The Pope (aka Papa Bento, as they call him here) is coming to Lisbon on Tuesday. There are banners all over the city advertising his arrival, including a massive one with his picture on it at the main roundabout at Marques de Pombal. Most of the smaller banners have a picture of an average João with a serene look on their face, exhorting people to give back to the one who taught you. Or at least I think it says that.

I’m sure you can all imagine how thrilled I am that he’s decided to visit in honor of my birthday (slightly early, but then, he’s a busy man.) Oh, and look, he’s following us to Porto this Friday. How nice. The honor, I can’t even tell you. Yeah right — getting around either city will no doubt be a nightmare. Good times. My gym, possibly the most secular of institutions possible, even has a long notice up advising its patrons of how his visit will disrupt transportation on that day. I think I may not leave the house that day — which as you know is a hardship for me.

Just as with The Bachelorette filming last month though, I have to admit that it is interesting to live in a capital city, where TV shows and heads of state visit. Doesn’t happen very often in Santa Cruz. But it can be a pain in the ass, too, for those of us trying to carry on with our lives.

Back in the real world, we had a lovely relaxed rain day yesterday, made easier when the friend we were supposed to have lunch with called to ask if we couldn’t postpone til today. No problem, I said, and we immediately settled in for a quiet, lazy afternoon. Or at least part of it was lazy, as I became restless once I finished my book, and spent the rest of the day cleaning the flat, doing laundry, and going to the gym. But Gabe took a long nap, as he has finally succumbed to my cold. I guess he had the relaxing part covered for both of us.

For dinner, we went to see our French friends and doppelgangers up the hill. We haven’t seen them much since all our traveling began, so it was really good to catch up with them. At one point S said, “It seems like you guys are out of the country more often than you’re in it lately.” We laughed and said yes, it’s felt like that to us, too.

It’s strange to think that soon we will be out of the country for good, and all of the lovely people we’ve met here will no longer be just up the hill or across the city from us. I have a feeling though that we will meet again, either on this side of the world or on ours, so I’m not too worried. Quality friendships don’t come around all that often, but when they do… they tend to stick.

And today, another rainy day. Sigh. I had so hoped to have lunch out in our friend’s beautiful terrace garden…