Exploring Lisbon’s Botanical beauty and a few museums too!

Our morning walk included exploring the neighborhood of Chiado. We passed the Opera house (Teatro Nacional de São Carlos). In the square there was a stature of one of Portugal’s most prolific writers and poets, Fernando Pessoa.We arrived at the Chiado Museum which is the national gallery of contemporary art. The permanent collection is mostly Portuguese, with a few international pieces. The works are primarily 19th and 20th Century. The building is repurposed; it was the Convent of San Francisco. Throughout the museum, the history and memory of the convent show.Further exploration of the neighborhood brought us past another stunning Miradouro and then to the Botanical Gardens.The gardens cover more than ten acres in the Principe Real district. Amazingly, they are almost invisible from the surrounding streets. The gardens were completed between 1858 and 1873 and they have one of the largest collections of subtropical vegetation in Europe. There are over 18,000 species from all over the world (each one is neatly labeled). It is a calm and enchanting place to spend the afternoon.We managed to find some food stalls in a large open park, the Mercado de Fusao in Martim Moniz Square. The timing was perfect for an interesting take on salmon ceviche with potato salad and sangria.Refreshed, we visited one more museum, the Museu de Sao Roque. This museum and church were filled with relics dating back to the 1500s. This is the oldest Jesuit Church in Lisbon. There was a plague that swept through Lisbon in the early 1500s and the King of Portugal asked the Republic of Venice for a relic of St. Roch, who was noteworthy for helping plague victims in the past. A shrine was put in place. Today the church and the museum have religious alters, paintings, and objects on display.A day of art and natural botanical beauty deserves an evening of wine and tapas. Yum and done.

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