They next day we got up early to make the pilgrimage to Fatima which has been a dream of my mom’s for some time now. Fatima is a sacred place to Catholics as the Virgin Mary appeared to three children there.
We took the autobus there, one thing I learned is never to tell mom the exact time of a bus or train, as if it doesn’t happen (which most times don’t come on time) I hear it. It’s best to say around this or that time. The countryside outside of Lisbon is beautiful. The dirt is a deep red. Another thing I learned is everything is a 5 or 10 minute walk wherever you go. When asking for directions to Fatima, it was a 5 min walk which turned out to be a 15 min walk uphill. We had to stop halfway as Dad was out of breath.
The scene from the large square is something to see. Under a covered awning there was about 500 people saying the rosary. There was also a strip of tile about 500 feet on top of the square slanting down towards the basilia on which people were walking on their knees, some were carring these plastic sculpters of different body parts, hands, arms, legs, feet, heart. I asked a lady and she told me that people walk on there knees as a sacrifice cause they are looking for healing for a certain body part. It was hot and we ducked into the visitors center to get out of the heat and get some info. Mom thought this was the place where Mary had visited and has said to left healing waters. The visitors center told us, no that is Lourdes, France. Mom said, I’d give anything to go there. I laughed as dad has already said he has no interest in going to France.
We walked around a bit up in the cathedral and then across the street to the many shops that sell rosaries, holy water, etc. As me and my dad were standing in front of a shop I was two men eyeing us, with that shifty eye kinda look, so I told my dad to come into the shop as it was cooler there. Beware of the gypsies that hang out around Fatima. I can see how people get robbed.
Before we got back on the bus we stopped in at a little store at the bus station and eyed the ice cream case. I opened the case and pulled out an ice cream and asked my dad if he’d like one and a man ran over and grabbed the ice cream out of my hand and threw it back in the case and slammed it shut and pointed to the wall that had ice cream pictures on the wall. I said oh well and walked out. Apparently you don’t just get your own ice cream, the store keeper gets it for you. How was I to know?……it’s okay as I went down to the next store and got one just fine.