Until the next time . . . : Destination Portugal: The Beginning

 It had been nearly three long years since my wife Mary and I traveled to Greece. In the next two years, we had planned trips to Bulgaria, Romania, and Serbia canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Life, as most travelers knew it, had come to a standstill. We were able to take several day trips to nearby state parks to take in the fall foliage or visit the Louisville, Cincinnati, and Columbus zoos. An overnight trip was to Gatlinburg, Tenn., for some Smoky Mountain scenery. Our big journey was a long and memorable weekend at Mackinac Island, Mich., to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. 

Portugal flag

But we still longed to return to Europe. When it appeared that travel to Bulgaria, Romania, and Serbia wasn’t going to happen, we changed our destination plans to Portugal. But we still weren’t sure it would happen as strict protocols for international travel were in place because of the pandemic.

We counted down the days to departure in February, knowing that the tour could be canceled at any time. Then we were notified the trip was on, but with conditions. We had to have a negative Covid-19 test within three days of departure and we had to complete locator forms for Portugal.

Arriving in Porto

Our tests were negative, but we had difficulty submitting the required information to the host country. Because of that, our airline wouldn’t let us board until it was completed. Without getting into the complicated details, we were fortunate to have a tech-savvy young man at Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Ky., help complete the needed form. We were on our way — to Chicago, Zurich, and Porto.

We were told the forms would be required at our final stop, but that wasn’t the case as we retrieved our luggage and met our attentive guide inside the terminal. Then we were whisked to the hotel to officially begin our Portuguese adventure with fellow travelers and soon-to-be friends.

In the coming days, I’ll share something about our various stops in Portugal. I hope you come along for the trip.

Until the next time . . . 


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