Last day we relax and enjoy with some self indulgence. Stroll the tree lined avenues. Eat some breakfast. Do some shopping. Catch the tram and circle around the city. Drink coffee European style and eat a last Portuguese tart. It's a day that we go where-ever we want on a whim, stopping here and there, up and down and around the beautiful sun drenched city of Lisbon.
Mid afternoon we find ourselves up high on a hill under cathedral bells overlooking another incredible vista. It's a shady place with live music, a large fountain close by, shady trees, tables and chairs and cold ciders for us and i just gaze out over the horizon which stretches for ever.
The tram has loads of character ( and characters too- just quietly ) and on many streets it barely fits between the buildings and occasionally stops to allow cars to squeeze in and by. Evening comes and light starts reflecting off the pastel coloured building walls and the white shiny mosaic pathways.
We ready for dinner and go to another recommendation, a place with a queue along the street which we join. Half hour later we are called inside and again jammed next to others (a Canadian & local couple either side) at tables. We meet - it's hard not to being so close - and have conversations comparing our worlds. And eat the incredible Portuguese grilled chicken (finally!) and cod. And drink a buttery broth soup with soggy bread, coriander and poached egg. Surprisingly good and chosen because local people were eating it. They are so causal about such incredible food here. Flavours that are hard to replicate and stunning every bite. A last jug of Spanish sangria shared and home to our airbnb.
Woke this morning and it's the day of finals, the last day I will stand at the bar and drink expresso and choose a breakfast pastry. Final time we will walk down to the water front. Final time to buy fruit, red sweet strawberries and dark plump juicy figs. Final time to shake my head at the arches and statues and incomparable amazingness of the ancient Portuguese who built the monuments around this city which we have admired and photographed with such pleasure.
Happily it's not the last time I will see Joel - he will be home in some months briefly. He is now visiting friends and then going back to work.
Joel you have been a joy to be with. Considerate, fun and you have looked after me so nicely. And looking through your fantastic photos -you've taken a load of photos of me - thank you for giving me so many visual reminders of being in the places I have loved so much.
The little boy I grew up has long since gone and the change is fine with me. Although every now and then it's still a bit surprising seeing a man in the place of that little kid.
We catch a taxi to Lisborn airport and Joel ensures I book in to the right flight. And now the 3 flights home, each 7-8 hours long. One after the other. Journeying back through the time zones and into the evening darkness according to the flight tracker and little dotted line.
Back to work and home and reality and full of happy memories, a million photos and a summer tanned skin.