There’s an old Portuguese saying that goes something like: “Lisbon plays, Braga prays, Porto works and Coimbra studies”. T and J aren’t sure how much studying actually goes on in Coimbra but the city certainly has the oldest and most famous university in Portugal.
Coimbra is a medieval city once occupied by the Romans, of course, and was the capital of Portugal from 1131 to 1255. The University of Coimbra was established in 1290 and its buildings became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2013. Today, the university has about 20,000 students. This is a good thing because the downtown economy is obviously on the slide with lots of empty retail spaces whose former businesses have given way to a couple of new shopping malls a few miles away.
This was the second visit to Coimbra for our two wandering wastrels and even though the early-January weather was off and on, exploring the Roman ruins and digging the Coimbra style of Fado (the Portuguese blues) made the trip fun.