I forgot to mention that this trip to Portugal just happened to be during my birthday week. My actual birthday was spent taking part in the Quad Cup.
But on our last day, my friends had planned a surprise for me. To take me to Pet & Tea cat cafe! Now, I have strong feelings about cat cafes and worry about the cats being exploited and not cared for. But this cat cafe wasn’t like the ones I am used to in that it is more of a rescue centre that just so happens to have a cafe.
All of the cats were rescued and every cat was spayed/neutered and vaccinated once they reached the safe age.
This was my joint favourite cat, I called her Lisa. As in Lisa left-eye Lopez. All of the cats had food themed names but I forget. There was a croquette and a magestic sage-like floof of a cat called ginger who I also adored.
There was a teeny kitten who was too young to have been vaccinated so wasn’t in with the other cats and had already been found a forever home. Because the reason that people were encouraged to play with the cats was to get them socialised so that they could be adopted.
Here I am, the happiest human in the land. Holding a teeny tiny kitty who later crawled down my top to fall asleep.
I got a packet of dried tiny fish, from the owner, to feed the cats. Once I opened the packet I was surrounded by fluffy cats! Like a pied piper of cats! Please bear in mind that I am allergic to cats…so naturally I lay on the floor surrounded by cats who crawled all over me. I was in heaven and literally cried with joy (for the second time this trip).
After the joy of the cat cafe. We went a-touristing. The original plan was to go to the cat cafe (check), then the monastery and then the ceramic museum but there just wasn’t enough time for everything. So we took a vote and decided to visit the monastery.
We visited Mosteiro de Santa Clara-a-Velha which was a nunnery which had been flooded and rebuild upon so much that you could see tide lines on the walls.
The monastery was built following instructions from Saint Isabella who would hide bread in her dress in order to secretly feed the poor. Legend says that her husband, the King who was not supportive of her caring for those less fortunate, challenged her one day to reveal the hidden bread. As she unfurled her dress to reveal the bread, it had turned into roses.
So there were many beautiful rose bushes in the garden between the museum and the ruins.
The visitor centre of the museum was beautiful. Unfortunately none of our party speak Portuguese but google translate was a great help. But we learned more about the history of the building and of Saint Isabella.
I wish we had more time to explore as we only had a couple of hours which didn’t allow for a lot of museum time.
After this, we stopped off for a quick ice cream (I got sorbet because vegan) break before having to take our coach to the airport.
I would love to come back to Coimbra and already have a list of things I want to do and places I want to see.
So where’s next? I do have a trip to Reykjavik booked as a mother/daughter trip.