Faith and miraclesOctober 21 in Portugal
After much planning, today I am off to Coimbra, but decided I could not miss Fátima on the way, as it is only a 30km detour, so got an early bus and am here now. Extraordinary place, horrible and awesome at the same time. A church (or cathedral) built with semicircular arms (rather like St Peters square) reasonably unexceptional, in front of which is the shrine itself - basically a statute under an awning. People approach it doing the last 100 metres on their knees. Beside it is a stand on which there are so many lit candles that all the wax melts and it’s like a fire pit. Then a vast new monolithic concrete building - the new church. Horrible! Looks like a prison - no windows visible, nothing decorating it - just a huge circular pile of concrete.
The town is crammed with shops selling every kind of Catholic symbolic item imaginable.
Never experienced anything like it. Faith or superstition - your choice. But whichever, it’s seen here on steroids.
Now waiting for bus to Coimbra. After planning and looking at the possible stages, my time constraints and my physical ability, decided there is no point in trying to walk from further south than Coimbra. As that means some buses I may as well see a few things on the way!Read more