Saturday, April 23, 2016

Climbing the walls in Óbidos

Skyline of Óbidos, Portgual

It took me more than a week in Portugal before I tried ginja, the yummy cherry-flavored liqueur, and now I'm sorry that we only brought back one bottle. In the charming village of Óbidos, it's the official libation with shop after shop along Rua Direita offering ginja shots served in chocolate cups. Since our visit to Óbidos is a morning one, and since we have the drive to Porto ahead of us, we pass on the ginja and turn our attention to the village sites.

Ginja is a regional specialty in Óbidos.

The village of Óbidos was a wedding gift from King Denis to his bride Isabel of Aragon in 1282. At the time, the village was a thriving port, but this part of the Tejo River eventually silted up. The town is a beauty, notable for its white-washed houses and red-tiled roofs.

A small rua in Óbidos

Óbidos's main gate, Porta da Vila, contains an azueljo-adorned chapel. The blue-and-white tiles date from the 18th century.

Porta da Vila is the main gate in the village of Óbidos.

An ancient stone wall completely encircles the town. Hearty visitors can walk along the somewhat treacherous perimeter. (I climb to the top of one of the lower walls, take a few selfies, then carefully ease myself down the steep steps.)

A view from the wall that completely surrounds the village of Óbidos

Castle walls in Óbidos

Dominating the skyline is the castle, built by the Moors and later rebuilt in the 12th and 14th centuries. It is now a luxury hotel, or pousada.

Exterior detail on a church in Óbidos

The tiny village has several notable churches, including Igreja de Santa Maria, which was where the future King Alfonso V (age 10) married his cousin Isabael (age 8) in 1444. Nearby is the church of São Pedro, where the artist Josefa de Óbidos (1631-1684) is buried. The pillory Pelourinho em Óbidos was a gift to the local fishermen from Queen Leonor to thank them for recovering the body of her son Afonso after he died (under mysterious circumstances) in 1491.

Igreja Santa Maria in Óbidos

Igreja Santa Maria in Óbidos

Óbidos enjoys steady tourism traffic all year round (I imagine the summer months are a crowded mess), but its largest annual event is a chocolate festival held in March — alas, that's two weeks after our visit.

Home on a hill in Óbidos

Two towers —  castle and church — in Óbidos 



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