It’s peaceful in a weird sort of way.  The town is not busy.  I think the birds are noisier than the town.  As we walked around, we appreciated the rounded hills, quite brown due to the dryness, and spotted with lots of olive trees.  Very pastoral and non-touristy which is a pleasant change from the busy-ness we have had during our touring.  

So tomorrow we will see how Bill is doing.  We will likely test to see where we stand; I don’t expect a negative result yet but one can hope!  Until we can rejoin our group we will make the best of this situation.

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