Monday, June 13, 2016
Ave Maria III: Nazaré
According to the original itinerary, we had a day of private devotion in Fatima after our morning mass at Chapel Senora de Las Dolores. But I guess there's only so much praying and quiet contemplation one can do. We were offered a mini tour at an extra cost of EUR20 per pax. That brought us to the coastal town of Nazaré, just 40KM from Fatima. In that town is a gem of a church, Church of Nossa Senhora da Nazaré which is related to the Legend of Nazaré. Legend states that Dom Fuas Roupinho was out hunting and nearly chased a deer off a cliff if not for the intervention of the Virgin Mary.
When we arrived, rain and mist enveloped the whole place. Rushed inside and was greeted by a Door of Mercy called Porto Santa da Misericordia in Portuguese. The interior of the church looked as old as the one in Santarém, but this was more elaborate with its baroque twisted columns, gilded coffer ceiling and beautiful ceramics. For a donation of EUR1, we were allowed up to view the statue of Senora de Las Dolores. All the interior walls and ceilings of the sacristy were covered with ceramic tiles which is something very unique to Portugal. The art form is called Azulejo which is a painted tin-glazed ceramic tilework. Portugal's love affair with these tiles can be seen all over, from the most ornate church to the plainest of houses.
When we emerged from the church, the rain had gone and the sun was shining brightly. Finally realized the plaza out front and the beautiful view of the coast off to the left. Unfortunately, someone had nicked the umbrella that I had left outside. Sadness. Near the cliff side is a mini chapel where a statue of an enthroned Madonna and Child is kept underneath. On the edge of the piazza, native women sold dried nuts and fruits, once in while breaking in song.
Nazaré is a town by the coast so it was natural that we had lunch at a seafood restaurant at the beach front. O Tamanco was it's name. Enjoyed bread, cheese, olives and a hearty local fish stew made with string ray, potatoes and bell peppers. Had some time to kill so there was more souvenir shop crawling. I on the hand went hunting for Portuguese egg tarts or locally known as Pastel de Nata. Found some at Pastelaria Bom Pao for EUR0.90 each. Crispy pastry and sweet filling. Would definitely taste better hot from the oven.
On our way back to Fatima, we stopped by Monastery of Batalha with a huge equestrian statue of Nuno Álvares Pereira outside. Just spent 10 minutes outside of that beautiful Gothic cathedral. No time to go in at all. We were ushered back into the bus.
Mum and I had some time to kill before dinner so we walked around the shopping area. First order of business was to get a new umbrella. Then we ventured to another religious item super store just opposite our hotel. In addition to the usual stuff, they had a whole section dedicated to the needs of priests, e.g. vestments, chalice, paten, censer, even sepulchers. According to the priest, they did not shop there as all their needs are provided for. Lay people shopped there to buy gifts for priests for occasions like ordinations and anniversaries. Fancy buying an EUR800 vestment for your favourite priest?
On our final night in Fatima, we had a buffet dinner at the hotel again. At last some fish appeared in the spread, but we also had more pork. Spent the rest of the night packing and to catch up on sleep because we had to leave early in the morning.