Since we had completed our goals for Lisbon already, we decided to check out the Greenhouse, that was rumoured to be situated above the statue of the Marquis de Pombal in the Parque Eduardo VII. This park was named Liberty Park until King Edward VII of the UK visited in 1902, at which time it was named in his honour to strengthen ties between England and Portugal. We visited this park on our last trip, since our hotel had been situated much closer and was therefore easier access. However, we had most of a day to kill and the lure of plants and coolness was too much for us to pass up. So we walked up the avenue, with the mass of green space between, to the memorial at the top.
Quite the view, eh? We could see down to what looked like some kind of camouflaged camp on a little lake and that turned out to be the greenhouse, the Estufa Fria. It was only 3 Euros to get in, and there was a school group just ahead of us who had come to draw the plants. I tell you, this little place is underrated. I really loved how they had made these little paths through and how it was like a little jungle, complete with little streams, waterfalls and hidden grottoes. One of the sections was closed for repairs unfortunately, but we did spend the majority of the day here taking numerous photos. There was a palm flower that was bigger than my head and weird little glass and clay sculptures throughout. I also made friends with a duck. Don’t laugh, he was very nice.
We headed back towards the hotel sort of 2ish, and stopped in the mall that was near our old hotel for a bite to eat. I tell you, “fast food” is totally different, and ten times healthier here than it is in Canada. I had a curried chicken pita which came with fries, salad and a cola. A light meal because our welcome dinner is tonight, where we get to officially meet our tour group and our director.
Our guide is called Pedro, and our driver João, which is the Portuguese version of ‘John’. I tried, but I’m certain I butchered the poor man’s name every time I tried to say it. As was indicated in our itinerary, we were driven around the city – and at that time of night it was beautiful because the sun was just setting. Then Pedro took us to a little restaurant in the Barrio Alto where we had ten different things to eat and where we all introduced ourselves to our tour family. This time it seems a large number of us are Canadians!
Gosh the food. I was too absorbed in learning names and eating to take pictures, but if you should ever venture to Portugal there is a dish you should try; it was roasted goat cheese served with a raspberry sauce. I nearly fell over it was so good. Mom and I sat with a girl from the UK and three others who turned out to be from the US.
Tomorrow we are up early and off to some nearby cities to explore before an optional dinner out in Lisbon tomorrow night.