"Postcard-perfect Óbidos sits atop a hill, its 14th-century wall corralling a bouquet of narrow lanes and flower-bedecked whitewashed houses. Óbidos — now protected by the government from modern development — is ideal for photographers who want to make Portugal look as pretty as possible." —Rick Steves
Within ancient walls, this amazing village must certainly contain some of the most concentrated real estate of photographable charm anywhere. The white-washed buildings, the steep cobbled streets, the profuse flowering bushes—all compose an idyllic European setting.
Our hotel was just outside the old city gate, and the curve and incline of the street prevented our bus from reaching it. A short walk took us to the attractive building, where our group was taking over the majority of the rooms.
After having sweated all day in 40-degrees C temps, I didn't think to bring a warm top layer on our walking tour immediately after arrival. That was a mistake—I was chilled throughout our walk and at dinner. But it was a rare occasion during the trip.
- Checking out a lovely viewpoint high above the village with commanding views of the surrounding countryside
- Catching a concert in the village square
- Strolling in and out of shops along Rua Direita with fellow travelers, being tempted by an amazing variety of items made from cork—and sometimes giving in to temptation
- Admiring folks who walked along the top of the city wall, but resisting it myself (thanks to a fear of heights)
- Finally getting to sample the locally made ginja, served in a chocolate cup, at the end of our group dinner
Taking a coffee break in the afternoon is a wonderful way to relax and rejuvenate during a trip. It's also provides a fantastic opportunity to observe local cultures and do a little people watching. In Óbidos, I spent part of a leisurely free afternoon at an outdoor café in the town's center, right near the cathedral, sipping coffee and recording reflections on the trip so far in my journal.
Click photos to enlarge.