We are fortunate to have friends that own a car. Unfortunately, they are moving to Tavira in a few months. But they asked us if we wanted to join them on Saturday for another road trip, this time to Óbidos. Of course, we screamed, “YES PLEASE!”
As we exited the highway we gasped. It had only been a little over an hour since we left Cascais, yet we felt like we had traveled to another world. Someone must have placed us into a time machine and plopped us into a city in the 13th century. That was when King Dinis offered this part of his kingdom to his wife, Queen Isabel.
Unfortunately, the castle has been turned into an upscale hotel and is not open to us mere mortals. But one can still circumvent the city on foot by walking on the wall that is still intact. For most visitors, those without vertigo or a fear of heights, walking the wall is the highlight of the trip to Óbidos. (If you want to watch a video that I made while strolling parts of the wall, please check my Facebook page. As I lived to write about it, you can feel assured that I did not fall off in the process.) After reading a sign explaining that if you fell it was on you and climbing some rather steep, definitely not ADA compliant, steps we stood above our kingdom.
The views of the farmland, the aqueduct built in the 16th century that carried water to the town fountain, and the village below are truly breathtaking. It is at times like these that one remembers how young America is…we clearly “aren’t in Kansas anymore”.
When we got to the castle, we descended some stairs. We found ourselves in a bit of an amphitheater where a small boy was offering an ad-hoc performance for his parents. We all clapped…he took a bow…and we walked on. The small village is filled with shops. Many are selling Portuguese pottery. Some are selling souvenir items that if purchased will cause you to say, “Why did I buy this?” shortly after you get home. Nearly all the shops sell Ginjinha de Óbidos (or Ginja) a sour cherry brandy, typically drunk from a small chocolate cup. At 1euro a shot (including edible cup) it is a delight…and one which we found you can enjoy over and over again. Just walk a few feet to the next shop.
After fully sampling all the varieties offered (I mean one must do research if they are going to do a blog) our friends purchased some Ginja that was mixed with chocolate, and another favored like a pastel de nata…both are like drinking dessert.
There was more to see in Óbidos, and it was not our last stop of the day. But you will have to wait till tomorrow for that.
I wouldn’t drink the Ginja before hiking the wall....
I'll pass on walking the wall but I'm in for the Ginja