Tomar Rest Day

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We had a great nights rest in an apartment just the other end of the Ponte Velha bridge in Tomar.  I was up early to go find a cappuccino while Sharon and Alan continued to rest their tired souls.

The weather was so much cooler than yesterday and I HOPE it will carry over for tomorrow’s 30 odd kilometer walk to Alvaiazere.  We opted for a rest day as the next leg of the Camino has an elevation  of +- 400m and no accommodation along the way, it is also a long walking day of 30 plus kilometers.  We felt two hectic days in a row would be in no one’s interest.  We also wanted a day to wash our clothes and rest our blistered feet, well more so my blistered feet.  After yesterday’s walk on the N-110 with the shoulder of the high way having a reverse like camber the left foot took strain and both Sharon and I picked up blisters.

I had read about Fatima and seen we were off today we decided to take a bus to Fatima to explore this place of miracles.  The bus drive was an hour from Tomar with pleasant views of Portugal.  The public transport system works very well and I am amazed at how easy it is to get to the remote villages without any difficulty.  Portugal offers a well-integrated and reliable transport system.

Fatima is a well established more modern town that holds a cosmic energy of “specialness”.  Fatima is the place where “Our Lady” spoke to  three little shepherd’s,  13 July 1917.  Even though they were children, through them and their simplicity she spoke to all mankind.  The children ages 7, 9 and 10 years old received the visit of the Virginia Mary, clothed in the light of God.  As she had promised she appeared three times to them and the third time 70 000 people witnessed her “presentness”.  Three secrets were revealed of which two are known and the third never shared.  The rumour is before Lucina (one of the children) died she wrote the 3rd secret down and handed it to the Pope.  If you want to know more about the amazing and most interesting place please google it.

I realised today that this is a journey (Camino) you make with your feet AND YOUR HEART.  I felt at peace sitting in the church in front of an angel staring my way even though I was slightly to the left of her, feeling that my Camino has finally begun.  We have had a rough few days with getting lost, etc, but being in Fatima today has meant the world to me.  We explored every nook and cranny of Fatima and I highly recommend a trip to this magnificent place.  We all took time out for ourselves and placed candles for a special devotional purpose as well as blessings for those dear to us.  I sat in an open air type church and listened to a preacher who was preaching in English and what I got were the words “gentler” and “softer” and it is these two words that I will take with me on my journey to Santiago.

I will admit that I questioned (it was bound to happen) why I decided on doing another Camino, and why the  Portuguese Way.  I know this is tough, what was I thinking that this would be a walk in the park.   The Portuguese Way is considered the second most popular Camino but I have never really had any want to explore Portugal.   A friend (Gerry) had warned me the first section is mostly along the highway and there are hardly any infrastructure for pilgrims such as pilgrim office, pilgrim hostels, and even reliable yellow signs along the way compared to the more popular Camino Frances!  The statistics of people walking the  Portuguese Way is much lower compared to the Frances Way, only 10 percent of pilgrims walk the Portuguese Way.  I had to keep reminding myself that this has been a choice and therefore I should just go with the flow from now and enjoy every step of the way, it did start feeling right towards the end visit to Fatima today.

Fatima has been one of the biggest Catholic shrines in the world since 1937.  The mosaic in the auditorium is the best I have seen.  All in gold and I could have stared at it for hours. Loved the visit to Fatima and if the time allows I will return on my way home after completing the Portuguese Way.

We met peregrino’s Maria and Chris both living in San Diego at dinner tonight.  They are both school teachers and on their summer break.

FEET CHECK, even though a rest day we somehow managed to clock 16 kilometers with all the sight-seeing.  Feet are good.  Sharon doctoring her one blister while I continue to treat the 4 I have.  Blisters have developed in same areas they did on my Camino 2012.

On we shall walk……

…..My Camino has finally started……..

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  • Mark Weintraud

    Hi Sparks, it all sounds very magical. I love travelling too and I can just picture how amazing it must be to see a whole new country as beautiful as Portugal is. Go well and be safe.

    cheers

    Mark

    • Sparkalot

      Mark this has been amazing thus far, 9 days time should be in Santiago then off to Finesterre another 4 days walking. A pity I am battling with photo uploading. Put this on your bucket list it will be the cheapest holiday ever, people think it is expensive but it is not!

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