There is another story I want to tell you about Porto. Well, actually two more. Last week I wrote about Maria and kindness. So I thought I’d continue the series with my Porto stories about the magnolia tree and the restaurant by the river.
The Magnolia tree
One evening in Porto, we were at the square in front of the town hall. It was Saturday night and a lot of young people were out, getting ready for a night of partying and dancing. As we waited for a light to turn green, I noticed a group of teenage boys. They were giving a leg-up for one of their friends so could reach high enough to break a flower off a big Magnolia tree. I was getting ready to be mad at them for disrespecting nature. Then the boy landed on street level again, turned around and gave the flower to his sweetheart, standing right behind them. And the people in the square broke out in a touched “aaaaaaaaaaawe” sound.
The moral of that story… ah, never mind, you know what it is.
The restaurant by the river
On a sunny Sunday afternoon we went to Ribeira, a colorful part of the old town right down by the Duoro River. It´s one of those areas that is depicted in the travel guides, written about a lot and postcards are printed of. My gaze landed on a waiter in a white shirt. He was opening a bottle of wine for a couple sitting at one of the three outdoor tables of this restaurant a little up the hill. From below the big umbrella they must have had a marvellous view. Looking at the river and the people enjoying the early spring weather.
The sun hit the waiter´s white shirt the way the spotlight hits a singer on stage. He didn´t look rushed. Or like he didn´t want to be there. Nor like he was temping while applying for the next big job. He genuinely smiled at his guests, in this beautiful scenery and opened a bottle of wine for them.
After we had taken all the pictures of the area and reconfirmed our entusiasmo for Porto, we walked uphill, past the restaurant. To our mutual surprise both of us, out of all the things to look at in this busy part of Porto had noticed that waiter in the restaurant by the river. And we had stood in awe for a moment, watching the scene. At peace. Wanting for nothing.
When was the last time you felt that way?