ARTICLE BY: JO ANN BONES
Jo Ann Bones is a HPSO Board Member & Traveler. The 2017 Portugal tour escort was Lois Moss, HPSO Board Member & Treasurer, and owner of Gardens•Tours; and the conductor was Gavin Bade of G on Tour.
Portugal was never on my list of places I wanted to visit. Then I attended an HPSO Travel Club meeting where Bruce Wakefield showed pictures of Madeira and talked about a trip he led to Spain and Portugal in 2014.
I was fascinated by the geography and the beautiful semi-tropical gardens of Madeira, a volcanic island in the Atlantic ocean 600 miles South of the southern most part of Europe and 500 miles West of Morocco.
When another trip to Madeira for HPSO members was offered for late 2017 I jumped at the chance. This trip was led by Lois Moss, HPSO Board Member and Treasurer as her first trip to Europe as an HPSO tour leader.
Twenty of us made our way separately to Lisbon and our meeting place, Cascais, a lovely seaside town a few miles from central Lisbon where we met Lois and our European based Guide, Gavin Bade.
The Hotel Albotroz (seen in the featured photo at the top of this post) was a gorgeous boutique hotel in a beautiful setting right on the water and set the tone for the rest of our stay. One of the best things about this tour is that we had only two hotels during the entire tour–one is Cascais and one in Funchal, Madeira. It was so nice not to be packing and unpacking every couple of days.
We spent our first two days touring Lisbon and Sintra by coach. Then flew to the independent Portuguese island of Madeira. The weather blessed us the entire time we were there. The people are extremely friendly and language was not as problem as most inhabitants speak two or three languages, one of which is usually English.
Portugal is the oldest country in Europe and Lisbon, the capital, has an ancient history as the home port of famous navigators such as Christopher Columbus, Vasco de Gama, and Henry the Navigator. These Portuguese navigators explored the globe and were primarily responsible for developing maps that were used for hundreds of years. It is a fascinating country with much history and interesting geography and growing climates. Well worth more than one trip.
If you’re interested in our upcoming Garden Travel destinations, including Sicily, The Netherlands, Belgium, & Northwest Germany, Bainbridge Island, and South Africa, you can learn more here: http://www.hardyplantsociety.org/garden-travel.
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