Thursday, 1 October 2009


Obidos is a very pretty walled town between Figueras, where Wellesley landed his army, and Rolica, where he fought his first battle with the French. On 12 August 1808 the town was held by a French army of 4000 men. Wellesley had landed his army seven days earlier and as he approached Obidos the 95th Rifles drove off a small group of French skirmishers – the first shots fired of the Peninsular War

This is a view of the battlefield of Rolica from the walls of Obidos. It is from Jac Wellers book “Wellington in the Peninsula”, one of the two books we used as both a guide to finding the battlefields and a description of the battle once we found it. All of the black and white photographs were taken when he researched the book, and we were determined to find as many as we could. You may have heard hill walkers speaking of “bagging a Monro”, well we were equally determined to “bag a Weller”

We arrived in Obidos after a long day walking Vimerio battlefield, so we were hot and tired. We parked the car outside the town walls, rather than try to find the hotel in the maze of tiny streets. It’s a small town, and we found the hotel without any trouble. After a quick wash we were ready to explore, and made straight for the town walls. We quickly found our first “bag a Weller”, as you can see if you compare the two photos.

Jan has been interested in sketching for many years, and attended a short course just before our holiday. She brought here sketch pad and I will be showing a few of them on this, and future, blogs. It was very useful because she could sit and sketch whilst I explored the site as much as I wished, without having to worry whether it was too hot or Jan was too tired.

Jan did not really like the walls very much, as the walkway is very narrow and she does not like “exposure”. We had experienced this problem previously when hill walking, but this was the first time we had come across it in a built up area.

Obidos is a very popular tourist location, and we had problems booking a hotel here. We had hoped to stay at the Pousada (state run hotel) but it was fully booked. Instead we stopped at a very old, and very comfortable, converted convent. It was right in the centre of the town, and ideal for exploring the many interesting little streets.

This is quite a good example of why we did not try to take the car into the town to find the hotel

This is the main street of Obidos. It was not possible to sit on the town walls to read Wellers account of Wellesley’s journey to Obidos, so we found a small cafĂ© in this street and spent a pleasant hour reading up on the history.

This is a very pretty photo of Obidos, but it also gives a very good impression of the town walls and narrow streets. As far as I know the town was never taken by siege, and certainly not during the Peninsular War.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you enjoyed your trip to Obidos today.
    Of course you should have been here last year when you would have had the pleasure of seeing the 95th rifles driving Napoleon's troops out of town.

    95th Riflemen strolling through the streets of Obidos:

    Capt William & Lt Campers of the Back to the Napoleonic Wars blog of the Expatsportugal and Expatua forums.


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