Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A Day in Fatima: Lisbon’s Pilgrim City (Lovely Lisbon Series 18)

A Day in Fatima 
Lisbon’s Pilgrim City
Lovely Lisbon Series 18 

We all woke early in the morning
and had an breakfast and the hotel,

…and took at Metro to the Sete Rios bus station,

…where we booked an 8 AM Alsa Bus
 to the popular Pilgrim City of Fatima.



The bus left on time, and we were on our way 
after we got settled in our assigned seats.


Whenever we are in Europe and North America,
we make it a  point to ride on buses and trains,
if the trip would not last for more than six hours,

…as these two continents are known for
some of the most beautiful and most scenic
countrysides that one would miss in a plane.



This two hour Alsa Bus ride from
Lisbon to Fatima was no exception.



We arrived at exactly 10 AM at the Fatima Bus Station, 
located a walking distance  from the revered Fatima Shrine.


Within the bus station complex
are numerous souvenir shops,

…where we decided to buy
gift items to take back home,



…before having a leisurely walk at the
Avenida D. Jose Alves Correia da Salva,


…to the Fatima Shrine.


We entered the shrine thru the Paul VI Pastoral Center, 
.and posed for photos in front of the Pope’s statue.


As we stood at the threshold, we paused,
to admire the massiveness  of the  shrine,


…before heading to the Capelinha das Aparições
called the Chapel of the Apparitions in English, 


…where there was a mass going on.

The chapel was built on the exact spot of the 1917 apparitions
 as a response to the request of the  Lady of Fátima whi instructed:
the children:  "I want you to make a chapel here in  my honor". 
This small chapel the most important and most revered site in 
the sanctuary  and  visited by 5 million pilgrims every year.


In the chapel is also the original image of  our
Lady of Fatima, displayed is a vaulted altar.


The mass we attended was in Portuguese, but praying
is a universal language and we understood everything 
being said by the priest during the ceremony.


My wife and son had a communion,


…and stayed a little bit longer
at the chapel after the mass,


…to have some more private time 
and have our photos taken.


From the apparition chapel, we went to refill
our bottled water with the blessed holy water,
flowing free from several drinking fountains.


We then visited the shrine’s centerpiece,
the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary.


The basilica has 213 ft tall central bell-tower,
with an illuminated cross mounted on top.


The colonnades on both side of the basilica,



…had mosaic art depicting
the stations of the cross. 


Inside the cathedral are the burial sites,



…of the three children,




…who witnessed the apparition of the Lady of Fatima.

At the other side of the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary,
fronting the Chapel of the Apparitions,  monolithic building
which we failed to visit and we didn’t know what it was for.


We walked across to the Paul VI Pastoral Center,


…a center for study and reflection
on the message of Fátima inaugurated
 Pope John Paul II  in, May 13, 1982

It can seat over two thousand people,
and appeared like a modern auditorium.

The pastoral center apparently has housing
accommodation for four hundred pilgrims.


I was already past three in the afternoon
when we went out of the pastoral center,

…and we leisurely strolled the tree lined
Avenida D. Jose Alves Correia da Salva,

...looking for a place to have a late lunch.


We stumbled upon Lebre,

…a self service restaurant,


…where we enjoyed some
of the most delicious dishes,

…and heavenly desserts, 
yet very affordable.



We again spent some more time to shop for

 additional gifts,  and souvenirs to take home,


…before heading back to the bus
station for our 5 PM Alsa bus ride
that would take us back to Lisbon.

We again had a scenic
drive back to the city,



…and enjoyed ice cream at the Sete Rios bus station,
 before taking a tram back to Campo Grande.



We were tempted to buy
Farturas at a roadside stall,


…and enjoyed the delicious
elongated donut- like pastry,


...on our way back to the hotel.

Read my other blogs on 
Lovely Lisbon Series

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