Once I emerged from the back of beyond, the first stop was Coimbra. The university is in the heart of the city and everything else is built around it. I was a little frustrated to find yet another city built on a hill and as I was still recovering from my wee run in with the scorpion I wasn't really in the mood for hiking, well that and I couldn't figure out how the hell to get to my hostel. So I treated myself to a taxi , right up to the top of the freaking hill we zipped so I was pretty glad I didn't walk!
I was so tired from my trip there I just lay down and slept for the arvo, but had a little bit of enthusiasm to venture out a bit later with a bloke from my dorm where we went for a walk around the city and then some food and a few beers. It was the weather that actually sent me home as it turned freezing when it got dark, something I was ill prepared for with a skirt, singlet and jandals. So we returned to the hostel and stayed in the common room where we met another bloke and I told them about my plan to go to Coniembra the following day and they were both keen so I said they were more than welcome.
We were up brightish and earlish and had got the bus timetable from the hostel reception so we set out down the road to see the bus we needed to be on drive past us, so much for the timetable! So as there wasn't going to be another one for half n hour we set off at a quick pace to the main bus station which we just got to in the nick of time and looked for the bus, which we were told was "over there" with a pointing motion from one of the bus drivers. So we waited "over there" for quite a while, then as I was staring to panic I asked another person and they did the same pointy motion so we waited again. So it got to 10mins after the bus was meant to go and one of the guys went to ask and they said we missed it for craps sake! Apparently over there did not mean over the other side of where the busses pull in, but right behind them in kind of the holding area for the busses that go on short trips not the intercity ones that were straight ahead. Pfft!
So after missing bus number two and finding out there wasn't another one for 2 hours we decided to get a taxi as it wasn't going to be too expensive between the three of us. So we got to Coniembra which is the best preserved old Roman town in Portugal and it was pretty cool. They are still excavating it but so far have unearthed heaps of old houses and baths and aqueduct and fountains and a huge forum area. It was right up my alley as I love all that old stuff. As we were wandering around Robert thought it was a good idea to jump up and down on one of the little bridges, now I don't know if it was just a coincidence but just at that moment a very pissed off wasp came from somewhere and stung me three times on the arm! I haven't been stung by a wasp in probably 10 years so I had forgotten that it damn well hurt, but since the scorpion I suppose I can't really complain about pain! So we continued around and then into the museum where they have stored some neat bits and pieces from where they have excavated and there were some interesting things there. Of note were some metal scissors which I had no idea had been around so long (this site is around 2000 years old) and in the medical section something called a probing spoon.... the mind boggles.
We made sure we were back at the bus stop well in advance and waited 15 mins till 1pm when it was scheduled to come back, and we were waiting with all the people that actually made the bus in the morning. And there we waited and waited and waited, oh Christ really?? Where the hell is the bus??? So after an hour some of the others went into the ticket place at the museum and got them to call the bus company and found out that they changed the bus timetable and there wasn't another bus till 5pm?! It was so odd as all the people that came in the morning were under the impression the bus would be back at 1pm also so it seems unlikely that they changed it between 9am and 1pm that day! So some taxis were called and only one appeared, apparently only one guy works that area, sigh, so all the other people wanted to go to the nearest small town and get a bus from there went first as we wanted to go back to Coimbra, so he took one load then came back, probably a 5-10 min round trip, then took another load, then took us. So we eventually made it back to town, three missed busses later!
The rest of the day I just spent with Victor and wandered the streets and got some food and found some nice places to sit and look over the city, and a wander through the city gardens and here and there and then it was time to go back and get ready for my bus the next morning to Porto. It was a bit of a shock to the system to be rushing around again but I seemed to survive. I think I must have still been in slow mode as the next morning I woke with plenty of time but managed to leave with little to spare. I had not paid for my room when I arrived because their machine wasn't working so I went to pay on the way out and it still wasn't working so I tried another card, and it still didn't go so then I fished in my wallet for just enough cash. So I raced out the door and then had to find another cash point before the bus station as they often don't take cards, so with that done I was back racing down the road with my huge pack on and finally, finally got to the station with one minute to spare where I found a line eight people long and only one window open and the lady was away from her seat finding something arghghg, and it's not like I can say excuse me but my bus leaves now, would you mind terribly if I go ahead of you?!? as I don't speak Portuguese. So I waited anxiously and finally got to the front and the lady issued me with a ticket with a shrug, like you might make it, don't know if it's left yet, gee thanks! And I raced to the busses to find heaps of people waiting at line '2' with tickets to Porto, so thank goodness the bus was 5mins late..... breath breath breath....phew, I was so glad not to miss my fourth bus in two days, so on I hopped drenched with sweat but very happy!