Excursion · Travel

A Trip to Portugal – Coimbra

Welcome back to my little corner of the internet!

In my last post, we went on a few day trips from Porto. You can check it out here. Now it is time to leave the Northern part of Portugal and drive to the centre and Lisbon. On our road to Lisbon, which is like a 3-hour drive from Porto, we decided to stop in Coimbra and check out this medieval university town with the oldest library of Portugal.

We parked next to the market, checked out the offered produce and walked the narrow cobbled streets of Coimbra. From the main square, we climbed up to the university.

street of Coimbra

Almost up, we enjoyed the pretty view on the river.

coimbra view

Once we reach the university, we are thrown back in time. The semester had already started, so we could see students hurrying from one building to the other. We got ourselves the tickets and visited the chambers and studies of old. Next up, we went into the chapel of São Miguel.

organ chapel of São Miguel

Upon buying your ticket, you also get the time for the visit of the library. You are supposed to be at the entrance some time before your scheduled entrance. Only small groups are let in and you can only stay inside for about 10 minutes. No photographs or videos are allowed inside.

When going in, first you go through the modern library and stop at the Japanese section, as Coimbra was the centre for Japanese studies. In the past, Jesuit missionaries would learn Japanese before being sent over seas to Japan.

Japanese books

Then the doors open and we are let into the library. Although neither the oldest in the world nor with the oldest books, it is an impressive library. The most impressive part is that a colony of bats has been inhabiting the library for centuries. They take care of eating potential bugs and function as pest control.

Photo from Tripadvisor.com

Since we are in a town filled with university students, we enter a busy restaurant, filled with students and professors and order a huge plate of fried calamari for only 5€!

calamari in coimbra

Now it is time we got back to our car and continued to Lisbon.

Do you like old libraries? Let me know in the comments below.

[To be continued…]

Love,

Raffi

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