Brazil Diary: the Aparecida

Day 18      July 8 2013 
Short before we left on our roadtrip through Brazil, we visited the Aparecida. This church and holy place lays 180 km outside the city centre of Sao Paulo. It was a very hot day and we were very lucky to not be overrun by people on that day. We were very concerned because we had heard that the Pope would come over and visit the Aparecida but luckily for us, it wasn't on the same day. (He visited the Aparecida yesterday btw). While arriving there, we were already being bothered by people selling stuff, like everywhere you go in Brazil... But from a far we already saw the place where we were headed to. The big church, in the middle of nowhere. A new building which they have put there because the old was to small for all the tourists to fit in... So we had the whole day to wander around the holy property, look around, see all these people pray and putting on candles for good luck. It was very impressive to see. But Karl and I were more interested in the old building. So we went up the very long and high bridge that brought you to a whole different, small but cozy, city on the other side. Together with a bunch of people going on and off the bridge, we followed the way to the real Aparecida, to where this it all began, where the Aparecida image was discovered and placed for a very long time. When we arrived in a very small town, it felt like we had arrived in Mexico. It looked totally like Mexico. Even the people looked like mexicans, haha. The church was small but very beautiful. We only had a very quick visit because there really wasn't so much to see nor discover. Except the very nice panorama we had on the way back. When we went back to the new church, there was a woman walking up the bridge on her knees. She probably started walking like this from on the parking lot and we were pretty sure her goal was the church up the hill. We noticed that she was having a hard time, but she sure wasn't the only person there that day. The reason why people do this is because when  they pray to the Aparecida, they make wishes and make a 'deal' with the goddess. So when these prayers have been heard and have come true they have to do what they said they would do. And so this woman chose the hard way and walked on her knees to the top. I'm not a believer myself, but I have respect for the people who do this. And even for non believers or non catholics or other beliefs or anything, this is definitely a must-have seen place when visiting Sao Paulo.