The driver texts me at 5 am that he's arrived. By 5:05 am we have our bags loaded in the elevator. William asks what to do with the apartment keys and I tell him to leave the keys by the TV, as we have done in other places. William firmly closes the apartment door and then we both think about the one time that the door leading out of the building to the street was locked and William used the key to exit. Sure enough, the solid green door to the street is dead-locked. We have no way out!
I try to reach the host by calling, texting, and using WhatsApp. No luck. I call the driver and explain our situation. The driver and William try to break the door to the street, jimmy the lock, etc., no luck. William tries to break the lock to the apartment no luck.
I walk through the building calling the telephone numbers listed on the doors to the businesses in the building. One woman answers, but doesn't speak English and hangs up on me. In between I repeatedly try our AirBnB host.
The driver calls the police for us, who contact the fire department. They will take a little while, but will come. Occasionally through the door we hear the driver talking on his phone. He calls the owner's cell phone 6-8 times. Finally the wife of the owner sees the repeated calls and the owner calls back. The owner jumps in his car and drives the 30 km to the apartment. The Police arrive and our driver explains things are now under control. The driver races up a few minutes later, and opens the door to the green door to the street - we're freed! The driver rushes our bags into the trunk of his car and we're off to the airport.
On the drive we learn of the link between the driver and the owner and why he had the telephone number. It turns out the driver happened to do business with the owner of the apartment, selling him the paint for the apartment. The driver thanks us several times for allowing extra time to make our flight. We thank him for helping us. He keeps saying he is just happy he could help us. This is the spirit of the people we met throughout Portugal, helpful and friendly.
We arrive at the airport at 6:20 am. We leave the driver's fee on his console as he requests, tipping generously. Once again he thanks us and says he is just so happy he could help. (Later he sends me a text saying we left way too much money and that he is happy he could help). We walk into the airport and find that the Iberia check-in counter doesn't open for another 10 minutes. Wow, with all that has happened this morning we have managed to arrive early!
The rest of our day is anti-climatic. We use Priority Pass to get into the lounge in the Porto airport. We have a long distance between our connecting flights in Madrid, but arrive as they are in the middle of boarding the "B" group. As we are in the "A" group we scoot to the front of the line then settle into our Economy Plus seats. The nine hour flight feels like goes by fast - helped by watching four or five movies/shows.
When we arrive in Chicago's International Terminal a little after 2pm we once again have a long walk, this time to Passport Control and to pick up our bags. In the limo ride back to our home I check the walking app on my phone. We have walked 2.3 miles today, yet spent most of our time sitting.
It feels good finishing out our 11 week trip that encompassed four countries and wonderful times with family, old friends and new acquaintances. Costa Rica was a blast relaxing and having fun with family in natural setting. Columbia is a country of great natural beauty and interesting cities making efforts to become world-class. We are happy we could share at least a portion of the experience with friends. Portugal and Spain have their European charms and are counties where we could see spending much more time living in and enjoying.