Portuguese SAGAS – holiday day 13th in Beijós

  1. may 2018

Day 13 is there.

Today is the day of Fatima. The pilgrims have arrived and the celebration is on.

So what is Fatima and why is there a celebration today?

Fátima is a central Portuguese town that’s home to the Sanctuary of Fátima, a Catholic pilgrimage site. The Capelinha das Aparições marks the spot where the Virgin Mary allegedly appeared in 1917. Other sacred sites include the Basílica de Nossa Senhora do Rosário, with its golden angels, and the modern church of Igreja da Santíssima Trindade. The Museu de Arte Sacra e Etnologia exhibits religious artifacts.

The modern church reminds me a bit of a Chinese conference venue. It is huge and when I was there seemed to me rather naked.

There is another church, the older one, which I like a lot, but that is just me.

So, these last days the pilgrims have walked from their villages all around the country and finally arrived to participate in the joy. What I found heart-warming this year was when I saw a younger man supporting his grandfather while they walked. There was love in the support and different from what I have seen before. Usually they are just walking, either silent or talking and this is the first time I see this physical support. Wonderful!

The pilgrims walk during the day, they stop to have food and there are cars following them. They do sleep during the night. Some are driven back to their homes in the evening so they can sleep in their beds and then they are taken back to the point they left last night and the walk continues. Some of them stay during the night in a camper van. At least everyone gets a good night’s rest.

Yesterday there was a video from one of my Facebook friends from the mass held yesterday evening and the square packed. A rather cold evening but who cares. This is the celebration of the year for many.

The story about Virgin Mary is beautiful and in a way wonderful to continue remembering it.

Some say that Fatima has lost its touch and become a money machine. In some ways I agree but this day is different. This day is wholly.

The day before yesterday I took a walk around a village not far from where I am staying. I parked my car and explored.

Walking is perfect to know the land. You see it in a different light.

My walk began at the square. There is a beautiful church, coffee shop, a huge tree with benches and tables and the tree functions as a parasol. 4 men sitting at the table looked at the foreigner.

Where did she come from? they asked each other.

Boa tarde, I said and they smiled.

Then I took a walk down the narrow road behind the church and in front of me there was a sight I see often in the villages here in my little land.

Abandoned houses. A lot of them. In between there were few and I mean few, houses which seemed to be used but the majority was just destroyed. Broken doors, broken windows, roofs falling apart.

This is a sight in the villages all around the country. People have left; there are no companies anymore and few inhabitants. In this village it looks like those still living there are farmers. Tractors driving through, smiling people, dogs walking around and among them a huge one. He was like a calf but did not bother me and totally ignored the stranger. Playing with a tiny one was more important and I could breathe easy and continue my walk.

2 goats enjoying the sun with lots of grass around them opened one eye just to see who was there when I took a photo. Peace is wonderful.

When I came back to the square a loud music from somewhere sounded and a lady sitting at her doorstep holding a beautiful dog’s paws trying to make him dance was in front of me next to my car. The lady had only two teeth but she smiled happy and did not care. When you are in the sunshine with a dancing dog you don´t care about vanity.

I left the village and thought about the Eurovision and all its glamour. How much that would cost and was it worth the effort when the villages are slowly dying? I don´t know but I find it sad to see all those abandoned little beautiful villages, thinking about the people who used to live there and asking myself where they all are now.

Since Eurovision was held in my country I had to watch it. I felt it was my obligation but how boring and thank God I don´t have to watch it again next year.

I have not watched Eurovision in decades and had completely forgotten how boring it is!

And seeing that Iceland was the last one made me wonder why they keep participating, but of course that has nothing to do with me and I should not care. I left long time ago.

Today is a sunny day, not as cold as yesterday and tomorrow there will be more sunshine and warmer.

Although I am enjoying the holiday I have to cut it short. I have a problem sleeping on the bed and last night I slept on the floor. The mattress is killing my back and I have never eaten as many painkillers as those last 2 weeks. Enough is enough and I have been reminding me that we always get what we pay for. I did not make sure before booking that the beds would be ok so this is just my fault and no one else’s. I am going to miss the area and the beauty and peace but sleeping is also important. I have met several wonderful people during my stay here and will definitely be back for a visit. I could even think of buying a land here but there is none available so that’s it.

Going back home in 2 days is ok, I will continue exploring the little land and now I have to find another place to build my wood house since the owner of the one I wanted has decided not to follow the law and make the necessary papers available. A huge disappointment it was but live goes on.

There is always a shining star behind every cloud and what happens is always for the best.

There is a reason behind this disappointment and will turn into something even better.

I have learned a lot during this process. I have also seen the pros and cons about my former plan which will make my life easier.

My apartment will be sold but that might take some months, which is normal, and while that is going on I can make a new plan.

Having a plan is vital.

Changing a plan is exciting.

Learning from what has already occurred is perhaps the shining star.

2 more days left in Beijós and who knows what happens after that? I have no idea. The plan is to get rid of the pain in the body and imagine how wonderful it will be to sleep in my own bed! Oh, I can´t wait.

Have a great day and enjoy the lessons life delivers.

Hulda Björnsdóttir

Author: hulda9

I am Icelandic but live in Portugal. When I was young I had a dream. I wanted to travel around the world. I wanted to experience different cultures. My dream came true and I went to London. When going through the Chinese display in the British Museum I began to cry. I cried and experienced this longing and sadness. At that moment I knew I had to go to China. Arriving there for the first time I felt finally at home, a feeling I never had in Iceland. In Iceland I was an outsider. My mother passed away and I decided to move. My destination was China. I lived there for a while but had to sell my house and move because permanent residence was not granted to me. I moved to Portugal and that was 6 and a half years ago. In China I taught English and dance. In Portugal I am a retired resident. Now I am 72 years old. I love to write and want to share with you some of my experience in those 2 countries and also just my simple thoughts. Portugal is my final destination on this earth. Even though I have many years behind me, my mind is clear. I enjoy the life and make the most of every day. I love to sing, to study and most of all I love to be alive. I hope you will enjoy reading my thoughts that I share with you.

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