Waking up the next morning with a headache I made my way to the road where I could hitch a ride. Hitching with a hangover is difficult enough, standing in the hot Portuguese sun as trucks fly by, but once I came close to Lisbon there were no more small roads to hitch on, only the freeway. In
I arose the next morning ready to move on. I got a ride straight away off the road with a professional Judo martial artist. After dropping me off I was shortly picked up by a 24 year-old named Antonio. He invited me to come hang out with him and his girlfriend. Since they lived with their respective parents they would spend their Saturdays chilling at the back of a grocery store. Antonio took me to the store and left me there. He only had a two-seater car so he left to pick up Miriam, his girlfriend. They arrived a few minutes later and he parked the car at the edge of the deserted parking lot. We spent several hours together drinking beer, smoking joints, playing music, and talking about everything. They taught me some really cool Portuguese phrases such as “foda-se”, “paz e amor”, “tenho saudades da minha familia”, and my personal favorite “boa onda” which means “good wave”. Boa onda is the feeling you have when everything is just as it should be. About halfway through the day the clouds broke open and started pouring down rain. We moved under the shopping cart return cover of the parking lot where we continued our conversations. Antonio pulled out a huge binder full of guitar tablatures and told me to take whichever ones I wanted. I went through and picked out songs I knew that I would be able to play. Miriam, Antonio and I spent another few hours under the meager protection of the shopping cart cover until it was time to continue on. I said goodbye to Miriam and hoped in Antonio’s car with him. He first took me to the grocery store where he bought me whatever groceries I wanted. Then we drove down the highway a few kilometers where he dropped me off at a nice service station. We said goodbye and he drove off.
The service station had a kitchen and everything and seeing me come in with all my things out of the rain one of the attendants gave me a nice hot bowl of soup. As I sat slurping up my soup a man came over asking if I wanted a ride up the road. He was only going a few kilometers but he could at least take me to the next service station. I agreed to go with him and after finishing the soup hopped in his really nice Mercedes. The 60 kilometers we traveled took only about 10 minutes at the speed he traveled. He dropped me off and I headed inside. A furious game of football (or soccer if you prefer) was underway on the tv and the station attendants were caught up in watching it. I set down my things and joined them in enjoying the game. When the game finished one of the attendants told me I could pull out my guitar and start playing if I wanted, so I did. He mentioned he played a little guitar himself so he picked up Jana and started playing a bit. He taught me a couple things such as the intro to Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here”. Then he and the other people left leaving only me and the night attendant. I pulled out my sleeping bag in the corner of the station and managed to catch a couple hours sleep. I woke up and hung out with the other attendant playing guitar and teaching him some English. After a little while he handed me a paper bag full of sandwiches and drinks. He also gave me a nice blanket and scarf. By this time my bag was about ten times heavier than it had been in the last month from all the food I was carrying. When morning arrived and people began filing into the station I packed up my things and set up a note indicating the direction I was going and asking for a ride. I sat there for hours reading and playing Jana. At one point a woman walked up to me and handed me three euros thanking me for the music. Eventually the same attendant who taught me some guitar said he was leaving for the day and could take me to the beach town of
After awaking I made my way up the hill to where I could continue hitchhiking. I was picked up minutes after I stuck my thumb out and within two rides made it all the way to
I left Margarida and walked across the border into
Upon arrival in the city I just prayed for a warm dry place to sleep that night. I walked and walked through the large city in the direction of the highway praying with every step. When night fell it was apparent that no one was going to invite me in to sleep in a house. When I grew too tired to walk anymore I found a tree next to the road and pulled out my bag. It was still wet from the night before but I couldn’t do anything about that so I set it up beneath the overhanging limbs of the tree anyway. I continued to pray that I would be warm and dry that night despite the situation I was in. I squeezed my way into the bag and found that as soon as I got in it the bag became dry. I lay down and was soon so warm I had to remove layers of clothing. Though my sleep was erratic due to passing cars and people I didn’t manage to sleep a bit. When I awoke I found dew covering the leaves of the tree above me and the grass around me. The fog was so thick it was difficult to see something ten yards away. Despite all the moisture surrounding me I touched my sleeping bag to find it completely dry. My backpack was completely dry. I was completely dry and although I could feel the chill in the air I was extremely warm. My prayer from the previous evening had been answered although not as I had expected it to be. I felt this was truly a miraculous experience and had a great feeling about the day ahead.
I continued walking along the road until I made it to a good hitchhiking spot. I stuck out my thumb and was picked up minutes later by two Belgian brothers, one looking like Michael Moore and the other like Wallace Shawn (the “inconceivable” guy from Princess Bride). They took me all the way across the border into
We arrived in
Although I am not traveling at the moment and have no idea how long I’ll be here in