My first week here...January 20 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 14 °C
My first review of Lisbon... nice town, nice people and fantastic vibes here!!
My first review of Lisbon... nice town, nice people and fantastic vibes here!!
Next stop on our road trip was Coimbra, the old capital of Portugal. The plan was to visit the old library of the university there, but because of the high entrance fee we decided to see it from outside only.
In the city centre there was a public viewing area, so we had great seats to see the last German worldcup game...
Tomorrow we will have another beach day on half way to Porto followed by two days in Porto to taste the Protwine!
Nächster Stop auf unserem Trip war Coimbra. Coimbra ist die alte Hauptstadt von Portugal und vor allem für die schöne Lage sowie die alte Universität bekannt. Eigentlich wollten wir uns hier die Bücherei ansehen, aber da der Eintrittspreis uns hierfür zu hoch war sind wir lieber draußen geblieben.
In der Stadt konnten wir auch das grandiose WM Spiel der deutschen Mannschaft auf einer Großbildleinwand verfolgen...
Nächster Stop ist dann noch ein kleiner Ort am Strand, bevor wir zur letzten Station der Rundreise nach Porto fahren. Dort gibt es dann hoffentlich genug Portwein zum probieren....Read more
Mit dem Bus habe ich auch die zweite Hälfte der iberischen Halbinsel durchquert und bin nach einer elfstündigen Fahrt von Madrid aus in Coimbra, Portugal gekommen. In Coimbra war erst mal Treppen steigen angesagt, denn wie die Universität lag auch mein Hostel auf dem Berg! Nach dem langen Tag bin ich nur noch im Hostel geblieben, auch wenn ich damit wohl die Studentenparty schlechthin verpasst habe. Dafür hatte ich aber am nächsten Tag noch Zeit, mir die Uni und die Stadt anzugucken.Read more
Nächster Stop war dann Coimbra, Universitätsstadt u UNESCO Welterbe... bei weitem nicht so schön wie alles bisher Gesehenen aber der Campus war toll, bis auf dass er wieder viel zu hoch lag u aufgrund ein wenig Muskelkater von gestern der Aufstieg echt erschwerlich war, Stufen, steile Anstiege, hat sich der Blick oben dann doch gelohnt. Und da ein bisschen Kultur auch mal sein muss, haben wir die alte Uni mit historischer, vergoldeter Bibliothek gleich mal besichtigt (Fotos waren leider nicht erlaubt 🙈😉)
Zu guter Letzt sind wir in Figuera da Foz leicht verspätet angekommen und wurden herzlichst empfangen. In einem wunderschönen Zimmer laden wir unsere Akkus wieder auf u morgen gucken wir dann im Hellen nochmal bisschen rum, bevor wir unseren Weg Richtung Lissabon antreten... 🙂Read more
Our Airbnb hosts this evening were Samuel and Julie. They welcomed us into their family with open arms! The children, ages 7, 5, and 3, are delightful. Julie is French and Samuel is Portuguese; the children know both languages, but they seem to understand some English, too. The youngest one was talking excitedly in Portuguese about something being advertised on TV, and I asked her if that was on her Christmas list, and she said “Si” (yes)! They live in a beautiful home in a small town on the outskirts of Coimbra, a University town. We had a wonderful visit and enjoyed some chocolate cake and Beirao, a Portuguese liquor, with them. Dean stayed up talking with Samuel until 1 a.m. discussing many important subjects, like, “Is it really true that at Denny’s you get a full pot of coffee all for yourself?” He watches TV and is very interested in the USA.Read more
Great view of the river from the terrace of the Portagem Hostel, where I stayed. Coimbra is a beautiful small university city, and the Joannina library is a must see in a lifetime experience. It’s exquisite. Has a colony of micro bats that live within the library and come out each night to eat the insects that would otherwise destroy the books (furniture is covered each night to protect from droppings). I visited it and the surrounding university two years ago with Robyn, so this time I concentrated on the 12th century Sé Velha Cathedral and the lively city streets below.
Those stone sets sure are slippery when wet! Lost my dignity and some skin. No major damage.Read more
Much relieved after our visit to the hospital we were ready for being tourists today. As usual washing was the first port of call at the laundrette nearby. Once completed we headed off to find the cafe that has a fado concert tonight. In no hurry we strolled through the old part of the city with it's narrow and interesting streets. In one shop they had a huge tomato of the old variety, they look badly malformed but are red and juicy. You pay a premium in Australia where we have been seduced into only buying perfectly formed fruit and veg. These old tomatoes are delicious.
Shirl is enjoying being a tourist and all tourists is buying little nicknacks to go with the cork handbag she bought in Alcobaca.
On the pavements are the Pilgrimage placards indicating the way to Santiago de Compostelle in Spain.
The Aussie invention of the screwtop virtually destroyed the Portuguese cork industry, being the worlds major supplier. It looks like they have hit on a winner with these handbags. How durable they are time will tell.
We eventually found the fado cafe and booked for tonight's concert. (A separate post on the concert to follow)
The Monastery Santa Cruz was close by and we popped in for a visit. Inside was beautiful azulejo tiles depicting religious historical scenes.
The organ was a masterpiece as was the choir stalls.
Buildings like this abound in Portugal and are testament that they, alongside England and Spain, they were a major power. Spain and Portigal have fallen by the wayside and, sadly, England is going the same way.
Today, unlike previous days, was starting to warm up and we sought they shade and returned to the hotel.
After lunch Shirl took it easy while I paid a visit to the Post Office.
