Tomorrow we officially start our 250 km walk to Santiago Spain. Today we mailed more “excess stuff” back home…
… and made a morning visit to the Cathedral in Porto to have our credentials stamped. It was an unexpectedly emotional moment for both of us. After a bit of silent reflection we decided to tour the adjoining Cloister.
We were met at the entry by Rita. She is a psychology student at the University of Porto. She and her friend and fellow student (in tourism), Mafalda, were taking pictures of visitors for personalized Cathedral memory booklets available for purchase, 7 euros. At the conclusion of our visit Rita showed us “our” booklet. It was a very good picture and we explained our regret that we had no way to safely carry it on the Camino. She thanked us as we left. A few minutes later Christine decided a crumpled booklet would be better than no booklet, and besides the young ladies were so polite and engaging. I remained behind and waited. Shortly thereafter Christine returned, red-eyed with tears. She explained that the girls decided to use their personal time to package and mail the booklet to our home. While our nationality didn’t matter, they had initially guessed that we were Canadians, because we had such big smiles!
We visited with Mafalda and Rita, learned a bit about one another, exchanged contact information, took pictures and hugged as we parted. Friendships were forged in minutes that may endure for a lifetime. This is the way of the Camino, and its “Angels”.
Our day continued, warmed by the glow of those special young women. We visited and toured the Croft Port wine cellars, the oldest Port producer in the world, its operations dating to 1588. They have one barrel of port that has been aging for nearly 130 years! A 90 year old was opened last year and declared excellent!
We enjoyed a boat tour on the Douro River, a gondola ride above the Port wine warehouses, and another exceptional street performance.
We will finish our day seeking another gastronomic “hidden gem”, drink a good Douro wine, and then try and get a good night’s rest for the Camino that awaits us.
Peace Everyone! Pete