Tuesday October 31, 2023
We all love times when we feel looked after. That we matter and belong. When we are welcomed with open arms. I often contemplate how I can go into my day with a big open heart, with kindness and compassion to whoever I am going to be in contact with. In whatever circumstances arise. I also take the time to really savour the moments when I receive kindness. I marinate in it. It happened many times on our recent adventure to the Azores, which are 9 islands that sit out in the Atlantic Ocean and belong to Portugal. Jim and I and a group of our friends spent a week on Sao Miguel, which is the largest of the islands, and a week on Terceira which is home to the oldest city of the Azores, Angra do Heroisimo. Both islands offered great birding opportunities which is important to our group.
I have many stories to tell from our adventures, but one that I have told many times since coming home involves a family owned restaurant in a small town called Mosterios. The restaurant is called Restaurant Gazcidla. Our group had been out on a morning adventure swimming in one of the natural hot springs located in the ocean. When we arrived to go swimming it was raining but we persevered because the weather moves through quickly. It was a short walk, in the pounding rain, to the hot spring. There was a ladder down into the water and ropes that we could hold onto as the waves from the ocean came in and out. We had a lot of fun. After we dried off and had a good coffee (there are little cafes everywhere and the coffee is delicious) we headed into Mosterios to find a place to eat lunch. We had worked up an appetite and were grateful to find Restaurant Gazcidla. At first when we said we were a group of 10, the owner/greeter bartender didn’t think he could fit us in, but then he did. He and his staff quickly put together a table and welcomed us. Almost all of us ordered seafood. Swordfish, shrimp, octopus and seafood chowder. Every meal always comes with delicious, really delicious, homemade bread and cheese from the islands. Our waitress was lovely and her English was much better than our Portuguese. Throughout the meal the staff checked in on us and made sure we were well cared for. Towards the end, Jim got up to thank the owner and asked a few questions about the food we ate. The owner then brought out his dad who was the co-owner chef and Jim thanked them both and gave them a hug. There was lots of laughter as they tried to communicate through sign language. And then as we went to pay our bill the owner came out with a round of homemade moonshine for all of us to share. We laughed and toasted the good food and the owners toasted us. We felt so welcome and full of good food and that is exactly how you should feel when you are on holiday. We always feel happy when we are welcomed with kindness and friendliness.