Two brothers who haven’t traveled together in years. Well, other than a Springsteen concert here or there or with Dave’s family. Our lifestyles are different yet not so different. Dave has a family that includes a wife, two boys, a dog and a gecko like creature. I’m solo.
Both of us “unemployed”. On the same budget. About the same interests and pace. Although Dave has a greater interest in history and more of a “carpe diem” mentality since he’s traveling for three weeks. Enjoying a different kind of freedom.
Interesting how we can drop right into our daily banter of work, politics and family. Because we didn’t have other family or friends around (and of course are aged) the usual ball busting was absent except for playful ribbing about Dave’s humorous take on his Spanglish or questions on who is older.
The folks were astonished that the younger brother was a teacher and actually retired. Where the older single brother just wasn’t working.
Dave knowing and using less Spanish, but still having some basics, allowed me to sit back and let it be more of his trip.
Watching him step in and attack a conversation with locals in a mix of Spanish or English was normally pretty hilarious. His personality showing through more than his efficient use of the language to get his point across. “Mi esposa no permite!” garnering laughs from both men and women. He fearlessly never shied away at an attempt and fortunately, with two rental cars, 1 flight, 1 bus, 1 train, 5 Air BnBs and 5 hostels, we never got into a crisis situation.
He could order and ask for what he wanted and our biggest f up was directions. And let’s be honest. That’s Siri’s fault. Always.
We drank EVERY night. Never to excess as Dave has a “blind date” reaction to shots we learned the first night. He refused beer bongs in Lagos (I complied) and he enjoyed getting up, planning our day and our meals, as we wished. Not having to take into account the changing wishes of his two young boys.
The route of Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon had me needing the outdoors.
Renting a car down the coast of Portugal gave us a diverse look at rural Portugal and some hiking. Heading back to Spain was great as I could communicate again and at least say “have a good day” as I was useless in Portuguese.
After a few days in Seville, enough to see the Alcazar and a Spain/UK “futbol” game, we rented a car and perused the stunning “White towns” that showed quite a different lifestyle.
Stuffing ourselves every night with beer, wine, meat, cheese, and olives made it (slightly) easier for Dave to avoid any gluten infused cuisine.
We saw Fado, Flamenco and a stunning sunset off the Alhambra the day before we witnessed its intricate work inside.
We had beers on the beach, slept in from time to time and shocked some poor German college students, with whom we shared a hostel room, as to the state of affairs in America. They are likely scarred for life.
Dave’s life of working with kids made it easy for him to connect with the college crowd although he likely wasn’t used to drinking with them.
Pub crawls in Lisbon, tapas trail in Granada and eating more olives in 20 days than we likely have eaten our whole lives kept us moving.
Whenever I needed a break from Dave’s curiosity for the history, I would take a nap, hit the gym or rent a kayak.
Dave got into a rhythm of washing the clothes he wasn’t wearing everyday and hanging them to dry, masterfully traveling with one small backpack to my three. He devoured the minimalist lifestyle and relished the fact that his toughest choices were bottom or top bunk and beer or wine? And since he always slept up top when we shared a bed, his only real choice was beer or wine.
His grasp of history kept the younger travelers interested and when he met older teachers “just retired”, you could feel their admiration for him having pulled off quite the feat; retiring from teaching at 50 after starting at 28?
As Hannibal on the A-Team used to say, cigar in hand, “I love it when a plan comes together”. We are lucky.
Off he went to Barcelona this morning while I make my way to Cádiz and getting ready to explore the north.
Suerte mi hermano!