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A Short Break From the Caminho

After our longest day on the trail, we were beat. Feet and other body parts were very sore. Fortunately, we had two back-to-back breaks built into our schedule.

The first was Fatima, a major pilgrimage site for Catholics. In the waning days of World War I three shepherd children in a small hill town reported a series of visions of an angel and the Virgin Mary, the mother of Christ. The sightings occurred over a period of months and were met with skepticism by neighbors, family, and the local church. Eventually the authorities decided that they were credible and Fatima has become a major pilgrimage destination.

True visions or not? Way beyond the scope of this blog. But we were moved by the demonstrations and feeling of faith in the town during our two day stay. And people explore their path of faith in many ways. This was a good experience for us.

If you’re curious about Fatima, there was a movie released in 2000 called Fatima that seems to present the situation well. The Wikipedia article here also presents a good summary.

Tomar has been our second deviation from the standard Camino route. We arrived in this city originally founded by the Romans yesterday. It is inextricably connected to the Knights Templar who liberated the area from the Moors in the 12th Century and built a fortress on the hill from where they ruled over a large part of Portugal and protected it from invaders. After the Knights were disbanded—a story in itself—a castle and convent were built here. Much of it is well preserved. Our day off here has been met with great weather which gave us a chance to tour the complex on the hill.

The detail and work that went into the fortifications and other buildings often evoke the sentiment, “And they did all this before Home Depot.”

Tomorrow we resume our trek north towards Santiago through small towns and big, including Porto. Now we will be more into the typical Caminho routine sleeping in Albergues and meeting interesting people. Also, dealing with weather and complaining body parts. If it goes well, we should reach Santiago de Compostela in three plus weeks—hopefully not four.

Thanks for your encouragement, prayers, and questions.

2 thoughts on “A Short Break From the Caminho”

  1. Great photos, and interesting info about Fatima. I’ve been praying for your feet (for both of you) and am relieved to hear that you had a well-timed day-off from the trail.

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