I slept so well last night. The bed was nice, but the temperature was just right! It was a beautiful night so we slept with the windows open instead of the AC. We went to breakfast and it was buffet style again. It was set up very nicely and had lots to choose from. It even had french toast (according to them, “The best french toast in the world.”)! it should be said, it was NOT the best french toast in the world, it was too eggy. I think they put break on a baking sheet and cover it in egg and bake it. Its very soggy and wasnt enjoyable. I did enjoy some granola and yogurt and of course cheese! We also decided to try the “Royal Cake” pastry. I didnt care for it. It was almond and fig leaf, but one of the spices in it made it taste horrible to me. Chris enjoyed it, but we didnt finish it.
After breakfast we went for a walk around the grounds. We discussed our plans for the day – heading to the new walking bridge I saw on the Today show, heading to a monastery turned nature park and then onto Coimbra. The monastery would be removed if we ran out of time. However, when I went to google the 518 bridge, there was a message about how you needed a TICKET! A month ago when I looked, it said nothing about appointments or tickets or anything – I mean, its a bridge! But sadly when I went to look at tickets, I found out that the earliest ticket I could get was for the last day of the month, so the bridge was out!
We ended up heading right to the monastery instead. It was about an hour and a half drive from us – so off we went! You had to pay $5 to get in per car, so no big deal! We parked after figuring out which way to go and then took off to find all the stairs we had seen in pictures. We started up the hill and found the first set of stairs. However after that we got a bit lost and decided to go back down and find a map. Of course you have to pay for a map, and we didnt want to, so we took a picture of the one they had set up and started walking.
We ended up behind a group going to the same place we were, but we were also following the blue trail. Turns out the blue trail, while it looks like it goes to the fountain stairs, doesnt actually go there once you are on the trail! We all got turned around at times, but ended up at the bottom of the stairs. It looked like a natural spring route that had been tamed by humans and made to look pretty, in between a set of stairs.
We kept going up the stairs to the top and followed that path, it took us right to our car. We probably walked about 3km out of the way to get there, but its fine. We were not in any rush.
After that we headed to our final town for the trip: Coimbra. Chris drove us to the town and even managed to get a parking spot right in front of the hotel! We lucked out! We got to check in early. Once we settled in, the lady at the front desk gave us a map and showed us what to see. First stop was a church in the lower part of the town.
We stopped for lunch to get pizza (I asked for pizza before we go home since its so good in Europe!) We enjoyed some olives, pizza, water, and then we both had some lemon gelato. While we were there a family came up and they looked very interesting. The dad was tall and lanky, didnt have a shirt on, just a vest and didnt look great. He told the waitress he wasnt feeling well (and of course he wasnt wearing a mask). It was dehydration, but still, put on a mask and get away from people, in the world we live in in right now, none of us know if you are really sick or not.
Turns out this town is built on a hill (or Everest as Chris’s friend called it). One of the streets is called “back breaker” and that was very true. It was essentially an alley with stairs, a lot of them. it took us near the top of the town to the church area.
We walked around inside and then took off to the top of the city where the university is located. The front desk lady said to check out the library, Chris’s friend said to check out the library, but guess what? You need tickets. And guess what? No tickets available. Im not sure if this is a Covid thing for the tickets, or if it is always like this, but it is very disappointing.
We walked around the university and then decided to head to the pedestrian bridge the hotel had recommended taking a look at. That meant we had to get down off the mountain. We ended up finding this stair alley. It was cool, basically straight up, Im glad we were walking down, but it was still really hard! We walked over one bridge and through a park, then came back across the river on the pedestrian bridge. It had a great view of the city in the background. We had to stop for a mini photoshoot. We do it for the ‘gram.
We talked about how we hadnt gotten massages yet, so I googled some. When we got back to the hotel, we asked them to call and everyone was full. It really made me miss Thailand and the ease at which you could get a foot massage at the end of a long day!
We head for home tomorrow. Im hoping everything works out alright – and that maybe I get stuck in London for a bit. I am really dreading going back to the states where people fight over masks, guns, wars, and rights. I just want to stay in my travel bubble a bit longer.