day 12, Condeixa a Nova to Coimbra 21.5 km

It was a lot milder this morning, with little wind and a clear-ish sky. Getting out of Condeixa was a bit of a chore because we left by a different route to that by which we had entered, and it was off the camino route so there were no arrows to follow. We had to think hard about what direction to take and ended up walking along a very fast road, although it was only one lane in each direction the cars were going at a great speed. Fortunately there was a very wide shoulder to walk on and after about 1.5 km we found ourselves back at a spot that we recognised from yesterday.

We walked on paved roads for many km’s, but they were quiet country lanes passing through various villages and it was quite pleasant.

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The sun became warm and then hot quite early and we continued walking until around 11:00am (from a 6:20 am start) before we found a cafe to rest in and take a cold drink and a boots-off break.

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And then we weren’t far from our destination and as we rounded a bend we had an impressive view over the ancient city of Coimbra.

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And as we got closer I could see the great aqueduct that had been sliced in two in order to run a major road through it. What sacrilege! As we were passing alongside it I could see that the waterway had been enclosed, I would have assummed that there would be an open channel of water (not any more, of course, because it would now just flow directly onto the traffic below!

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There is a very steep descent into the city, which was quite hard on the feet and knees. Still high above the the town centre we passed the convent of Santa Clara. It is an impressive building and we went inside to take a look. The church was very decorative, with the remains of the first queen of Portugal, Santa Isabel who died in 1336 (if I remember correctly) encased in a crystal and silver tomb. But it was the cloister that took my breath away – a beautiful and peaceful area where I could happily have stayed in the cool of the arched walkways for the rest of the day.

There is a very newly opened albergue within the convent, with 8 beds for 8 euros per night. We had decided we would rather stay in the city so that we could explore without having to worry about the steep climb back to the convent and the early lock up.

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We called into the tourist information office to enquire about available inexpensive accommodation and settled upon the ‘Residencial Larbelo’. A twin room cost us 35 euros, and it is a lovely room right in the heart of the city. We have a balcony overlooking the mighty Mondego river and down onto the lively street below. Excellent value for such a very good position.

That balcony on the top floor is ours!

That balcony on the top floor is ours!

The views from our bedroom window

The views from our bedroom window

After showering we set out to discover the streets of this university city, and found that we were once again in cake heaven, although I resisted the temptation for the time being. We strolled around the narrow cobbled streets, climbing steep hills, and came across the cathedral where we were offered a carimbo for our credencials. There are lovely carvings and magnificent doorways and artworks wherever you look.

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An innovative way to recycle jeans into flower pots.

An innovative way to recycle jeans into flower pots.

We took the advice of the receptionist and had an excellent meal for next to nothing and then watched a Fado show, consisting of a guitarist, a lute player and three singers – all male. Most entertaining, except that finally late nights and early mornings are catching up with me and I felt myself nodding off during the performance. Definitely time for bed!

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About magwood

Trepidatious Traveller - camino blog is about preparing for and walking the Camino de Santiago. Many future pilgrims have found the blog useful and inspiring, and many who have no plans to walk the camino have simply enjoyed the dialogue http://www.magwood.me
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16 Responses to day 12, Condeixa a Nova to Coimbra 21.5 km

  1. David Wolfe says:

    Coimbra looks a beautiful old city, it’s good that you arrived early and were able to look around.
    The jeans as flower pots are not a good idea.
    I hope that you sleep well and feel fresh in the morning. Thanks for managing to stay awake long enough to do this post. David xx

    Like

  2. I am envious of your stamina..Coimbra looks picturesque. Hope to see more photos but then again, you do what and where your journey takes you. I’m only along for the ridel

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  3. annieh61 says:

    Don’t think I could cope with the jean flower thingys, a bit creepy. Downhills are the pits aren’t they.
    Beautiful photos again Maggie. you have such an eye. Annie x

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  4. Keith says:

    Lovely day. Hope you have had a good sleep

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  5. Jo Bryant says:

    Those jeans are so funny…what a hoot. It looks beautiful there.

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  6. Jens-Kristian Soegaard says:

    Lovely photographs! I like the close-ups a lot. All in all: Great storytelling !

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  7. Marianne says:

    Coimbra looks lovely and is not somewhere I’ve visited. You certainly got a room with a view there, Maggie 🙂

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  8. OzAnnie says:

    Hi
    These photos would appeal to a friend of mine who does art tours(including drawing) in Morocco.
    You sure have a great eye for the plant life close ups.
    I’m having trouble viewing about 3 pics including the view from your balcony, so may try coming back to this another day as may be a problem here. Thanks once again.
    Annie

    Like

  9. OzAnnie says:

    Update. All pics now fully downloaded, I must have been too impatient.
    What camera is this new wi fi one you have been using ?

    Like

    • magwood says:

      The camera is a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1. Your friend should consider coming to our area of Spain in the spring for fabulous flowers and scenery – we even get a view of North Africa on clear days.

      Like

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