Coimbra is "electric" as it can be for young people. It's a famous city in Portugal known for its students and academic tradition, as it has the older universities in the country. Studying, alcohol, and parties make for an explosive mixture. The students will need some rest so where else can they head off to but to the bear park!
Coimbra took me in for four great years while studying in university. It can be a very tiring student life in that city…for the best reasons (hehe!). So, sometimes you need to put your feet on the ground, take some relaxation time, and prepare yourself for some days of being glued to your books. But you don’t need to get away from the city to do that – to take some quality time for a bit of rest; although you can escape from the city’s confusion and noise. The “Bear Park”, as I call it (I’ll tell you why later), is a great park that rests side by side with Mondego River, a well-known and large river in Portugal. In that park you can find all the harmony and tranquility you need. In a part which is not so silent, you can have a drink, enjoy some ice cream or just smoke a cigarette sitting on a chair in a platform right above the river waters. Open your book and delight yourself with the shining waters and the nature that surrounds that particular part of Coimbra. You’ll often find ducks and nests right by your side.
After a cool first few minutes of relaxation drinking your coffee, it’s time to embrace the park. Walk around, pick your picnic towel, and lie down on the grass, which is just a few meters from the water. The silence that you have over there is incredible, taking into account that to your back, for some 350 meters you can find the main road, and that you’re practically in the heart of the city. The best is to face yourself to the river and enjoy the sun.
Oh, I almost forgot to explain why I call it the “Bear Park”. Well, as you can find in some of the photos, there’s a huge sitting bear made of grass on this park. It’s probably some 5 meters tall and it’s dazzling. It appeared in a year while I was still living in Coimbra. I believe it was a project of some architecture students. My congrats to them!