We had a bit of a shock as we drove into Obidos – we encountered a traffic jam, our first in a long time. The traffic was stopped at a pedestrian crossing to allow an almost constant flow of people to cross to the huge carpark on the other side of the road. The motorhome aire, tucked into a corner next to the aqueduct behind the carpark was also busy. We parked up and wondered whether we really wanted to visit this place – it was busier than anywhere we’ve been in ages and we’ve got used to wandering around in relative peace and quiet!
However, we arrived as everyone was leaving. The carpark gradually emptied and all bar 3 of the 20 or so motorhomes on the aire when we arrived had left. This is more like it – we decided to stay.
Obidos is an ancient walled town, known as ‘The Wedding Town’ as it is the traditional gift of Portuguese kings to their new queens. Unusually, the wall is intact and you enter through a gatehouse, complete with tiled oratory, although we were surprised to see that not many people actually looked up and saw it. That’s the Portuguese for you – surrounded by so many beautiful tiles, they don’t even notice them anymore.
The main street through town is home to the craft shops and bars selling the local speciality, a cherry liqueur. Avoid the main street and you avoid the tourists, which is exactly what we did. The rest of the town was a different world – steep cobbled streets lined with whitewashed houses with yellow or blue trim. Most of the streets are too narrow for cars and we wondered what happens when someone moves into Obidos – it must be a horrible job for the removal company.
We loved the attitude to health and safety. It is possible to climb steps to the town wall in several places and walk around. There is no handrail – instead there is a sign warning you basically to be alert and not fall off. OK then. There was no way I was going up there and, as D has a habit of being less than alert when ogling views, he just climbed to the top in a couple of spots and came back down again. I did admire the ladies in the Portuguese uniform of tight jeans and high boots with killer heels (settle down boys) who braved it though.
The main street still had all its Christmas lights out so we decided to go back after dark to have a look. It was lovely – a great atmosphere without too much tack. We treated ourselves to some roasted, candied nuts and, of course, had to try the cherry liqueur, served from several stalls in little chocolate cups. This was one of the only local specialities we have been able to try as most are based on meat or fish – the other was a sugared egg yolk pastry in Aviero, which somehow didn’t appeal quite as much.
Unfortunately, D’s camera battery died, which meant we had to go back the following evening to take the nighttime shots. And sample some more of the cherry liqueur in a chocolate cup.
ENGLISH MUM AND DAD
Perhaps the removal men use old fashioned hand carts? It comes to something when the tourists try to avoid the tourists!
AUSSIE DAD AND JAN
It would be interesting to peek inside some of the little houses in those old streets. Maybe people don’t move much at all. Maybe the houses are just passed down through generations; the furniture and fittings might reflect that. It would be fascinating. I do like the idea of the hand-cart though – in these days of equal opportunity, I expect the cart would be pushed by at least one set of tight jeans and killer heels.
Have just reread this.. book me in to Obidos….Don’t know about the wall though…unfortunately I have no high heels but am sure I could find some trousers that had shrunk in the last 20 years !!going for a dip now
& aLittle Tern watch.