This post is going to be longer than usual as Querido and I visited Óbidos, Alcobaça & Nazaré last Sunday. “3 towns within 7 hours” equates to a Very Hectic Day! Although within close proximity, each town has its own distinctive flavour. Read on to find out
Our first stop was Óbidos. This well-preserved medieval town was a wedding gift from King Dom Dinis to Queen Dona Isabel in 1228 simply because the Queen loved it! I reckon such an extravagant display of love is a thing of the past? Anyway, what makes Óbidos extra special is that its historic centre is surrounded by crenellated walls – It’s like travelling back in time!
Another attraction of Óbidos is the delectable duo of ginja (local cherry liquer) in a chocolate cup. Heavenly, especially since I’m a big fan of cocoa with alcohol to begin with! Although this dessert drink can now be found in other parts of Portugal, savoring it in its “birthplace” just makes the experience more authentic Perhaps I should return again in March when Óbidos hosts its annual Chocolate Festival!
Moving on, Alcobaça was our next stop. The primary draw of this unassuming town is the 12th-century Mosteiro de Santa Maria de Alcobaça, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, it wasn’t the dormitory, garden or hall which left a deep impression. Surprise, surprise – It was the gigantic kitchen!! Apart from an enormous chimney, the kitchen even had a water channel connected to a tributary of the Alcoa River so that there was supply of water and…. fresh fish!!
In the church were the tombs of Dom Pedro and Inês – Portugal’s even more tragic version of Romeo and Juliet. Apparently, Dom Pedro fell in love with his wife’s lady-in-waiting, Dona Inês de Castro. Even after his wife died, Dom Pedro’s father objected to their marriage and even sanctioned Inês’ murder. Years later, when Dom Pedro succeeded to the throne, he exhumed Inês and crowned her corpse. The court was even ordered to pay homage by kissing Inês’ decomposing hand.
Querido and I stopped for a late lunch before continuing with our final stop – Nazaré. Nazaré used to be known as a traditional fishing village. That said, till today, you could still see fishermen in berets and their wives, with their catches, along the beach.
Apart from fishing, Nazaré is now more widely-known for its towering waves! Just 2 weeks ago, Brazil’s Carlos Burle was said to have surfed the “world’s biggest wave” right here! It was said to be 32-35 metres!!!! Oh wow!!! Photo credit: http://www.surfportugal.pt
When hurricane-force “Saint Jude” storm hit Europe 2 weeks ago, it robbed the lives of more than 10. However, the hazardous waves did not deter the serious surfers. Drama – Brazilian surfing star Maya Gabeira was nearly drowned after being knocked unconscious by the towering waves, but was rescued by Burle. Burle then went to (possibly) set a new record for the largest wave ever surfed! (The measurements are currently being verified.)
We were there on a supposed calm day, and the waves were periodically rising beyond the height of an average man. Needless to say, I dared not even go near the waters. Haha.
My perfect ending to the hectic day – Sleeping throughout the journey back to Lisbon, while Querido kept his vigilance behind the wheels. Ooops.