Have you always dreamt of sleeping in an authentic medieval castle? If so, you’ll enjoy this account of my overnight in the pousada of Obidos, Portugal…
The cobbled drive narrows and your eyes widen as you corkscrew your way up into the castle village of Obidos. A mere 45 minutes northeast of Lisbon, this mountaintop hamlet will transport you back more than 10 centuries. It is fondly known as the Castle de la Rainha because King Dinis married his queen Isabel on this site in the 1200’s, and then presented the castle to his new wife as a present
But less romantic times were already a part of this castle’s history. Its lore holds that, on a moonless night in 1148, a young damsel divulged a recurring dream to the invading King of Portugal. She revealed that, if he would divide his assault on the castle, that she would let a small band of his invaders in the back door. Despite his advisors skepticism, the King decided to follow this vision and indeed his renegade back-door band was sneaked inside the castle’s rear entry, ever since known as the Door of Betrayal, and the Moors were forever vanquished.
Obidos’ pousada, one of Portugals 7 Wonders, is rife with romance. We dined at their Moon Table whose tall gothic windows overlooked the panorama of vineyards in the valley below. Under shimmering candelabras, we sampled Portuguese specialties, starting with chicken gizzards in mint, and moving on to codfish with small toasted potatoes, finishing up our bottle of the country’s famous Douro wine as the sun slipped below the horizon.
For dessert we struck out into the village where medieval cobblestoned lanes are lined with dark mysterious pubs. We elbowed up to some visiting Russians and pronounced “Saudé!” as we clinked miniature goblets of Ginjinha, the towns iconic cherry liqueur.
Walking the castle walls back to our suite in the Tower, I decided that I could get used to this queenly treatment.
Castle overnight, treehouse stays,
houseboats and sleeper trains and even Napoleon’s apartment in Rome!
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