Thailand? China? Burma? Nope! I’m back in Portugal and north of Lisbon near Obidos which is pretty much in the center of the country. This is a crazy “sculpture park” in the middle of nowhere called Buda Heden (Buddha Eden). It was sponsored by a Portuguese investor and art aficionado after the Buddhas of Banyon were destroyed by the Taliban. It has since expanded and includes an African sculpture section dedicated to the Shona people of Zimbabwe, modern art (including the Calder below), lovely gardens, and tree-lined walks where a sculpture pops up at every turn. Oh yes, and blue terracotta warriors! It’s definitely kitschy but so interesting and well-maintained. 86 acres with pools, hundreds of sculptures of which most are Asian. And yes, there’s a huge wine shop.
From Lisbon I’ve made my way north to Obidos with its de rigueur castle and wonderful enclosed village, Nazare (one of the world’s great surfing venues), and then over to Batalha on my quest of the Avis dynasty which reigned from 1385-1551 and includes good ol’ Henry the Navigator. I had finished a book about Phillipa, the first English Queen of Portugal who was the daughter that was married off to Joao I by John of Gaunt to seal the relationship between England and Portugal and to help in Joao’s fight with Castile. They had 6 children who were the Illustrious Generation…one of which was Henry. He and three of his brothers are buried here at Batalha Monastery along with their parents Phillipa and Joao, pictured below. The sculpture on the sepulcher has them holding hands…so sweet!!
Now over at Tomar…I’m on a crusade (oh my, I mean a quest) to the home of the Templar Knights of Portugal. Even the cobblestone streets have the Templar Cross embedded. There’s not much to see except the castle and convent and a small church where many of them are buried.