Day 9 – Obidos and Lisbon

After breakfast today, we went to Obidos (pronounced Obidosh). This walled city was built in the early 8th century, then renovated in the 12th century. (Four hundred years to deteriorate? Now, that is good construction. Of course, it may have taken another four hundred to get the contractors to complete the job!)

If you have been to Carcassonne in France or the Alhambra in Spain, this is similar. The castle was closed (repairs again) but the narrow, winding streets have not changed, except they are now souvenir shops, cafes and purveyors of the famous drink here (and Sintra) of a sour cherry liqueur served in a thimble-size cup made of either dark or white chocolate. You sip the drink, then eat the cup! Sorry, no pictures. Too many people partaking…

As you drive to Obidos, there are wind turbines everywhere. Owned by Spanish companies, they erect them and buy the surrounding land, since no one wants to build or live around a turbine. They then sell the energy back to the Portuguese government. Supposedly, Portugal wants to become partners with these Spanish companies to reap the benefits and lower the amounts they pay to the Spanish firms. It is an expensive proposition but well worth it. Over the summer, when it was very dry here, there were numerous fires, many of which were near the area where turbines were to be built. Suddenly, land prices went down, causing speculation that the fires could have been started by the Spanish companies. Hmmm!
The morning clouds have disappeared and the sky is blue and cloudless. Each morning, we feel a chill but by the afternoon, it is in the mid to high 70’s… perfect weather. On the drive to Obidos, there are towns encroaching the countryside and vineyards. It is a beautiful, pastoral sight.
Once in town, we wandered around, hearing beautiful music from local troubadours, while checking out the stores. We sat at an outdoor cafe, sipping a cappuccino and enjoying the view of Lisbon from this high perch. We were tempted by the smell of freshly baked bread but deferred. The shop looked like it could have been there for centuries. The church with its lovely courtyard was a magnet for visitors and, of course.
As it got warmer, I didn’t need my jacket, so I put my purse and iPad down on a table to remove the jacket. Shortly after, as we were leaving Obidos and I looked in my purse for my iPad and it wasn’t there. Oh NO, that is a huge loss for me. All my pictures, email, and entries for this blog were in it. Our guide turned the bus around and she, Jim and I ran into town to find the place where I must have left the iPad. Several folks on the bus said they would pray to St. Christopher that it will be found!
Well, we ran through all the streets, hoping to find the location of the table where I put my purse and iPad. Jim finally found it, went inside the shop and the owner said she saw it and held it for us, positive that we would be back. My sigh of relief could be felt by everyone! St. Christopher came through.
Once back in Lisbon, we took the tram (electrically powered and older than dirt) that circles around the central part of the city to get a look at areas we may have missed. We passed by the local port with a huge cruise ship docked there. The visitors from the ship were everywhere, trying to soak up Lisbon life and souvenirs in a few hours.
Afterward, we walked from square to square to see the shops, people watch and just enjoy the city. There was a very large, very loud, group of university students near our square, just like in Coimbra. The ones in black with the capes (a la Hogwarts) are the new students, being initiated by the older students. It is their form of orientation. This is a tradition throughout Portugal. Supposedly, it isn’t hazing but friendly welcoming. Interesting…

We ended the day sharing a gelato (again). Sticking to vanilla mainly, we have been doing a taste comparison of vanilla gelato in all the cities. I mentioned the gelato store yesterday that forms their scoops in cones and cups to look like flowers. We had four flavors together, vanilla, dark chocolate, pistachio, and melon. I couldn’t pass up trying all the flavors! Another good day…

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