alcobaca to sintra


After an early morning exploring trinkets in the local outdoor antique market situated in front of Alcobaca Monestary, we continued our Great Portuguese road trip with a short leg from Alcobaça to Sintra. On the way we enjoyed a lengthy afternoon stopover in Obidos, where medieval castle walls contain a charming town of striking vibrance. Visiting in late spring, we found the winding cobblestone streets and alleys of Obidos alight with the bloom of all kinds of flowers and vines. The accents of flora affixed to whitewashed walls trimmed with powdery blue and yellow paint combined to create the endearing town’s distinct look. Historically the town is notable for being patronized by the Queens of Portugal. In 1210 King Alfonso II gifted the town to Queen Urraca. From that point on it became sort of a tradition for Queens to sponsor buildings or enrich the town with donations in some way. One of the best ways to appreciate Obidos’ layout and features is through a (free) stroll on its castle walls. The ramparts tower a couple stories over the alleyways below in some places, so the absence of railings and eccentric nature of the ancient cobblestone construction adds a tense excitement to the sightseeing activity. We cautiously made our way around Obidos’ circumference and descended from the walls uneventfully. It was time for a drink.


On a visit to Portugal, those of appropriate age will inadvertently end up trying some Ginja. It’s a native liqueur made by infusing sour cherries in alcohol with some other ingredients. Obidos is a well-known producer of both the requisite fruit and sweet, syrupy substance itself. At about 1 Euro per shot, we found sipping it to be a pleasant transitional activity between activities or during a moment of interlude. We decided to duck in a dark, musty and irrefutably authentic joint called Bar Ibn Errik Rex for a taste of the local ginja flavor. The bar was clearly a family run institution in the town. Heaps of ancient Ginja bottles hung from the ceiling above walls adorned with endearingly bad bucolic murals, creating what must be one of the best possible Ginja-drinking environments on the planet. We took our time sipping some tall pours of the pleasant dark liquid. We were definitely on our way to developing a taste for the stuff. Following a lovely few hours in Obidos, it was time again to hop in the car and head to our next stop, Sintra.