20 April 2018

Fátima and Tomar

This morning we got up early to have breakfast with Colette and Christine before they set off on the Camino and Alan took us to Fátima!
We have no idea when or even if we will see them again. But they promised to stay in touch and tell us of how it is and where to stay!
Alan said that life is full of surprises. Later in the year he is flying to NewYork via Amsterdam with a Dutch airline and returning in November via Paris with a French airline! He would think of them all on these flights. You should know that Colette and Christine had been stewardesses with Air France!

A discussion was also had about croissants as Alan’s had not been cooked properly! He complained and got his money back!

A return ticket was bought at the bus station and then we were off to Fátima.

The journey took an hour and so we were there early before the rush of tourists.

The place is huge and very commercial which none of us liked.

The statue is of Pope John Paul II.

There is a place for real candles so Alan bought some.

Two candles for each of his little families and one each for his two friends that are about to undergo major surgery.

There was soft Gregorian Chant being sung in the background while tourists walked round having their picture taken. Our BBF reminded us that today we were tourists so no singing in church, but we sat and kneeled to pray.

Duty done we wandered around the shrine seeing what there was to see.

We noticed that some pilgrims to the shrine approached it on their knees! Not something our BBF fancied doing!

It surprised us to find part of the old BERLIN Wall here!

This was the entrance to a huge rotund church!

Inside was a large gold mosaic which we thought nice.

Wine loaves and fish to represent the feeding of the five thousand.

Underground were many more chapels and this was one that represented the risen Christ.

After a good two hours of exploring and walking over five kilometres within the shrine sustenance was called for.

Then it was back on the bus to return to Tomar.

Reunited with Rianne we were taken on a Tuktuk tour of a few places of interest.

Our driver was a lovely young woman who did much explaining along the way.

The Knights Templar built the town in the 12 century. The Convent you can also see here was added later.

In the 17th century they built a unique aqueduct to supply the Convent with water.

The aqueduct is unique because it combines gothic arches with Roman ones.

The bend in it seen here was to slow the water down as it came to a filter in the system.

The filter being a simple sump where heavier particles sank!

Here the aqueduct enters the Convent.

In our return to town we had some fine views over it. 

Alan is kicking himself for not stopping to have his photo taken with a statue of Henry the Navigator!

Back in town we went to church!

From here Alan sang the Pilgrims Hymn again, as we are no longer tourists he said.

Refreshments were called for in the form of an isotonic drink and a dry white wine for Rianne.

 A short walk round town to round off the day.

Postcards were bought and written an odd couple spoken to and photographed.

Even a pigeon was considered a good motive! We rather wish we could fly like this pigeon as tomorrow is going to be a long hard day! Buen Camino!

19 April 2018

The knees don’t like it!

Breakfast in this pension was a step back in time. There were no knives, one had to break bread and use a butter knife to butter it. We haven’t seen those in years.

Then it was out the door and start dicing with festhing the road. At the Edge of town was a lovely old church.

The sun was up and smiling on or pilgrims but walking on the road with the traffic was a real pain! 

At last we left the road and started to climb.

This was the enjoyable part though inwardly Alan was complaining his feet hurt and the climbs were doing his knees in!

All this pain, for pilgrims must suffer, was compensated by the quiet and the views over the countryside.

At one point the Way was marked with a stone arrow.

In this puddle the frogs had been busy!

But we fear the sun will eventually evaporate the water and then the tadpoles will have a real problem! 

Part of the Way was a steep and stony climb, but we took it slowly and were rewarded at the top with fine views over the countryside.

Alan’s knees though did not like it. The left one started hurting and what he has not said till now is that his feet in the new shoes have been killing him since Lisbon! 

They stopped for a rest and Alan took his shoes and socks off to check his feet. Yesterday he had re-laced his shoes, but the ties still hurt, though the pressure over the top of the foot was better. Rianne now suggested an adjustment which worked wonders!

The feet felt better but the knees still didn’t like it!

They walked through eucalyptus plantations until eventually they came back to civilisation in Grou and then had to walk on roads again and dodge the traffic.

One house had a very elaborate front gate!

Others had works of art in their gardens.

In Asseceira we came across a communal washing place, which we had not seen since Spain!

Then, since we were in civilisation we came across  a bit of ancient history and to the relief of our humans a café!

In this Café they had a rest and met some new pilgrims from New Zealand. Alan is always excited when he meets a Kiwi. They were Murray and Candice on their first pilgrimage!

Rianne had a Snicker which had a Pele sticker inside and gave it to Alan for Christopher, who is football fanatic. 

As they left the village there were lovely flowers to photograph.

Later they caught up with the French Ladies, Colette and Christine who kindly gave up the seat for them.

Then later they came across a whole bank of lovely flowers.

Just one kilometre from Tomar they stopped here for a rest as they could sit properly. The Kiwis were also here and before moving on Alan gave them his card to stay in touch.

We were all relieved to reach Tomar and now our stupid BBF made a fatal error. He told the French Ladies he knew where they were staying and showed it to them on the map! 

Off they went until they reached this street the main one in the centroid town! Only he had got it wrong, for he had planted a waypoint pin here when he thought they were going to stay in a popular hostel. Sadly it was full and they had to go somewhere else, but he had not deleted his waypoint! The outcome was that they had to walk back they had come for about a kilometre as they had passed it on the way in!!!

Antonio was the owner of this hostel and a proud resident of Tomar. He proceeded now to give the pilgrims a lecture about the history of his town in great detail! When you are hot and sweaty after a 16 odd kilometre walk, have knees that ache and feet that are killing you, the last thing you need is a history lecture! 
Our BBF after about 30 minutes of this interrupted him in full flow and asked to be shown to his room!

Now we were happy too, for we have no time for humans who are full of themselves!

We are going to stay here two nights. We are going by bus to Fatima tomorrow while Rianne has a rest day!