We’re leaving the parking lot. I turn on the GPS and punch in to take us home. Calvin Harris ‘Summer’ is playing on the radio tuned to RFM 93.2 Lisboa. We’re both quiet. I’m exhausted. I no longer feel I’m going to have a seizure if that is what I had.
Dad drives out of the parking lot, up a hill and then straight ahead. The sign with an arrow says, ‘Caldas Da Rainha.’
“We must be going in the right direction,” Dad says.
“I sure hope so because the GPS showed you should have turned right,” I say.
“I guess I won’t take the A-8. I’ll save the toll,” Dad says.
We drive further along the road. It has a sharp turn and then drops. It’s the N-8, a secondary highway with no tolls. The N-8 is twisty and curvy with blind corners. We pass traditional farming towns: Valbom, Casal Marquese and Murteira.
We’re moving at a good pace and the traffic is bunching up.
“There are more ‘beaters’ here than the ‘Beamers’ on the toll roads.”
“The tolls are expensive so I suspect only upper middle class and higher can afford it. There are many trucks here,” my dad says.
A little white car I’ve been following in my side mirror has been weaving in and out to move up the line of traffic. It passed us and made it in no time to spare.
“What a bonehead!” I say.
We’re coming up to a curve as the road veers to the left. I can’t believe it. He pulled out to pass two cars. A big SCANIA truck comes around the corner.
We both scream out, “Holy craaapppp,” as Dad hits the brakes. The cars the white car is passing move onto the shoulder. The white car made it, barely.
“Do people drive like this all the time?” I ask.
“Unfortunately, yes, especially young male drivers. They take risks,” Dad says.
There are no more near misses.
We come in the door and Ana asks us, “How would you guys like hamburgers after your exploration of Alcobaça monastery?”
I don’t think she realizes how much of a time exploring we had, and it’s the beginning of my extraordinary vacation.