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