Where do we start with the description of Bacalhoa Buddha Eden? These extraordinary gardens are set in 35 hectares at Quinta dos Loridos which are located 45 minutes north of Lisbon, Portugal. The gardens came into existence in 2007 after the Taliban destroyed the Bamiyan Buddha statues in Afghanistan. The wealthy philanthropist Jose Berardo, a vivid art collector, was so shocked by the destruction that he started buying giant buddha statues, the start of the formation of Bacalhoa Buddha Eden. On a blistering hot day, we arrived at Quinta dos Loridos in Carvalhal Bombarral. The car park is huge, and it was easy enough to park the car. After having paid the entrance (garden entrance + train ), we entered the highly imaginative gardens
First thing we did after we arrived was get on the little train which drives around the gardens, but our plan was to get off at the giant buddha statues and walk from there back through the large gardens. The first part of the route explains the history of wine through colourful signs which border one of the many vineyards. The signs are made from special commisionned tiles which provide a colourful display against the rolling hills and vineyards in the background.
After a short drive through along the pristine walkways and paths we reached the Buddha statues. The first thing you notice along the paths are the amount of Allium Caesiums which were in full bloom, providing these gardens their distinctive blue colour. Talking about blue, we saw a lot of blue on this particular day, but more about that later. In the garden, there is a giant reclining Buddha and the 21-metre high Buda Gigante.
Over the years, the gardens expanded to their current size (Although it looks like expansion work is going on again). The expansion seen the addition of a huge collection of African and contemporary sculptures. Do you remember we talked about blue earlier on, soon after the Buddha gardens we discovered an army of blue Xian Terracotta Warriors. Ok, at this point, you think we stayed to long in the afternoon sun, but at least we snapped some evidence.
Next, we reached the African sculpture garden. Huge palmtrees hide the sculptures underneath their giant leaves. Sculptures of Buffalos, lions and elephants together with contemporary art are on display along the paths.
Working our way through the garden, we admired Japanese statues and some more blue status, this time of a giant chicken with a human head. Another army of Xian Warriors were admiring the garden and huge lake which is filled with Koi.
We made our way towards the giant bamboo garden which also doubles up as a giant maze filled with sculptures. Around this area, you will also find a huge amount of modern contemporary sculptures with aptly chosen names like "Torso" (Guess which picture is called the Torso) ,....
Close to the Quinta is a fabulous lake from where you reach the restaurant and the shop selling the neighbouring quinta's wines at really reasonable prices. And we couldn't resist, we bought a nice bottle of Casa Mendes Blue.
And after a fabulous afternoon at Bacalhoa Buddha Eden, we couldn't resists to open this bottle of Casa Mendes. And as we told you earlier on, we had seen that much blue during the day that even our wine looked blue. Oh wait, the wine was blue.