Day 24: Batalha Monastery & Obidos

Summary

Our next destinations for the rest of the day were Batalha Monastery and Obidos Town. We drove for about 173 km for close to 2 hour to reach Batalha Monastery. The Monastery were pretty large and grand and in my opinion had a bit of a resemblance to Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

After the visit we stayed on to have a coffee break in Batalha. At about 5.30 pm we left and drove for an hour for 62 km to a hotel just outside the old town of Obidos. After checking in we went to explore the old town, we walked the town street and the fort wall and had dinner in the old town. Since it was just a 7 minutes walk from the old town to our stay we needed not hurry. We took the time to view the town in the night light before strolling back to our stay.

Route to Batalha Monastery and Obidos Old town

Route to Batalha Monastery and Obidos Old town

Batalha Monastery

We left Serra de Estrela Natural Park by about 1.20 pm and drove toward Batalha. Since it was a two hour drive, we took a break at a highway rest stop midway before continuing to Batahla. Near to Batalha, as we were driving on the highway we could already see Batalha Monastery. From afar my first impression was that it resembled the “Notre Dame Cathedral” of Paris.

We exited the highway and turned left into the town of Batalha. There was a huge carpark near the monastery with plentiful of parkring spaces.  In the carpark there were several “Paid Parking” signs so after we parked our car we went to looked for a parking meter but could not find one.  We checked with a local and he said if there was no meter then no need to pay.

From the parking it was just a short 200 metres to the monastery. From near the monastery did not resemble “Notre Dame Cathedral” after all.

Batalha Monastery

Batalha Monastery

This monastery was previously named as “Monastery of Saint Mary of the Victory”. It was errected in commenoration of the 1385 Battle of Aljubarrota. It took over a century to build, starting in 1386 and ending circa 1517, spanning the reign of seven kings. The construction required an enormous effort, using extraordinary resources of men and material.

Interior of Batalha

Interior of Batalha

After walking the exterior of the monastery we went into the interior. It was a typical cathedral interior with high arch ceiling and beautiful stain glass windows. After making our round inside we went out.

There was a bronze equestrian statue on a pedestal in front of the monastery. It a statue of General Nuno Álvares Pereira to commemorate his decisive win in 1385 over the Castilians during the Battle of Aljubarrota. As a result of his military victory he was canonized as a saint.

 statue of Nuno Álvares Pereira

statue of Nuno Álvares Pereira

It was a weekday so there was only a couple of visitors beside us walking around in the ground. of the monastery. Great for us, the cafes and shops near the monastery were opened for business so we bought a pack of nuts from one store and went next door to Cafe “Rino” for our coffee break. A cup of cafe latte costed €1.20 and we shared it between the two of us. We were getting into the habit of multiple coffee breaks every day so we decided to share a cup of cafe latte at each coffee break so that I would not end up consuming too much coffee and getting into an “insomia” situation.

Coffee break at Cafe Rino at Batalha

Coffee break at Cafe Rino at Batalha

ObidoS

It was a 50 minutes drive from Batalha to Obidos. We drove straight to our hotel for the night which was only 400 m from the gate of a walled town (Obidos).  After settling our bags in our room it was only about 6.30 pm. We still had at least 3 hours before the sky darkened so there was plentiful of time to explore Obidos. We left our car in the secured carpark (no charge) of our hotel and walked about 5 minutes to arch doorway, Porta da Vila de Óbidos which was the main entrance into Obidos

Porta da Vila de Óbidos & Aqueduct of Obidos

Porta da Vila de Óbidos & Aqueduct of Obidos

Near the arch door we saw a long aqueduct to the right. This ancient aqueduct was 3 km long and started from Usseira. It was commissioned by Queen Catarina and it provided water to the town’s main fountains.

We walked through the arch door of the wall fortress and entered a beautiful town. This town was off limit to car and visitors could park their cars in a huge carpark before the arch door. The parking charges was €1.75 for the first hour to €6.60 for 10 hours.

Obidos town

Obidos town

Though the town was not very big it had a labyrinth of narrow cobbled streets and many houses. These houses were painted white with colored borders usually in blue or brown. As we walked down the main street of shops and restaurants we looked out for side alleys that would bring us to the fortress wall. Shortly we found an alley that brought us upslope and soon we were at the base of the wall.The ground/houses near the wall were at a higher elevation which allowed us to see the entire town and the walls that encircled it.

The fortress of Obidos town

The fortress of Obidos town town

We saw a stone stairs leading up the wall, but it was barricaded so that was not the right place to go up. We walked on an unpaved path by the inner side of the wall northward till we found another stairs that was not barricaded and it brought up to the top of the wall. At the top was a narrow walkway, it was more of a ledge that was slightly wider than a one person width. On one side of the ledge was the embattlement wall and on the other side was a sharp drop to the base of the wall.

castle wall walk

castle wall walk

We walked as far as we could till we reached a barricade on the walkway. We took a stair down to the base of the castle wall and from there we saw a huge castle which was sited at the northern end of the town. One edge of the castle formed part of the wall that encircled the town.The castle was pretty tall and impressive and it looked well preserved. This medieval castle had guarded the town for more than 800 years. Going further north from the castle we reached “Porta da Estrada da Cera” an arch doorway out of the wall fortress.

Castle of Obidos

Castle of Obidos

Near the castle was a cathedral, Igreja de Santa Maria. The original gothic styled church at this site was badly damaged by an earthquake in 1535. The restoration of the church followed the Renaissance style of architecture.

Igreja de Santa Maria

Igreja de Santa Maria

As we walked back to town we saw two interesting book stores. One was a fake book store which lovely shelves. The other was a real bookstore.

Bookstores in Obidos town

Bookstores in Obidos town

We had dinner at a quaint restaurant in town. It was the Petrarum Domus Bar/Restaurant. We had earlier reserved a table so at 8.15 pm we were back for dinner.

Petrarum Domus Bar & Restaurant

Petrarum Domus Bar & Restaurant

The interior of the restaurant was lovely. It had beautiful rock walls and wood panels. Luckily we had made a reservation because at 8.15 pm the place was full. Walk-in would have to wait outside.

Petrarum Domus Bar & Restaurant

Petrarum Domus Bar & Restaurant

We ordered chicken steak and beef stroganoff and requested for chips to be replaced with vegetable. Before the main meal was served a plate of cheese, bread, jam and butter. The waiter told us that we would be charged only for those we ate and not for everything on the plate.

Our dinner at Petrarum Domus Bar & Restaurant

Our dinner at Petrarum Domus Bar & Restaurant

After dinner we took a slow stroll back to our hotel and was rewarded with the night sight of the town and castle.

Night lights of Obidos

Night lights of Obidos

Stay

Our stay was at Hotel Louro which we had reserved on booking.com. It was a hotel just outside the wall of Obidos. We chose to stay outside the walled Obidos town because it was not possible to bring our car into the town. The idea of parking outside the fortress wall and dragging our bags through the cobbled street to a hotel in Obidos was a “turn off”.

Hotel Louro with its near proximity to the old town and its free secured carpark on site seemed to be the “best” selection.The cost for our double room with ensuite bathroom was €58.50  a night. Our room price came with breakfast.

Our room was on the 2nd level and there was a lift that brought us and our bags up to the 2nd level. Our room was not very big, but was clean and good enough for two persons for a one night stay. The attached bathroom was large and clean.

Our room in Hotel Louro

Our room in Hotel Louro

Generally we felt that Hotel Louro was a great hotel in the right location to explore Obidos. It provided (free) breakfast, secured parking at no additional charge, reasonable rate and the room and toilet were comfortable and clean.

Accomodations : Obidos



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