We leave Porto in the morning to begin walking the 250 km Portuguese route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. This was our first visit to Porto (hopefully not our last!) but not our first connection to this beautiful place.
In 1991 Christine and I were in London, staying at a quaint brownstone B&B in the heart of the city on Gower Street. We had become friends with Teresa who was a staff person from Porto, and her visiting sister, Isabelle, also from Porto. Isabelle had brought her 10 year old son to London for continuing treatment of a life threatening condition, a growth in his throat that was restricting his esophagus. Doctors were investigating therapies before electing for a potentially dangerous surgery.
Guests were typically not allowed in the kitchen or garden of the B&B, but we became the exception. One evening we were treated to glasses of the excellent Port wine that Isabelle had brought from home, the four of us were exchanging stories and gratitude for the lives we had been given to date. It was one of those times that one comes to appreciate how much we are all alike across the globe. Teresa suggested that we all go to dinner the following evening at a local Greek restaurant, one of her favorites.
The next night we walked, arm-in-arm to dinner. The restaurant was alive with patrons speaking a number of foreign languages… our “America English” may well have been considered “foreign” by the Brits in attendance!
In the midst of the celebration Teresa let out a scream. A thief had grabbed her purse and was making a fast run to the street. Reflexively, I took pursuit and caught him just outside the restaurant. A physical confrontation ensued. I ducked a punch and succeeded in wrestling the purse away from him. He then ran off as other patrons were coming to lend assistance. Teresa and Isabelle were grateful, the restaurant owner thanked me and expressed his relief that I was unhurt. It was at that moment that I learned from the owner and other patrons that the fist that I ducked had held a knife.
Sadly, we lost touch with Isabelle and Teresa. I have wondered over the years about them and Isabelle’s son. Some stories are just destined to remain unfinished.
Peace Everyone. Pete