Almost hidden from sight, on the otherwhise uncharacteristic Rua do Borja in the district of Estrela, and with nothing to point out to it, is the open gate to Tapada das Necessidades I was looking for. This is a fantastic urban park in Lisboa, and I've been wanting to visit it for a while now. Today, after a stroll that led me to the nearby traquil viewpoint of Largo das Necessidades, I will finally be able to check this lush green area out.
The unassuming entrance and the northernmost area of the park itself really makes it seem as if there isn't all that much diversity here. I am greeted to a lush, typical woods, and past a trio of old ladies chatting joyfully, the wide and mostly deserted trail leads me about, snaking by the ups and downs of the terrain, densely packed with vegetation that seemingly grows without limits. The tall treetops completely cover the sky, the occasional wind blows through them and rustles the thinner branches up high, while by the tarred floor there are carpets of yellowing flowers and leaves, impossible not to step on.
As an airplane passes overhead I wander about the various trails of the upper part of the park, trying to get diffrent points of view on the buildings that seem to pop up sporadically in snippets from among the overwhelming green growth. As if being consumed by the dense woods, these old and abandoned constructions add to the feeling of being in a sort of forest within the city. It is somewhat different from the other amazing parks of Lisboa, very much unique. The pathways lead forward, on a slight downward slope, and I spot lots of cats on my way, aswell as peacocks strolling about without a care in the world.
The vegetation changes as I move forward, new kinds of plants emerge from the scenery and gain proeminence. This is where I first get the sense that this park is also a park made of moments, different areas of varied atmospheres reflected in vegetation. I enter a sort of exotic garden, with plenty of cactus and peculiar trees and flowers, traversed by a pathway of flat dark-grey stones. In the distance I can see the Tejo river. Nearby sits a wide, classic circular stone tank, empty at the moment, over which there is an evelated wall. Atop it are a few people, enjoying the sights of the treetops. The park is widening up, so I choose to lean more of the left side going down.
The trail leads to a large, very wide lawn on a slight slope, a bright green clearing in the forest, shining in the sun. It is around here that the most people gather up, just relaxing, having a picnic, playing games, enjoying this excellent spot. Some are even having a party, and the kids' joyful voices echo around the area. Observing all of this life going on sits the distinctive greenhouse dome. At the bottom of the lawn, more trails intertwine, leading to a lake populated by photogenic ducks and one of the closed accesses to Palácio das Necessidades - where I spotted a curious peacock perched on one of the palace's balconies, looking at itself on the window.
At the final stretch of the trails, more grass lawns disperse under the welcoming shade of huge trees, some of which bear peculiar roots, growing profusely. Some more groups of people are hanging out here, a quieter side of the garden. After a last look at the park, I head down to the southern exit of Tapada das Necessidades. The exit is right next to Largo das Necessidades, and I am back at the incredible viewpoint I passed by an hour ago. The afternoon is settling in, and to finish today's hike I decide to follow the riverside, which isn't far from here.
The riverside greets me under an oblique sunlight, the sun almost blinding as it slowly goes down the horizon. All the way ahead of me, the road is full of children, families and couples enjoying the long and wide road, moving about in bicicles, trotinetes, rollerblades, or simply strolling by. And undisturbed in their docks, spreading towards the bridge, crammed boats swaying lightly.
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