Day 10 – Cernache to Coimbra – 12km/7.45 miles
Today was a pseudo rest day to allow time to explore Coimbra since we arrived around 10am. It also allows us to get on a good schedule to reach Porto on Saturday afternoon as well. Even though the walk was short, it definitely had a lot of elevation so it was surprisingly tough. The views of entering Coimbra were worth it though! The city prominently stands on top of a mountain with the University standing on the top. Crossing the bridge into town was impressive with the city towering above you. The University was a built in 1290 on top of an old palace and is now a UNESCO heritage site while still having an attendance of about 20 thousand students. It was interesting to walk through the campus since it feels more like a museum than school. The robes the students have to wear inspired J.K. Rowling for Harry Potter while she was living in Portugal!
The city is built on a very steep mountainside so if you decide to take the stairs and cut the corners on the streets, it is basically straight up with one foot steps. We did this with backpacks on! Our hostel is located right behind the cathedral which is one of the oldest buildings in the city. The city was the original capital of Portugal before Lisbon took over. Many of the medieval buildings and aqueducts are still standing so many tourists come for those as well as the University. After some time to relax we met up for an Italian dinner and drinks along the river before finally getting to bed at the late hour of 9.