on the banks of the Mondego river,Coimbra is crowned by
the university buildings perched atop Aláçova hill. The
city´s foundations go back into misty prehistory, but it
became Roman Aeminium before taking the name Coimbra
from the Roman settlement of Conimbriga close by.
of city life is highly charged whilst the students are in
residence, with something going on somewhere almost all
the time. Outside term time a much quieter ambience
prevails. The usual form of lodging, which has survived
down the centuries, is in repúblicas, where a group of
students share furnished accommodation.
Coimbra’s greatest contribution to
traditional folk music is the soulful and expressive
musical art form, Fado. This style of singing is an
instinctive expression, which springs from the soul in the
form of a lament about love, longing, life, etc., and a
lone voice can often be heard winging through the night.
Approaching Coimbra from the Santa Clara side of the
Mondego river, across the bridge of the same name, affords
the best overall view of the old city. What remains of the
city’s medieval past clings tenaciously to the steep
gradients below. Walking is the
only way to absorb the sights and sounds of this
fascinating city. Evening, especially, can be very
atmospheric and a different experience again from a
daytime jaunt over the same ground. Distance is not a
problem, as the centre is fairly compact, but the steep
inclines may be a deterrent to some. To the right of Largo
de Portagem is the helpful Turismo, who supply a good map
and can advise on other hotels and residencials
close by. Artesanato (craft) shops lining the way
provide plenty of excuse for stops on upward haul.
Coimbra are still wonderful cities like: Figueira da Foz,
Conimbriga, Curia, Montemor-o-velho...it is well worthy to
stay here and visit all this area for five to six days.
Don’t miss it out!