written 15th January
There isn't much to Obidos, wiggly cobbled streets where every second building is a bar, a hotel or some sort of artisanal tat shop but it is good for a couple of hours gentle meander and you can walk nearly all the way round the 3/5 mile of wall top which is nice.
Although you can, if you wish, spend €10 on a certificate to say you went... and it was very pretty although unfortunately it was also fiercely windy to the point where we could nearly not stand up so in the commemorative pictures, we both look a bit "special"... :)
Jules fortunately did a much better job of looking cool as the westernmost campervan in mainland europe!
So, onwards and eastwards to Sintra, another renownedly pretty town and one which was described by Byron as both "this glorious Eden" and "perhaps the most delightful in Europe". Again, it is one of these places you really need to go out of season as, being only an hour from Lisbon and covered by the Lisbon card discounts, and included on all the "things you should do whilst in Lisbon" lists, it is a full on tourist spot.
It is a good climb, bit of road, bit of rocky, twisty woodland path and there would have been lots of fabulous views if only we could see them through the clouds - unfortunately though, we saw rather too much of the inside of the umbrella instead :(
still we were nice and warm when we got to the top and found that somehow we had also bypassed both ticket offices. There was a cold, lonely man sat in a cagool in a hut at the entrance to the castle who said that he could sell us a ticket buy really, it was wet and foggy and you couldn't see the view or anything really so it wasn't honestly worth our €5 (each), and we would really be better off going to the next palace further up the hill (the really expensive one!) where at least there were walls and a roof.
On the way, we met an English speaking couple from Canada (although he was originally from Derby) so we stopped and chatted to them for a while until their bus arrived and found out that they were over from Canada for 2 weeks to try and buy a house as they wanted to escape the rat race (on the island where they live halfway between Victoria and Vancouver - not sure how much rat race there really is there...) so were spending a coupld of days in Lisbon and surrounding before heading north to Tomar for viewings - we don't know why Portugal and two weeks doesn't sound very long in which to choose a new house out of every possible town in a new country but there we go - good luck to them!
We walked round the corner to the Palace - beating the bus which I think many people had spent 20 mins waiting for because other people said it was too far to walk to the palace... - where it was indeed expensive as you had to pay to get into the garden and then again to get into the palace. We decided the tourist euro is stretched enough this week what with campsite living and cherry liqueur, and we didn't really fancy it any way, so we persuaded them to let us thouggh the gates to the coffee shop without buying a ticket - I think they felt sorry for us, drowned rat not really being this season's look of choice -
This evening, we took ourselves into the main square, in search of wine and random strangers to chat to and found two irish lads and an american girl in a bar and a pleasant couple of hours was passed talking travel and classic cars - they have been to the Algarve, done a road trip up highway 1 from San Diego to San Francisco which we have done but they did it in a RV so they understand the attraction of campervan life and one of them has a classic mgb - lots in common! They left earlyish as they were heading to Porto that night - given it has taken us 10 days to do that journey, I forget it isn't actually that far! - and not fancing any of the restaurants, we are back in the van for delicious emergency pasta (it is going out of date again!). If the weather is better tomorrow we might try the castle again, if not all roads lead to Lisbon!