The Traveling Wilbury

I like to travel. A Traveling Wilbury minus the guitars and singing – “Thank you for that” states the PSA my kids would tape in a television studio if they could. Anyways, I find it exciting and enlightening on so many levels to venture to new places.

There is something awe-inspiring about landing in a foreign country surrounded by many other people from foreign countries, speaking in various languages.

I speak English. I can grab the gist of Spanish, thanks to my high school Spanish teacher, Mrs. Christman. But that’s about it. And after a couple of cocktails, my English probably isn’t too great either.

I just returned home from an incredible trip to Portugal. And I mean, INCREDIBLE. Great food, nice people and the landscape of postcards. Oh and the wine. THE WINE. I am now a huge fan of Vinho Verde, which I was considering learning to brew myself. But then I would have to find out which grapes to buy, the proper fermentation process,and where I could possibly purchase a vat and explain to a delivery driver that it is coming to a residence and not a brewery. Instead, I found out that I can buy it at Trader Joe’s. That certainly would make my life easier, plus I can’t even contemplate the idea of leaving my car outside in the dead of winter in Upstate NY just so I can make wine in my garage.

The cobblestone streets were amazing. The inlay of designs laid down by bricklayers hundreds of years ago were in perfect sequence with designs I can only categorize as sculpture. The one thing I found so interesting is that even though the cobblestones were patterned so perfectly, they are uneven and a bit hilly. It is a recipe for ass breaking if you are a rebel and wear heels. And as for the actual hills, there were MANY. Views portrait and postcard-worthy at the top, but you arrive there with wobbly legs and a heart rate of at least 120. I know this as I referred to my Apple Watch on many occasions to make sure I was working off the copious amounts of wine I was drinking while enjoying the exquisite views.

In 9 days, I sadly, was only able to grasp two phrases – Good Morning and Thank You. I’m ashamed of myself but I became so entrenched in my ability to say Bom Dia every morning that I said it as a greeting to the clerk at the Hilton this morning in DC. My new favorite word (not a swear word, surprisingly) is the Portuguese word for thank you. Obrigata! It runs off your tongue like “More wine please!” Which is obviously followed by Obrigata in the sing-song way I have found to deliver my gratitude.

My greatest appreciation is for my dear friend Ellen who took me on this wild adventure to celebrate my big 5-0. And quite honestly, after my cancer experience eleven years ago, blessings abound in my coming of age to receive my AARP card. Surprisingly enough, no bail had to be paid and we made it home in one piece, with about 50lbs more in luggage. Thank you, Portugal for the Port wine I had to buy in boxes.

There are far too many wonderful experiences from this trip to share in a single article. I will say this. To anyone thinking of venturing across the pond to this beautiful country, GO. You will not be disappointed.

For me, I will be in a severe state of detox for the next six months from far too much wine and Pastel de natas – pastries that are to die for and most definitely the reason why my jeans are too tight at the moment. So for now, I will continue to revel in the beautiful memories I have from this trip, the friendships I made while I was there, and to my dearest friend Ellen, “Obrigada meu querido amigo. até a nossa próxima aventura.”


Connie Bramer
Connie Bramer
Connie Bramer is an entrepreneur, mom, breast cancer survivor, and author of “How Connie Got Her Rack Back,” her comical spin on the journey of cancer. Connie’s mission to help others through her own experiences drove her to found Get Your Rack Back Inc., a not for profit organization that provides financial assistance to cancer patients in Upstate NY. GYRB assists patients – men, women, and children with varying types of cancers – with gas and grocery gift cards as well as medical copay assistance. Connie has been featured in several magazines including Her Life New York and Womenz Straight Talk. As a cancer survivor, Connie was awarded the Hyatt’s prestigious Portrait of Understanding Award. In addition to her inspirational blog, gyrb. She also shares her everyday antics with a snarky sense of humor on her blog, The Humor Of It All. Connie is a contributing author to the inspiring books; Chaos to Clarity: Sacred Stories of Transformational Change and Crappy to Happy: Sacred Stories of Transformational Joy

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    • Thanks Jeff! They really were amazing. I couldn’t truly capture the beautiful patterns so well with my phone, but they were really something. I wore sneakers the whole time, lol.