My home away from home. Finally feeling that I can unpack before I have to repack. Funny thing is I have to work around my rentals so now I’m off to Coimbra for a few days while my place is rented. The good thing is that it gets me moving again and seeing more of Portugal.
Took the elevador (funicular) from Bairro Alto to the metro to the train station. All pretty seamless except for the obligatory crazy man on the metro. I did understand a few words: puta, buca. Other than that he seemed to be ranting at an unseen person. Harmless, though.
I’ve been pretty lazy here in Lisbon this time. Doing some minimal shopping for household stuff and sandals and yes, another suitcase. This time a little tiny rolly bag which I have now for my three days in Coimbra. Watching TV “news entertainment” (yes, you read that right), bingeing on Outlander now that I’ve been to Scotland and reading some historical fiction based on Filipa, the only queen of Portugal that was English…the mother of Henry the Navigator (Henrique), Afonso, Duarte, etc., what they call the Illustrious Generation. The book’s translation leaves a little to be desired but it does cover a number of Portuguese venues that I’m anxious to visit…one of which is Coimbra.
(Side note) A little caution, instruction, or whatnot about keeping in contact. I decided this time not to get an international package from my cell phone provider. Instead I’m relying on WiFi and WhatsApp. I’ve been on the road since the beginning of May and have managed so far. It seems WiFi is everywhere. And I’ve found that if you use Google Maps to set your next location, the route stays on your phone while your are moving from point A to point B. Very cool. It’s not perfect and if you change your destination midstream it won’t find it without WiFi. Oh yes, you should download the local map when you have a chance on WiFi..
OK, back to moving on. On the train and two stops later: Whoops, I’m in the wrong seat, the wrong carriage. Whoops, someone got on and has my seat. Little did I know that they were assigned. In England, it was a free for all. Luckily for me, it was just the next carriage. And…Someone is sitting in my seat by the window but the aisle seat is open…so guess I won’t kick her out. She’s totally ignoring me…something I would do.
And now, I’ve missed my stop. My oh my…just not paying attention and no announcements on the train. The conductor was quite amused when he checked my ticket and told me I had just missed the station. About an hour later I was able to get back from the next station to Coimbra-B. Pay Attention!
Finally getting off at Coimbra-B and transferring to Coimbra (A–but not called that) is the only way by train to get there. It takes 3 minutes to get from B to A and could be walked without baggage. Just note that the train schedules show times from Coimbra-B, so one has to account for the trip from A to B, particularly on the return.
It’s hot as hell here too…I just can’t get away from this weather. Forgetting to load the location of my next stay into Google Maps and not having WiFi at the station, I head to the nearest cafe and tune in there. My stay is a 2 minute walk and a 2 floor walk up. Not bad. A crazy-looking room but totally fine. It’s not a decor I would pick but it was a good-size room and well-equipped.
Definitely make Coimbra a stop if you’re heading to Portugal. It’s a mini-Lisbon. Lots of music in the streets during the summer and some must-see venues. Particularly the oldest University in Europe with its wonderful library (AND illuminated manuscripts!!) and a couple of monasteries. Managed to sneak into a wedding. Sweet. Also, an excellent museum celebrating its 100th anniversary…from Roman days to current days. Plenty to do in 3 days. Also had a tasty meal at Passeite, a tiny restaurant making everything with olive oil. Yummm.
I’m a sucker for ruins and the Monasterio de Santa Clara-a-Velha (old) has a great presentation of the the monastery being dedicated to the Poor Clare sisters. The monastery was founded in 1280 and the founder, Mor Dias, was excommunicated later. The convent was dissolved in 1311 and refounded by Queen Isabel (Elizabeth) in 1314. Isabel died and was buried in 1336 in the church in an amazing tomb
but after being repeatedly flooded by the Mondego River a “new” (Nova) monastery was built in the 17th century and her remains were moved up hill.
Definitely worth a visit if you’re into ruins, as the convent and grounds were uncovered in the 60’s. That’s 1960 btw.