So, last night turned out to be a bit stressful. When we returned to the house around 10 o’clock at night, I was still quite jet lagged and wide awake. So I decided to go for a short run to tire myself out. It wasn’t until I returned to the house that I realized I had lost my wallet! In it, I had three credit cards, my license (which was a mistake), about €50, and a picture of my passport. I always keep the remainder of my cash and my actual Passport locked in my room. So, I was up until 4 AM canceling credit cards and calling restaurants to see if anybody has seen my wallet. In the morning, I told Carla, the camp owner and she offered to take me to the police station to ask if anyone turned it in. First we dropped the housekeeper off at the bus station because she’s headed to Paris. She’s a very young sweet girl. I was glad to see the bus station because Kris and I will both need to go there on different days to make our way to our next destination; me to Porto and her to Lisbon. She was nervous about how to find the station so now I can tell her how easy it will be.
We went to the Peniche and Farrel police stations but they didn’t have my wallet. They said they would call if it turned up. In the meantime, Carla needed to run some errands so I got a great tour of Peniche. She was laughing at me because I would see a bunch of buildings and say “oh pretty!” And take lots of pictures. She exclaimed that they are incredibly ugly, from the 70s, and that no one likes them but I thought they were really cool looking and very different. She joked that it would be like if she came to visit me in the states and took pictures of Walmart!
I also learned that the town is very industrial and their main resource is fishing. We passed a large stinky factory where she said they grind up fish bones into flour to feed animals.
We next went to a store which was more like a very small Costco than a grocery store. I noticed everyone was very quiet there, almost whispering. That became more evident when Carla said something really funny and I busted out with my loud laugh. She shushed me, cringed and laughed telling me not to be so loud. Oops. We had fun shopping and picking out baby clothes for her 5 month old son who I was pushing around in a stroller. She bought all of us some famous Portuguese tarts which are flaky pastries on the outside and gooey goodness on the inside.
She also drove me around the area where I spent a lot of time walking around yesterday and explained that the thing that I thought was another peninsula is actually an island and they just connected it with a man-made road. I’m pretty sure this is where I lost my wallet. She talked a lot about our surf lessons and explained how to get seaweed out of your hair. Let’s just say, it did not make me more interested in my upcoming surf lessons. LOL.
Apparently two more students will be joining us this evening as well as the instructor from the UK. Carla told me Kris and I will have to share a room with a man from Brazil. I asked her if I could pay more for a different room, or if we could put him in a different building, and she said there were no other options. She explained that coed living quarters are very common in Europe and it will be fine. I could tell she was a bit annoyed with me. After all, she spent the morning helping me and then I was asking for special accommodations that only an American would care about. I knew from the Camino that co-ed spaces are normal so I guess I’ll just have to readjust again.
When we returned home, I went for a long walk, retracing my entire evening. I stopped in every restaurant, bar, and store along the way asking for a lost “Carteira.” I was very hopeful at the first bar when the woman came out with something in her hand. She had THREE lost wallets! Unfortunately, none were mine. Carla had explained that credit card fraud isn’t an issue here and usually if someone finds a wallet, they take the cash and then hand it in to the nearest establishment. I was also relieved to see I’m not the only idiot to lose something so valuable. After walking around all morning, I was presented with about a dozen lost wallets. I also gave my phone number to a lot of people. Eventually, I decided I had done everything I could so I stopped somewhere for lunch along the beach. I then walked for miles taking in the beautiful scenery and fresh air. The ocean here doesn’t have that strong salty and seaweed smell like most beaches. There’s only a subtle hint. And the sand is so fine and all the beaches and rock ledges are completely natural.
Holy smokes it got really hot in the afternoon so I headed home to do some reading and to rest in the shade.
Kris returned from her 16 mile bike ride all pumped about her day! She saw castles, she went shopping, and she rode through many towns. I was feeling a tad jealous but then she told me she found a bike shop that rents kids bikes! We agreed to go later so I can get a bike too!
In the meantime, Carla was unhappy with the condition of the house and was on her hands and knees scrubbing it and guess what she found behind the couch in the fireplace? My wallet!!! I felt so relieved but also bad she had run me all over town. I’ll have to pay her for the gas and time. So I worked on turning my credit cards back on before Kris and I headed out again.
We finally found a bike that fit me! It is so rickety and the breaks don’t work much at all but we had fun riding around, stopping in shops, and seeing the rock formations. That evening, the rest of the students and instructors arrived. We all got to know each other, went out to dinner, and made a plan for when to take lessons tomorrow. I’m really excited about tomorrow but also nervous. The instructors will observe our skill level in pole and surf to determine which class we should be in. Then we start!
As I lie in bed right now, it’s finally starting to cool down and it’s SO humid my sheets feel damp. I’m still a bit jet lagged because it’s 11pm and I think I’ll struggle to fall asleep.