Fatima, Portugal and Salamanca, Spain

This morning, we drove north of Lisbon to visit Fatima, the most celebrated place of pilgrimage in Portugal. We had an opportunity to visit the Basilica commemorating the appearance of the Virgin Mary to three children in 1917, the new very large Basilica and the chapel on the spot where the Virgin Mary made her appearances (4 photos.).  Then we crossed the border back into Spain and continued to Salamanca, famous for its golden stone buildings.  Entering the city we stopped to  visit the Puente Romano bridge across the River Tormes, originally built in 89 CE – 15 of its 26 arches still date from the time of the ancient Romans! This bridge was an important part of the Roman silver route which ran from Merida to Astorga (photo). Once we checked in to our hotel, I took a walk through the town to see the old, 12th century Cathedral and the new 16-18th centuries Cathedral which to me looked to be one building as they are side by side. I have both a close up photo and one taken from the Roman Bridge.  The Cathedral is next to the University which occupies many medieval buildings in the center of the city. The facade of one (photo) is highly decorated and in one of the decorations is to be found a small frog (photo), which if you see it guarantees you twenty years of good luck.  Someone kindly pointed it out to me as it would have been impossible to find it otherwise. En route to the Cathedral, I saw the 15th c. House of Shells, a building with 350 sandstone shells on its facade (photo). The main square, Plaza Major, is very impressive and impossible to photograph in its entirety without a better lens than I had (photo). Tomorrow, this section of the tour returns to Madrid and I will be continuing on with another group to the northern part of Spain.

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