A peek into the old town of Leiria, my hometown

With Portugal being in lockdown since the end of January, and with me working from home, there hasn’t been a lot of opportunity to go out, unless for the strictly necessary – grocery shopping, doctor appointments, you know the drill – not things I necessarily enjoy doing. Of course, the rule is also to stay at home. And during the weekends (when I would actually be able to go somewhere) crossing counties is prohibited and, what’s worse for me, the roads that take us to the beach are being controlled by the police. I don’t live in the city centre, and going to a stroll by the sea is one of the small pleasures of living here. It’s also near me. But even that was taken away from us.

The front door of a old Pharmacy. The façade is decorated with typical Portuguese blue tiles

I decided to drive in the opposite direction to the city centre this Saturday. Going a bit against the rules. But I really needed a break. To go out and force myself to look at something that isn’t a book or a screen (my eyes have been crying for help…). And my camera came along!

Leiria is situated where the big red pin is.

Where is Leiria?

Typically, when I say I’m from Portugal, I’m always asked, Lisbon? Porto? No, and no. Leiria is in between these two cities, a bit closer to Lisbon, to be more accurate. It is located in Central Portugal, near the coastline. It is not a tourist hotspot – tourists either stop here for a few hours on their way south or north (or even when visiting Fátima, the religious town not too far from Leiria). To be honest, it’s enough time to visit the city, take a picture of the castle (in my opinion one of the most beautiful castles of Portugal), and continue.

I hadn’t been in the old part of my hometown for a long time. My high school was right next to the castle, so I spent those three years going up the hill for classes. But I loved it – studying there and being able to walk those streets on a daily basis.

Years later, here I was was. Back for a nice walk in a sunny day, enjoying the empty streets and taking the chance to peacefully take some photos – and now I’m sharing them with you!

The street is decorated with crows. It is said that a crow gave the King D. Afonso Henriques’s army (first King of Portugal) courage to fight off the Spaniards in Leiria, even when we were massively outnumbered (Legends are cool, right)

I hope you have enjoyed this post about my city! I really do like the Old Town and I’m pleased to see that the city is investing in renovating it. Unfortunately, the pandemic hit the local shops very harshly, and I fear some of the restaurants and shops won’t be able to reopen.

Love, Nic

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17 thoughts on “A peek into the old town of Leiria, my hometown

  1. Mesmo fixe 🙂 fiquei a questionar-me o porquê de uma estátua do gato preto… tem a ver com o Eça?? Não sabia que tinha vivido aí… Por ventura a cidade ou o Lis até o influenciaram eheh força, PedroL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. sinceramente, acho que não há nenhum significado específico. Eu pesquisei, pensado que estaria relacionado com uma lenda que desconhecia, mas tudo o que sei é que quando foi inaugurada, foi com um texto de um escritor leiriense. Podes ler aqui: https://www.jornaldeleiria.pt/noticia/conhece-o-gato-preto-a-escultura-que-domina-os-telhados-de-leiria-10789

      E sim, Eça inspirou-se de facto na cidade. Ele viveu mesmo perto da Sé, e certamente que viu muitas coisas que inspiraram a escrita do Crime do Padre Amaro 🙂

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      1. brutal, obrigado pela partilha 🙂 o meu pai é de Ourém e durante anos ele assinou o jornal de Leiria, que bela recordação 🙂

        em Riga havia uma estátua de um gato no topo de um prédio. neste caso foi colocada por um homem que não gostava do vizinho do prédio ao lado e então o gato está ouriçado e de cauda levantada para o prédio inimigo ahah

        sempre gostei de ver as estátuas e perceber o que trazem às cidades 🙂 e gosto mt de gatos eheh tenho mesmo de ir a Leiria… acho que me vou emocionar por causa da minha avó…

        obrigado pela recordação e boa semana Nic!
        PedroL

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      2. Quando vi pela primeira vez esta estátua em Leiria, lembrei-me precisamente do gato preto de Riga 😂 eu colecciono magnéticos das viagens, e o de Riga é precisamente esse gato ! Eu tenho um grande soft spot por gatos, e enfim a história do gato preto de Riga é bem mais engraçada!

        Que boas recordações que deves ter! Não fica longe, rapidinho se chega a Leiria de Lisboa… quando a situação atual acalmar um pouco🤞🏻

        Boa semana!

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      3. yup, é mesmo, aposto que o escultor também se inspirou em Riga 🙂

        não vais acreditar mas o meu souvenir favorito da Letónia é o cartão de cidadão de lá ahah e teve piada porque durante uns meses o meu cc português caducou e usava o da Letónia lol

        Leiria é especial sim! e ao ver as tuas fotos, aqui e no IG, devo confessar que não reconheço nada, com excepção do castelo lol

        PedroL

        Liked by 1 person

    1. This is a city, but a very small one. It is not devoid of young people, actually the younger generation has been responsible for bringing life back to the historic centre. We’re not too far from Lisbon, live near the coast and there is a university, it has been attracting young people who often stay in the city or the region.

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      1. Ah.. University certainly implies a lot of young people. I asked because many small towns have seen flight of young people for better opportunities. All one sees in such towns is senior citizens. I’m not sure of Portugal but one of the exception is Netherlands.

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      2. it happens a lot in the interior of Portugal and some villages in the north that almost seem abandoned, but it’s not the case the cities in the coastline 🙂

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  2. This is such a beautiful place, and it makes me really excited for that one day where I will get to travel the world with someone I care about. You’re so lucky you live near the beach. I wish I had the privilege of inhaling the salty breeze, feeling the soft sand under my feet, and dipping my toes in the seawater whenever I want. Truly loved this so much, and I hope you’re doing well ❤

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    1. Thank you so much! Yes, I do love living near the beach. I used to live in London and that was one of the things I missed the most! Thank you for stopping by 🙂 ❤

      Like

    1. thank you! Lisbon is great for sure – since it’s not too far from Leiria, I’ve been lucky to have had had the chance to visit multiple times already ☺️

      Liked by 1 person

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