Wake up it’s beautiful!

Well, it’s been a wet few days since last Sunday and that’s made it easier to be working away inside the camper on the MindCraft website, which is now up and running – here’s the link. Today is overcast but dry so I’ve had my walk on the boardwalk and I’ve also spotted my first Camino walkers.

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(Not a great photo but that white blob on the guy’s rucksack is a Camino Shell)

One of the things I noticed on the little bit of the Camino I walked (near Lisbon last year) was the amount of cafes/bars/restaurants out in the middle of nowhere that are open and will make you something to eat at any time of the day. The same is true in this area. On my walk today I passed ten little places open for business. I was walking to turn around and walk back so I didn’t stop but I’m dreaming up a plan to go for a walk and stop at as many little cafes as possible along the way. Of course as they sell beer and wine too I’ll be either wired due to the caffeine, sleepy due to the food or singing due to the alcohol.

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(Isn’t that just beautiful?)

We got the go ahead from Monica in Porto, today too, to say that Denis’ computer will be ready tomorrow afternoon. So we’ll be off to Porto in the morning via the taxi and the train. We now know our way around the ticket machine, the train and the map of the city so that’s great right?

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(Perfect little beach on my walk today)

Well, it’s not really, because that’s when I stop noticing things. You know how it is when you go somewhere new and you notice everything. The colours of the houses, the odd tradition of putting tiles outside on the walls, the orange colour of the roofs, the different cars, the funny shaped busses, the new trains, the old trams, the eucalyptus trees, the friendly smiling people, the strange language, the incomprehensible billboard messages, the street signs, the sounds, the smells…

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(How could I ever be blind to this?)

But then as soon as you start to get comfortable and things are a little familiar you stop seeing them. Oh look at that statue, what statue? Of course it’s normal, there are millions and millions of pieces of information bombarding our senses in every moment and our poor brain can only handle a certain amount. So it prioritizes.

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(That bridge (does it remind you of the Eiffel tower?) is the one I am standing on in the photo above)

It prioritizes on the unfamiliar stuff and of course the life-threatening stuff (that tram heading straight for you!) When the unfamiliar stuff becomes familiar our brain says, great one less thing to notice, now I can go back to looking for scary stuff. Thereby missing the beautiful, stuff, sniff, sniff.

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(I love everything in this picture!)

It’s one of the things I love about travelling – I see the beautiful stuff! At home it’s harder to see beautiful stuff because my brain is only looking for life-threatening, beauty just isn’t life-threatening enough to be noticed. It’s part of the backdrop, it’s familiar so it disappears. Porto is beginning to feel like home… so I’m beginning to go blind to the beauty all around me. 

Step 7. Stay awake to the beauty, Mairead.