Portugal’s third largest city and home of Coimbra University which was established in 1290. Still a small city by world standards with a population of around 140,000, but big enough for us to feel like we’re visiting the “the big smoke”. As you would expect for a significant place with a river, fertile lands and a decent hill to build your castle and town on, Romans, Visigoths, Moors and Christian rulers have all been here. It was the capital for a short period of about 100 years before Portugal moved south. Well, expanded south as the Moorish empire was in retreat and Lisbon became the centre of power.
Set on a steep hill, it’s a lovely place to wander, even without the draw card of the university. The most spectacular part of the university is the ornate Baroque Joanine Library (click Learn More at the bottom of webpage) that has carefully selected timber and a colony of bats to control the book-eating insect population. Thick walls clad in timber and a castle-like door ensure the humidity is constant and the temperature is always 18-20ºC.
Coimbra is also a useful place within easy reach that has huge DIY stores as well as exotic foreign foods like smoked paprika and jars of sambal olek. You’d think smoked paprika wouldn’t be so hard to find living on the Iberian Peninsular, but in small-town central Portugal, any ingredient other than salt is considered outlandish. OK, I exaggerate. But only a little bit!
Anyway, this was meant to be “postcards”, so here they are:
Streets to keep you fit
Nothing says go away like this imposing city gate. With a confined courtyard in front it isn’t the place to start arguing with the guards.
Impressive takes-a-shot-in-any-light interior photo courtesy of Sarah’s old man. There seems to be a gadget reversal with baby-boomers and their offspring. Before composing a photo, my mother now has to decide if it’s the mega-zoom midsize, the underwater compact, or the mini iPad.