The heart of Lusitania
19 June 2016
Today is Fathers’ Day – and I got a call from both of my boys…..YEAAH!
Once again, a hot start to a hot day. I had lost sight of all yellow arrows as I came into Condeixa-a-Nova. Finding them again, as I had used maps to plan my route and which did not seem to correspond with the route makers, was quite difficult. It was not until I reached Casconhas after almost 45 minutes of searching did I join them for certain.
The route today was along short lengths of tracks between outer suburbs. Some nicely kept churches and Pastelarias. I stopped for breakfast in one and felt quite the outsider. The place was full of families. Sunday breakfast seems to be a family event.
The route was urban for the most part. Beautiful gardens and exquisite Bougainvillea.
High point (metaphorically) was going into Queen/Saint Isabella’s palace. This year marks 500 years since her beatification. I am not into the sainthood ideals, but she does seem to have been a good monarch, and is the patron saint of Coimbra.
Today’s route also taught me a little about the original heartland of Portugal – Lusitania. I met some people today who are very proud of this heritage. However that brings me to what looks a very sad fate for an old edifice. Just after Cruz dos Morouços, the Camino crosses then follows the main N1 highway. In its building, an old aqueduct was blocking its route – and so the aqueduct was destroyed. I do not think it is Roman – probably 16~18 century from its stonework, but it had its heritage. Luckily Coimbra guards many other artifacts – including a true Roman aqueduct well.
Coimbra is a beautiful, bright and vibrant university town. Old buildings, new bridges and lots of people enjoying the sunny 30°C afternoon. Sadly – no Fado music in the street this time.
One thing to note – The few Portuguese people who know about the Brexit campaign seem as equally divided in opinion as the British. I have seen a lot of posters in Portugal saying that Portugal has had enough of both the EU and the Euro. If Britain votes ‘out’ this week, I suspect other countries may soon be demanding their own referendum.
I walked around the many alleys and little hidden ‘praças’. Tiny little bars in tiny little streets where I sat in the shade for a bowl of the ubiquitous soup that seems to be part of the diet here.
Tomorrow I have to wait for the shops to open in order to buy an electrical adaptor (I have left mine in Condeixa-a-Nova)….