Today’s jaunt was to the town of Nazaré. located northwest of Caldes, just up the coast. We were treated to a ride by Constance’s neighbors, Diane and Oliver. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazar%C3%A9,_Portugal_)
They are from Ireland and come to Salir every summer. A lively chat on the way into town, complete with the obligatory “bloody Hell” and other colorful Irish expletives. I just sat back, listening and grinning. I had, what my dear-departed mother used to call a “shit-eating grin” which usually was followed by her saying “wipe that grin off your face, or I’ll do it for you!”.
When we arrive in Nazaré, Constance and I begin walking leisurely around town, stopping at the cafe for a light breakfast and people watching. A fishing town, Nazaré has an interesting reputation. A “pirate-like” atmosphere, without the Disney effects. The older women like to display their wealth by wearing their gold, or wearing several layers of skirts and petticoats. This was always the tradition, but now with the advent of modern technology, those damn young kids won’t follow suit. Anyway, we enjoyed watching these ladies walking by. We also noted a lot of widows, adorned all in black from head to toe. One woman stopped by and looked at me, almost out in kinship, as she noticed my black top. Then her eyes trailed down to my white slacks, and she turned and walked away….I didn’t fit in. At that, Constance thought may I would benefit from one of those garbs since, sadly, dear reader, Gidget is a member the widows club. Laughingly, I ask her where she thinks I could get one. We ponder for a moment, then both exclaim: “Widows Are Us”!
Ohh, the first of many things which will probably condemn us to Hell on today’s journey. This was followed by the little man begging for change, he stretched out his hand which held a few coins. Obrigado, we said, as we each removed a coin. (Yes, sports fans, we gave them back)!
Then the trip to Sítio , the part of Nazaré that is at the top of the mountain. There is a tram that will take you there; 2,40Euro, round trip. Wandering around Sítio we came to the cathedral. Constance explains this is where the “milagre” occurred. Here is the legend of the miracle: on a foggy day in 1182, local nobelman Dom Fuas Roupinho was in pursuit of a deer. Well, with the fog (and probably too much wine) ‘ol Dom, his horse, not to mention the deer, all begin to plunge off the cliff’s edge. All of a sudden, a milagre occurred! The blessed Virgin appeared from out of nowhere, and saved Dom Fuas and his horse from a watery grave. The deer…..not so lucky!
We walk into the Ingrade de Nossa Senhora de Nazaré and stare at the giant painting depicting the milagre. We feel bad for the deer. Constance looks at The Senhora and asks “what did you have against the deer?” We feel The Senhora would not be welcomed by PETA. Gidget is too busy giggling as we walk around the cathedral. She keeps looking up at every statue apologizing…probably too late. This 17th century church is the replacement for the original Hermida da Memoria, a teeny little chapel still there overlooking the ocean.
I still mourn for the deer.