The moment that Andrew wrapped me in his arms and we kissed I knew I had made the right decision by flying to Portugal. He lived about an hour out of Lisbon and since we were in the city he had a few errands to run, in typical European style government offices were only open a few days a week and he needed to renew the plates on his motorcycle. I didn’t care what we did that day I was walking on air with joy and excitement.
After waiting at the DMV (or whatever they call it in Lisbon) for what seemed like ten years we were on our way to his place. Everything my eyes could see was fantastical. Rolling green hills dotted with villages and topped off with a modern windmill, you know the huge space looking ones. It was the biggest juxtaposition I had ever seen. As beautiful as the scenery was I couldn’t take my eyes off of Andrew. Seeing him in his own country, totally in charge, in his element- I was basically helpless and the question of “is this guy going to chain me up in his basement and I will never be heard from again?” had finally faded away.
As we pulled into his village my stomach started to flip. Narrow streets, stone buildings, tiny colorful doorways, flower boxes overflowing with bright colored flowers. The village had about 200 people total and the average age was 75, needless to say, Andrew was the young handsome man in town.
As we weaved cobblestone streets at a mock speed we suddenly were at large iron gates with a large chain keeping them closed. They looked almost medieval but at the tippy top was a white plastic bag hanging from one of the spikes. I couldn’t immediately tell what was in the bag but Andrew grabbed it as he opened the gates. My first thought was “why doesn’t he just have a gate opener?” Then I remembered I was in a 220-year-old village. The bag hanging on the gate was the bread delivery, an old woman in the village made the bread and delivered it fresh to the gate every other day. WTF? I felt I had stepped back in time. The real time traveled happened when we pulled through the gates…. Wow.
His farm is what we I would call an estate. Several stone buildings, a pool at the end of the rolling back yard, giant porch complete with a hammock, beautiful dogs running around, a few chickens and a flock of she that were kept on the property so they didn’t have to mow the fields. My favorite detail was the dual row of fruit trees, fruit trees I would soon learn produced the most delicious sweet juicy fruit I had ever tasted.
My body was exhausted but my brain was over stimulated with everything I saw. I immediately wanted a tour, I needed to see more and in typical Keylee style I wanted to unpack.
Walking in the front door took my breath away, the house was almost 200 years old but had recently been modernized, most of it. The living room still held the 500-year-old wine press, the estate was originally a winery with forty acres of vineyards.
The house was large and roomy, with touches of the old world- it also was still a work in progress. Two large cedar trees had fallen and they were being built into a dinning room table that would seat twenty and the kitchen would go a huge remodel that winter. It was really beautiful. I couldn’t wait to take a shower and a nap. Andrew left me to have a moment to collect myself and take a shower, I didn’t even want to look in the mirror. I could only imagine how busted I looked.
As I was trying to figure out how the shower worked when Andrew stuck his head in to ask if I needed to help and to bring me an extra towel. I told him, no I had figured out the shower but that I did need someone to wash my back, luckily he was just that type of guy. After my shower, I decided to lay down for a bit and the bed felt like heaven. After a few hours of napping, I didn’t want sleep too long, I found Andrew in the kitchen making dinner. Due to the nature of his business, some of his employees were living on the property because they were from another country so not only was I overwhelmed with what I was experiencing, I was meeting so many people.
Dinner that night was off the grill and served outside on the back patio. The vegetables from the garden, fresh seafood, white wine and this handsome man by my side- the air was cleaner, the grass was greener and as the sun sat over the rolling green hills I took it all in, it was divine!
The next morning I awoke to sound of birds chirping. Since the house did not have air conditioning Andrew had open the windows when he got up. I almost couldn’t believe I was there. I got dressed and headed out to the office, which is where I knew he would be.
He greeted me with a smile and a great big hug. I soon made my way to the kitchen to make tea and grab my laptop. I sat on the upper deck while checking my emails, sipping my tea and pinching myself.
Later that day Andrew decided we needed an adventure, so he fired up his old tractor and we sat out on the property to pick apples. I am not even kidding. It was like a cheesy episode of the Bachelor, only it was me and it was real. The apple trees were old and gnarly looking and produced the most beautiful apples I had ever seen.
After apple picking, we enjoyed lunch on the deck and then decided to go for a run. As if the place could get any more magical as we sat out for a run the path led us through the fields, it was perfectly acceptable to run on others property as long as you close any gates you opened and you didn’t run on Thursdays because that was open hunting day. We crossed over a small stone bridge, which was built by the Romans and when he told me I thought I heard him wrong, the Romans? The best part was that it was only the beginning of my trip and let me just say the magic just kept on coming.