After what we had accomplished on our Camino quest through Spain my heart and head was nowhere near ready to return to the common world and society of greater Manchester. That being said my body was screaming for me to be home in my creature comforts already. So we came up with a genius plan where we would get the best of both worlds. Where is the one place in the world that feels just as familiar as home yet has the ability to soothe any troubles and strains? Peniche in Portugal of course. And who are two of the many people we missed the most whilst being away? Alexi and Jenni of course. Not needing to twist any arms the girls agreed to meet us on a getaway where we could share with them a very special piece of our European experience.
Arriving back to West Hostel to Glauco's warm smile and hugs reassured our decision and was just what I needed. Having a couple of days before the girls arrived to get back into the swing of our home away from home…away from home… we spent most of our days soaking in the fresh salty air and reminiscing the good old times we had last summer with so many fantastic people.
Organising a hostel barbecue which we were well accustomed too we set up the charcoal fire near the cliffs of the bay and had a fantastic evening grilling the traditional Portuguese style Sardines and drinking far too much beer. Taking a step back to take it all in I couldn't have been happier and more content in my life. James and I spent the rest of the evening dreaming up plans of moving to Portugal, buying a coastal house, starting a little business that made just enough money for us to live a basic existence and then never look back. A girl can dream right?
Having flight delays and countless troubles from the get go the girls had finally arrived safely into our world. To add to the excitement they bought along with them a huge surprise, another good friend from Manchester Paul. I'm not sure if I screamed in delight or in fright but none the less nothing was going to change my time in my one place of absolute happiness.
I felt proud to show them around and share countless experiences and stories with them all. The girls fit into the sleepy Portuguese vibe the town radiated immediately. The only thing I could say for Paul was this was going to be a 'holiday' of character building.
With the surf being the flattest we had seen we decided to spend one of the days together venturing out to the nearby island Berlengas. A place that somehow after the countless weeks James and I had spent in Peniche we still were yet to explore. The Island was just a short 50 minute boat ride out and was home to a mass of large Berlenga. Which is Portuguese for Sea gulls, hence where the island got its name from. Bird's aside the main focal point to this Island was its surrounding crystal clear waters along with its old fortress perched on the top of a hill.
We spent as much of our time as possible making the most of the refreshing water as we jumped, snorkelled and floated around in the sunshine. It had been far too long since I had been swimming, eight months to be exact. A number and sentence that I believe an Australian should never have to say. Although I really couldn't complain as Alexi virtually transformed into a mermaid after spending 15 months away from the water. I guess that's the price you pay for living in England. We were all in our element, even Paul who had never been on such an adventurous holiday in his life time. James and I laughed as to us this was just another basic day in our world. Which made me think back to my thoughts I had enduring our Camino experience, I think sometimes I take these moment in my life for granted. Does that make me a bad person?
To end our incredible time spent together we indulged ourselves in a well-deserved evening of fine dining. Heading to a great local spot recommended by Glauco we ordered two large traditional sharing dishes, a fish stew and a seafood rice. Fresh Lobster, fish, mussels, eel and prawns along with aromatic flavours excited our taste buds that evening. With James' beard and the feast of good food and wine in front of us, it looked like we were eight people short of recreating the last supper.
It was time for our friends to head back to their reality. Yet James and I were not yet ready to join them. It was important for us to have one extra day in Peniche to spend our time with Glauco before we would have to say our final goodbyes and this time we knew it was going to be final (at least for a few years). I don't think any amount of words can truly even began to explain the feeling that I have for this town and our friends we made here. I was thrilled that the girls saw and understood our love for Peniche and it made me smile to hear that they too now formed the beginning of a strong fondness for this tranquil surf village.
I left a piece of my heart in Peniche and that is why I know that I will always no matter how much time goes by find myself one day again walking through the doors of West Hostel, where I will feel whole once more.
The Wanderer's Daughter xx