On leaving Istanbul, we had a lovely peaceful run down the Mediterranean, staying closer to the European side this time. Classes were finished, David was lost in correcting papers, and we were beginning to have the feeling of the approaching end of the voyage. But first, one more highlight! After a second passage through the Pillars of Hercules (Gibraltar), we were scheduled a sixteen-hour daylight stop in Lisbon for refueling. One interesting tidbit–in Portugal, the factory and port zones (no prettier there than anywhere) were dotted with wind-power turbine windmills. A neat solution to the problem of where to put the noisy things!
Emails had been flying back and forth, with all of our friends in Portugal suggesting about 200 hours of activities—and if we had fit them all in, we would have weighed 200 pounds more before we returned to the ship. Finally, however,
(after a brief visit to the Lisbon house where we’d had such a wonderful four years) through the good offices of Patricia Lamb and Gilbert & Justina Wells, everyone decided to spend the day at Justina’s table in Azenhas do Mar.
Friends came from the Embassy, from the Church, from the University, from Democrats Abroad, and from ‘family’–some of whom had never met each other before–all assembled at a beautiful home overlooking the Atlantic. We ate (Justina’s food was, as expected, fantastic and she included our favorite Portuguese dishes), drank wonderful Portuguese wine, and talked and talked and talked (but of course, we never stopped eating and drinking, either.) Notice the beautiful setting and the perfect weather. Typical Lisbon.
Eventually, Luli & Edgard drive us back to the ship, poured us onto the gangplank, and we returned to the suddenly unfamiliar confines of the Ship.
From Lisbon to Amsterdam was two days of farewells, ceremonials, parties, dinners, drinks in the bar, little mementos, exchanging addresses, “Can I have a picture with..” plus giving out grades, hugs, and best wishes. We needed to be off the ship practically the moment we arrived, so the almost-forgotten suitcases came out of the hold (nearly filling our suddenly tiny cabin) and everything got packed, neatly divided into a small bag each for wandering Europe, and piles of boxes for shipping home. Then we remembered something urgently needed in Europe and had to open everything to find stuff, repack and heave a sigh. Then we remembered…. (I won’t bore you, this was repeated often.) The cliffs (of Portugal, Spain, France, and then England) passed behind us, and as everything was flat and neat and green and tidy and colorful, we realized we were entering the lowlands. After arriving too soon, it seemed to take
forever for us to tie up, and then after more tears and hugs and exchanges, Elizabeth and I found ourselves on the dock in Amsterdam with too many boxes and no structure to our lives anymore.
Thank you for joining us on our miracle voyage . . . .