Curfew, if you google it says «a regulation requiring people to remain indoors between specified hours».
This is the story of five friends who strangely had the same weekend off and decided to rent a car and escape the even tighter restrictions of the capital city.
Departing from Lisbon at 9:30pm, driving in the dark all the way to Coimbra, getting to our golden accommodation two hours later – it really was a golden accommodation, check it out: Solar Antigo Charme Coimbra; to be fair we booked this “baroque” house the night before because I was not able to find anything else with such a short notice but in the end it resulted to be a great choice: perfect position, very clean and warm, good breakfast freshly served to our door in the morning and very kind staff who waited for our late check in with welcome cake and sparkling wine ❤
Let’s clarify something: we had decided for the weekend in Coimbra before the communication of the new restrictions, we had even rented the car already so the only chance to not lose the money of the car was to take the risk and leave not anymore on the Saturday morning but on the Friday evening instead. We did not regret the choice.
On the Saturday morning we woke up early: the breakfast was brought to our door, in a cute basket, at 8:30am and the five of us enjoyed the meal all together.
After everybody’s necessities – come on, we are all humans – we started walking in the cold but sunny little city of Coimbra, famous for its university. Exactly from there we begun our descent to the riverside, crossing then the colourful Ponte Pedro e Ines to get on the opposite shore and take the typical photo of the hill.
What I really enjoyed of that weekend was the strolling around without any rush in fact, despite the curfew, the city is so small that we could easily see the most remarkable highlights in half day; we did not need to run here and there, we could relax and stop for coffee while walking to the «closed until March» Portugal dos Pequenitos; with no big disappointment we then crossed the river back to the other shore and walked through the commercial Rua Ferreira Borges until Praça do Comércio.
Curfew started already so we had nothing much to do than slowly walk back to our apartment, cook some lunch and spend an extremely lazy afternoon with music, poker, naps and movies…
Some relax was ok, the day after we had a tight schedule planned.
We left Coimbra after breakfast and jumped into the car to drive to Nazaré: this super cute town is famous for its huge waves which are defined as the highest in the world (even more than in the Hawaii), they actually can get to 30 meters height! It must be an incredible show of Mother Nature’s power…
«It must be» because obviously we had no luck in attending the show: I never saw the sea that flat in my life, not even a tiny little ripple in the water!
Anyway some days ago I met a Portuguese girl who owns a house in Nazaré; she admitted to have never seen the big waves… What chance could I have, then?!
With the hearts broken and the promise that we will go back one day – not without checking the sea forecast first – we headed to our next quick stop, Caldas da Rainha.
Actually we did not visit the town itself because I was more interested in the Capela de Santa Ana: during my research for the trip I was very much impressed by the photo of some ruins standing on a tongue of land that was stretching towards another one, creating in this way a natural bay; those ruins have been restored into the chapel that we found that day but the whole landscape still remains quite suggestive.
As said, the schedule for that Sunday was pretty tight in fact, to digest our packed lunch, we took the car again and got to a ghosted Óbidos which suddenly threw me back to China: a small Great Wall embracing this quiet and deserted town, completely empty and silent because of the curfew.
Perfect to stroll around until the castle and admire the little white houses with blue or yellow finishes.
Since one day lasts only 24 hours and we were supposed to drop off the car in Lisbon that evening, sooner or later the weekend had to finish; nevertheless we were able to find enough time to sit on the cliffs of Peniche and wait for a magic sunset.
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I’ll read ya!