Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Picture towns of Europe

One of the chief charms of Cintra consists in the innumerable beautiful walks and drives that bring fresh interest to each day spent there. Most popular of these is the drive of a few miles to the gardens of Monserrate, that are said to be unequaled in the world. Nowhere but in the unique climate of Portugal can grow in perfection the plants and trees of the tropics and of the temperate zone as well, so in the century since Beckford ransacked the world to find specimens for these gardens, which he laid out at fabulous cost, the trees and vines, and shrubs and flowers he planted there have developed into wonderful beauty. The property is now owned by the estate of Sir Frederick Cook, who spares no money to keep and increase the splendor of the place. There are palms and bamboos; oaks and evergreens; orchids and roses; vines that are perfect sheets of strange, intense color; uncanny-looking flowers lifting their blossom of flame or lavender straight from the earth; queer trees with long, pendulous blooms of scarlet; ponds where pink and blue lilies grow; Roman benches whence are views of mountains and the passing ships at sea; and in the midst the beautiful Moorish-like house where Sir Frederick lives.

OSBORNE, ALBERT B., Picture Towns of Europe, New York: Robert M. Mcbride & Company, 1912, p. 95

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