Friday, August 30, 2013

Ajuda Botanical Garden

I love gardens.  Maybe in my future life, I will try my hand at gardening.  I am not sure what it is about botanical gardens that draw me to visit, but there is something about the beauty in variety and seeing new growth.
In order to get to the Botanical Gardens, we had to go on a quest.  The picture above was taken from our apartment building.  We had to travel past the abandoned building and then through the forest to the buildings seen in the distance.  Yes, this was the walking directions Google gave us to take.  I was expecting to come along a homeless compound at any moment while we were walking, but thankfully we never did.  I made Amelie not talk during our entire walk through the woods.  So although I had my super alert on for any persons lurking in the woods, it ended up being a quiet walk.  Although the walk was long and hot, we were glad to finally make it to the Ajuda area.

The Ajuda Botanical Garden is the oldest garden in Lisbon.   Around 10 years after the huge earthquake that devastated Lisbon in 1755, the king commissioned a naturalist to construct a garden near the royal residence.  He wanted to create a garden for his grandchildren, where they could play and learn about horticulture.   Over the years, they were able to collect around 5,000 different plant seeds from all over the world.

On Sunday (Aug 25th) we started off our visit observing (smelling, touching, looking) the herb plants from all over the world.  Although not all of the labels were in English, the map included allowed us to see at least where the plant originated.  Many times we could deduce the name of the herb, but other times we had fun guessing.

In the main portion of the gardens there again were plants from all over the world.  We were able to see some varieties of plants that were completely new to us.  We thought about Pop-pop during our visit because of his love for horticulture and his expertise with growing plants of his own.

These rose petal look-a-liks were similar to succulent leaves...almost cacti without any spikes.
It was really neat!
Me in an Amelie-and-Liam sandwich under a 400 year old Dragon Tree.

Liam has been very affectionate to all 3 members of his family.
He will randomly come up and hug or kiss and say, "Luv you," breath, "too."
Fountain of the 40 Spouts
Our walk through this area outside of Belem (Ajuda) was beautiful with steep slopes, color houses, and views of the Tagus River.
Clock Tower or Rooster Tower near Ajuda Palace which is now in the middle of a parking lot.
Ajuda Palace near the Botanical Gardens.  We did not tour the inside as the line was extremely long wrapping around the building.  We did walk in the open courtyard and there were 2 live small orchestras playing as people waited to enter.  We enjoyed the cool of the shade while listening before we continued our exploring of the area.
When you are hot and tired of walking, what is the cure?  ICE-CREAM!  :)
Not exactly sure what this building is, but it was really neat and we happened upon it on our walk towards the train.

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