Built on a hill, Coimbra wears its royal palace as a crown. Braving the walk to the summit you’re enveloped by a building that was inhabited by monarchs from the 12th to the 15th century, before becoming the home of the university in 1537. The city is filled with winding alleyways, adorned by colourful dreamcatchers with a splash of pastel pinks and yellows thrown in for good measure.
Walking through Coimbra felt like a dream. Knowing that you have no obligations, no expectations (apart from those pesky ones you put on yourself) really allowed me to enjoy the city. Without any prior research I challenged the city to impress me and impress me it did. Charming people, botanical gardens, melancholic songs that will stay with me for the rest of my life, you literally cannot put a price on that.
One of the most distinctive traditions is the use of the academic costume of the University of Coimbra. A black suit and cape worn on special occasions by the students, which was adopted by other Portuguese universities across the country. No surprise then that J.K. Rowling found inspiration in the black capes during her well documented time in Coimbra. The Joanina Library also served as a source of inspiration for the great hall and other iconic Harry Potter ‘landmarks’ the fans know and love.
Maybe I had the same water as J.K. Rowling but it felt as if the city put a magic spell over me. Inspired by Coimbra and my energetic hosts I decided to write a little poem that hopefully resonates with a few of you. Worrying about the future is a source of so many anxieties but from personal experience things tend to balance themselves out. Living in the present is the only thing you can be sure of so make sure to enjoy it. As Bob Ross put it: “There are no mistakes, just happy little accidents“.
AS YOU PLAY THE GAME OF LIFE THE STUMBLES YOU MUST OVERCOME THE UPS AND DOWNS, THEY MUST EXIST FOR YOU TO FEEL AS ONE DON’T FRET, RELAX, LIE BACK AND BREATHE YOUR SOUL WILL BE YOUR GUIDE FOR TRUST YOU MUST AND OPEN UP TO THE VOICE THAT’S DEEP INSIDE
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