In the awesome medieval town of Obidos, one can walk the entire walls of the fortress that surrounds the town. We went to see the Christmas village there less than a month ago, but with family in town, I thought another trip was in order.
There are scary stone staircases with no railings that lead up to the top of the walled city’s protective barrier. There are signs that warn that it is dangerous and young children are not encouraged to walk the perimeter of the walls. No, really? The top of the walls, in some places, measure 43 feet high with nothing stopping you from plummeting to your death. Of course, after seeing this my brother thought it was a great idea to take my 6 year old daughter up there for a jaunt.
I saw him take Pippa by the hand and march up one of the steep and scary staircases. I thought they were stopping there, but that would have been too safe. No, he proceeded to take her to the top of the fortress, where, like the nut job she is, she leaned over the edge and waved at me. I started to feel intense panic. Chest constricting anxiety. I yelled for her to come down. Casually, Pippa and my brother returned, but not after a few more waves from on high. My mom said I needed to relax more. I said I will relax when I am dead. I tend to exaggerate.
After multiple requests by my children to climb back up to the top of the walled city, I decided I would check it out for myself. Maybe it wasn’t so bad. Holy crap! It was way worse. Like big time way worse. Once I was at the top, I thought I was going to die. First of all, I have permanent vertigo. It is pretty nasty and up high like that…let’s just say, death seem imminent. Secondly, the stones are uneven (hundreds of years old and constantly exposed to the elements). There were also pot holes and wonky stones. Thirdly, no railings. Come on. Why are people even allowed up there? Remember…up to 43 feet high! We would never let people even close to that in North America. We care about safety and tourists not falling to their death and landing on top of other tourists. Bad for business.
I clutched the wall for dear life and made my way down the next flight of stairs. My family was waiting for me and my kids were ready to try the same walk I had just completed. Maggie, my 11 year old, saw the look on my face and knew instantly it was not going to happen. EVER. Pippa was halfway up the stairs when I got my priest to yank her back.
Maggie looked at me and said, “is this another thing we can do after we turn 18?” Typically, anything dangerous or remotely romantic (kissing), must be attempted after 18 years of age in my world. I figure by that time, they will have forgotten about it and I can continue to sleep at night. I told her that even after 18 it was questionable. Why do I have the feeling, that Pippa will sneak out in the middle of the night, get someone to drive her the hour to Obidos and start walking the fortress walls. One kid feels my pain, the other wants to cause me more pain. Never a dull moment.
I took pictures from up high, documenting my impending demise. Notice my family below looking like ants.