On the way to the concert I decided to check out the post office. Why you may ask? I have been traumatised by my experiences with the Italian Post Office and do not want a repeat experience. Compared to the Italian Post Office, Australias' is efficient and productive.
With trepidation we entered and all appeared normal. Phew!
Now Shirley's purchases can be sent home.
All afternoon I had been racking my brain for the name of a guitar piece we had heard played by a busker earlier. As we sat down for the concert it came to me. The adagio from the Concierto d'Aranjuez. A very beautiful piece of music.
Fado is a tradition of the Coimbra University students. The University was founded in 1290 and has a long and distinguished reputation. Fado was sung/played by the male students wooing the young girls but during the dictatorships of Salazar and Caetarno it was used to pass on messages of protest. Nowadays song are sung emphasising the love of country.
The musicians play the Coimbra guitar, founded on the traditional guitar and the sitar. And the classical guitar.
We had a very entertaining and enjoyable evening.
Dinner was enjoyed in the nearby Placa in a barmy evening.
Tomorrow we head off to Porto. The weather forecast is for a couple of hot days before a return to pleasant temps.Read more
Today was an exhausting day. There's a trio of UNESCO World Heritage sites in cental Portugal that we had decided to visit (a pair of monasteries and a convent/castle), and although each looked nice, none of them seemed to warrant a long visit. And with short-ish driving distances being what they are, we figured we could tackle all three of them in one day!
Up early at 7am, one of our earliest starts so far. Packed up and left Lisbon by 8:30 and headed northwards out of the city. The first destination was about 1.5 hours away, a monastery in the small town of Alcobaça. Lots of rain around today and very low temperature as well so we rugged up heavily! Got a good park and checked out the monastery, originally dating from the 11th century.
Very plain and unadorned inside, very spartan and a good reflection of the monks who lived here for hundreds of years. Bought a triple site ticket (includes here, the other monastery and the convent/castle for later) and headed into the inner cloisters. Interesting to start picking out architectural details as we've seen so many different similar buildings now. Manueline style ceiling vaults, picking the difference between early and late gothic columns, later additions like baroque belltowers and so on.
It wasn't a huge site though, and we were back in the car by 11:15. According to Shandos's schedule, we'd gone from 30 minutes behind to 30 minutes ahead! Schnitzel seemed very content to have been left in the car, as he doesn't like cold and he doesn't like rain - inside was neither of those things!
30 minute drive to the next monastery, this time in the town of Batalha. This monastery was slightly newer than the previous, but larger and more ornate, reflecting the growing power of the church and the Portuguese monarchy. This was at one point their main religious centre, and an entire dynasty of Portuguese monarchs are buried here (including the famous Henry the Navigator, not a king but a prince credited with kickstarting the Age of Discovery by opening the route to first the Azores and later western Africa).
A larger site here so we spent a bit longer looking around, including checking out the beautiful stained glass windows. Weather had cleared slightly but still a bit miserable, though thankfully we didn't get too wet. Our next site was directly east before we'd have to turn northwards for our final destination, so we decided our best lunch option was McDonalds. One of the things that fascinates me about Maccas is how their menu is constantly adapted for local tastes - you can always get a Big Mac, but here in Portugal you can get four different types of soup or a "bifana" - a diamond-shaped bread roll with two thin slices of grilled pork. We opted for a pair of those, and ate in the car rather than suffer sitting outside in the cold with Schnitzel, or inside without him.
Final stop for the day was about 45 minutes drive further east, a convent and castle combination in the town of Tomar. This turned out to be an interesting site - the oldest part was the earliest thing we'd seen so far, a circular Romanesque Catholic temple originally built by the Knights Templar in the 11th century, just after they'd come back from the Second Crusade. The rest of the building was newer (Renaissance and so on), and the attached convent was newer again, but it was an interesting site to wander around and discover various parts.
It was a little confusing at first since we arrived in the midst of a heavy rainstorm and didn't get our bearings properly, but managed to sort ourselves out in the end. The convent was also fortified as a castle, and some of the walls and towers were still standing, so we wandered around this for a while as well. It had a great defensible position over the town, and apparently held out against a siege during its first year of operation. It's been a strategically important spot over the centuries as well, since Spain and Portugal have often had tense relations and Tomar is near an important river crossing.
All three sites done, we turned northward for the town of Coimbra where we had an apartment booked. Coimbra is home to another UNESCO site (Portugal's oldest university), which we planned to look at in the morning. The drive took longer than expected: we couldn't use the freeway since it was electronic tolling only, and we didn't have the requisite tags or passes. So it was second-tier highways for us, continually getting stuck behind trucks and caravans.
Finally arrived in wet and cold Coimbra around 6pm, very tired but happy we'd achieved our goals. According to our Airbnb host, this year is the coldest winter on record in Spain and Portugal - we could definitely believe it! Neither of us felt like venturing far, so I found a convenience store just down the street and bought some spaghetti sauce to have for dinner with our leftover spaghetti. And of course a couple of sneaky Portuguese tarts! Off to bed early, hoping for better weather tomorrow.Read more
A town that looks like it was taken out of Harry Poter's book. We went on a walking tour, Yam slept the entire time. We had great dinner, and saw all the freshmen student doing parde as part of the anososiation.
You might also know this place by the following names:
Coimbra, Coimbra Municipality, قلمرية, Koimbra, Горад Каімбра, Коимбра, কোইমব্রা, Coïmbra, Κοΐμπρα, Koimbro, Coímbra, کویمبرا, קוימברה, コインブラ, კოიმბრა, 코임브라, Conimbriga, کوئیمبرا, Koímbra, โกอิมบรา, Коїмбра, Coinvra, 科英布拉