The Portugal Adventure – Inquiring Minds Want to Know !

Stopped on the Autobahn

I’m fairly certain that the German chickens were still asleep the day we boarded our vehicles and turned southward to the Iberian Peninsula. We were heading right out of Germany on the Autobahn. You can go pretty doggone fast on the Autobahn, and it’s legal. The only thing holding you back is how fast your car can go. Or, whether or not your vehicle gets a flat tire.

Yep, it’s a flat tire!

Stopping on the Autobahn is discouraged by law. (See the link above,) But, driving with a flat tire on a road that has a top speed of 240 Kilometers per hour (150 mph) would be frowned upon.

How long will it take?

Everyone exited the van and removed all of the luggage so they could access the spare tire Then, we waited. And, waited.

When we got back on the road again, we headed for the Swiss border. We began to zip through Switzerland on a toll road. The trouble began when we arrived at the first toll booth where the legal tender was the Swiss franc. The toll collector spoke French, Italian, and German. Harry spoke English, Portuguese, and had studied (and forgotten) French and Latin in high school. Since we came in from Germany, the collector tried talking to us in German. Harry then tried English, and Portuguese without success. As seems to be the custom in these situations, both parties tried speaking his native language with increasing volume in the vain hope that louder will be more comprehensible.

Then, Harry remembered that I had studied German in high school, and asked if I could help. Put on the spot like that, I was certain I would not remember anything useful. I mean, I remembered a song about Augustine and the chorus had a lot of ja, ja, ja, ja! in it. But, then it happened. A couple of German phrases came running to our rescue, and were modified for the occasion. “Wir haben keine Schweizer Franken. Wir haben Deutsch Mark.” (We have no Swiss francs. We have German Marks.) That proved to be a negotiable proposition, and we were soon back on the road.

We arrived at the Bible Institute in Barcelona late at night and spent the night there. I stayed again with one of the American missionary families. I was so tired, I forgot to lock the bathroom door when I was bathing. Suddenly, the doorknob rattled, and the missionaries’ two-year-old son came wandering in to have a conversation with me. I ducked down below “see” level, asked him to stay in the doorway, and enjoyed a lovely (loud) chat with him until his mother heard us and fetched him out.

Sunbathing on the Mediterranean Sea
By the sea

The next day we went to the beach. The one on the Mediterranean Sea. It’s funny, you know? You study about all of these things in school, but it’s an imaginary excursion at the time. When you are standing in front of, and swimming in the sea that has touched so many nations down through history, the reality of it is almost overwhelming. One of our Portuguese chaperones proposed taking a picture of Harry and me together in that historic location. We stood, side by side, smiling and waiting for him to snap it. Then he looked over the top of the camera, and told us to stand closer. He checked the camera, and  looked over again. This time he instructed Harry to put his arm around me. Isn’t he adorable? Does he look bashful to you?

The next morning my hostess grabbed my arm as we were getting ready to leave. She took me aside, and asked me, “What is going on with you and Harry?” I told her, “I have NO idea what is going on.”

Next week: the plains in Spain again.

If you are reading this story for the first time, you will find the first post here, and there are links from each post to the next. The next post is here.

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