Oh-My-Gosh! Talk about incredible! Obidos is one of the oldest cities in Europe, built in the 12th century and one of the few older cities that Europeans have maintained throughout the years. The citizens that live there have made a commitment to constant upkeep of buildings and old city walls that are centuries old. Again, I will spare you the view of the approximate 70 photos here, but you can view them here. After spending yesterday doing nothing, I began the day researching buses that could take me to this fantastic little place Arthur and Roxanne had told me about. Alas, I found none without also needing to take a taxi, thus decided to skip a form of transport and just asked the owner of the B&B if he “knew a guy”. Of course, he did and the guy’s name was Joao (John). The owner called him and he said he would arrive in 15 minutes.
Fifteen minutes in Portuguese time is really like an hour (kind of like Mexico). Instead of being late because of siestas, they really don’t know where the eff anything is in their own country. One could incorrectly assume they smoke as much pot as people in Denver, with how forgetful they are, but really they don’t remember because they just don’t care to (they might just be my kind of people after all!).
Despite the fact that Joao has been to Villa Vista on numerous occasions, he had to call Colin twice to get directions – like I said, they don’t care if they remember or not. Finally, he arrived and I had to forgive him for his ineptness when he explained to me that he recently gave up his film production career in Barcelona because his father was too ill to drive taxis any longer. Thus, Joao decided to leave his career to care for the family business so that his family didn’t end up in the poor house. Did I just get totally duped by the sob story or what?! Oh well, he also made up time by driving like Speed Racer on the highway. I tried to remind him that I wasn’t really in a big hurry – the city wasn’t going anywhere. (At least, not to my knowledge.)
Yet, we arrived in Obidos just after 11am and I spent a good part of the first two hours walking on top of the outer city walls. Parts of the walls are set close to the ground, which make them easy to jump up and start navigating your way around. Parts of the walls are set quite high, with about a four story drop off, them’s fightin’ walls. Reminder: codes are different here, so there is no railing and no stupid signage to spoil the historical preserve so if you fall, it is your own damn fault. (Why can’t we understand this philosophy in America?) At 1pm, all of the buildings, churches and museums close for lunch, which isperfect timing to sit at an open air café smack in the middle of the town square (where they used to hang people) and have a sandwich. Then, I spent the afternoon touring Edwardo Malta’s home and the 20+ churches located in the city center (there are more churches than houses, how fantastically Middle Ages!)
At about 5:15pm, I decided to call it quits and went to the tourist office to ask about catching a bus back to Ericeira. The woman I spoke with explained that I would need to catch the bus to the depot in Caldas de Raina (just north of Obidos, pronounced Cal-Dash duh Rain-uh). From there, I should be able to make a connection back to Ericeira. I checked the schedule and there was a bus arriving in 10 minutes, so I hauled ass down to the bus stop, jumped on the bus and paid the 1.65 to get to Caldas, which was a 10 minute drive from Obidos. Once there, I checked with the ticket agent on bus connections to Ericeira. She said there weren’t any (WTF?!) and I would need to travel back to Lisbon (another hour and a half) to get on a bus that would then take me to Ericeira (again another hour and a half). Oh hell no!
Never one to do what people tell me to, I got back on a return bus to Obidos, which didn’t leave for 45 minutes. From Obidos, I took a little stroll over to the tourist information booth and gave them the update that their information sucked arse, then jumped into a taxi back to the B&B. Unfortunately, I did not have the same driver as I did before – who had some inkling of where the town was located (even if he didn’t remember where the B&B was). Even though the new driver said he knew where he was going, he called three different people on the way to ask them. (I may not speak any Portuguese, but I can gather when someone mentions the name of the town I am staying in while also frantically scanning their GPS for info.)
Needless to say, he took the long way and wanted to charge me almost double what the first taxi had cost that morning. I told him no, it only cost 45 euros to get to Obidos and I was only willing to pay that much for the fare. He tried to argue with me and I just stared him down, while remaining eerily quiet, until he relented. I guess he didn’t understand that this scrawny ass American was too tired, too hungry and too down right over Portugal to take his shit or care that he had to drive so far out of his way to get me to the B&B. (oh look at me, I am Portuguese, I don’t remember what it was you were complaining about!)
Alrighty then…….I have definitely worn out my stay in Portugal – onto Barcelona!