Zachary Sabbatical - 2006/2007 travel blog

Countryside north of Lisbon

The "Wedding City" of Obidos

One of many quaint streets

No town is complete without several churches!

Lunch on the sidewalk - no better way!

There's lots of tourists - who cares if a few fall off...

The town oozes with charm!

Part of a Roman acquaduct that used to feed the city (it...

An Atlantic coast beach - cool and inviting!

First time we've seen the sun SET over the Atlantic!


With the sun shining in my eyes, I look up at the white walled-in-town perched on the hill. So this was Obidos. We had driven north from Lisbon through the country - passing by towns, orchards, and sheep - to the town of Obidos (oh-bid-us). It is one of several "wedding" towns in Portugal, so called because it was a tradition for kings of the 1100s-1400s to build a town for their newly-married queens as a gift. Covering a hill, it overlooks two valleys - one to the west and the other to the east.

We followed the rest of the tourists, walking up through a gate and into the "main street" of the town. Even though it was the primary thoroughfare, the street was still narrow, and suited mostly for pedestrians. It was the most adorable town I have ever seen. Little cobble-stoned streets, potted geraniums on windowsills, and bougainvillea trees adding a splash of color to the otherwise stark contrast of white houses against a clear blue sky. People were wandering the streets, looking in the shops, sampling tasty treats, or walking along the top of the ancient wall. We did pretty much the same things, and after relaxing at a sidewalk café, we decided to head back to Lisbon along the coast and perhaps stop at a beach to catch a few rays!

I was surprised that the wind didn't blow sand into my face as I squinted toward the ocean.. We had found a fairly long stretch of beach not far form Lisbon, and were stretched out among the sea of umbrellas, striped cabanas, and scantily-clad sun worshippers. Although the sun was warm, the strong, steady wind kept us cool. A quick check of the surf confirmed my suspicion that the Atlantic was just too cold to swim in! Mom and Dad, however, were brave enough for a two-second dip.

After drying off and warming-up, Dad started acting a bit weird with the sand. He was like a little kid, gleefully running his fingers through it and making designs around him. I have to admit, this sand is nicer than the stuff at home, and Dad explained that it had no silt in it - just pure quartz crystals smoothed by continuous wave action. Close inspection confirmed that this was so. It seemed like the sand was comprised of tiny crystals and diamonds! I watched my dad with an amused smile and looked out at the ocean enjoying the smell of the fresh air and the sound of the crashing surf. Now this was the way to spend the afternoon!

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