Beautiful Monchique – Rolling hills and terraced gardens

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From Lagos we set out for Monchique.  A little way into our trip we noticed a  good number of locals selling their home grown oranges here and there along the small highway.  These were often just an individual sitting at the side of the road with a a couple of boxes, and a sign with “Laranjas” written on it.  At one point there was an older lady on the right, and only perhaps 50 meters further on the other side, a young man also selling his.

It is delightful to watch the scenery change and for the first time in about 2 weeks see a little more of Portugal.  The drive through the hills of Monchique at this time of year is absolutely charming.  As the country-side became more hilly and densely treed we began to see cork trees and the ever present almond trees that have begun to bloom.   Nearing the town of Monchique, the scenery took on a very warm and romantic look.  The highway is winding and narrow with many large trees of yellow bloom scattered along the sides.

The photo above and this one below, are taken from a roadside lookout where we stopped.

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Monchique itself  has a peaceful tiered garden (my reason for visiting) that is quite lovely.  I did not find a staircase looking stream/fountain that I  saw photos of (thanks Google Images!) as we were short on time.

As small as Monchique is it has a few nice shops.  We stopped in a bright and open, boutique-like shop where a lady gave Jeff and I samples of Melosa (a mix of liquor and their locally harvested honey) and shortly after her colleague came in with a new order of  Melosa infused with Limao (lemon) and gave us samples.  Fantastic stuff!  Medronho, a local liquor referred to as “fire water” is used in creating these blends.

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A carnival was taking place when we arrived. We missed the parade.  There was entertainment for the children (and grown-ups) dressed in costumes. Our kids also enjoyed the scene, especially hearing a familiar tune like Gangnam Style mixed in with other Portuguese sing-alongs.

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The garden does not have any ramps. So we carried the stroller – worth it.

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There is a small play ground area on the way into the garden where Mr. Baby is headed in the above picture.  It is quiet and away from the traffic, but we had to keep an eye out for him as there were several areas with open water nearby.

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I busted my camera lens.  So this garden is my first time really spending some time with one of our prime lenses.  I was feeling pretty impatient with the new limitations (no zoom, no autofocus) and learning curve.  I’m happy to have finally captured a decent photograph of a lemon tree.

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Almond tree in bloom above.

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Hollowed out trunk of a tree near the garden pond.

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A view of personal gardens across from the public garden we were walking in. A little creek divides the two.

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