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Published: February 2nd 2022
Since Dave, Merry Jo and I were not catching a flight or train, we were among the last of the passengers to disembark the ship. After lingering over coffee, and saying goodbye to the crew, we were taken to the rental car center at the airport, where we sat, and sat, and sat outdoors in the gloom waiting for our rental. Soon, we were on our way out of Porto driving the somewhat bland countryside. Before we left Lisbon, we had changed our plans and decided to visit the ancient city of Coimbra rather than spend another night in Porto. It was a great plan, and we were all excited to stretch our traveler legs again after such a pampered time on the cruise.
With Siri as our guide, Dave did the driving while I was in the navigator’s seat. Merry Jo kept us both in line from the backseat. The roads are great in Portugal; however, the scenery was fairly monotonous. After a truly spectacular parking performance by Dave, we checked into our hotel and headed out in the sunny day to explore Coimbra. First up was a very nice lunch at a sidewalk café, after which we walked
the long, historic street to people watch. I was on the lookout for a supplemental suitcase. My plan of discarding old clothing to free up space and weight in my suitcase had hit a snag. The equilibrium was way off, so I needed to move some items into a new case in order to squeak under the airline weight limit. I was able to find a backpack that would work.
In the evening, we went to the rooftop bar for some beers and a truly stunning view of the university. We laughed and talked and had a remarkable time. Dinner was one floor down in the restaurant, and although not a fancy place, was just what we wanted. Now, perhaps I shouldn’t admit this, but I am going to. I did not take a picture of my dinner, and for the life of me, I can’t remember what I had. Seriously, it has only been a couple of months, and although I remember sitting there talking and eating, I can’t think of what I had. Either I am getting older, or this dinner was not remarkable in either a good or bad way. Overall, for the first day of
free-range touring, today was a success, and I was excited to see what my last day in Portugal would hold.
Although we had waffled on whether to visit the university and its famous library, we decided to stay to visit it. And yes, it was worth it. Heck, it was worth the long, winding hike up to the top of the hill to get to the university where the library dates to the 18th
century. As someone who loves books, this was a great place to see. The main floor is straight out of a movie with heavy wood, soaring ceilings, massive furniture and a dark hush that speaks of reverence. It was almost jarring when we exited into the sun filled courtyard with the bustle of a Sunday afternoon.
The trip down the hill was much easier and soon we were on the road to Nazare, a seaside village renowned for its huge waves and surfing competition. Walking along the coast, was pleasant. There is something about the air and breeze along the ocean that I cannot get enough of. I have been to Half Moon Bay, California, where the Mavericks surfing competition takes place, so enjoyed
seeing this. No, I don’t surf, (good grief, can you picture that??) nor do I watch surfing. I do, however, enjoy watching the waves even if they weren’t huge when I visited. We worked very hard to find a lunch restaurant that we felt had the right vibe for us. At one place, we were seated when we decided that it was too stuffy. And it was. None of us felt the mojo that we wanted, so we left and walked the streets until we found a sidewalk café crowed with tables and a more rough and tumble feel to it. This was a good decision. The food was good, there were French fries, the beer hit the spot and we were happy.
Packing as much as possible into my last day of vacation, we were soon off towards Obidos, yet another ancient city, but this one was a walled city. Obidos is perched on top of a tall hill with stunning views. The drive up there was not easy, and at one point we had to stop while the car in front of us struggled. This would come back to haunt us later in the evening in the
form of a flat tire. Blissfully unaware of that, we toured the town. I climbed to the top of the wall, but even Brenno wasn’t going to walk around on the top. The town was all about tourists, which we were, but we weren’t looking for more souvenirs. We bought wine, some nuts and supplies to have a picnic at the B&B they had booked. It was a nice afternoon in a UNESCO town, and gentle way to ease into the notion that within 24 hours, I would be strapped in at 30,000+ feet. Ugh. The flight home from vacation is simply the worst in my opinion.
Ready to have a nice impromptu picnic at the B&B, we loaded into the car and took off down the hill. Not far into the journey, it became evident that something was wrong. Pulling off the road, we saw that the front passenger tire was not merely flat, but the side of it was shredded. When we tried to head up the hill after the car in front of us had stopped, it blew out the side wall. No worries, we thought, Dave and I are strapping young men, we could fix
The steep ramps down to the parking spaces were intense
this. Had there been a spare tire, I have no doubt that we would have. With no spare tire, we were stranded. Merry Jo worked the phone and was able to reach the rental company who sent a taxi for us. It was an unexpected bump in the evening, but as often happens in traveling, these things happen. I think that Merry Jo and Dave were sadder than I was. They had planned a special evening with wine and snacks as we watched the sunset one last time together on this trip. Unfortunately, we watched the sun set as we tried to find the B&B. The directions were not very good, and I am not lying when I say that the taxi driver was so over us by this time, he basically dumped us in front of the place and took off.
I spent most of the evening trying to get in touch with the driver I had hired to take me to the Lisbon airport. My flight was at 6, so I had an early pick up. Brenno was frazzled, Brenno was stressed, but Brenno had good friends to calm him down and offer him wine. All was
good, and Brenno was happy. It may not have been the evening that we had planned, but it was nice to spend it with my friends and celebrate another wonderful trip together. Was it too soon to start planning our next trip? Not by a long stretch. If all goes as planned, we shall be visiting the Galapagos Islands in the future. We shall see. Until then, I have memories of an epic time in Portugal.
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Another great trip!
Hi B, looks like you got another great trip in the books. Great travel companions, great pictures and great memories. Glad you are able to get away and enjoy it all!
D MJ Binkley
Dave and Merry Jo Binkley
There is always more!!
Dave here.....great times my friend!
And still more to come. Can't wait to see there the next adventure will be.
D MJ Binkley
Dave and Merry Jo Binkley
Portugal is a great memory!
I'm so glad we flexed our ability to cancel reservations and head to Coimbra. What a lovely town it turned out to be. The sunset over the city was special. I'm glad we took in the the library before leaving. It was a treasure. Nazarre was worth a stop. Oh... the sad memories of Obidos and your last night. Flat tires never happen at a good time. It was a joy being with travel Brenno once again.! MJ
So Very True
All good memories. We had such a great time, and even the bump in the road was fun, because we made it so.
End of a Trip
I have very much enjoyed following along with you on your amazing journey through Portugal Brendan. It seems like you had an amazing adventure, with great sightseeing, company and food. What more could one wish for?! Sorry to read that your last day was more stressful than it should have been, that can't have been nice and would have gotten me rather stressed too. Glad the wine helped you to relax, and I imagine you still have the very fond memories to look back on. Ah, the Galapagos! I'm really looking forward to reading about your travels there - I had just an amazing time there in the summer of 2019. Very very magical islands ?
Very Good Memories
I am so glad that you followed along on this trip. I love how each trip is unique and has the amazing highs as well as a few stressful lows to make them real.