Coimbra has sucked me in. I was trying not to like it because of the literal uphill battle...check out the hill we climbed today to visit the University.
View from our apartment - University Tower in the distance
It's hard not to love everything about this town. The people are gregarious and kind. Our AirBnB host could not meet us himself yesterday so he sent his friend, Jose, who picked us up at the train station and insisted on carrying my bags, talked nonstop, recommended great restaurants, and generally was the MOST charming human you could imagine. Last night on the square there was an incredible FESTA DO TRAJE - a folklore music, costume, and dance party starting at 10:30 pm.
I loved the image of the musician preparing to perform
Today we made our way - slowly - to the upper part of town to explore the University of Coimbra. As we passed through the Iron Gate and on to the Old University Courtyard the vista below was truly breathtaking. The countryside reminds me so much of Tuscany...without the high wine prices. I purchased a very drinkable Douro Valley White at the supermarket last night for about 2 Euros. That's for a bottle.
I can't imagine what it must be like to be a student at the University of Coimbra and be surrounded by such regal beauty every day. They wear long black robes and formal clothing, and each academic pursuit is represented by a different color of ribbon used as an accent and to bind together their books. It was fun to witness a group of graduates take a picture this afternoon while madly waving their ribbons. As soon as the pic was snapped many retreated to the shade of the nearest tree and lit up a smoke!
After our University visit we stumbled (literally) back down to the Lower Town with a stop at the Old Cathedral to break the journey. After dinner at Dux Taberna and more sangria I'm ready for bed. Lisbon tomorrow. I hear it's even more hilly than Coimbra. Y'all say a little prayer for me.