Posted By Dorrit, Coen, Sophie, Marlies & Leonie

As our trip was mainly being planned based on childrens' needs, the day started with a visit to Sobreiro. A local sculptor has created a miniature park with several windmills, imitations of traditional shops and surreal collections of all kinds of stuff. Picknicking Portugese families had spread out food enough to feed a whole army devision.
The same day we visited Obidos with its gorgeous historic centre. All along Obidos' main streets, chocolate was the main theme. Little shops sold tasty chocolate cups full of ginja, a local cherry liquor. 

The next day it was raining in the morning so after a cosy breakfast all together inside the van, we started with a visit to the magnificient 12th century monastry de Santa Maria de Alcobaca. Sophie enjoyed running around the ensemble of courtyards, kitchens and former monks living quarters. 
 In the Park National Pinhal de Leira, first planted 700 years ago to cover the Portugese demand for wood needed to build discovery boats, we found a very nice campsite in the shady forest with a 5 minutes walk to the beach. It was just perfect, so we decided to stay and relax for a few days. Sophie had a Dutch playmate, there was a mouth watering "Pastelaria" (Portugese pastery) and Marlies found out that pine apples do not taste good.

After a few days of rest it was time for some action.  Coimbra was on the program. Before visiting the city center, the theme park "Portugal dos Pequenitos" was a real highlight. This park consisted of doll's house versions of Portugal's most famous monuments. Sophie and Marlies clambered into, over and through the small buildings and houses. We of course taking many many pictures. Fortunately we could cool down in the campsite's swimming pool. 
Next morning we visited Coimbra, the medieval capital and site of Portugals oldest and greatest university. Today this university remains Portugals most prestigious and one of the most traditional so all around the city we saw the students dressed in black robes and capes, some helping tourists, some as street musicians. In the evening we had a fine bbq.
In the park-like forest of Mata Nacional do Bucaco, that harbours over 700 plant species, we had a hot chocolate picknick before strolling along ponds with swans, fountains and exotic trees. Of course we had to visit the fairy-tale Palace Do Bucaco. 

Later that day we drove to Aveiro, again a nice campsite just behind the dunes. After a visit to the beach we had pancakes for dinner. One cannot say we don't do a good job as parents having parental leave ;-)
Aveiro itself lays behind a coastal lagoon and because of a small network of canals, its high-prowned boats, and the amount of low bridges it is called the Venice of Portgal.  As we were sailing the canals in one of these boats, we met an Indian tourist group. One of the Indian women happened to be a colleague of our friend Gustavo, the veterinarian in Panjim in India whom we met during our travels in India. We could immediately write down a letter she would handover to him. The world is small, of all the more than one billion Indians...

1 Comment(s):
noemisergio said...
Hermosos paisages, que sean muy felices en estas viajes! besitos
July 8, 2012 01:57:59
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