We booked a taxi with our hotel for the roundtrip transpo to Fatima for 225 €. At 70 € each for a bus ticket, multiplied by 3, taking a taxi was the better deal. It would save us the trip to the bus station at Siete Rios and the walk to the shrine. We were promptly fetched at 2pm and drove through the highway flanked by fields of green. Edwardo, our English-speaking driver was pleasant. There were beautiful views on both sides of the road. The drive took an hour and a half with little traffic. Arriving at the shrine, I was awed by the sheer expanse of the complex. With everything painted white, it seemed to glow under the spring sun.
We headed to the information office just to help us get oriented on the structures that bordered the complex. Behind the office is a corner with candles of different sizes placed on trays. You get what you need and drop your payment at one of the boxes. Honesty system. Rhoda and Tita C took a a big candle and lighted it at the dedicated space to the left of the office. I took some plastic candle cup holders to give away back home.
The entire complex is very modernist except for the Church of the Blessed Trinity.
The Chapel of the Apparitions marks the place where the Blessed Virgin Mary first appeared. The exact spot is where her statue is placed. Many people were seated on the wooden benches praying silently, some including myself, with rosaries on hand.
I’ve been a devotee of the Virgin Mary so praying the rosary at Fatima was such a privilege.
Inside the spacious Church of the Holy Trinity are the tombs of the three children. Jacinta and Lucia’s on the left and Fernando’s on the right. Just like at the Church of the Apparitions, everyone was really quiet. No one was even taking photographs of the tombs.
It’s the peacefulness and serenity of the entire complex that makes it so attractive. Makes you want to imagine how it was when it was still the woods before the entire place was paved and modernized to suit the huge crowds that continue to come during the apparition’s anniversary. Perhaps, for the non-believing tourist, Fatima isn’t much. There are far more interesting religious structures in Lisbon such as the Igreja de Sao Roque. However, for a devotee, going to Fatima is a pilgrimage to one of the most spectacular moments in salvation history and the role that the Blessed Virgin Mary plays in our lives.