Stepping off of the plane it hit me almost instantly. The air was warm, inviting and carried a familiar heady scent.
Musky and floral, it transported me for a moment. The back seat of a car, blues skies. I was probably about 10, with my Mum and my sister. Windows rolled down to let the breeze flow through. Me asking my Mum, 'What's that smell?" Her telling me to look out the window at the fields of yellow rapeseed. I didn't see one field of rapeseed in Portugal, and yet the scent was always lingering.
We left the airport to make the 45 minute drive west. The roads were lined with orange tree after lemon tree after orange tree. Small wonky stalls stood in front of the trees, laden with the fruits to sell. I love that first glimpse of a country, when you have few expectations and you can just let in wash over you. Dense, luscious planting was everywhere - tall purple orbs (maybe a type of allium?) scattered on roadsides and fields and growing out of rocky crevices. Fields of soft golden grasses. Glorious cerise bougainvillea, climbing towards endless blue and sunshine.
The landscape of Portugal is what my dreams are made of. Gold and purple, white and green. Soft and wild, strong and distinct.
I could have stayed forever.