Now Thats Better

Trip Start Mar 01, 2005
Trip End Jan 01, 2006

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Flag of Portugal  ,
Monday, September 19, 2005

Hello from Coimbra. Just finally got around to sending this out to the family, so I hope you guys like reading it. Canīt remember what I said in my previous ones, but I hope itīs all good stuff. Hopefully I will stick to this and keep updating as much as I can.

Left Porto yesterday on the train with a Scottish guy I met at the hostel. I got off in Coimbra and he went on to Lisbon. It was nice to have someone with me just in case I messed up or something. So I got to Coimbra and had no map or really anything with me to get me to the hostel. The paragraph on Coimbra in the pages of my guidebook I had with me said go 50m. south of the train station to the Astoria Hotel and catch bus #7 to the hostel. Good enough. Now which way is south??? Found the hotel, got on the bus, sort of knew where to get off, and made it to the hostel by 2pm. My backpack is way to heavy so I was relieved to get it off only to find that the reception/hostel is closed from 12-6. Ahh! So I went in search of some food and found a cafe where I sat for a few hours. The weather has been perfect the whole time so far. Really hot. My sun burn still really hurts. Got back to the hostel for 6, got settled, found this internet cafe which is great, and then had some supper around 9pm. Then I walked back to the hostel. It was completely dark out, but I felt totally safe. Itīs a good city that way. People are all friendly, and the men totally ignore you. Another world from Porto in that sense. So today, I was off to explore. Not really many sights in the city. Lots of churches, and the oldest university in Portugal. Libraby was amazing! 30,000 books on display in this amazing building built in 1728. All the book are from 16/17 century and mostly Latin. Donated from monasteries, the Jesuits collection when they were driven out of Portugal, and many others. The indoors is all gold-leafed with Chinese motifs. Apparently influenced by the trading that Portugal did back in the day with China, the exploration, and when Portugal was gifted Macau by China many years ago. Portugal apparently had a lot of colonies in Asia centuries ago, so that was intersting to learn. The founding monarch Joao Vī personal collection. 3,000,000 in total. It was like out of a movie. Then I just walked around all day. Winding street, staircases, churches hidden in little squares. Quite cute. Found a nice little restaurant for lunch and had Bacalhau e/nates, pao, and vinho casa. It was so yummy. Cod and potatoes in a cream sauce, with bread, and white house wine. Cafes everywhere in every alley way. 31C today when I checked. Nuts, it didnt feel that hot. So I am off to Leiria tomorrow morning. Sounds like a cool place. Write more later!!
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