Plan B. Plan A was a day trip to the Roman site Conímbriga. Bus was to leave at 9:30. We were at the stop at 9:20, or at least we thought we were. We weren’t, and we missed the bus. However, there was a bus a few minutes later to Lousá, where we had planned to go tomorrow, so we hopped on that one instead. The only kicker was that the trip to Lousá involved hiking and I didn’t have my sticks. I managed, but sometimes felt like a cat missing its two front legs.
There was nothing special about Lousá. We were let off the bus at an abandoned train station. Fortunately, my phone’s gps app led us to the street that led out of town and up the hill to the castle. We kept looking up to the skyline, but when we finally saw the castle, it was actually below us.
The castle is the centerpiece of pretty neat recreation area. It must be immensely popular in the summertime. A river comes down the valley and gets channeled through a “swimming pool” which is created by closing gates. (Note the diving board on the right.)
This was not our destination, though. From there, we climbed steeply uphill
And slabbed around a mountain.
We saw a cute chapel in the valley.
And some rocks so green they seemed to glow.
Our destination was the schist village Taslasnal, once the second largest village on the mountain. By 1991, it had two people. Now it is slowly being restored. We could see it across the valley.
Approaching the village,and the village itself, reminded me of Albanian villages.
The ruins were sobering.
But it was encouraging to see some restoration.
This has to be the strangest cat I’ve ever seen.
There was an organized event of a large group of young people hiking up to the village. Many were huffing and puffing. When they saw us old folks, they took our picture.
Going down, it started to rain, but we made it to the road with little difficulty–the stones were getting slippery. We got a close look at a cork tree.
By the time we got back to town, we were cold. We decided to go to another bus stop that was closer. All day, we had not seen any place to eat, but lo and behold there was a bar. That toasted ham and cheese washed down with pineapple-coconut juice was heavenly.
This evening we got out the map and seriously discussed what to do next, particularly with Easter coming. It is not cool to get caught in a place where everything shuts down. We decided that we will spend Easter right here in Coimbra. We like where we are staying–it has a great kitchen and a large grocery around the corner.
Tomorrow, we will take the train east to Guarda. Again, the town is not the destination, but the nearby mountains.