Opting for a morning of homeschooling... everyone was ready to get out and find something exciting to both entertain and educate ... so we'd heard that Obidos in Central Portugal (some 85km north of Lisbon) had a fantastic series of Christmas acitvities for children throughout the month of December.. so heading out to try and ensure we took in dusk on top of this walled city, we headed for the fantastic aire that sits underneath the aquaduct commissioned by Queen Caterina of Austria (King João III's wife) in exchange for fertile lands beneath the castle..
The stunning series of white walled houses each with ther own distinctive colour-edged walls line the cobbled streets as you make your way through the streets of the walled city... it reminded us quickly of a similar type of 'night time' experience at Talmont Sur Gironde... each street seemingly decorated with a style that seems to be throughout this region...
The main street leading to the fort at the top of the city contained a series of unqiue craft stalls, each with their own take on Portuguese Christmas festivities... but perhaps the main theme appeared to be the hot chocolate and stalls offering a fantastic cherry liquer called Ginja.. drunk from inside a small dark chocolate edible cup.. all for the reasonable price of 1 euro!
As we strolled the charming labyrinth of streets in Obidos in the growing dusk, we stopped for a little shopping with the girls.. thankfully the prices weren't inflated and we managed to get some decent goodies.. always pleasing to get a bargain!! The region's castles/abbeys have a significant amount of ceramic tiles which are on display throughout the craft shops, alongside some amazing uses of cork (purses, handbags and pictures!)
It's amazing to think that this whole city was once the wedding present of a Queen, yet the views are staggering from any of the ramparts or city walls (not one for the faint hearted as there is no wall on the inner side to support you, just a 35ft drop onto hard terractta roofs!). Vineyards, windmills and mountains lie in abundance below... It's apparently very pretty when the Spring flowers (geraniums, morning glories and bougainvillaea) appear yet we thought the Christmas feel more than made up for this!
Both girls were excited to get involved in the activities (face painting, making baubles, story telling) as it really interests them how each country differs at Christmas time... for instance Portuguese make much more of Christmas Eve with presents from Baby Jesus not just from Father Christmas and they all eat together to celebrate on Christmas Eve (Consoada).
It's not all differences however as the Nativity Scene (or Presépio) is still used as the traditional christmas decoration in Portugal.... Christmas meals alter significantly across the regions but they still love the 'Bolo Rei' (something both girls wanted to try... pictures to follow tomorrow!)... with people greeting each other with greeting like 'Feliz Natal' or 'Boas Festa ('Merry Christmas' in Portuguese)
Christmas is coming, and both girls are so excited... maybe we'll get lucky and find another Christmas Market like Angers to see if we can find some goodies to take home!!!
Search by Categories
Search our blog articles
Search our Archives
Check out our contributions to
Follow us here