You may have noticed less exploring in this blog of late and more mooning around in cafes, wandering the pleasant streets of Spanish and Portuguese towns, vino verde at sunset and long strolls on the beach. Let’s be serious – not really the stuff of adventures! Well, let me just say … All that is about to end!
We are presently in the town of Sines on the southwest coast of Portugal. Yes, I know ….not exactly a remarkable escapade …but wait. Finally we have reached our last stop in continental Europe and are about to turn toward the vast unexplored tracts of Africa. Indeed the last weeks have been spent stolidly preparing for the coming adventure and the highlights are …well … Rather low.
In Lisbon we ran helter–skelter around the crumbling remnants of the empire to get the required visas, to take liberal samples of the dogs blood to double check that she is not rabid (accompanied by a pitiful whining yelp that made our knees go weak), had our own shoulders jabbed by various needles full of inoculation (the dog looked amused) and stocked up on various odds and ends to keep us going over the next few months.
We did manage to have some fun on the way. We met a lovely couple who invited us to a fantastic Portuguese meal in their flat overlooking the harbour. Actually … they really invited the dog who happened to be born on the same day as their Jack Russell pup, but we were allowed to tag along. I almost got arrested as an innocent bystander in a Lisbon drug bust (apparently I was ordered to stand against the wall and submit to a search but my non-existent language skills left me standing with a confused look on my face – the officer took pity on me and ignored me). We also roamed around the city in pursuit of various odds and ends and emptied our wallets to pay for the privilege of tying up to the ancient stone wharfs of this beautiful city.
But all this is now in our wake. After a final day of preparation we will soon wave goodbye to Europe and head south to Morocco where camels, sandy savannahs and my seventh continent await. And from there we will head to the Canary Islands, Senegal, the Gambia and then Guinea Bissau. Since I was a child I have always dreamed of Africa … It has taken a while to get here but I can’t wait. For those faithful readers who have borne with us through our rather dull ramble through Europe we can promise a return to our initial focus of wildlife, wilderness and high adventure … we hope you’ll be there for the ride!