Portugal
Coimbra

Here you’ll find travel reports about Coimbra. Discover travel destinations in Portugal of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

60 travelers at this place:

  • Day23

    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....
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  • Day87

    Up and Down

    April 25 in Portugal

    We have paper maps, and maps on the tablet, but we had not cached the topographical maps of the route to Piodoa.  We know better now.  A day of accending 1000 feet, reaching the top of a pass and heading down, accending again, only to realize that we were going around the south of the Serra Estrella, and had to go up and down the ribs of the high mountains.  The places people of the past had built terraced fields are magnificently absurd.  What would cause people to live on these slopes, knowing that there was fertile ground all around the base of the mountain range?  There are hillsides where the terraces are 10 to 20 stories high, and the terraces themselves are only 20 feet wide.  Has there really been so many people in the past 500 years in Portugal that it was necessary to live in such conditions?  Was it social or climatic conditions, or fearing invasion from the French or Spanish that caused them to perch on the sides of mountains.  We felt like we were biking up Nine Mile Mountain.  Very glad for the paved road surface, and loving the shade from the Pine trees and the creeks to swim in and lunch by.   We thought we might camp at the top of the pass, but we rode into a burned area, and decided to ride all the way to Piodoa.  Where we ended up camping on an abandoned road past the village.

    Piodoa is an incredible example of the Xisto villages from 500 years ago.  There are about 100 houses that are perched on the hill, and you can step from the front door of one multistoried house, onto the roof of another.  There are still slate roofs that were chisled into a rounded shape and overlapped on the spaced out logs.  Unbelievable stone work (Trevor, we thought of you!).  However, there are only 60 people living in the village, and it has been converted into a town for tourists to visit. There is the grandest hotel we have seen since leaving Lisboa, and I found a loaf of bread and litre of milk despite the tourist info centre telling me that the only place to buy food was at the cafes.  So we marvelled at the village, and when the tourist bus showed up, got out of town fast! 

    After the previous days endurance biking event, we were thankful for the 17 km of downhill biking to Vide.  We didn't think we could handle any uphill biking, and were thrilled when we asked in Vide where we could camp that the cafe owner found us someone who spoke some english and had some terraces by the river where we could pitch our tent.  It was a delightful swim in the river, but we think it would be fabulous to be here when the towns put up a dam in the rivers and create in flow swimming pools.  It would also be a time when the villages would be full of kids on summer holiday. 

    I am writing this sitting in a typical cafe, by the Zezere river, on a Sunday afternoon drinking milky coffee.  There is scooby doo in Portugese on the TV,  and a table of older men exuberantly playing a card game.  We calm Canadians are often overwhelmed by the energy of discussions here.  We have heard though that to get anything done here, it is necessary to yell or you are not taken seriously.  I think I will have to phone the post office in Lisbon and yell unless they finally release Marty's old prescription glasses that Brigetta mailed from Canada a month ago.  I am even worried about the old ladies in the post office, thinking that something horrible has happened, but moments latter they are laughing.  Marty and the kids have determined that we will remain at our site by the river (we have only paid for camping one night), and they are making mint jelly.  It may also have something to do with Marty staying up till all hours last night talking and drinking wine with Federico, a passing hiker from Spain/Argentina/France.  Anyways, the backdrop of the 400 year old bridge, and the nearby cafe to charge devices, makes it a great place to stay and keeps the kids happy.  Belmonte tommorrow! 
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  • Day84

    Bàrroca

    April 22 in Portugal

    After determining that rear axels were not designed to carry 220lb bikers, and panniers, and trailer bikes, and a 40lb child, we made it to Barroca and had a repair done at the mechanics shop.  We had to go back the next day to get the bottom bracket on Stacey's bike tightened, then it started to rain.  We were comfortable camped out on the river, and so decided to stay.  We spent some time also camped out in the Central Cafe beside the little wood stove, drinking milky coffee, and charging our devices.  Jorja had some play time with Maria's grand daughter Matild who comes up for the weekend from Fundao.  Many of the children we meet are not comfortable with another language, but Matild was adventerous and taught Jorja some Portugese, and Jorja shared some English.  Here up to third year the children have 2 hours a week of english instruction, and then 5 hours a week after that.  Matild's family used to live in Barroca, but when the school closed, they moved to Fundao for work and school.  The same story everywhere.  Apparently unemployment varies between 20 and 30% in Portugal and young people leave to go to France or Germany to work, or to the cities on the coast. 

