The Long Bus Ride to Coimbra, Portugal
Leaving such a beautiful place as Santiago de Compestela was not easy this morning, The garden where we had breakfast is such a pleasant place with flowers, grape arbors, a fountain, and little tables tucked away into alcoves in the stone wall. David took a walk down to the cathedral and saw many of the pilgrims arriving celebrating the end of their journey.
Today we took a long bus ride to Coimbra, an ancient university town in Portugal. Our bus was spacious with air conditioning and everyone was able to have two seats to themselves. At first it was very quiet, but as the trip progressed everyone began to feel as if they were among friends. We met a young German woman, Caterina, who was a Spanish and French teacher in Germany. We swapped teaching and travel stories. "I heard you speaking Spanish with someone on the bus," she said. Suddenly I felt shy. The truth is I graduated from college with a teaching degree in Spanish, but other than when we are in Spain, I don't usually have a chance to practice it. This was a missed opportunity for me, but we enjoyed our conversation in English. Other people on the bus were interesting too. Out of the blue, a woman appeared in front of us, unplugged Caterina's iPhone and plugged her own in. She shook her head in dismay and moved on. Every time an announcement was made in Portuguese another man called out, "Translation please!" All these different people made the trip even more fun.
It is brutally hot in Coimbra with the temperature over 100 degrees. We arrived in the late afternoon and discovered a roof top cafe with incredible views of the city. Before us the city rose up on the hill like a movie set with the university at the top.
Dinner tonight was in an old world Italian restaurant serving delicious crispy pizza. While walking around the town square, a parade of over 50 accordions marched down the street with people following behind. We're tired from the long bus ride so look forward to exploring tomorrow.