Rest Day Coimbra

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While chilling late yesteday afternoon we decided to take a rest day and explore this interesting historic place that is home to the oldest university in Europe.  Cappuccino’s and pastries are plentiful in this city and they are not shy with the size they serve.


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Maria and Chris took a train from Coimbra to Porta where they will continue their Camino, they are pressed for time.  We met for our last cuppochino this morning and it felt like we were saying goodbye to family members.  Amazing how one bonds with strangers on this journey.  They both loved our stories on South Africa and Namibia and I have a feeling that we will see them on the African continent in the near future.

Message for Maria and Chris ( in case you read my blog one day).  Meeting you has been special and your energy, laughs, smile, stories will be with me (“us”, Sharon and Alan) for always.  Enjoy the rest of your Camino and the planning of your lives together, may your Camino and life together be everything you dreamed it would be and LOADS more.  Buen Camino o special ones!

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This pic was taken after dinner last night.  At the entrance to the our hotel is this super duper ice cream palour so we all opted for a treat before bed time.  (Maria and Chris in the middle)

The trio decided to take the bus tour around Coimbra and it was well worth the 10 euros.  We also decided to go see the The Old Joanine Library at the university.  It was way over priced at 9 euros in my opinion but the library was really beautiful.  Intersting what action the Romans took back in the days to protect the books.  If you were found to be disrepectful or damaged a book you were sent to what they called the academic prison.  Students also spent time in the prison based on the third floor of the library (underground) for disciplinary offences.  I don’t have any decent photos as we were not allowed to take photos in the Library however here is one I took from a post card.

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The Library houses 60 000 books, most of which were written in Latin before the 18th century.

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The entrance to the Library.

Loved the day in Coimbra however looking forward to being on the Camino again tomorrow.

Some pics taken today!

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We enjoyed a great lunch on the river at the Boat House.  Pasta, pizza and salad.  Good food and we were treated to a GREAT dinner by Pedro and William who are on holiday in Porto and came to meet us in Coimbra.  Pedro organised us a private room in the cellar of his nephews restuarant and we were treated like kings and queens for the night.  The food was GREAT, the wine even greater and laughs will be with all of us forever.

I recommend a day off in this amazing, interesting town Coimbra.  The bus tour (hop on hop off) gives one a good feel for the town and the outskirts however I think the tuk tuk service is better and 2 euros cheaper.  The tuk tuk will stop at a place of interest for you and wait if need be, the tourist bus will not.  One is able to get better photos as well with the tuk tuk service as the little three wheeler can get to places that the bus cannot.  We had a slight mishap with the tour company in that the bus was an hour late due to traffic congestion at some or other place.  When the bus eventually arrived (the three of us had been waiting patiently) the driver wanted to take his seista.  We wanted our money back so the driver made a call and he must have been read the right act by his employer because after his 10 minute heated converstation on the phone the bus departed for the tour.  The tour takes about 60 minutes if you stay on the bus.

The university is a must see and the students are all over the place which creates an awesome fun vibe to the city.  The first place in Portugal (besides Lisbon) where we have seen some young people around.   I was fortunate enough to find an internet cafe in Coimbra and did not have to pay for the usage, it was a free for all environment.  Super speedy internet connection and decent computers to work on.   Wifi (or as they say in Portugal wee fee) is available in most bars and hotels but the speeds are snail slow!!


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