Obidos, tasting of sour cherry
When you’ve already arrived in Lisbon and can spare a whole day for a trip outside the capital… if the splash of the waves and the freedom of the wind makes you braver… If you yearn to escape and forget in the serenity of a little town of white, blue, yellow and red… If you are addicted to chocolate and sour cherry… if you love to look at the world from somewhere high and enjoy vacant spaces… we recommend the Red Sneakers route. Our curiosity chose it, while we ourselves were enjoying the memory of the past days in the capital of Portugal and were telling each other what we expected from Sao Miguel – the largest of the Azores.
We woke up at 7.00a.m. and Alfama was still asleep, the tall windows of the houses reflecting the sun. Panteao Nacional de Santa Engracia was still closed, but several joggers were hopping up and down the stairs, while we were slouching about, immersed in the sensation of total happiness – quiet, peaceful, shared by the two of us and a sleeping neighbourhood. And then the taxi arrived. We used Uber again. A friendly, gregarious driver had picked us up and while covering the miles to the airport, he told us about the different tastes in continental Portugal and the place we were to see only a day later – The Azores. He warned about the weather, which could be quite unpredictable and not what the weather forecast reads. He shared with us how warm-hearted the people were in Sao Miguel. At Portela we hired a car which we had booked in advance through Budget. We were offered excellent service and very good terms – a low deposit and high insurance. During the whole journey people assumed we were Italian honeymooners, so it was high time we really connected to Italy. So our car… was Italian, exactly as we had secretly wished it, without saying it aloud. Fiat 900X – large, comfortable and fast. For 24 hours we paid 72 euro, motorway tolls, navigation and passenger and car insurance included. We got th2 75 euro deposit back 3 days after we had returned the car at the car park.
We entered Obidos in the GPS and set off.
First of all, we download some Bliss, which is our favourite band for the road. It also marked our first date less than a year ago.
Obidos is a picturesque little town, 84km to the northwest of Lisbon. Its modern part has lots of bookshops and its old part, a tourist and cultural sight, was once the heart of the village. It’s here that Ginjinha tastes its most authentic. Obidos is under the aegis of UNESCO and is visited by toursts from all over the world. You can reach it on a motorway and it’s beautiful.
Obidos used to belong to Portuguese queens. Its old part is surrounded by a fortress wall, the result being a little town inside a little town. We discovered small souvenir shops, an old winery, whitewashed houses with blue doors and red windows, lots of flowers and Ginjinha – natural one, with the pure taste of sour cherry, or mixed with chocolate. The locals claim that it was exactly the old ladies of Obidos, who first prepared the sour cherry liqueur later to become a traditional Portuguese drink. Ginjinha is of cultural and historical importance, it’s that valued! We took two chocolate cups from Adreana’s and entered the old part.
We walked round all the narrow streets and had lunch in a neat, cosy little restaurant, where we learned another point of importance for tourists in Portugal: when you take a seat in a restaurant, you’ll be brought a complimentary snack. In many places this will be freshly-baked bread rolls, typical Portuguese cheese with an extraordinary pungent taste, little cubes of pate and butter, possibly olives, too. Sometimes this “compliment” is paid and the price is 3 – 5 euro. In Obidos, for example, it added nearly 11 euro to our bill.
After we had lunch, we found a traditional bakery where each sweet was more appetizing than the other. The bakery was small and pretty in its earthen colours and the wooden basins for kneading the dough, which looked very similar to the ones Bulgarian women once used. Everything is kneaded by hand at Capinha de Obidos and is baked in a wood oven. The bakery is right next to the stairs leading to the square with the wine barrels in it, and the huge tree. Capinha’s tradition is kept in their recipes that used to be shared with clan members during family holidays. Anyway, most of their recipes date back to 1883.
We saw Obidos for exactly three hours. We could have stayed longer, but we went on to explore the west coast. So by the end of the day our route looked like this: Lisbon – Obidos – Peniche – Sintra – Cabo de Roca – Lisbon. If you ask was it worth it…. Oh, yes! We would love to repeat this trip many times. It reveals breath-taking views to the ocean, leads to some of the most beautiful world cultural heritage sights and includes us in the community of people who love the wind and the wind’s geography, in this case, Cabo da Roca. The cape is Europe’s westernmost point. Powerful wind, a wild coast, freedom and a sky where you can create your own horizons of unlimited opportunities. This is how we felt it.
From Peniche to Cabo da Roca (briefly passing by Pena Castle), we visited 3 different beaches – long and wide sand streaks, pristine and unspoiled. Nature is not suffocated by concrete; there are no nylon bags or cigarette butts. It’s not because we are there out of season. It’s because Portugal is clean.
Peniche – Praia Limpa – Freguesia da Carvoeira – Cabo da Roca