The best cherries I ever tasted were in Chaves, Portugal. Plucked from a tree in an overgrown garden at the back of a hotel we stayed at. I was admiring the way the light was hitting the disused hotel sign laying in the grass. I then noticed that the tree was full of beautifully ripe cherries. I looked around to see if anyone was watching, I figured I was alone so I plucked one from the tree. As I was placing the stolen fruit in my mouth an elderly lady rounded the corner and spotted me enjoying what wasn't mine.
'Bugger!' I thought to myself, such an innocent theft and now I'm going to be punished!
To my surprise she gave me a warm smile, she walked straight past me and up to the tree. With the aid of an old garden rake she pulled down an entire branch. I then heard the voices of excited kids running towards us from behind. They were her grandchildren, full of joy and innocence, just the way kids should be.
I asked if I could take photos of them gathering their fruit, she granted my wish and then offered me the entire branch that she had first pulled off the tree, I did the typically English thing and refused profusely.
Not a good idea on my part. The branch was pretty much forced upon me and I gladly accepted the wonderful gift. They tasted so much better than the one I had stolen. This was my first interaction with the people of Portugal and I have to say they are some of the loveliest people I have ever met.

Simon Hewson©2012