Drawn to the Douro

“When the Wind comes and carries you far away…”

I don’t know exactly when it happened but I got the idea to cruise the Douro River. Maybe it was during a commercial while watching Dowton Abbey after that third glass of wine I wasn’t supposed to drink. All of a sudden I am cruising down a river, surrounded by vineyards, I am not talking the Russian on a paddle board. This is a small luxury liner with balconies and people dressed in white serving manhattans at cocktail hour while we lounge on the deck. You with me?

Sue hates cruises, I know this but am compelled to book the tour anyway. Her distain started while pregnant with Jeff. We were on a cruise of the Hawaiian islands, big boat, lots of people. My best friend on that trip was Jenna. She was just barely two and was like traveling with a rock star. Everyone wanted to meet her. She was serious ice breaker material and she liked to dance. Even the Captain dug her. At lease who she thought was the captain. Turns out he was the lounge lizard lead singer each night. Black guy, pretty good actually. Anyway Jenna insisted he was the “Captain”. He seemed to like it too and we all thought that it was funny. Everyone, even all the grey hairs on the boat.

Sue hung in the cabin, throwing up as I recall, blamed it on the cruise. I think it had more to do with Jeff coming on. Oh well, She has hated cruises ever since. I of course enjoy them, kind of like day camp when you’re a kid. Everything’s paid for. Everything. You just show up for meals go to events or stare at the stars. Convincing Sue to cruise the Duoro was not going to be easy. So I booked it anyway,

That was 18 months ago, we’ll see how she takes it. 🙂

Of course in the meantime Julia happened. (our third of the 3 J’s that is) I mean she happened to be in Florence doing a semester abroad. And that is where we are headed to first after a brief pit stop in Munich. So you can see if you are trying to get to the Douro it is not that simple if you are me – married with three kids. But I do plan to get there and beyond too – to  Santiago de Compestla. But that is a whole other tale. Or leg of our journey I should say.


These are my days, these next few. No car, no kids, no meetings, no nothing for the next 10 days. “Just cruisin‘ on a sunny afternoon. Dreaming…” Young Rascals

I dreamed of symphonies of morning glories. Of completely relaxed muscles, water flowing over me like a shoreline of warm water lapping gently. Gently.

And then the phone rang! What phone? I have no iPhone with me. Not me, not mine. Yak, yak, yak…someone else, in some foreign tongue at the intensity of a freight train whizzing by. Really? We need this that bad?

Probably the greatest difference between when I traveled around Europe in 1972 compared to this trip in 2015 is – the iPhone. No one looks at you anymore. They are engaged, enthralled with this little device. Eyes glued. Thoughts linked to somewhere else.

Okay, I am complaining. I remember a time of no phones though. The quickest way to communicate with someone was via a pay phone and even that was sketchy, especially in Greece. Or, there was always the postal system. I seem to recall my parents receiving postcards from me from my trip aboard – after I had returned. Hah. Well at least they had no idea where I actually was until I was clearly out of danger. Probably served them well.

On this trip we hear from Julia every day. I know where she is and what she is eating. Mainly from Snapchat images of her most recent menu selection. Okay that’s cool. But I have not received a postcard yet, with some scratchy hand writing. Something I might savor 20 years from now. I recall when my father died going through his personal items. I found, of all precious things, the postcards I had mailed to my Mom and Dad while traveling several countries in the fall of 1972. I marveled at them. Who was that person writing such cryptic messages. What had happened to that one? Where is he now?

What an evolution we weave in time. What mileage we put on ourselves. It is bad enough you lose your hair, right?  And maybe gain a bulge here or there. But where is that person we were before?

I don’t know but another iPhone is ringing and I can not see who for.


4 thoughts on “Drawn to the Douro

  1. Lovin’ the blog already! A symbolic image of a door into the vineyards of the mind, where the grapes of of the soul are engorged with the passage of time and ripened by experience. Time to drink!

    “No matter how deeply I go into myself, my God is dark and he is made of a webbing of a thousand roots that drink in silence.”

    “Let it blow…the wiiiiiind!”
    -Al Millan and the Robots

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is actually from a song I wrote called Headed for the Stars (Ellie Mae Music 1976), “When the wind blows and carries you far away. Try and forget your name and feel again like you are one of everything….” Never recorded it but would love to sometime. I have had a concept for an album for a few years now: Master Gardener, and include earlier stuff I never recorded and some new.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love that lyric: One of everything.

    Hey, try and write a couple fado tunes while you’re drifting down the river–I’d love to see them make it to the album!

    Glad to know you’re in the land of Bernini…his David is my favorite, a ton of marble that is pure fluid motion and a gaze focused on the eternal.

    Liked by 1 person

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