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Coimbra - we're in Portugal

Taking the Schist

sunny 29 °C

Today we are on the road to another country. But first, a diversion into the West Gallacian coast is called for. We head down towards Sanxenxo on the main road, and then up the Ria de Pontevdra. We are stopping at Combarro, to have a look around what was a sleepy little fishing village, quickly adapting to a new life as a tourist stop. It is very nice to look around, with its rocky streets and seaside herreos (granaries). As the fishermen got wealthier, they decorated the houses more – keeping up with the Joneses, but in a sleepy stone village way.
Herreros - grain holders

Herreros - grain holders

Combarro Harbour

Combarro Harbour

Combarro street

Combarro street


After this pleasant side tour we head across to Portugal.
Entering Portugal

Entering Portugal

We have no guidebook, so follow what the Michelin map shows as a scenic route. It wasn’t. So we head back on the freeway and try another one a bit further down. It wasn’t scenic but we did get to the sea. It was freezing. Onwards and down to Coimbra. Into the hotel Oslo, and then up into the old town for a look around – and I do mean up. From our hotel close to river level, it would be at least 100 metres up to the top of the town. Because of the high outcrop it sits on, Coimbra was the natural spot to site a town. After time, the university came and has since taken over the top of the hill, all of it.
The University

The University

Bridge, Coimbra

Bridge, Coimbra

The original university buildings are beautiful, and set out with a great view over the river from their central Plaza. There are plenty of other places to see around the old city centre, very worth a tiring walk around.
As the sun sets, we wander back down to ground level and a typical Portuguese dinner of pizza.
Great evening light

Great evening light


Night view of Coimbra

Night view of Coimbra


We set out after breakfast and head down to the river to have a look about. We walk along until we see a place where they do different rides for kids and adults. But all G can see is the Segway. So off he goes for 15 minutes of good fun on the 21st century version of legs.
He loved the Segway

He loved the Segway


Coimbra Fountain

Coimbra Fountain


We head across the groovy pedestrian bridge to check out the pool over there and see what time they open etc., then cruise back for a drink. We are all full of plans of things to do, but instead decide an afternoon at the pool is much more in order. So we go and buy a towel and go for a recharge afternoon around the pool.
Coimbra

Coimbra


After brekky and check out, we head into the mountains behind Coimbra. We are in search of a schist village (I schist you not) After an hour of very windy roads (they don’t look that windy on the 1:1000000 map) and a few stops to let stomachs settle we come out to the higher part of the mountains above the tree line. Here Aigua Nova sits huddled as if for warmth and protection.
The Schist village of Aigra Nova

The Schist village of Aigra Nova

It is a clear day, but the air up here is cold and thin. There is no snow around, but you can imagine it appearing early in winter. There is a spring coming out of the rock and it is very cold and fresh.
Refreshing spring water

Refreshing spring water

As we wander through the cottages, there is no-one about, but we can hear goats and sheep in behind the barn doors. Each of the houses is made from the local Schist rock, a bit like Castlemaine slate, piled together to form the walls. There is obviously an art to it, because I know if I tried any sort of wall with the stuff it would quickly collapse.
Renovator's delight Only 65km from Public transport

Renovator's delight Only 65km from Public transport


We head back along the windy roads to the toll roads south to Lisbon and we are off.

Posted by lostagain 11:10 Archived in Portugal

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Hi!

I am glad you had fun on your visit to Coimbra.
Got to love our Hotel's view over the old city, with its scatered secular houses and that university topping!
Hope you'll visit us again,

Ricardo
Hotel Oslo

by hotel-oslo

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