Friday, January 21, 2011

OMG Óbidos !!

Just 6 hours on a bus and we were in another world!  Óbidos, the cutest town ever, is about 200 miles south of Braga near Lisbon.  The Moors first established a fortress here around 700 AD.  Then in the 1100s the first king of Portugal, Afonso Henriques, booted out the Moors, took over the town and rebuilt the castle.  Later, in 1282, King Dinis gave the town and its castle to his bride Isabel as a wedding gift.  Yup, it's that precious.

a view of our B & B Casa de São Tiago do Castelo

The entire town is surrounded by a VERY HIGH 13th century wall and a stroll along the top of the wall provides some amazing views of the town and surrounding area.  When I wasn't too busy clinging to the walls or squealing when the wind kicked up, I actually enjoyed the stunning rooftop views.  

When we arrived in Óbidos we were on a mission to sample and purchase ginjinha, a delicious cherry liqueur.  Tart Morello cherries (ginja) grow in abundance near Óbidos and the locals have used the cherries to make ginjinha for centuries.   It is so popular in Lisbon that there are small kiosks which sell tiny cups of it all day long.  On a previous trip to Portugal we tried a heavenly version of ginjinha infused with dark chocolate and we've been thinking about it ever since.  Unable to find it in Braga, we had to travel to the source in Óbidos - any excuse for a road trip. 

ginjinha, sunshine & postcard writing - a great combination
Restaurant Lagar da Mouraria is housed in an
old distillery - the fruit press, stone tanks and drains
are still intact

Our favorite sipping stop was Ibn Errik Rex Reis Nobre bar.  The ceiling is decorated with hundreds of miniature liquor bottles and the walls are painted with murals and covered with mosaics made from broken pieces of locally made ceramics.  It was a great place for people-watching and sampling the good stuff. 

Out of loyalty to our friends and family back in the Midwest, our last stop before leaving Óbidos was an ice bar.  We wrapped ourselves in over-sized parkas, braved the 20 degree temperatures inside a large igloo, plunked ourselves down on loungers carved out of ice and sipped our last icy cups of ginjinha.  Heading out into the sunshine and seeing daffodils, lilies and iris in bloom reminded us that we were definitely still in Portugal.   

Click HERE to see more photos from the trip.




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