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Wednesday, May 1: Day 9 – Labor Day

We are in Obidos, home of the best preserved Portuguese medieval village complete with castle. It is a quiet little village but, we are here on a national holiday, Labor Day AND there is an annual chocolate festival in full swing. We strolled the castle grounds with thousands to see all types of chocolates, chocolate statues, and chocolate demos.Then we opted for lunch inside the posh castle restaurant. Many sites of historical significance have been converted into luxury hotels called pousadas. The Pousada de Castilo was lovely and we had a most wonderful view.Our waiter said that our view was the best in all Obidos and could only be surpassed by dinner with full moon in perfect view. How romantic! Our guide in Lisbon told us about Jose Saramago, Portuguese Nobel Prize winner-Literature 1998. It is her favorite author. He has a distinctive style of writing as it is like someone telling you a story rather than reading it with quotation marks. I asked her to tell us a title of a book indicative of his style that we might enjoy. Her recommendation was The Elephant’s Journey which is historical fiction about the royalty in Spain giving the royalty in Austria an elephant as a wedding gift. It is a humorous account of the trek through Portugal, Spain, Italy and over the snowy Alps. I told Rob that if I found it in English that I would like to read it while in Portugal.We stumbled upon a grocery store that was more of a used bookstore. Ironically, the bookstore cashier was reading the American author, Carson McCullers and was delighted that I knew of her work. I have read and cried through The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and The Member of the Wedding but had not read his book, Clock Without Hands. Her genre is Southern Gothic and is like To Kill a Mockingbird. He seemed pleased to know that Americans read literature. We finished the day by walking alongside an ancient aqueduct and “dragging main” inside the castle walls.Time for bed!

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