Day 13: Lucky Coimbra


Day 13

Date: Sunday, Sep 18, 2016
Start: Rabacal
Stop: Hotel Oslo, Coimbra     👍
Dist (Day/Total): 31/257 km
High Temp: 28 C/82 F

A single thumbs up or down is simply an indication of whether I would stay there again or not.  It is not a recommendation.  A double thumbs up or down indicates that the place was great and I highly recommend it or absolutely awful and stay away.

Started at 6 am.  Another couple (he’s Swiss & she’s from Estonia) started at the same time.  Saw them several times today on the trail.  A lot of loose dogs, today.  Loose dogs and drivers have been the biggest threat on this trip.  More on drivers later but, up until today, the dogs have usually been behind walls, gates or tied up in yards.  But this reminds me of that one time . . .  It was the same day as my best meal of the trip (Day 4).  I’m coming up to a Y and there is a house on the crook of the Y.  There is a short wall and I can see a dog chained up in the yard.  He is barking and going nuts.  Not big but very aggressive.  But, hey, he’s chained up, so, it’s all good.  The gate is on the corner and it is open.  I continue on down the leg of the Y and the dog has not stopped barking.  I suddenly hear an unexpected sound.  Chain on asphalt.  I turn around and here’s this dog running full speed towards me dragging this long, very thick chain.  I hold up my arms with my trekking poles to look as big as possible and he stops about 10-12 ft from me.  He keeps on growling and I start backing up and he walks towards me.  We continue this slow dance for a few feet and eventually, having driven this monster from his doorstep, he turns around and trots back home satisfied.

On Day 12, I posted a picture of a rare occurrence –  the caminho as a dirt path.  Most of the time it is on asphalt or stone road.  Here’s an example, although a shoulder is a luxury. And that’s a Roman aqueduct. 

 

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Coimbra, Portugal

I get to the outskirts of Coimbra at around noon but it takes another hour to get to the center of town.  Coimbra is a pretty big town, nearly 150,000 people with a lot of tourists who are drawn by the various Roman structures/ruins in and near the town and the University of Coimbra established in the 13th century.  Another claim to fame are the red roofs that you can see in the distance in this picture.  This was a really beautiful town and I’m kicking myself for not having taken more pictures.  I ended up spending only one night but if I had to do it over again, I would spend another night in Coimbra.  And if I ever visit Portugal again, I’d definitely return.

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Mondego River, Coimbra

The town center is just across the Mondego River and before I cross over I stop at a Kebab shop for lunch.  The food was meh but the guy working the counter was from Pakistan and had been in the country for only a few months.  He spoke perfect English and I had an interesting but short conversation.  I assumed he was there to attend the university but he wasn’t.  I was curious how he had ended up in Portugal but he hesitated, looked around furtively and whispered that it was a sensitive subject.

Knowing it was a tourist town, I had made a reservation at the Hotel Oslo.  For some reason I stopped recording the cost of the room and can’t remember what it was.  The room was tiny but very nice; functional and clean.  It is over a busy street and can get loud; probably even more so on weekends.  On the plus side it has a great rooftop bar.

I do laundry, explore the town center.  Packed with tourists.  For dinner, I have pizza at an Italian restaurant on the river.  And wrap up the day with a beer on rooftop bar at my hotel.

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Rooftop Bar Hotel Oslo, Coimbra
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Rooftop Bar, Hotel Oslo, Coimbra
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