Wednesday, 13th Sept. 2017
I arrived around 3pm in Coimbra. The hostel check-in was as late as 6pm, though I was walking the city of Coimbra and also had a meal in the old town. Even more tourists than me where there, it was not a very touristic place and the owners not very good in English, but that does not matter for me. I had a meal and a juice for the proud amount of 9,30 EUR and made it 10 EUR, because the service was good and the meal tasty.
After the meal I continued throughout the old town and came to the church “Santa Cruz” and the town hall, without looking for it. I was happy to find it so easily and stayed a while on the place in front of them, taking a lot of photographs as well as I checked the opening hours for the church. I had to postpone the visit of the church to the upcoming day.
Now it was time to make my way to the hostel. I used google maps. Since the cell phone and data of my Swedish operator works in all of Europe for the same price as well, I prefer to use google maps instead of the Here App. Google offered me different ways to go and I chose, of course, the “wrong” one. In the beginning, they were all the same and I passed a couple of monuments, which were so touristic, that I did not take photos of them.
When I had to choose, which way to go, I took the one where I was coming up the hill. I did not know, that the other one was staying on the lower side of the hill. At the top of the hill was a high and very long wall. I thought it might be a jail, but later on I was thinking about, it might be a monastery. I followed that wall for a while, before I had to go downwards again. Finally I found the hostel. It did not look big from the outside. I was surprised, how many rooms they had, when I well was inside – and the rooms were not tiny at all.
The receptionist at the hostel for the check-in was not really polity. Maybe it was, because she was not comfortable with English. She told me, that my bed is in the room no 206 and my bed is no 6. Though the room was on the second floor and well there, it seems that all the rooms for the girls where on the second floor, because there was only one bathroom with three showers and that one was for women only. My bed was already occupied, though I went back to the reception again and told the receptionist. She told me, like she was not interested in, what happened, that I could take the bed no 4 instead. So I did. By the way: In my booking was breakfast included and I did get a ticket for that. On my room again I was aware, that I had neither taken my toothbrush nor toothpaste with me.
I stayed at the room until around 9pm, because I was somewhat interested in the night life of the town. On my way downtown I discovered, that only restaurants were open. The supermarket I had seen before, was already closed and also all the other shops. I hoped, I will find an open pharmacy and that they may sell toothbrushes and toothpaste. I took a long round throughout the city of Coimbra. Only on my way back I found an open pharmacy and could buy a toothbrush and toothpaste. They were for 10 EUR together. I think I have never before bought such expensive toothbrushes and such expensive toothpaste. The later named had the taste of strawberry. Both items I had bought for kids, being sure, that they will fit my special needs.
Back at the hostel the girl from bed 6 was there. She told me, she is from Slovenia. We had a short chat and I fell asleep that night earlier as usual.
Thursday, 14th Sept. 2017
I was already awake at 7am, took my medicine and tried to sleep a little more, but without success, because the breakfast was served from 8:30am only.
I was in the kitchen exactly at 8:30am. There were a desk with trays. Behind the desk was a kitchen maid, asking if we would like to have ham and/or cheese. She was only speaking Portuguese and I was happy, I knew that words. By the way on the trays there were already a little plate with two buns and cutlery. The maid also asked my, if I would like to have a yoghurt, what I took. On a table there were a big coffee machine. One could get hot water and hot milk as well from it. Further more there were cups, small bowls and glasses on that table as well as juice, corn flakes, butter and strawberry jam in small packages. I took of all. Unfortunately I was not remembering my yoghurt, when I took warm milk on my corn flakes. It was a very bad choice, because the corn flakes were getting soft immediately. I had my yoghurt as a dessert instead.
At 9:30am I checked out from the hostel. I had only my little backpack, thinking about, that I want to have any possibility to put a suitcase and it was only for one night as well. Now I was going sightseeing like it is written in the books. The first stop was the university, which is not only the eldest one of Portugal, but also a gift of a king. On my way there I noticed, that there were lot of young people, mostly between twenty and thirty, who were wearing black robes. They were also dressed in black suits. I took till my courage and asked a couple of girls, why there were wearing those dresses. One of them told me, that it is because they are students and they have already done their first year at the university. Later on I met a woman, distributing touristic leaflets and I asked her, if there is a special day at the university, because of so many students outside in groups and some of them carrying a kind of banners. She told me, that it was one of the days of matriculation. The studies will start the upcoming week.
