Tonight, midnight May 2nd, Portugal releases the State of Emergency. Portugal will slowly open up again. From May 4th some stores, libraries, accommodations, limited public transportation options open up again. Restaurants and cafes won't re-open till May 18th. This makes it possibly for us to leave our safe haven and start biking again.
For over 40 days we have been suspended in time in Ponte da Barca - Bridge of the Boat. It makes me think we have been on some kind of version of Noah's Ark, where we've been "spared from a world-engulfing flood", bridging two worlds, old and new, before and after.
We are all grateful that we decided to hang tight and float on the river of peace and calm in Ponte da Barca, instead of embarking on quite a wild boat ride on a wild waved fearbased river when the pressure was high for Canadians to return home, more than 6 weeks ago.
We have been touched by the genuine concern and interest of local Portuguese people and neighbours for our situation. We were gifted fresh lemons, white sparkling wine, port wine, books to keep us entertained and a local delicacy and specialty: the 'Bolo Rei' - King Cake, fit for Kings indeed! We crowned the cake with luscious red strawberries!
Obrigada/Obrigado Ponte da Barca and especially Anna and her family for your care and all the gifts during this time!
As a family we have found a wonderful rhythm and many hidden gifts and treasures surfaced. While Tracy and I dove into deeper meditation practices and I started a deeper exploration of Qigong, Lief and Sol discovered their creative talents. Much of it you have already witnessed: the Quarantine Art Show, Food Art Show and Photo Exhibit were only a few examples of their creative explorations.
I am really loving the teamwork and skill work they are developing together. Their soccer practice is one example, but their love of Food Arts brings them together as well. Since Sol is a huge apple pie fan, they worked for hours and hours to create a delicious and beautiful apple pie, after following a tutorial for The BEST Apple Pie Recipe.... And you wonder why I put on some weight?!?
Thankfully our bikes are waiting.... I do wonder what life will be like when we emerge out of this Ark? How will it be different? Will there be more balance in the world, or does everyone choose to just step back on the treadmill?
So with the opening of the gates comes looking ahead at the (near) future, planning accommodations, routes, as well as looking ahead at how to return home, which does resemble a treadmill indeed...
On Tuesday May 5th - Liberation Day in Holland - we do step out through the gates, back into the wider world, (limited to Portugal mind you), back on the bikes and see what it brings.... First planned route is back along the Rio Lima to Viana do Castelo, then south along the coast to Porto. Inland along the Douro river, Portugals famous wine area and then exploring the Torre (Tower), highest peak of Portugal all stand on the biking menu. Let's see how it unfolds, we will keep you posted.
We have about 5.5 weeks to make it back to Lisbon. On the 12th of June we will fly to Amsterdam (sadly, without being able to say hi to anyone...) continuing on the 13th, via Frankfurt to Vancouver.
We are asking for a miracle to happen: We would like to make it all the way back to Haida Gwaii in one go and start our two weeks of self-isolation at our own home...! It will all depend on the grace of the border guard whether or not we will be allowed to continue in one go or that we will be made to self-isolate for two weeks in Vancouver. But I do believe in the power of prayer and I do believe in miracles.
Please join us and send your prayers to clear our path all the way home around that time, haaw'a, thank you dear friends and family! Love from us all, Lief, Sol, Tracy and Kiki