Rabacal – Coimbra

4 April 2018

29.2km (for Berto – walking)

0.0km (for me – bus day)

It’s (another) rainy day:

As for the weather, nothing changed overnight. It rained again throughout the night and when Berto and the Finnish couple left Hostel O Bonito, it was still raining … 🌧 🌧

It may be my imagination, but my ankle looks a little less swollen this morning. It’s possible that the antihistamine is doing its job as well as the fact that I haven’t walked long distances in the past few days.

It was again with mixed feelings that I didn’t walk today with Berto. Today’s terrain follows part of an original Roman road and I would have loved to walk this stretch. But then again, in this rain, the bus ride to Coimbra sounded more comfortable!

I took my time, enjoyed a hot shower and then packed all my things into my backpack. When I walked into the café, our fellow Italian pilgrim invited me to have coffee with him. He decided to take the bus to Coimbra as well (he was definitely not a fan of walking in the rain).

At exactly 9:30 the bus stopped opposite the café and at €3.50 per person the Italian and I boarded to find our way to Coimbra.

Photos from the walk:

Meanwhile Berto and the Finns were walking in pouring rain which meant it was again almost impossible to take pictures. Near Coimbra the rain stopped (temporarily) and Berto was able to take a few photos.

On the way to Coimbra


The first view of Coimbra at Cruz dos Mourocos (highest point of the day at 225m)

My bus ride:

In Cernache (half way to Coimbra) our bus stopped and everyone got off the bus. The Italian and I were a bit confused about this – we wanted to go to Coimbra. The bus driver explained something about “another bus” … so together with the rest of the passengers we waited in the pouring rain for the next bus. Fortunately, 10 minutes later, another bus appeared and we were back on track.


At Coimbra – the bridge over the mighty Mondego River

Arrival in Coimbra:

Coimbra is a beautiful city! If it weren’t for the constant rain and my swollen ankle limiting my walking, I would surely have taken time to explore the city.

However, when I got off the bus, a heavy downpour came down and I had to run to the nearest café for shelter … meaning it was coffee and pastel de nata time! Who will complain about that?


What would I do without the delicious Pastel de nata?

I asked the lady at the cafe counter for directions to our accommodation for the evening, Olive Street House. But after her explanation of: “You turn left, you turn right and left and on …”, she lost me! My trusty GPS on my cell phone should have guided me to Olive Street House!

Accommodation – Coimbra:

Olive Street House

Walking in the rain and trying to follow directions on my cell phone at the same time wasn’t the easiest thing to do, but at 1pm even I was surprised when I arrived right in front of our accommodation’s door! Once again we were lucky to get a double bed room with our own soft towels!


Our room at Olive Street House

I sent Berto a message on my cell phone that I had arrived in Coimbra, as well as directions to our accommodation. He and the Finnish couple were still about 15km from Coimbra at that time.


The couple from Finland we met 3 days ago in Alvaiazere – Timo and his wife

Friendly advice from a pharmacist:

I decided to pay a visit to the local pharmacy to get another opinion on my ankle. The pharmacist was very friendly and helpful and invited me to sit in the back of the pharmacy where she could take a good look at my ankle. She confirmed my suspicion of an allergic reaction to an insect bite and told me to continue with the antihistamine.

When she heard I wanted to continue my Camino, she suggested I put an ankle brace on my swollen foot and try walking with hiking sandals. She helped me find the right ankle brace and I put it on right there in the pharmacy. It just felt better immediately when I started walking. I will be forever grateful to this pharmacist for helping me continue my Camino!

It was still raining when I walked out of the pharmacy. In the square Largo da Portagem I smelled something good. After following my nose, I came to a restaurant that served the most delicious soup! For just €1.50 I enjoyed a tasty bowl of soup – how lucky can one be!


Soup on a rainy day in Coimbra

Berto and the Finns arrived just after 14:00. Although soaking wet, they were lucky to walk the last 10km without heavy rain. After Berto took a shower, I convinced him to walk a few more kilometers with me to look for hiking sandals. On our way to the outdoor sports shop, we had the chance to see the beauty of Coimbra. And for a wonderful moment, we had no rain!


Walking through Coimbra – looking for hiking sandals

Finding hiking sandals:

When we arrived at the place where the outdoor shop was supposed to be, we were to learn that the shop had closed permanently! So we just walked 5km and there was no shop to be found! But I was determined that I had to get hiking sandals or my Camino was over. After walking around, we saw a shopping center and decided to go there to look for a shoe store. There wasn’t a huge selection, but I found hiking sandals that will hopefully help me walk the Camino further!


My new hiking sandals – now I’m ready to walk the Camino again

Berto decided that it was unnecessary to walk back to our hostel while there were buses available! So, with the help of some young people, we found the right bus and soon we were on our way back to the square Largo da Portagem where our hostel was.

Back at the hostel, the receptionist gave me a bucket of cold water and salt – she was convinced that it might help reduce the swelling in my ankle.

These last few days I thoroughly experienced the goodness of people on our Camino. What a blessing to receive such warmth and care from total strangers!

We ended our day with a light meal in one of the street cafés before going to bed … tomorrow I’ll be back on my feet!


The Camino sign on the road in Coimbra – showing us the way

Click here for Day 10 …


6 thoughts on “CAMINO PORTUGUESE – DAY 9

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