A wind has picked up, clouds are starting to fill the sky, the temperature has dropped: must be time to leave Portugal. Today is my last day of leisure on the continent; tomorrow I return to Lisbon and a hotel near the aeroporto in preparation for my early Friday flight to North America. My time in Europe has passed all too quickly, but what a fine time it’s been.
I spent today at Monserrate, a splendid and nearly-tourist-free former palace. (Said to be praised by Byron in “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage”.) The grounds are comfortably large (about 82 acres) and full of sensual pleasures: smell (roses!), scenery (fantastical trees and gardens!), and sound (wind rustling leaves, sweet birdsong!). And perhaps best of all, I don’t need to be anywhere else but here, which is so nice. So relaxing. So cool.
For a while after arriving I was on the same path as a French family of five, the three children quite young. Each time we turned a corner the kids exclaimed, “Oh wow! Oh wow!” My sentiments exactly.
The property has abundant sobreiro cork oak trees; I’ll remember this place every time I open a bottle of wine.
I learned a new Portuguese word today: escorregadio.
Fun fact: that’s a fake ruined chapel on the grounds!
Here are some photos:
Live all you can. It’s a mistake not to.