Day 12: And More Automobiles

Community Highlights Europe Day 12: And More Automobiles

After our initial rendezvous in Porto we are ready out to other points in Portugal. After a quick breakfast we walked to the nearby rental car office and picked up our car. We had to change the reservation as I didn’t have a drivers license (no wallet) so Crystal switched everything to her name. Back at the hotel we loaded the bike and bike gear first and had plenty of room for the luggage. I didn’t take the bike apart as that was too much work. I took the wheels off and put them in the bike case. The. Bike frame fit in the car with the other luggage around it.

I should mention that it has been raining all morning and that is the forecast for the day. As such we decided to head up to Braganca an pick up my wallet so that we are not worrying about how the hotel will get it to us later. We hard already planned on dong a couple hours of driving today anyway. This will more than double that, but it will be worth it to have this taken care of. We cruised along the expressway and enjoyed the countryside when we could see it. As I said it was a seriously rainy day with some very heavy fog.


It is funny that the clearest weather was when were were near Braganca. The owner of the hotel was very nice and gave me the wallet and let me show Crystal around. When staying here a day ago, I kept telling I’m how much my wife would enjoy it. Little did I know that I would be taking her here so soon.


The drive from Braganca to Coimbra was mostly rain and fog—again not missing much by being in the car today. When we got to Coimbra and our hotel, which is on the outskirts of the city, it is was raining pretty hard and we were quite wet by the time we got the luggage unloaded and in the hotel. Edgar, the hotel manager, got us checked in, gave detailed information about the city, and gave us a guided tour of the house and family history. All of which was interesting, but we were pretty ready to just get to our room and collapse.

That said, the guesthouse has an interesting history. It is the family home of the Oryza’s which was built over a hundred years ago and restored to around that time. They were large rice farmers—this area is the center of rice farming in Portugal. The house is old and charming—so that also means a little quirky,


By the time we got in our room and got some things unpacked it had almost stopped raining so we headed to town. Before we took off we had Edgar make reservations for a Fado concert in the center of town. I had done some research and wanted to go to a concert of this very Portuguese musical form. There are different types of Fado and Coimbra, is famous for a more lyrical, romantic, slower form of fado than than of Lisbon.
The concert was at 7:00 s we had some time to kill and walked the center of the heart of town and did some window shopping and had a snack in a cafe. Crystal can’t pass up a pastel de nata (portuguese custard tart) and I got an orange cake (barely visible in the photo).


The concert was very interesting. The guitarists we so serious—never smiling always somber. The singers were very intense and emotional. The music was very interesting as the program covered music from different periods and included vocal as well as instrumental. All the musicians were very good but I did love the guy playing the Combrian guitar Having said that the vocals were excellent Neither of the two singers were professional musicians. The one was an electrical engineering student at the University here—the second oldest university in all of Europe. Coimbrian fado has a long history with students as there is a tradition of students wooing girls with romantic songs.



After this feast for the ears and heart, it was time to feed our stomachs. All we had to eat today were some chips, sandwich, cookies and sodas from a gas station rest stop. The restaurant we chose for dinner had a large menu of tradition Portuguese food—cod fixed many different ways. We started off with some bread and cheese and then chose a different Portuguese staple—shrimp and rice. Seemed appropriate given we are in the rice capital. It was such a great choice—delicious. The food comes in such large portions that we decided to split it. The huge kettle of food was so big that we still didn’t eat all of it—but it was so good.


Although we had to adapt our plans a little, were were able to get to Coimbra as we work our way to Lisbon. The extra time in the automobile allowed Crystal and I to catch up, and we both had quite a bit to share from the past week apart.

This featured blog entry was written by guylch75 from the blog Pedaling Portugal.
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By guylch75

Posted Sun, May 05, 2024 | Comments