On Sunday 13th May, 1917 a lady “made entirely of light” appeared on 6 occasions to three children. At noon there was vivid flash of lightning. The children thought there was going to be a storm and decided to gather the sheep to safety, but there was another dazzling flash and they were enveloped in a blinding light. They saw a lady “brighter than the sun” her “bare and rosy feet resting on an ermine cloud.”
MORNING: Leaving Cascais (or Lisbon) around 10am. we travel northwards along Portugal’s excellent motorways to Fatima. The journey takes about 1 ½ hours. We’ll stop in the small village of Aljustrel to visit the houses where the 3 seers lived and the spot where the angel appeared in 1916 to tell them of the coming events. The story unfolds…………………….
We then drive the short distance to the Sanctuary which has grown over the years to accommodate the now 5 million estimated visitors every year. The small chapel built over the spot of the Apparitions, the 1953 Basilica, the new 2007 Basilica, the piece of the Berlin Wall – all of these are part of the incredible story of Fatima which we shall contemplate as we see the total devotion of the pilgrims making their way towards the chapel on their knees and lighting candles to petition Our Lady or give thanks for graces received.
LUNCHTIME: There is a small family-run restaurant behind the sanctuary serving traditional Portuguese dishes with reasonable prices. There are also the options of bringing your own picnic or having a snack in one of the many cafés.
AFTERNOON: Leaving Fatima, we’ll drive through the countryside for about half-an-hour, arriving to Batalha and the hugely impressive Abbey of Santa Maria da Vitória. The story of this wonderful Flamboyant Gothic monastery is told through its architecture, finished and unfinished, as well as the magnificent tombs of early Portuguese royalty.
Before our return journey, there will be a chance to relax in a café for refreshments and tasty cakes and also visit some of the local shops selling top-class souvenirs like glazed tiles, pottery, hand-made jewellery and of course cork in all its glory – handbags, purses, tablemats, shoes and even umbrellas!
DURATION: Approx. 8 hours for a day tour. COST: Pick-up and Drop-off Cascais. €220 per tour, not per person. (Lisbon supplement €25) The car takes from 1 to 4 passengers. For larger groups, talk to Eva about cost. Entrance fees to Batalha monastery not included. Cost per adult is €6pp BOOKINGS: Eva Sanches. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mobile: (+ 351) 917 300 345.