The final day on a trip is a departure in several ways – from the ordinary activity schedule, the destination itself and from people you have come to embrace. Logistics rule. The tropical storm had passed but it was still cloudy, wet and breezy. Flights took off and landed successfully the evening before, so it looked hopeful for ours. Bus pickup at noon for a 2pm flight ruled out golf so the morning was at leisure in the Sao Miguel Park Hotel. We met a Spaniard at breakfast and engaged in a discussion of world politics, business production and of course travel. A lot of administrative catch up followed, then a short walk with an umbrella along the narrow streets and through the park. At the airport, we bid farewell to Pilar, our beloved hostess who is greeted by everyone on the island as if she were the friendly queen of the Azores. She is passionate about her archipelago and full of humor. We will miss her laugh, especially when at the end of a long day it becomes almost uncontrollable as she reflects on a funny occurrence. When the bus had a technical problem, we had offered Danny’s service and she thought it was an hysterical exhibition of our positivism. What she didn’t realize is that any of his friends would have figured he could actually fix it.
At the airport we wiled away the gate wait until a couple delays and then the dreaded announcement that tested everyone’s demeanor – “The flight is cancelled, please go to the check in.” Fortunately we were given seats on the next flight to Lisbon at 6 since we had a connecting flight in the morning to Philly and were able to bond a little more with the part of our group who were so lucky. To those that were left downstairs for whatever came next, so sorry to miss dinner with you in Lisbon and a good bye hug. One of the most wonderful parts of traveling is the people you meet and on this trip there were many.
Now there is always a silver lining and in this case it is the bonus of a night in Lisbon at the Acorre Lisboa Hotel and dinner with the remaining adventurers at 7 Mares. Or perhaps this was a gold lining, having met Valdemar, a two time Olympic Gold medalist in sailing from Denmark.
The Lisbon airport is modern, efficient and friendly. We met some young golfers there that attended the European tour qualifying school and a brand agent for John Cook who like many commented on his likeness to Danny. It’s a small world after all.
Safely we returned to the USA with great memories and new friends. If we had a mulligan for the trip, we would take the direct flight from Boston or if connecting in Lisbon, add time there and in Algarve. In any case, we already long for the return to the beautiful hills and shores of the astounding Azores. You should to. Check out www.azoresgolfislands.com.