Friday, October 19, 2018

Nazaré, Obidos and Sintra, Portugal, October 19, 2018

I had a big day!  First it didn't help that I was awake at 5 am.  I was on the road by 9 and decided to check out lower Nazaré.  There were few people around so parking was simple.  They have a fish drying demonstration on the beach because they are trying to preserve the ancestral tradition where the men catch the fish and the wives dry them to sell.  There's netting all around the fish to keep the birds away-


One of the fisherman's wives, peddling her product-

Last night I stayed up on top of the plateau on the left.  The lighthouse is visible on the far left side.  It's not a tall lighthouse, more like a fort-

The waves weren't nearly as crazy on this beach as on the north shore yesterday-

Nazaré looks like a typical beach town-

I stopped in a shop to ask about the significance of the rooster to Portugal.  Legend says that years ago at a banquet hosted by a rich landowner in Barcelos, silver was stolen and one guest was accused of the theft.  He was tried by the court and found guilty.  In spite of the overwhelming evidence against him, he still proclaimed his innocence.  The magistrate granted the man a final chance to prove his case.  There was a rooster nearby in a basket and seeing the rooster, the accused said that if he was innocent, the cock would crow and wouldn't you know it, it crowed and the crook was allowed to go free-

After a pastry with pumpkin filling (it was gross), I moved on to Obidos.  I prefer driving on the back roads because I can putt along and there's more to see like this forest where they're tapping sap-

Looks like no one has been around for awhile because the pails are filled with twigs and leaves-

On to Obidos.  I like that name: O..Bi..Dos. It's a small fortified village that has blue, yellow and white buildings with colorful bougainvillia-

It's a tourist Mecca - people come from Lisbon for day trips so it's quite crowded-

They make and sell a liquor called ginja.  It's served in little chocolate cups and tastes like cherry whiskey-

It's sold in all shapes and sizes-

They also make a chocolate ginja liqueur-

The Obidos castle was founded by the Moors in the 700s and reworked in the 1200s-

There's nothing to see inside the castle except an expensive hotel-

The views from the top are great-

Looking down onto Obidos-

In the Praça de Santa Maria is the Igreja de Santa Maria which dates from the 1500s-

Practically the whole inside is tiled from the 16th and 17th centuries-

The front altars are three retablos.  They look the same as all the other altars I've seen: pillars sticking out, sculptures, statues, etc. but the "guard" of the church took me up to the front and explained how not all churches were like this one.  Okay....-

In front of the church is a pillory which is not only a monument to the town's autonomy but also a place where criminals were punished.  It's from the 1400s-

The Porta da Vila contains a small Baroque chapel from 1727-

I liked Obidos.  Next, I moved on to Sintra but was messing with me again.  It had me turn off the freeway and drive through a few small towns, probably 20 km before I needed too.  Oh well, Casa Azul was waiting-

What a beautiful place!  Antonio and his wife rent the top floor from an old woman and run a hostel complete with a well stocked kitchen, an awesome bathroom, one room with 3 bunk beds and my room which has only 1 bunk bed and I'M ALL ALONE!!!  There are also a couple of private rooms.  The decor is beautiful and Antonio is super friendly and helpful- he backed my car into a tricky spot.  After getting settled, I went walking and came across these kids making huge soap bubbles-

I hope I can remember how to make the apparatus they used.  It was just 2 sticks and rope, then they dipped the rope in a pail of dish soap and made these huge bubbles.  It was very cool.  Continuing up the road, I came to the Sintra National Palace.  I didn't go in- 

The view from the back-

I finally had lunch which was delicious grilled whole fish-

I'm going to try this when I get home.  It can't be that hard.  

My next stop was at the Casa Piriquita which is a 155 year old pastry shop-

Every take out order goes in a nice cardboard box-

It's best known for its travesseiro: a sticky, flaky and sweet rectangular cake filled with egg cream and flavored with almonds.  I also had a queijada which is a round tart filled with cheese custard.  The Nozes dourada was super sweet.  It's a cookie made from walnuts, almonds, sugar and eggs.  These are apparently the three specialties of Piriquita but my favorite was the chocolate ball.  It was like thick, thick chocolate mousse or pudding.  The good thing about this bakery is that their prices aren't any higher than others because I was quite disappointed- I've had better sweets than this-

Walking around, I couldn't help but notice that most of the buildings have the castle type roof lines-

Including City Hall-

I walked around Quinta da Regaleria because I decided I wasn't going to go in.  However, Antonio at Casa Azul showed me video so I'll go back tomorrow.  It looks very interesting inside and the outside is great too.  It's a 20th century Gothic masterpiece that has been home to many rich people-

Hopefully I'll know more about it tomorrow.  

Walking along the roads, there are all kinds of interesting arches, lots with Moorish influence-

Not sure how the artist got this likeness of me-

It's very busy here too, lots of day trippers from Lisbon-

I'm going to drive up the hill tomorrow to see the Pena Palace, Monserrate Palace and the Castle of the Moors, then I'll drive to Cape Roca which is the farthest western point in Europe, all before I go to Lisbon where I'll spend the next 3 nights.  I'm enjoying myself!


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