I'm writing this in the present tense because I can't sleep. Burt [the van] is broken, but we still don't know if this is the end of the road. Hopefully the mechanic will tell us in the morning and the wait, at least, will be over. On life's scale of problems, this is small fry, but I'm not good at waiting.
This is now our forth night here in Gavião. I spent the first day moping in the room of our guesthouse; it was raining, but I still should have ventured outside. By yesterday I was already stir crazy; irritable and bored. The sun came out, so I walked out of the village, down the main road, round an empty roundabout and out of sight. The roadside trees, plots of tall cabbage and distant barking dogs did me good. This place didn't even know I was there. I floated loosely through reality like Schrödinger's cat, wondering if I might have disappeared.
I veered off down a small track. Marked as municipal land, I hoped not to upset anyone, but was happy to be off the tarmac. Rows of cultivated vines gave way to wildflowers. Buzzing clouds of yellow, white and purple floated over the green. The air was sweet, but I couldn't find which flowers it was coming from. Do so many flowers always smell like that?
Further on, the trees were scorched; black bark and bare land. The fires had ripped through last Summer. We've had so much rain that it's hard to imagine.
Passing a small farm, I came to the brow of a hill. Spread below and around me was the panorama of a terraced landscape; whitewashed Alvisquer across the valley and Belver with its castle to my left. I looped down to a small stream to wash my face and cool the blood in my wrists, before heading dehydrated back the way I had come. The flowers were so beautiful, I did the same walk twice.
Burt did not recover and we had to get back to the UK with far too much stuff - bodyboards, Dan's music making things, clothes for every type of weather, all of the five pairs of shoes and boots that I own... That is, of course, the reality of "#vanlife", but we will miss that little guy.