Today finds me in Porto, in northern Portugal.  I arrived two days ago from Cape Town, via London Heathrow and Gatwick.  I did not want to leave the beautiful weather and wonderful people of Cape Town, but needs must; my visa would have expired the next day.  I will soon return.

In the meantime I intended to undertake another of my annual walks in the direction of Santiago de Compostela, this time from Porto.

But just prior to leaving Cape Town, I learned of the serious illness of an old lady, for whom I had a huge respect.  She was my former mother-in-law, but I have never ever thought of her as an ‘ex’.  From day one, she welcomed me into her extended family.  They were exiles from Castro’s Cuba – some prospered, some struggled.  She was an elegant woman with artistic talents.  Her paintings are witness to that.  On many occasions she even cut my hair.

A few years ago I walked part of the pilgrimage coastal  path from Bayonne across Northern Spain and diverted to Mundaka, from where her Lázaga ancestors originated.  I sent her an account of what I had seen.  Perhaps I will re-publish that account.

To say that I loved the woman would be an understatement.

Norma Suárez Lázaga on the right, with her older sister Dinorah
And in recent years

I did not learn of her death until I arrived here.  It greatly saddened me and I felt no enthusiasm for my planned walk.  I always have problems with my partially paralysed foot and leg after a long overnight flight, but this time I was struggling more than normal.  I was sorely tempted to abandon my plan and do whatever old farts do, but then that would not be me.

So tomorrow morning, in the forecast rain and wind, I will set off north, one step at a time.

In the meantime I have had a long walk around the old city, up and down steep hills, through a maze of narrow lanes.

The Rio Douro looking west from the Luis I bridge
And looking east


Looking east from the river to the Luis I bridge

Norma Suárez Lázaga – this pilgrimage will be for you…  🙂