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Spring In Portugal

I know spring is here because a little bird with a big voice welcomes the day now at five thirty every morning and keeps up his enthralling repertoire till around five fifty. At which point I continue to lie in bed for another few hours contemplating my navel, as the saying goes. The other sign that spring has definitely sprung is the abundance of flowering magnolia trees and other various blossoms around the town and the crop of white irises, which appears like magic every year, in the garden outside my bedroom. But that is as far as it goes, although we did have a really out of season hot spell for the first few weeks of March. I was even inspired to go for a six kilometre hike early one Sunday morning in practice for the “big “ Easter walk, but more of that later.Suffice to say that the first official day of spring brought back the wind and rain, grey skies and cold temperatures. Our central heating has had to come back on, out have come the woolly jumpers and boots again; soups have become more enticing than salads. Walks are currently of no interest.

There was one glorious respite in the midst of all this gloom. On my birthday, (March 23rd for those interested and, yes, I do accept belated gifts) the sun shone like a true herald of the summer to come. We dashed off up to Moldeo on the coast near Spain and had a long walk to Praia D’Ancora followed by an al fresco lunch with friends. We even had to get out the sun cream in the afternoon. It was almost unbelievable how it could be such a warm day after the miserable weather on Saturday and equally unpleasant Monday that followed. But I was blessed, or felt blessed at least.

The last time my birthday had fallen on a Sunday was six years ago on Easter Sunday no less and it had also been a perfect day. It was spent on the Costa Maya with some friends and we hired a boat to go snorkelling for the afternoon. Because it was Easter Sunday most Mexicans were at home with their families and so there were very few boats out. We managed to find a deserted cove with the reef just off shore, a calm turquoise ocean and pristine beach. It was a day to remember. But the pleasures of walking through the pinewoods while listening to the surf, eating fresh fish with chilled white wine with a view of the ocean, feeling the first hints of summer on your face, these things make Portugal so precious and help you cope with the dreadful winters.

So now I am waiting for the weather to improve so I can get in some more walking at the weekends in practice for an all girls coastal hike at Easter. This will be part of the Santiago de Compostela route but our own version, interspersed with breaks at key food and wine spots like Baiona in Galicia. I think we may manage two days away from the men on the pretext of healthy,outdoor activity. It doesn’t help that I have suddenly developed a gammy leg and have been recently limping slightly on my way from bedroom to the kitchen to get my morning cuppa. Doesn’t bode too well, still I always have the option of phoning my man if the walking gets too tough.

Darling please take me back home to my irises and melodic wake up call where I can wait for the spring in my stride to return while contemplating the blossoms, a nice cup of PG tips in hand.

Christine lives half way up a hill overlooking the historic town of Guimarães the birthplace of Portugal. Although Christine has lived in Portugal for most of her life she is still a Brit at heart.

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Until recently Christine ran a trading office working with top high street fashion names like John Lewis, Henry Holland and Ted Baker (where she also managed the production in Portugal for a number years). She now works at the British Council teaching part time, works freelance as a translator and, in between, writes.

To connect with Christine via Twitter and Linked in and find links to her e book and other written work visit her "about me"".

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