Day 5 – Tomar, Fatima, and Marvao

This will be quite a long day. We left Lisbon for Tomar, built by the Knights Templar in the 12th century. This castle is known for some very special details. Like all the castles in Europe, they are fortresses, always at the top of the mountain overlooking the town.

Because this castle was also a monastery, it has a cloister for contemplation, with bedrooms off in the hallways. These special tiles have a 3D effect as you go into the refectory (dining room).

They also have chapels that are works of art. This castle is no different. The painted details are spectacular. The chapel is different, as it is an octagon, with beautiful views everywhere you look.

I couldn’t help taking this picture of a darling sleeping little girl. I guess she wasn’t really into the castle or the chapel.

Off we went to Fatima. This day is unique, as it is the day for motorcyclists to receive the Blessing of the Helmet. This may sound odd but you can’t imagine how many motorcycles and people were in Fatima for this blessing. The open area of the church (built in the 1950s) to receive the blessing.

The stores specialized in religious articles of every kind, including life-sized versions of the saints and the Virgin Mary. I can’t imagine where you would put these in your home but they are a little scary – sorry!

The kiosks also carry wax legs, arms, torsos, babies and more, which are supposed to represent parts that are in need of healing or prayers. The babies represent those that are ill or have died. Candles are purchased and there was a long line to walk by large wood-fired ovens to throw the candles and wax body parts into the fire. We never got a definitive answer as to why this is done but rest assured that the lines were very long and after, there were many people in tears.

Kebab Salad
Garlic Bread

We took a break for lunch before the crowds filled the restaurants after receiving their blessing. I ordered the kebab salad and Jim ordered garlic bread, based on the recommendation of the waitress. Both were exceptional, especially the garlic bread. A keeper!

Time to move on to Marvao, another fortress castle practically on the border of Portugal and Spain, visible from each side of the mountain. Although never breached, it stands as a symbol of how towns protected themselves. There isn’t much left to see of the castle, other than its proximity to Spain.

We are all looking forward for a couple of days in Evora.





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