Another travel day, which landed us in the picturesque town of Óbidos, north of Lisbon. It seems to exist for and on tourism, and is evidently a horror in the summer months. But today we only had a few hundred people to contend with, as we toured this medieval walled city.
Our 300-year-old hotel is so charming and so old-fashioned that it is the polar opposite of our last digs. Nice for a change. We’re just here for one night, so that will be just enough time to enjoy the kitsch and not have an allergic reaction.
We are nearby the former castle, now a hotel. The 14th-century walls are massive, but they didn’t stop the Christian invaders when the Moors ruled, so out they went, just like the Celts, Romans and Visigoths before them. This has always been a strategic and desirable settlement, high on the hills with great views all around.
Everyone has left some reminder of their presence. We entered the city under the restored (17th-century) Roman aqueduct. There are interesting combinations of Moorish and Christian touches everywhere, crowned by flowering trees and highlighted by colorful buildings, filled with tourist shops.
The church bells are ringing and we can hear our neighbors in the small lane next to our hotel. Charm, charm, and more charm!!!!
Don’s Food Corner
We’re back near the sea and the fish promises to be really fresh. So today for lunch I saw the offer of a whole grilled sea bream for a bargain price of $13. Served with a couple of boiled potatoes and some steamed broccoli, what could be healthier? The fish was as sweet and moist as any I’ve ever had – grilled to perfection.
The restaurant was very modest, but the excellence of this simple presentation is, I think, a testament to what people in this region do the best. I had a glass of the regional “green wine,” vinho verde. Slightly effervescent, the wine is “green” not in color but because it is young in age, with the grapes are picked, made, and drunk within a year. It was a very refreshing accompaniment to the fish.
Jo opted against fish and went for that old Portuguese specialty, pizza. Well, it had black olives on it. I tasted some of it and it was pretty good. Jo wanted me to point out that I ate some of the pizza and that she ate some of the broccoli. (She didn’t really, but I’m claiming it anyway if that’s what she wants the world to believe, recorded here for posterity.) (He ate half the pizza – JB.)