Oye vey. The transit today was a highly stressful affair, made all the more painful by a poor night’s sleep. A well tagged, single-car train bore me from Nazaré, and the sea, to the royal hills of Sintra. It was one of those days which feel like I’m cutting against the grain; misaligned in some subtle yet significant way so that every action requires more energy than it should and adds ache to any injury. A lost water bottle, ticketing issues on the outskirts of Lisbon, and an overwhelming sense of foolhardiness, weighed as heavy upon the soul as the pack burdening the body as I climbed the steep streets to the inn.
But then the Bonsai happened. Weary, dehydrated and overly concerned with the dilemma of whether or not to shower today and hasten the necessity of laundry, or run the risk olfactory offense; I arrived at the Sintra Bonsai Museum and Guest House. As it turns out, that’s a thing. It’s an exceptionally awesome thing in point of fact; an oasis for the spirit in the desert of self-inflicted isolation.
The guy running this place is a master and has some spectacular specimens. On top of that he is a truly kind fellow and I’m trying really hard not to abuse his complimentary wine and beer bar…I’m only human though. If you prick me will I not bleed? If you tickle me, will I not laugh? If you present me with free wine will I not drink? His aesthetic sense extends beyond the pruning and shaping of trees as is observed in the design of the grounds. Thought clearly given to the turtle pond and measure surely taken in the room design. It is a fine thing to enjoy the fine works of a person who has created something truly unique and beautiful and for that I am grateful.
It is, at least back home anyway, the time for giving of thanks. In addition to my gratitude for this amazing place I must offer thanks for a fine meal and the grand company with whom it was shared.
For over an hour I was chomping at the bit for Churrasqueira Somos un Regalo to open. Upon arrival I noticed a couple was trying to sit outside much to the chagrin of the waitress. I too wanted to sit outside for it was, as it usually is indoors in Europe, way to hot for my liking. The couple in front of me relented and initially took a seat inside. I however, revitalized from my time among the tiny trees, would not be deterred. As I headed for the door to the patio I offered them a word of encouragement and soon I was joined outside by a pair of kindly and good humored Nova Scotians. We spoke of politics, the tides and how nice it was to be outside on a night which the aforementioned waitress thought would be bad for our health (I mean seriously it was 60 F). We supped until full and then had a night cap among the Bonsai trees. It was a fantastic finish to what started out as a lame, but ultimately ended up being a marvelous day.
I almost forgot, the room I’m in has a stereo built into the wall and upon my arrival the local station played this groovy number. Enjoy