Sights and Sounds on the Silver Coast of Portugal

While we spent five nights in the tiny town of Obidos near Portugal’s central coast, we spent most days using our rental car to good advantage, visiting several cities and towns that our guide books said were worth a stop. So far, this climate suits me the best, for it can be said to resemble the San Francisco Bay Area as it was when I lived there: “Fog along the coast, extending inland nights and mornings….”, meaning that even 10 miles inland, it’s not too hot even in the summer and yet there is enough rain here during the winter to keep the country side green and productive. Lisbon is vibrant, the Algarve is touristy, the Alentejo is hot (and we were there in early May!), but the Silver Coast gets it just about right.

Looking west from the ramparts of the castle in Obidos, you can just see the icing of fog over the hills bordering the Atlantic Ocean
Bob at the western edge of Continental Europe on the south side of the town of Peniche, just 10 miles from Obidos. (The north side is where all the surfing is!)
Another well-known beach town is Nazaré, also known for surfing. Seriously, we saw VW microbuses with surf boards on them! Here is the esplanade, lined with cafés, and with the characteristic decorative street tiles (this pattern is the same as in Copacabana, Rio de Janieiro, Brasil.
The city of Caldas da Rainha has a daily produce market on the main plaza— also stall after stall filled with gorgeous flowers.
We especially enjoyed our cup of espresso on this wide esplanade on the plaza of its monastery
Mere words cannot do justice to this church— based on the Jewish and Muslim temples in Jerusalem but with Baroque-Manueline touches— at the former home of the Knights Templar (Da Vinci Code, anyone?) in Tomar
Just as a reminder, the Knights Templar were bankers and a sort-of religious order, but mostly, well, they were solders so they needed a castle. It’s an impressive one— the refectory can feed over 100 at a time.

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