Postcard from Coimbra, Portugal: Sighing Capital of the World?

There are lots of reasons Coimbra is famous, but I’m just going to get right to the point about what impressed me most.

The size of the “sighs.” Meringues.

“Sighs of the nuns” are what a friend in Mexico told us they are called there, as we would traipse through the streets hand in hand with daughter Kate on many missions to find the egg white and sugar treats wherever we traveled.

In Coimbra, the name is shortened to simply sighs, “suspiros.” In Coimbra, the trek is simplified. They are humongous. You can’t miss them prominently displayed in windows.

We don’t know the story behind these, but, until someone calls me on this, I’m willing to proclaim Coimbra the big-nun-sigh capital of the world. Don’t know why nuns sighed more emphatically here, but perhaps it dates from major relief when Coimbra was liberated from the Moors in the year 1064. Or perhaps it’s caused by centuries of antics of students enrolled at the University of Coimbra, which opened later, not until 1290.

I had no excuse to try one; Kate’s long passed that stage. Well, maybe. Anyway, they were really hard to photograph, being plain white. So, just for the sake of showing her one, I purchased a medium-sized one.

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The Mister consented to let me use his hand for scale, but he didn’t touch it.

Then. All by myself. Sorry, to confess, Kate. I ate the model.

But I just ate one. And it certainly was not the largest specimen on the market.

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