As we drove into Lisbon towards the Art Inn Hotel in the glossy Mercedes, I began to have second thoughts about my plans for a pilgrimage. Pilgrims let go of normal life; they walk, carry little, face deprivation, and visit sacred sites. Like the pilgrim in The Way of a Pilgrim, I had chosen my mantra and a practice that I planned to use as I made my way around Portugal, but, with my “way” so paved in luxury, could I realistically call it a pilgrimage? With some reflection, I soon realized that I had to let go of my antiquated parameters and allow the tao to unfold. Facing what it brought my way seemed much more in alignment with my intentions. Continue reading
Well past midnight the train pulled into Lisbon’s main station. My partner picked up our backpack; I handled the stuffed tote. Walking out onto the dark and quiet street the late August night felt warm and sticky. In our levis and t-shirts we could easily have been mistaken for a couple of American hippies. Without a reservation our hope was to find a place open and willing to give us a room for the night.
Next to the station we spotted a hotel ablaze with lights, a beacon of hope at that late hour. The elegant entry matched the name, Avenida Palace. With four stars etched into the glass door, I knew that a room would be far more than our meager budget could afford.