Meet Goncalo, speaking English, Filipe, speaking French, with a French speaking Englishman, still struggling to learn Portuguese . . . met them yesterday on the way to the hostel, impressed with their project . . . Renascer - working with homeless people, ex-prisoners and others in Lisbon . . . they have a farm teaching land-based skills near there . . . and provide a route for students to become teachers, Goncalo being a great example . . . Filipe lived for a while in Switzerland, now working with this practical response to some of the problems exacerbated by the crisis . . .
At breakfast this morning there they were, having stayed for another fundraising stint today, before returning home later. A heartfelt connection, maybe with practical possibilities later . . . let's see . . .
As for the castle, which readers aware of latin languages might assume, wrongly, to be white . . . a walk up before catching the bus at 1pm provided another glimpse of Templar history and a great view of the city sprawling around the hill on which it stands . . . telecoms masts now stand above the castle keep . . . the new power, connecting us and surveilling us . . .
At the tourist info, an unusually miserable woman hands me a handsome brochure about this unlovely place, with its apartment blocks for humans like battery cages . . . decide not to ask whether she has personal problems or just occupational angst from her job promoting the dubious treasures of the city to the odd lost tourist . . . on their way to and from more beautiful places . . . on the plus side, the bus station is nice, the ticket person helpful in steering me away from the 3 hour slow service to Serta and kindly asking if I am 65 and eligible for a discount . . . a good counterpoint to my unserious delusion that the youth hostel folks think I am under 25 . . .
. . . and so to Serta and a lift from Jan to Graca and the simple home she shares with 9 dogs, 4 cats, 2 guinea pigs and 2 chickens . . . two of the dogs are only staying until Sunday, another two have been adopted and are off to Germany next week, two are long term fostered leaving only three . . . well they live in and around the house and I am staying in the caravan, as far as I know an animal free zone . . . let's see . . . meanwhile there are miles of forest tracks to wander . . .