Somewhere in the deep dark days of January's winter weeks, I was doing research for our then up-coming trip to Portugal. I read article after article, many of them featuring young, single travellers with no kids and two weeks to spend adventuring in the sun. I wanted something slow, affordable and accessible for the five of us.
I read an article about an expat and her journey to living in Portugal, how she eventually moved there from the States and some of her observations- one of which was collecting sea glass. It wasn't really a thing there, she wrote, and the best place to find sea glass was along the Tagus River. I knew we would be staying near the river during our week in Lisbon and so I filed that away as something delightful to try with the children.
We've always collected bits and bobs as we adventure. I have a nail in my jacket pocket from going to an old fort and watching the blacksmith make nail after nail. We have a jar of seashells and coral from the many different beaches we've been too. Driftwood from an evening's walk by the Mississippi, another piece of wood from Vancouver Island. And a few precious pieces of sea glass.
Our Airbnb was across the river from Lisbon proper so every time we crossed over by ferry, we walked alongside what we came to call Seaglass Beach. It was magical that first time. We ventured out to explore the little town, the sea breezes a welcome relief from the heat of the day. The fishing boats rocked in the waves, colourful and their ropes taut all the way back to the beach. The sand was black from oil and engine grease. The tide was just coming in, bringing it's treasures from the day. I spotted one piece of green glass, it's edges worn smooth by endless tumbling. And then another and another. Green, white, brown with the occasional red and blue. We found handfuls of glass that night, each of us filling pockets, swapping colours until it was time to go home. We each had a bowl at the tiny Airbnb for collected treasures and the hardest dilemma was picking which ones to take home to Canada.
Seaglass Beach was right beside the ferry terminal and it made a lovely detour if perchance we had missed the ferry by five minutes or needed to linger a little in nature after touring the city all day or Jared had a work call and the kids needed to get out of the house.
My clay bowl from my sister in law's adventure in Chile sits on my bathroom counter, filled with sea glass from the Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean. A tiny conch shell is there too along with a small starfish from Nova Scotia. It brings me delight to have little reminders of these adventures, small, slow and memorable. Treasure hunting with my three kidlets on the banks of the Tagus River.