In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Wonka has hidden five Golden Tickets inside his chocolate bars. The finders are rewarded with a tour of his factory, each accompanied by an adult of their choice, and a lifetime supply of chocolate. The children are unaware, though, that the tour is also a competition to test their moral character. As the tour proceeds, four of the children are eliminated, leaving Charlie Bucket the winner. At this point, Wonka reveals that the real prize is the factory itself, as he needs someone to take it over and look after the Oompa-Loompas who work there once he retires.
I found out that the International Chocolate Festival was being held this past weekend in Óbidos, a city I haven’t been to yet, so I thought I’d plan a weekend stay there. It felt like I found my Golden Ticket for the weekend! I procured an AirBnb right next to the Castle inside the walls of the city and my host gave me the inside scoop on everything I needed to know from sights to restaurants to festival events!
I set out on my 90-minute drive from Lisbon to Óbidos the next morning and I got there at noon. My Airbnb host, Gabriella, let me store my luggage in the apartment while they finished cleaning it for my arrival. I was hungry so she gave me a tip on a great restaurant called Taberna do Libador where I ordered the Five pepper beef steak. So scrumptious!
The city itself is encapsulated inside 30 – 50-foot stone walls that protect the well preserved medieval castle. You can climb the walls and walk around the entire circumference, which I did. There is zero protection or guide railing to keep you from falling off. This would be a lawsuit waiting to happen if it was in America. But here in Portugal, they expect that you know yourself and how careful you should be. Or, don’t do it. Simple as that.
The city consists of a maze of streets with white colored houses and no shortage of Store vendors ready to sell you the local Ginha; a sweet and sour drink made of fermented cherries. They sell them in plastic shot glasses or edible chocolate shot glasses, which of course, I tried! It was after 12:00 after all!
Speaking of chocolate, I was lucky on my timing of this visit that I got to experience the International Chocolate Festival that only happens once a year. You’ll see in the video all the festivities, the dressed-up clown jesters in the chocolate-mobile followed by the beautiful ladies on stilts passing out chocolates to the little kids, and me!
There is little to no parking available inside the walls of the city, so I parked my car next to the centuries old Aqueduct that leads into the city. The angles and views from that vantage point were perfect for flying my drone into and around the city during the day. I got some really great video footage, then I headed back into the city and just walked around the maze of streets admiring the views and restaurant smells!
Any time is good to visit Óbidos. It is an inspiring suggestion for a romantic or simply a peaceful weekend because of the love stories that have been enacted there and for its mediaeval setting; and if you include an overnight stay in the castle, which you can absolutely do, then you’ll attain perfection.