I had a wonderful trip today to local ‘megaliths’. Our guide, Mario, was a fount of information about this area, both in antiquity and today. The megaliths are basically Portugal’s Stonehenge, large boulders arranged to mark the calendar. Unlike Stonehenge you can get up close and personal with these.
I got a chance to quiz Mario about Grexit and its affect on Portugal. He said the Portuguese are transfixed by what is happening to Greece, but he also said that he thought Portugal was much better prepared to manage its debt. He said it was mostly a different attitude on the part of the Portuguese who have at least as much debt as the Greeks but seem to be avoiding the enforced austerity that Athens is enduring. Some of the other folks on the tour (all, oddly, from Northern California) said they’d been in Portugal 25 years ago, before entry into the EU, and that the country was much different. They especially noted the pollution controls on automobiles that have cleared the skies above Lisbon. The highway system here is quite modern, the result of EU cash inflows. Essentially the EU is playing Mussolini for Portugal (they make the trains–and cars–run on time).
Mario advised me that he thought I ought not go to Morocco on my own given the violence in Tunisia and the prevalence of ISIS followers in Morocco. So I immediately went on line to try to find a tour I could join. I located a bunch of Lonely Planet tours. I had no idea they sponsored such. I signed up for a nine day trek from Marrakech up into the Atlas Mountains. It involves riding donkeys and bicycling about 15 km. I’m not sure if Lonely Planet will accept me given my age. I’m supposed to hear back from them tomorrow. If they approve me then my schedule will begin to fall into place. I’ll next head into Spain at Merida, the south to Seville and Algeciras. I’ll probably fly from Algeciras to Marrakech but I might still take the ferry across and then fly from Tangier to Marrakech. After the tour I’ve got to get myself back to Spain. How I’ll do that I don’t know.