60 things locals love about Coimbra

Let's start with an incendiary fact: some people living in Coimbra suffer from coimbrite. You don't know what that is? Well, it's a pathology that affects inhabitants and translates into the ability to choose to see the glass half empty and criticize (almost) everything that happens around here. We are not referring to the healthy (and necessary) exercise of questioning, demanding and striving for improvements in various areas such as urbanism, attracting investment and employment, education, sport and environment, supporting cultural activities, among others. We are just talking about those ordinary coffee conversations that inevitably end with the key phrases: Lisbon is great and Porto is awesome.

 All right, we don't question that those cities are totally trendy, bubbling with amazing events, so much that often it gives us the feeling that everything that's interesting happens there and the rest of the country is mere landscape. The daily life on the edge of Mondego is, of course, much quieter,  but it is also cheaper, with less traffic, good schools and hospitals and a phenomenal quality of life. Comparing Coimbra to Lisbon, Porto or any other city is a futile exercise. So no, we don't have the same, but we have a lot and we went to the streets and asked locals for the trivial pleasures of their daily life in the city. 

Useful

1. Be able to walk (almost) everywhere
2. Rush hour means 10-15 more minutes on the usual routes
3. Be able to easily get to Lisbon, Porto, Aveiro or Leiria
4. Stand up paddle in the river during summertime
5. Be able to easily park the car everywhere (for free or very cheap)
6. A lot of green areas
7. Be able to decide to go to the movies 10 minutes before the movie starts
8. Ride a taxi and always pay the same
9. Go to the same places over the years (laundry, pharmacy, etc) and be treated by our name by those behind the counter
10. Walk around safely at night
11. Walk through the nooks and narrow streets of the historic center 
12. Good public schools
13. Get on the bike and go around the city in 15 minutes
14. Have access to hospitals and public health services full of top professionals in all specialties
15. Still have affordable house renting 
16. Pay little to swim in municipal pools
17. Have the Mondego river at your feet 
18. Be close to the beach (ocean and river)

 

Fun

1. Walk and feed the ducks at Parque Verde 
2. Have a drink on a terrace at Portagem on a sunny day
3. Read the newspaper on the terraces of Gira
4. Contemplate the city from Penedo da Saudade
5. Take the youngest to Portugal dos Pequenitos
6. Drink a hot chocolate at Galeria Santa Clara
7. Eat a francesinha at Atenas or a bacon toast at Académico
8. Picnic at Vale de Canas or Choupal
9. Eat at José Manel dos Ossos, Nacional or restaurants at Fangas Street and Quebra Costas
10. Peek through the rooftops of Alta to the river sitting at Loggia's terrace
11. Have a hot coffee at Café Santa Cruz or by the Café TAGV's glass windows on a rainy day
12. Play with the kids at the Ludoteca, Casa da Cultura
13. Have a lemonade at Casa de Chá in Sereia Garden
14. Work at Almedina's bookstore
15. Shop at Grão Natural
16. Attend a show at Convento São Francisco or Salão Brazil
17. Eat an ice cream on the ice cream shops street at Santa Clara
18. Stumble on friends and acquaintances everywhere
19. Listening to fado music at Diligência bar
20. Spend a Saturday morning downtown 

Off the beaten path

1. Pedro Nunes Institute loaded with highly qualified projects
2. Visit Praxis and taste and learn about the local craft beer 
3. Take the Botanical Line bus through the heart of the Botanical Garden
4. Have a fino (beer) and eat some lupins at Tropical or Justiça e Paz
5. Go up to Santa Clara-a-Nova Convent enjoy one of the best views over the city
6. Try the typical leitão (piglet) 
7. Visit D. Pedro V Market
8. Check at local urban fair 
9. Visit the University and the Science Museum (particularly the Zoology Gallery) at night
10. Enjoy a monday cinema session at TAGV
11. Check for events at Casa da Esquina cultural association
12. Try going down the Mondego river in a canoe during a full moon night
13. Pub (and tascas) walking tour 
14. Storytelling session in Faz de Conto bookshop
15. Visit a student República
16. Get a haircut with Carlos Gago at Ilídio Design Hairstudio
17. Ask a student to serenade your other half
18. Watch a naked student trying to retrieve his cloak hanging on a tree 
19. Buy freshly baked bread from the Padaria dos Olivais or Tamoeiro
20. Lunch at Quinta Matéria restaurant

 

by Joana Pires Araújo

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