We left the camp and headed south-west to Coimbra with the help of Nexy’s GPS. After finding a parking surprisingly near the centre of Coimbra without knowing where we are, we were ready for the sights in the heat.
Starting at the Praça 8 de Mayo, the beautiful Igreja de Santa Cruz gave us a taste of what’s ahead in the town. After climbing some back-breaking stairs we found the super-stunning old cathedral.
The real gem of Ciombra however lies in its old university, and we spared no expense in getting around the place, including the exquisite library and even academic prison (which is exactly what it sounds like). Our guidebook says:
The Old University consists of a series of remarkable 16th- to 18th-century buildings all set around the vast Patio das Escolas. In the square is a statue of João III – it was he who re-established the university in Coimbra in 1537. The square’s most prominent feature is the18th-cenury clock tower. From the courtyard gate there is a staircase to the rather grand Sala dos Capelos (Graduates’ Hall), a former examination room hung with dark portraits of Portugal’s kings, and heavy quilt-like decoration. However, all else pales before the Biblioteca Joanina (João V library) from early 18thcentury. It seems too extravagant and distracting for study with its rosewood, ebony and jacaranda tables, elaborately frescoed ceilings and gilt chinoiserie bookshelves.
Coimbra university is another UNESCO World Heritage site, read about it here.
Afterwards, almost dropping dead from the heat, we had a great lunch downtown, including a mango mousse for Gina. We’ve been eating magnificently on this trip so far.
We decided not to linger around Coimbra but push for the coast for the night. Nearest place we found was Figuera da Foz with a campsite right on a vast and awesome beach where we saw the sunset, then had a couple of drinks in the camp bar while charging Nexy, and wearily dropped down in our great tent (Stinky II).