On my first article on the amazing garden of the Gulbenkian foundation, l wrote more on the Foundation itself and its location, brief history and the landmarks you could find there. And, although the museum and library and all are very important, I left out what I see as the most enjoyable thing about the Gulbenkian Garden (as well as any other): the nature around it. And in this marvelous garden there is plenty nature to see.
I drew comparisons to the much smaller Amália Rodrigues Garden nearby, in terms of the distance these green oasis make you feel from the turbulent city, but the variety of life in Gulbenkian actually reminds me of another garden I already wrote on, the majestic and exotic Monte Palace in Madeira. Like Monte Palace, although not so exotic, the Gulbenkian Garden immerses you in the surrounding nature and takes you on a journey by having different areas with different flora and presentation, sprinkled with the ocasional sculpture.
You can find open grass areas, great for picnics, and also not unkind to the common yoga enthusiast! There is a great part near the lake, where the terrace of the café is located, as well as stone benches and tables, ideal for families to have a snack and rest a bit. You also have a swampy terrain with small rivers and brooks. Here is where you’ll meet the residents: Kois and Mallards. The fish are found in the lake at the center of the garden, while the ducks are very spread out, and most of these birds are friendly, due to getting accustomed to being fed by the visitors, and in the spring time little baby ducklings often wonder the gardens. Spotting them isn’t hard, either in the lake or in the smaller lagoon near the modern art museum (accompanied by tortoises). But more elusive are its neighbors, the Swamphen, a very curious bird. These blue oddities are found near the tall swampy grasses along the lakes and rivers.
Speaking of rivers, my favorite part of the garden is the bamboo brook. A serene and beautiful tableau where you can follow the small river through many diverging paths while listing to the calming water following, leading to the main lake below. A very oriental taste in and otherwise very european locale.
But there are much more hidden treasures in this garden. While going through the paths you’ll meet many sitting areas amongst the trees, normally adorned with red gravel and small man-made lakes for wandering ducks. Or even corridors walled by greenery and adorned with statues and other installations. A true fantasy-like stroll.
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