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Sunday, August 21, 2011

LISBON, PORTUGAL: In fortified Obidos!

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Janardhan Roye, The Hindu / August 20, 2011.

The little town: A view of Obidos and its countryside.
The little town: A view of Obidos and its countryside.

This historical hill-town by the Lisbon coast offers sunshine on sandy beaches, mountain air and intriguing wine, with a host of activities for the holiday lover.
Little town of Obidos on the Silver Coast
Geraniums hang in cluster over the balconies,
their fuzzy red paws intent
on climbing down, as this
century's only Obidos invasion.
Queen Leonor owned this town
and her forgotten whispers
pry open our dreams.
As I lie in your arms I hear
the irregular clip-clop of footsteps
on the cobbled street. Two sets
of church bells chime the hour.
For brief days we hide
in calmness as though the world
were not beating our arched gates.
(Eleanore Schonmaier, Treading Fast Rivers)
No visit to Portugal is complete without a stop by the wispy little white-washed town of Obidos. Perched high up in the hills, this “fortified city” dates back to Roman times and is located 80 km north of Lisbon by the coast.
Visitors head to this exquisite destination for different reasons — for a holiday in the mild sunshine, blue skies and mountain air, or to step back in time exploring the quaint artistic history and culture of the place. Some to raise, swirl glasses of the region's unique, intriguing wines such as Ginja.
Just 15 minutes away from the hilltop is a haven for honeymooners. A large tidal lagoon resort, where wave-washed white sand beaches beckon, sometimes with moonlight. Yachting enthusiasts, swimmers, sunbathers, windsurfers and whole families revel in the water. Party animals pull up here for weekend parties and musical performances — a time when local musicians and fishermen pull out all the stops for a feast of flavours and sounds — catch of the day and timeless melodies, and rocking hits of the day.

Chocolate fair
Also commonly seen here are people lugging tennis raquets or golf clubs and heading for a massive sporting complex near by — the 600-acre Praia D'el Rey club, open to guests. The large crowds though are generally seasonal, and can be seen ascending the magical maze of cobbled streets for the annual chocolate fair.

Public buses
Being close to Lisbon, and located on the main A8 highway, Obidos attracts many day-trippers both independent and organised tour participant in the high summer season. Public buses operate from Lisbon's Campo Grande, costing six Euros per head.

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