Pilgrim’s Progress

It was too crowded in the church where St. Anthony of Padua was born, in Portugal.  I decided to come out for a breath of fresh air and leave the rest of the group inside the church.  I wandered a little bit.  Climbing up this steep street, it was hard for the elderly women to reach the top of the hill.  Thank goodness, it will be downhill from here. 
Portuguese people are warm and touchy.  They love to touch, kiss on both cheeks and give each other a hug.  Looking at this couple, it’s ordinary to get a welcoming hug as if they have not seen each other for a long time.  Maybe, they haven’t, who knows. 
In this old city, they still use the electric power trolley bus.  I’m so glad this street is only for the bus.  Considering this area is ancient, tourist flock here just to pay homage to St. Anthony.  The buildings are dilapidated, paint is peeling off, and some areas are covered with graffiti. 
The way the street is lined with squared stones is not good for high heels.  It can be slippery.  I can see in the horizon is an outline of the sea.  The sea, our next destination.  Soon we will visit the harbour to get a waft of salty sea air. 
Some balconies are adorned with hanging flowers.  Ivy geranium is common and a beauty once it cascades down and thick with flowers.  Thank goodness there is no store in site, otherwise, the pilgrims would be distracted and would want to stop by and shop. 
Finally, they all came out.  We are now ready to walk down the hill.  Back tracking where we came from, we turned to smaller streets, weaving in and out of alleys just to reach our bus.  The inside streets are not as clean so clean as the main streets.  There are litters all over the place.  It’s interesting to see what kind of garbage Portugal has.  It’s no difference than in Canada. 
As we were walking, I heard one of the pilgrims made a comment: “How disgusting, look at all the cigarette butts all over the street.”  What a strange comment.  Her focus was on the cigarette butts when I could see: paper coffee cups, paper plates, plastic spoons, knives and forks, napkins amongst other things.  Surely, these are evidence left by pilgrims who stopped at the corner store for something to eat. 
I happened to be a smoker.  Is she saying this out of spite?  We are pilgrims, for God’s sake.  Watch your mouth, I thought.  I was sadden by this statement for we are supposed to reflect on the spirituality of the place and not be judgemental.  To keep my mind being poisoned, I occupied my thoughts of the couple up on top of the hill. 
Thinking about them gave me this warm fuzzy feeling.

11 thoughts on “Pilgrim’s Progress

  1. Pingback: Pilgrims not a Tourist | theseeker

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