February 15th, 2019
After splitting a bottle of Prosecco on the plane, Deirdre and I made it to Fatima! We arrived in Lisbon and ate empanadas (chicken pot pie-ish thing in muffin form). Alex helped us figure out the metro to get to the bus. When we stepped off the bus in Fatima, we were overwhelmed by the fresh air and the smell of roses. Our Air B&B host, Ana Maria, picked us up from the bus stop. Since she only spoke Portuguese she had her son Antonio on speakerphone translating for us. Her house is right by the Fatima shrine. She drove us through the dark little village. The only light I could see was the moon and the shrine.
February 16th, 2019
Deirdre and I woke up at 7:45 and ventured upstairs where we found the most beautiful tile staircase with plants and sunlight. Then Ana Maria met us in the kitchen for breakfast. She brought us warm milk and hot water in two tins. We made coffee, ate croissants with strawberry jam, cheese, ham. I also made a hot chocolate and ate some yogurt. After breakfast, we went back to our room and piled under the covers together. It was SO cold in our room. We decided to sleep in the same bed tonight for more warmth.
We are back in our room now after a beautiful day at the shrine. We saw the inside of the Basilica which felt like a pink glimpse of heaven. We walked around for hours, looking at the orange trees and sheep. We joined a group of pilgrims and prayed the rosary in Portuguese. For lunch, we found a small cafe near Saint Lucia’s house and had muffins and coffee. On our way back to the main site, an older woman eating a bag of chips offered us some. We each took a handful. It is still very cold in the room. The air here smells so fresh and feels like the breath of Mary.