Coimbra, former capital of Portugal





We’re here N40.19928 W8.42897

Weather – there’s something yellow in the sky, we’re not sure what it is, but rumour has it that it might be the sun.

We slept really well last night, it was so quiet up by the forest, and as Marc and Jacqui came over to Dave for dinner (a mighty fine curry cooked by me) we were toasty warm – although it was 12c in their van when they got back, brrrr.

This morning, after another quick look around the forest for J and Charlie, we set off for Coimbra. On the way we stopped off at Lidl for a quick shop and two things surprised us 1, there was bread being baked inshore – it was still warm and 2, there was a begger outside – guess Lidl in Portugal is the equivalent of sainsburys in the UK! We didn’t go too mad with food as our ‘naughty food cupboard’ is so full that stuff falls on you every time you open it (if you’re lucky it’s a bag of crisps, unlucky it’ll be a tin of nuts), and we’d already promised ourselves we’d eat out today.

We parked up at the Aire in Coimbra, which is right next to the river and just a short stroll into the town, to find Marc and Jacqui had overtaken us when we stopped at Lidl and were not only parked up but had found free wifi. Normally only a luxury savoured on a camping we could surf the t’interweb in Dave. Out came the ‘things to do when we have wifi’ list, which grows on a daily basis – have you seen the lovely new photo on our front page? We can only change it when we have wifi, so now it’s showing you the view across Porto from the bridge (big thanks to Tina who took our previous photo for us of Dave in the Picos mountains).

After checking out the weather forecast which expects rain tomorrow we headed out to see the town while the sun was still about (wifi will have to wait). Coimbra is a big university town, in fact most of it is the university on the upper level. The town is pretty much split into two with narrow steep winding streets around the university at the top, and normal road with shops, a market and big monastery below. We walked around for a while taking in the sights and sounds at the lower level (lottery fever has hit town at €15 a ticket, and housecoats are in), then instead of paying for the lift to the upper level – yes it’s that steep – we walked up to burn off a cake we bought and scoffed earlier.

At the top of the town, almost every building is either a faculty of something or a Republic, which is student digs but around 20 of them live together and pay for a maid to cook their meals which they eat together – guess pot noodle sales aren’t that high around here. There is also loads of political graffiti, seems the students like to air their views in spray paint.

We made it into the main university plaza where there was a statue of Henry VIII, we it was actually some Portuguese fella, but he could have been his twin brother. J managed a peek in the famous library here by distracting the woman guarding the door to it with Charlie. Then the sun started to set so we walked back over to Dave to make maximum use of the wifi.

Ju x


  1. I thought you were eying up the orange tabaard in your photo Ju. Useful on your washing and cleaning days. I think jay would look good in a blue one and totally naked underneath.

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