Wednesday, 19 March 2014


So the last couple of weeks have been a bit manic, so blogging has gone right out the window. Between Lourical and where we are today in Zaragoza (that’s Spain about two thirds of the way back to the Mediterranean) we have a also been to Salamanca Spain (West), Pont das Tres Entradas (Bridge with three entries) Portugal, Porto (briefly see previous post about Orbiturs), and Coimbra.
River Mondego at Sunset

Central Lower Square
University Building
University Building with a bit of Aqueduct in it.

Original University Buildings and Courtyard (library to the Left)

After Lisbon and Lourical, Coimbra was a very pleasant surprise. It’s a university town a few miles inland and the easy equivalent of Cambridge or Oxford, both in terms of age since establishment and reputation. It was the first time in three months that the younger generation outnumbered the older by ten to one or more.
The town itself is a glorious mix of classical buildings. There are three beautiful bridges, a lovely even flowing river populated all day by canoeists and scullists ( not sure a Scullist is a word). The river is the Mondego, the banks are populated by students running, socialising and being students (and quite a few of the groups we heard were speaking almost exclusively in English). this river is a Portuguese natural national treasure.
Lovely Buildings

Botanic Gardens

Dotted between the modern bits of city and the old classical city are some very old village parts that must have sat outside the city limits in its early years and have just been swallowed ... that they have survived at all is a miracle.

Another Lump of Aqueduct
Botanical Models in the Institute of Botanical Studies

View from the Courtyard

Almost Art
In the central high core of the city there are streets and alleyways barely shoulder width apart, and the entire town is flanked by hills and conifer plantation. If I have gripe with the city it’s the number of religious icon shops in the centre, gaudy china effigies of Jesus and Mary, Chalices, and all sorts of other god bothering kit.
Trivia factoid: Coimbra university library and the student uniforms were the inspiration for JK Rowling’s image of Hogwarts. Coimbra is a fabulous visit, and this is gong to become boring and repetitive: Portugal is not on the Algarve, its inland.

Bridge into the City
Village in a City

Just Outside of Town Round the First Bend of the River

New Road Viaduct being Constructed
On the Way to Pont das Tres Entradas

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