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  • Writer's picture Jana

A Morning of Light Rain and Shopping, Followed by Lots of of Wonderful Family Time!

The day started with a little light rain and shopping. It was lovely to have some summer rain, since this is something that we never experience in California. We put on our rain jackets and ventured out in the morning to do some shopping in our neighborhood. We found a Claus Porto (one of my favorite stores) and a few other wonderfully-stylish Portuguese stores to look around.

Midday, we headed to my cousin Angela and her husband Octavio's house, for lunch. It's a wonderful tradition that I recall from my other trips to Europe. That is, late, leisurely lunches at the homes of friends or family, which are commonplace here, unlike in the United States.

Angela made a beautiful lunch including a delicious rice dish and meat dish served with a mixed green salad, followed by a big bowl each of sweet cherries and summer melon. And the crowning glory was her homemade ice cream cake, using our favorite Maria biscuit cookies for the crust. She modestly said that she doesn't usually cook for so many people, which I have a difficult time believing.

Octavio has some of the most impressive and organized collections I have ever seen, which we he showed us. He has hundreds of antique/vintage clocks, all of which he bought in disrepair. He spends hours and sometimes weeks taking them apart and making them new. The kids and I were fascinated by the array of all these clocks, in every shape, size and style.

Vera, Angela's granddaughter, and Catherine's cousin, was also there. She and Catherine are the same age. Despite not speaking the same language, the two girls have formed such a lovely bond while we have been here (Catherine even attended gymnastics class with Vera last week). They draw pictures to communicate, play board games, and find other creative ways of communicating. Children are a marvel!

After lunch, we took off for a walk near Angela's house along the Douro River. It was a beautiful afternoon and the kids had a great time climbing on the rocks on the rocks. We stopped at a cafe the way back for some refreshing beverages.

Garin, still feeling fatigued from his bout with Covid, stayed home with Octavio and rested while we walked. Once Garin arose, Octavio shared more of collections with Garin, including stamps, stickers, postcards and even mercury thermometers! Garin was riveted. I think Octavio and Garin are birds of feather.

After our lovely afternoon at Angela and Octavio's home, we headed to my cousin Rui's home, not far from Angela, to spend the evening with more cousins. In attendance were Rui, his wife Sonia, and two of their three kids (Inês and Leonor). Also in attendance was my cousin Nuno (Rui's brother) and, his wife Maria (Zu), and their father and patriarch, Pedro. And we can't forget Kali, Rui's lovable rescue German Shepard, who is one the most genteel dogs I have ever met. We fell in love with her! Unable to attend, were Rui's oldest son, Luís, who is studying in Italy and Nuno's three children, Tomás, who is living in Germany, Mariana, who was in Lisbon, and Mafalda who was studying for her medical school final exams. Hopefully we will have the chance to meet them the next time we visit Porto.

Sonia set a beautiful table for our large family dinner. She served fabulous appetizers, dinner, wine, and desserts, too numerous to mention. Since it had been nearly 25 years since we had seen each other, we had much to catch up on. We discussed politics, economics, culture and even the Kardashians (Rui's daughters were fascinated to find out that the Kardashians are neighbors of ours). We took some time to share stories about our mothers, both of whom passed away within a few months of each other in 2020. And of course, we laughed a lot!

While the adults lingered around the table after dinner and discussed a variety of topics, the kids settled into the kid's cave downstairs and watched Netflix. They felt right at home!

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