Continuing the cross Portugal road trip, my mates and I headed out of Porto in the north of Portugal towards Lisbon, the capital city. After a couple of stops along the way, around lunch time, we came upon the city of Coimbra. At the outset it looked like a quaint little town, but as I found out when I looked it up later, it is actually quite a bustling little city and home to one of the oldest universities in Europe.
We looked around for a place to park and were trying to find a spot that wasn’t going to charge us by the hour. After driving around for a bit, we chanced upon a free parking lot right on the waterfront in the city centre. If you’re ever doing the Lisbon-Porto route by road, make sure you put in a pit stop at Coimbra. It’s worth it just for the ambience. The sight of bright sunshine shimmering on the surface of the slow moving Mondego River, set against the back drop of Portuguese architecture on the opposite bank is something else!
Even in the scorching mid-day sun, the locals and few tourists that we saw sauntered about as if they had not a care in the world. Table umbrellas and outdoor seating everywhere. With our stomach’s grumbling we looked around for a place to eat. Just off the main street that ends in a square of sorts, we came across a rabbit warren of narrow lanes with scores of little shops lining them. Quite a few of them were closed.. maybe for the afternoon siesta? (or maybe they were just lazy ) Someone new to the city could easily get lost in there, so we made sure we stuck together. It was a relief to step out of the hot overhead sun, even if just for a bit.
Walking around the labyrinth we came across a restaurant called “Restaurante Febres Indiano”. Curious as to what it was (surely not a curry house in the city centre of an off-beat Portuguese town?!) we had a peep inside. The yummy curry smell that wafted its way into our noses meant we just had to get our hands on the source. The place was very busy and appeared to be family run with the father, daughter and brothers all going about their work. I had a chat with the Indian owner of the place while they were preparing our meal and he had to rush off to collect monies from the folks sat outside in the middle of our conversation. Here’s a little video clip of the inside of the place… and then a little special right at the end
There you go! So now if you are ever on a road trip of Portugal, or even just visiting Porto or Lisbon, get yourself a set of wheels and some friends, and drive down to Coimbra for the day. We would have stayed the night if we could, but had paid reservations waiting for us in Lisbon so had to leave after lunch. If you like this post, tell your friends and followers about it using the buttons below or to the left of this page. Have you been to Coimbra or ever had an experience like this one in your travels, where you discovered something slightly out of place, and found it to be awesome? Do put in a comment below and tell me about it!