21 April 2018

Rain stopped play!

Last night Colette texted to our BBF that they had arrived after 10 hours walking and that they were all in! The route was up and down with a lot of road walking too. She could not recommend doing it with his knees! Since Colette and Christine are also in their 70s and walk faster than our BBF we thought it good advice. But what do we Bears know. He never listens to us. 

The two humans wrestled with their consioncesses and decided that as it would rain on Saturday that they would take a bus to Alvaiázere. They asked the Hospitalero about buses, but discovered now that there are virtually no buses that run at the weekend ! So with his help they booked a taxi for 10:00hrs. 

At breakfast in the café they met again the Kiwi couple from yesterday, Bill and Irene. They too were looking to move on by car as Bill had a groin strain and hip problem. It was decided they should share the taxi.

Rianne noticed that they did biscuit bears in the café, but our humans wouldn’t eat one!

The party of now four humans sat and waited with tea made by Antonio the Hospitalero and waited for the taxi.

The driver when he came was a nice enough chap and had a nice smart Mercedes car. The driver, however, thought he was Juan Manuel Fangio, for he took off like a rocket and never bothered that there were speed limits or even a red light he ran! Our BBF repeatedly made remarks that they were not in a hurry, nor would he get extra for getting us there earlier, or even he said, ‘‘tis better to arrive late in this life, as opposed to too early in the next”! But it went on deaf ears!

More by luck than judgement we all arrived in one piece.

We sat first in a café and chatted till we judged we could go look for accommodation. Out two humans decided to follow the Kiwis to their booked accommodation. 

A young woman from a café where they asked took them round the corner to the Albergaria. Luckily there was now plenty of room at the inn.

No on-suit facilities here but comfortable and large beds, which the humans had to make up themselves.

That done they all sat and had a cup of tea together in the kitchen.

As it is still raining they do not appear to use tap water for the washing but let the rain soak it all!

In this Hostel they have a Brierley room named after the author of the guide books, as he stayed here once. In our room they even had a Van Gogh!!!

Our two humans went for an isotonic drink and a toasted sandwich for lunch in the café nearby.

They then visited the church where Alan felt the need to sing the Pilgrims Hymn again. We think he is getting better at it too.

Then they checked up where breakfast might be in the morning and also booked a table for four in the restaurant for their evening meal! 

It may well rain a little again tomorrow but our humans intend to walk on no matter what! Buen Camino.

20 April 2018

Fátima and Tomar

This morning we got up early to have breakfast with Colette and Christine before they set off on the Camino and Alan took us to Fátima!
We have no idea when or even if we will see them again. But they promised to stay in touch and tell us of how it is and where to stay!
Alan said that life is full of surprises. Later in the year he is flying to NewYork via Amsterdam with a Dutch airline and returning in November via Paris with a French airline! He would think of them all on these flights. You should know that Colette and Christine had been stewardesses with Air France!

A discussion was also had about croissants as Alan’s had not been cooked properly! He complained and got his money back!

A return ticket was bought at the bus station and then we were off to Fátima.

The journey took an hour and so we were there early before the rush of tourists.

The place is huge and very commercial which none of us liked.

The statue is of Pope John Paul II.

There is a place for real candles so Alan bought some.

Two candles for each of his little families and one each for his two friends that are about to undergo major surgery.

There was soft Gregorian Chant being sung in the background while tourists walked round having their picture taken. Our BBF reminded us that today we were tourists so no singing in church, but we sat and kneeled to pray.

Duty done we wandered around the shrine seeing what there was to see.

We noticed that some pilgrims to the shrine approached it on their knees! Not something our BBF fancied doing!

It surprised us to find part of the old BERLIN Wall here!

This was the entrance to a huge rotund church!

Inside was a large gold mosaic which we thought nice.

Wine loaves and fish to represent the feeding of the five thousand.

Underground were many more chapels and this was one that represented the risen Christ.

After a good two hours of exploring and walking over five kilometres within the shrine sustenance was called for.

Then it was back on the bus to return to Tomar.

Reunited with Rianne we were taken on a Tuktuk tour of a few places of interest.

Our driver was a lovely young woman who did much explaining along the way.

The Knights Templar built the town in the 12 century. The Convent you can also see here was added later.

In the 17th century they built a unique aqueduct to supply the Convent with water.

The aqueduct is unique because it combines gothic arches with Roman ones.

The bend in it seen here was to slow the water down as it came to a filter in the system.

The filter being a simple sump where heavier particles sank!

Here the aqueduct enters the Convent.

In our return to town we had some fine views over it. 

Alan is kicking himself for not stopping to have his photo taken with a statue of Henry the Navigator!

Back in town we went to church!

From here Alan sang the Pilgrims Hymn again, as we are no longer tourists he said.

Refreshments were called for in the form of an isotonic drink and a dry white wine for Rianne.

 A short walk round town to round off the day.

Postcards were bought and written an odd couple spoken to and photographed.

Even a pigeon was considered a good motive! We rather wish we could fly like this pigeon as tomorrow is going to be a long hard day! Buen Camino!