Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The Chapel made of 1245 dead monks

Day 87 18.07.12 Faro

Our second day in Faro started with a slow morning of blog updating and catching up on emails.  After some lunch we headed out to visit the Igreja Do Carmo, a church on the other side of town known for its ‘bone chapel’.

We got there to find it was closed and surrounded a bunch of equally confused people looking to visit.  We got chatting to a guy from Bristol also waiting to visit the church.  He had been told it opened at 3pm after a somewhat standard Portuguese 3 hour lunch break.  We hung around for a while, walked the local streets and chatted to our new acquaintance until the place finally opened.

The main church is quite standard for Portugal with lots of gaudy gold trimmings and statues.  The bone chapel is however something very different!  For a bargainous 1 euro entry you can head out into the courtyard and to the chapel of bones.  Made up of 1245 monks’ skulls and many more leg bones the chapel is quite a sight to say the least.  The skulls gaze down at you from the ceiling and the macabre sign reads ‘Stop here and think of this fate that will befall you’.  It truly is an awesome experience.

After parting ways with our new friend we headed back to the van and on the road to Pedras de El-Rei.  Typical of the Algarve west of Faro, the beach is separated from the town via a series of mud flats.  There is a small train that runs across or you can walk alongside the tracks and make your own way.  We chose the freebie route and eventually were presented with a gorgeous stretch of beach.  Right next to where the path comes out the beach is very busy but just a short walk along the shoreline and you find huge empty expanses of sand.  We spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening enjoying a walk along the beach dipping our toes in the sea.  It’s nice to find a quite bit of beach after seeing so many heaving with tourists.

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