As I wandered out of the car park the other day I spied a calçada* man preparing a small area of pavement. First of all I thought he was doing a repair, but it turns out to be a QR (Quick Response) code. Precisely 80cm square, you can buzz this paved pattern with your smartphone or device and access the Caldas da Rainha City Guide app.
There will be a total of 15 QR codes tiled into the streets of Caldas, placed at high traffic areas - the bus and train stations, the main squares and thoroughfares - to guide visitors to the soon to be reopened Thermal Hospital. Unfortunately it was closed in 2013 due to a bacterial presence. It is now to reopen sometime in 2017 and the QR codes are part of the marketing plan for this and other attractions.
As we all know by now, it was Queen Leonor who in the 15th century established the church and hospital at the healing hot springs and Caldas da Rainha was born. The Thermal Hospital is the oldest purpose-built institutiion of its kind in the world, with over five centuries of history. Go Caldas!
So keep a look out for the QR codes under your feet. Three are operational now with the remaining ten to be placed around the city in the coming months. A fun way to discover our city’s culture and get around town too.
* Portuguese mosaic pavement