A Wandering Widow Post
“Sometimes our walls exist just to see who has the strength to knock them down.”
Darnell Lamont Walker
I’d always envisioned Portugal as a beautiful, sunny, coastal country and was excited to get there. As much as I love traveling in the off-season, that means I get the off-season weather as well. It rained almost the entire time. And while I wish I could say it was a warm rain, it felt like I was back in Ireland. Fortunately, the people, the port wine, and the seafood more than made up for it. And the few days of sunshine were enough to hook me, I’m already dreaming of my next visit.
Grief’s Fortress Walls
One of my favorite memories of Portugal will be walking the fortress walls of Obidos. As I scrambled up and along, I gained a new perspective. I was able to see the town that had grown up beyond the fortress walls, and how everything within the walls was stuck where it was.
Grief does that too. It makes us want to build a thick fortress wall around our hearts so that we never feel that pain again. But in doing so, we can’t grow. We become stuck. We are confined. It wasn’t until I changed my perspective that I realized I’d built a fortress at all. Walking those fortress walls, I remembered that if I put them up, I could also tear them down.
Leaving the security of the fortress is terrifying, but not as much as the thought of withering within them. Cheers to all of my W sisters who climb up and take that first scary peek at the outside world. If you’re walking the wall for the first time to get a new perspective on life, “You go girl!” And I hope you can hear me screaming, “Hell yeah!” to all the W’s who put on their hard hats and tear those m!@#$%^&*(@^s down.
The Wandering Widow
Live Now. Dream Big. Love Fierce.
Click here for my Portugal photo album.
My Top Three Favorites
I know, I’m already three countries behind, so am skipping my usual site reviews in favor of my Top 3 favorite things about Portugal. Good thing this isn’t a travel blog!
1. Fado music (LISBON, PORTUGAL)
I’d met some people in Madrid who advised me to attend a Fado performance no matter what else I did. And if I had to pick one thing that I’d associate most with Portugal, it’s Fado, the mournful music that speaks of fate. Many of the songs are about loves lost at sea. Without speaking the language, the powerful emotions managed to reach deep and resonate with my heart. Love? Love Lost? Music? Go figure.
The Fado performance I attended was a dinner concert, and I found the meal service distracting, but that seems to be a widely available option. The vocalists were backed up by a guitar, a mandolin, and a bass. My favorite was the young woman who opened the show. I don’t know where it came from, but she had a set of pipes on her that I don’t often hear from vocalists, even opera singers. Freaking amazing.
2. Livraria Lello (PORTO, PORTUGAL)
Book nirvana. Bookgasm. Heaven. However you describe it, Livraria Lello is incredible. This bookshop is supposedly the inspiration behind the Hogwarts Library. Those of you that know the significance of Harry Potter to Dan’s last night on this earth can understand the sacredness this place holds. Plus, books.
It costs €5 to get in, but it’s worth it. Stunning woodwork and architecture and all the beautiful books. If I ever have a house again, I want it to look exactly like this. And they do sell books in many languages and have a knowledgeable team to help you.
3. Obidos (OBIDOS, PORTUGAL)
Since I’ve already explained the personal significance of this fortified town, here are some interesting facts. Obidos historically belonged to the Queen and may be one reason why it’s so beautiful. Everything has been lovingly protected and maintained. It’s pretty and peaceful and is full of shops and restaurants for those of you who don’t want to walk the walls.