Coimbra is a university town with one of the oldest universities in Europe. This brings a lot of tradition like the fact the students dress in academic robes for many occasions. I was in town for orientation week so I got to see a few of these. After a little wander around the city and sneaking into student only areas of the university I was very impressed with the city. Two strange/funny things followed, one was a gathering of people at 10pm at night that turned into a running race and the other was my assumption that the large cupola on a building on top of a hill belonged to a cathedral (apparently it’s actually a prison – whoops!)
Next city on this list was Lisbon. There is a rivalry between Porto and Lisbon for who is the best city and I honestly couldn’t pick a winner, Lisbon was gorgeous.
A day trip to Sintra ended with me (and several hundred others) drenched from a freak downpour, but that didn’t dampen my mood. Sintra has been described as ‘Eden’ so it was a good place to be drenched.
Lisbon bought a few more exciting things including Vogue Night Out where whole streets are filled with people and stores throw open their doors to party goers and there is entertainment. Playing Cards Against Humanity with people who don’t have English as their first language was fun and on my final night we went to a Salsa bar in Barrio Alto and stayed up late drinking Mojitos and dancing. There was a father and his young son there (around 7/8 years old), apparently this is normal for Portugal – pretty different than when I was growing up and getting to stay up until after Shorthand Street was a treat!
Next up is a speedy 5 days in 4 Spanish cities before I head to Valencia to meet up with Liz for belated birthday celebrations. (Liz and I are birthday twins – along with Prince Harry. We are both hoping he will come along too).