Obidos is another medieval town with big churches and a castle, sitting on a hill. The streets are old and narrow enough that most do not allow cars, so we had to park outside the walls and wheel our backpacks in (yep.. our backpacks have wheels as well as shoulder straps and it’s great). Wheeling anything on cobbles is not so much fun and, as we entered the packed streets we saw that there was a small strip of paving slabs down the centre of the road that offered an easier time of it. Hurrah. The challenge is, it is only a narrow strip and only fits one person/bag on it, so if you meet someone coming the other way it’s a game of nerves to see who stays on it. But there is also a moral element to this. What if the person coming towards you deserves the ease of the strip? Perhaps they are pregnant. Perhaps they use a walking stick. Well, we missed our hotel on the first pass so did pretty much the entire street twice. On the return journey, I was staring off mother’s with prams, old ladies with zimmerframes, in fact anyone who looked less frightening than the angry wife stomping behind me………..
When I say ‘we missed our hotel’, we missed a hotel that would have been ours if we had been here there on May 19th 2019……. You see, we’ve been booking lots of hotels recently, including one for my cousins wedding on May 25th 2019 and it seems we then had a calendar issue. We discovered this fact after a conversation along the lines of:
“Hello, we have a room tonight”.
“No you don’t”
“Yes we do”
“No you don’t”
“Yes we do…. And here’s the confirmation……………bugger………”
The team at the Luv’ Books guesthouse were fantastic. They got us out of the heat, gave us water and helped us find a new hotel….. which as a last minute booking in the height of summer was a little more expensive than we had hoped…..
Obidos is a pretty town which was much more comfortable after lunch when the coach loads of visitors have moved on to their next destination. As it is the birthplace of Ginja and has many Ginja producers In the area, there are many, many Ginja stands on the the main street, all selling shots of the lovely stuff in either plastic or chocolate cups. The latter is lovely but I quickly realised that the calories in v calories out equation is much easier to balance if you stick to booze. The sacrifices we have to make!
The evening was reasonably sedate, with a walk up to the battlements to watch the sunset (reached by a narrow stone staircase with the castle wall on one side and certain death on the other, then dinner in our hotel. In this we rather failed. As we were staying in a nice ish hotel, we decided to give the hotel restaurant and fado performance a go and ended up in tourist hell. Now that is a huge exaggeration, but the scoff was mediocre, the wine expensive and the Fado was………. Well it was obscure reggae played in a fado style. That obviously have a thing for obscure reggae in Portugal.
I managed a reasonably pleasant run the next morning as, despite the town being on a hill, our hotel was near the bottom so I could head down country lanes, around small villages in a reasonably flat environment. In one village I came across a stray dog, as I had done on a few occasions, either individually, in a pair, or as I later did in Porto, in a small pack (that was rather unnerving and involved me backing off very very slowly, then very very quickly). It’s hard to tell the intention of a stray dog as mostly they come with rather incessant barking but occasionally with a wagging tail. In my attempts to be seen as dominant I said firm commands in bad Portuguese or Spanish, and they mostly tried to lick the salty sweat of my legs. Poor dogs….
The hotel (a converted convent called ‘The literary man’) managed to redeem itself in a major way at breakfast as, besides the normal stuff on a breakfast buffet, …… it had chocolate cake….. hurrah.
We then hit the road to Coimbra, a University town about 2 hours northish