Best way of travelling is to stop and stand still

Charlie Adley
Charlie Adley

Double Vision with Charlie Adley

Holidays are notorious tests of relationships, but thankfully the Snapper and I enjoy them together. We use most of our spare time visiting family and life-long friends in England, but for one week each year we’ll find a wee house abroad with some kind of pool, walking distance from a restaurant, and then do nothing.

Herself will sit outside, reading a succession of vast tomes from dawn to dusk, while I will stare for hours into space, eat some olives and sip whiskey.

There might be an excursion to a Roman ruin, certainly natural history rambles where the Snapper can invest in her photographic talents, and most evenings we’ll probably walk out for dinner.

Apart from that, we are happy to relax in peace and quiet.

Bloody lovely, I think to myself in anticipation of Portugal’s Douro Valley. Can’t wait.

As we steer out of our drive and head to Dublin Airport, I whack on the car radio.

“Reports are coming in of a major forest fire in Portugal. So far at least 35 people are known to have died, many burning to death in their cars.”

I quickly flick the radio off.

“How many times do we hear Portugal mentioned on the bloody news, and here we are, not a half mile from home and they’re giving out about firemageddon.”

Having been a bit of a nerd on Google Earth before we left, I find our little place, where we are greeted by our hosts. Although Armando was born in the area, the couple met and lived in Anne’s native France, so all our communications are in French.

The warmth of their welcome is extraordinary, and while we sample Armando’s lip-dribbling cakes (a French patissier? Oh no, how terrible!) they tell us all the things we can do around the area.

It’s 38C.

I don’t want to do anything except sit in the shade and drink water.

To read Charlie’s column in full, please see this week’s Galway City Tribune.