    We were planning to leave the next day, but when the community walk went by on the other side of the river we decided to follow them.  Or at least we tried, but we got thoroughly lost, and bent the axel on Marty's bike, and determined that Caleb's bike had no brake pads left.  We did make it back just in time to get fed the pork cuttlets, and salad and buns at the end of the walk, and it was good that we could stay another night on the river so we could visit the mechanic again the next day, or who knows where we would have been stranded.  Jorja had seen some goats she wanted to pet so we went to see who was herding them.  The woman caring for them was thrilled to talk (in french), and we visited while Jorja tried to feed the goats.  Sylvian shared her dried figs while she worked on her embroidery.  She took us back to the old stone house that had been in her family for 200 years, that was now her barn, and gave us a jar of olives from the trees we were camping under that she had preserved with oranges and herbs.  Marty said he wanted fix the roof of the stone house next door, and she pulled out her cell phone and was ready to call her cousin so Marty could buy the house.  She said we would already have friends, and she would show us how to preserve the olives and make cheese from the goat's milk.

    Marty was set loose in the mechanic shop the next day to fix his axel, but there were no matching brake pads to be found.  I took a taxi with two old ladies 30km into Fundao to a bike shop, there is a bus only twice a week, and got the right brake pads.  They may be projected to last for years, but really, with the hills we have seen since, I should have bought an extra set!  We left town at 4:30 and headed out ready to climb out of the river valley in pursuit of Piodoa, which had been the image Marty had seen of Portugal and needed to see.

    We climbed up the steepest paved roads we have seen yet, and pushed our bikes up some stretches.  There may be many towns on the map, but we have learned, that we need to ask ahead of time if we can buy bread and milk and wine.   This was one such day when the town at the top of the ridge did not have a little store.  An old lady gave us some water and cookies for Jorja, and then we ate fruit and granola bars around our fire.  As the light was fading, a car came up the trail, and were worried that we were blocking the road.  A voice called out, and it was a man who we had talked to earlier about his bees, and Marty had asked if he had a bottle of wine in the car.  He had come up to see us with his daughter and brought a bottle of wine.  Sam, didn't even drink!  He is a fine carpenter, and an amature geologist, who could live anywhere, but loves the rural life of Portugal.  We talked in a mix of translations between english, spanish, french and portugese.  We are loving meeting the people of rural Portugal.
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  • Day3

    Day 4. Coimbra (Quimbra)

    August 11, 2017 in Portugal

    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.

    I
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  • Day3

    Day 4. Fado.

    August 11, 2017 in Portugal

    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.
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  • Day71

    Cha de Alvares

    December 2, 2014 in Portugal

    Nach der Gartenarbeit war heute wieder ein kleiner Ausflug angesagt. Es ging durch eine Heidelandschaft und über Felsbrocken einen Berg hoch, von dem man eine wirklich schöne Aussicht hatte! Der Aufstieg hat sich also definitiv gelohnt und es gibt sogar ein Foto von mir! Und eins von einem kleinen Dorf zusätzlich im Miniaturformat :)

  • Day69

    Cha de Alvares, Portugal

    November 30, 2014 in Portugal

    Guten Abend aus dem kleinen portugiesischem Bergdorf, in dem ich momentan für zwei Wochen lebe! Heute habe ich mit meiner Gastfamilie und einigen Portugiesen eine Wanderung durch die Umgebung gemacht. Angekündigt war eine Tour durchs Tal, die sich dann aber doch eher als Bergetappe herausgestellt hat. Es war aber sehr schön und wir haben sogar einige Pilze für das Abendessen gefunden. Meine ersten Wörter portugiesisch habe ich auch schon gelernt.. Ich würde sie jetzt gerne aufzählen, weiß aber nicht, wie sie geschrieben werden :D also gibt es erstmal Fotos vom Ausflug!Read more

  • Day66

    Coimbra, Portugal

    November 27, 2014 in Portugal

    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

  • Day17

    Erholung pur

    August 5 in Portugal

    Wir sind auf einem Campingplatz gelandet, der direkten Zugang zu einem traumhaften und vor allem fast menschenleeren Strand hat. Unser Stellplatz hat sogar ein paar Bäume und bietet uns Schatten, den wir bei unserer kaputten Markise auch brauchen. Hier bleiben wir ein paar Tage und lassen die Seele baumeln.

  • Day22

    Staying in Ciera (Coimbra)

    May 23 in Portugal

    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

You might also know this place by the following names:

Distrito de Coimbra, Coimbra

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