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September 15 - Visit to Conimbriga and Figueira, Lecture on Portugal

Off at 9:30 for the Roman ruins at Conimbriga with Elena as our guide. Although started about 200 years earlier, Conimbriga came to prominence under August beginning about 25 BC and its finest buildings date from the 2nd and 3rd C AD. These are the largest such ruins in Portugal and one of the buildings is the largest such house ever found in the western Roman Empire. Fig 207 is in a garden outside the site, the rest of the figures from 208 to 222 show various aspects. The city was burned by the Suevi in 468 and the population center shifted to Coimbra.

The weather was threatening throughout but there was little rain. Then we went to a small museum (223 - 224) which was blessed with an exceptional gift shop. After that we bussed down to the coast for our first glimpse of the eastern shore of the Atlantic Ocean at the town of Figueira da Foz, a popular resort for the Portuguese and the Spanish (225 - 231). We went there just for lunch at the Teimoso Restaurant, a very popular sea food restaurant, especially on Sunday. We had snacks, sea food soup, fish and potatoes, and creme caramel. Very good. After lunch we gazed at the ocean and the coast for a while.

Back at the hotel, we had a lecture by professor Antonio Silva about the history of Portugal under Salazar. He was requested to update us on the history since Salazar, so he added this on to his lecture, which lasted a total three and a half hours and began at 4:30! However, he was fascinating and no one complained. We were supposed to have a night free to get our own dinner in a restaurant, but it was raining heavily at 8 and so we joined other elderhostelers having beer and sandwiches in the bar at the hotel. Very nice.

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