Tuesday, June 18, 2013

There is a Castle on a Hill

This blog is not only a way to share with you my experiences, but it is a way for me to remember them. 

I wish I could write in more detail, and more often, about these experiences, but there are just so many - so many sensory details, little stories, themes and day-to-day events, that I'd end up spending all my time online. 

castle, looking up
Ingrid's Fiat, custom built drawers
Spending extended time in a solitary place is how I like to travel. It's such a window in to a community. 

Yesterday I headed to the castle with Ingrid (a resident) and Ludgar (the co-owner) to help take down Ingrid's exhibition. Her art show went up early in May, before I was here, and I missed all the fanfare around her opening. I really wanted to see her work so I joined them for the
view from the top of the castle
dismantling of the project. 

I was a little surprised by the castle - barebones, no furniture, dirty and swarming with bugs! The only thing that saved those castle walls was Ingrid's paintings! Apparently there are so many castles in the vicintity that this one decided not to make itself a museum with furniture and descriptions, etc. A bad decision, I think.

And let me tell you about the stairs... I took hundreds up to the roof for spectacular photo opps...

just a few of the hundreds of stairs
But I also took hundreds, maybe thousands, helping walk Ingrid's work out of the castle. Today, my legs are throbbing. I got an amazing workout.

Later that evening, I went with Ludgar and Carolien back to the town of Evora for what I thought was going to be a sax quartet jazz concert. Instead, it was rehearsals for a final exam at the University. We sat in an empty, large auditorium in the music department and watched about 7 sax students - all quite talented - play songs with what seemed like a piano instructor (amazingly talented) The music ranged from classical, to Gershwin, to odd modern stuff, but it was such a treat. A lot of the musicians knew Ludgar and Carolien so after their performances they would come into the "audience" and kiss them, and me, hello. There is a lot of kissing here in Portugal. No such thing as a handshake. Everyone greets each other with a double-kiss -- even strangers. I walk around with my lips puckered ready to greet. At a party the other night someone did a triple-kiss. I forget where they were from, but not here.
view of castle from the pool
Tomorrow I give a talk and a reading. I'm going to be really vulnerable and read something I just wrote the other day.

Oh, and don't get me started on the Tomcat that has appeared, throwing everything and everyone into a frenzy...


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