From Outside Casa Sol

Kelsey Breseman
2 min readJan 24, 2024

We make it out the door while there is still some orange in the sky. It's not the full sunrise I'm pushing for, but we're edging closer.

It took a couple of days for us to transition from South African rand, 200 of which (about $10) can get you dinner and a drink out, back to euros: a little too easy to slap down a card on an €80 bill for the four of us and only later parse the cost. But we're back to groceries now.

Eileen is assiduous in booking accommodations with cooking facilities. It makes all the difference on long trips. For €60 and a trip to Lidl, we've eaten well over our rest day: meatballs in mushroom gravy, pasteis de nata, fried eggs with spinach on seeded brown bread, avocado on our salads this morning. Fresh tortellini. Fruits, vegetables, and snacks for several days. Homemade soup.

For three retirees and a student, this is not a properly cheap trip, but it's not bad. The main activity is just: walking. This morning, my pack is extra heavy because we shopped while hungry. But I'll finish the produce well before lunch today.

Early sunlight makes the eucalyptus shimmer golden. Pigeons coo and dogs bark as we hike out of town.

It’s warm before nine. I haven’t been to Portugal before, but Rick sent me an article: it’s unseasonably warm. It’s weather when it happens and climate if it happens often, but here I am in the sunshine. I read a poem once where the crocuses bloomed on New Year’s day, months early. That is the kind of image I want to hold in my heart through years of change: beauty even there.

The last year has been a good one because when seasons came, I went and touched them, and because of all the days I walked beside the sea.

The wind is so strong today that it feels like it might be searching for the sound of the ocean in your ears. The wide ocean sings a slow-motion roar, rollers cresting and blowing back, the spray made rainbow by my polarized glasses.

We arrive early, too early to check in at the lodging place. But there is a wall beside the house, lending shade to a field of clover. Bees seek nectar in yellow flowers next to my cast-off shoes, while dried figs warm against my tongue. A long walk makes for a simple day.

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