I visited the old library, which one only can visit with a guide, the church and the palace. In my combined ticket there was also the entrance fee for the Museum of Science, but I did not take the time to go there. I was allowed to buy a senior ticket as well and it was for 9 EUR. There was a cheaper one, but the library was not included. There was also a possible to climb the tower, but for an extra fee. Before I used my ticket I was enjoying the view from the open end of the place, where the buildings with entrance fees are all around.
I was allowed to visit the library at 10:40am and so was more people as well. For the library there was not really a guide, but there were people inside, one could ask. Mostly they were there for security. It was not allowed to take photographs there, not even without flash and there were also a security person on a high seat, though there were really no opportunity to take any photo. This man on the high seat (it was on a stair on the gallery) did first look like it was a doll, but finally he moved his head. At the exit of the library there were a shop, of course, where I bought a postcard book, but the colours are not the best.
From the library I continued to the Sao Miguel Chapel, but it was so crowded, though I was visiting the palace. Even here I could walk around in my own tempo. I was also enjoying the views. The palace was amazing, even we could not enter the Great Hall of Act, where the matriculation was ongoing. The tradition with the matriculation in that room is followed all the way from the time King Dinis gave the palace to the university.
My third stop became the chapel. It was not really so crowed, when I entered, but guided groups where entering and leaving all the time. I asked one of the security men if there always are so many groups coming and he told me: usually.
Before I left the area and was walking downtown, I had a snack, sitting on a low wall in the shade. This day was really hot, indeed.
On my way downtown I took some photos as well and in the touristic area an ice cream. The service was not good at all. I asked for a scope in a cup, telling it in Portuguese (it was stated on the wall, though it was easy to tell). The shop assistant dit take a cone and put the ice cream in. Though I remarked, that I had requested a cup. With a very bad gesture and a facial expression he did toss the ice cream into a cup.
On the way to the church “Santa Cruz” I also was looking around and making pictures of special looking houses and advertising. As soon as I finished my ice cream I entered the church. I only had to pay 3 EUR for visiting the whole are including the monastery.
This day I had one more ice cream, which is unusual for me. I had to cross the Santa Clara Bridge to come to my next and last goal in Coimbra, to the “Portugal do Pequenito”. I was a little hungry, but was afraid that place will close before I will be there, though I was going straight to it. The senior ticket was for 5,95 EUR and by the low price and my hurting feet I took the tuc tuc train for 2 EUR inside the amusement park for getting an overview.
Afterwards I walked around enjoying the buildings, reading about their history and entering the buildings possible. I actually spent three hours there. On my way back I tried to eat in a restaurant, but there were mostly restaurants offering seafood. There was an Italian restaurant and I was looking for sitting outside. None came with the menu and I took the next restaurant instead. Even there was no service, though I was going back over the bridge and found a Burger King restaurant. Before I entered it I also was aware a tourism office and asked for the bus station. I had seen on the Internet, that the bus tickets were cheaper than the train tickets, but I could not pay online with my Swedish MasterCard.
At the Burger Kind I chose an offer for 4,95 EUR including French fries, a burger of ones choice – I took a double cheeseburger, a soft drink and an ice cream. After having that dinner in a calm surrounding inside the restaurant I made my way to the bus station following the route on the free map, the assistant at the tourism office had shown me.
Most of the time I was walking alongside the Mondego river. The pedestrians way was very bad and sometimes I had to use the road, because of parking cards on that way. Close to the bus station a German man asked me if I also were walking the “holy trail” to Santiago in Spain. He was talking German with me and I spoke English. I thought, he cannot know, that I can speak German and I did not have a sign on me, which would tell him, that I have been in Germany. I really was surprised, that he continued in German. I told him anyway in English, that I was on my way to the bus stop and when I had to go left, he was to the right.
At the bus stop I queued for a ticket and when I had to pay I was told, only Portuguese credit cards and that there is an ATM in the waiting area. The assistant put my ticket aside. There were only a few minutes left until the departure of the bus and I was afraid, I would not make it and have bought a ticket for the bus, which left. At the ATM I made the mistake for my first and I hope only time, that I agreed to a confirmed exchange rate – without more costs, but anyway it was much more expensive, than without it. I was lucky. The assistant did not mind I was coming directly to her, without queuing again and the bus was late. By the way it was only 11,90 EUR for the senior ticket for the bus. For the train I had to pay 24,70 EUR. Because we left around 7:15pm I only had a view for around an hour, afterwards it was dark. I arrived in Lisbon between 9 and 10 pm and was finally “at home” again around 11pm.
Please change to Lisbon again by following this link: Lisbon, September 2017