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The Orient and a thermal water city

The fantastic Buddha Eden garden and the city of Caldas da Rainha in Portugal were the visited routes of our travel.

We started our visit to the Buddha Eden garden situated in the municipality of Bombarral about seventy five kilometers North of Lisbon.

Map Garden Budha Eden Map of the visited places

In 2001, the world in shock has observed the destruction of the giant Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan. Then, it came out the idea of creating a space which give it back this great buddhist cultural and historical legacy. This is how the Buddha Eden garden was born with a huge area of 35 hectares being the largest oriental garden in the Europe.

Among the vegetation of the garden stands out various statues of buddhas, soldiers of the terracotta army (the Xian warriors of the first emperor of China), sculpted dragons as well as two beautiful gardens, the Modern and Contemporary Sculpture and the African Sculpture Art.

In addition to the art exhibition the Buddha Eden garden has magnificent lakes with the sensational koi carp fish.

The map below shows the highlights of the Buddha Eden garden and will be a reference throughout the text.

Map Buddha Eden Garden Schematic PortugalMap without scale of the Buddha Eden garden; source

We then start our visit to the Budda Eden garden towards Pagoda Lake (16).

Entrance  Garden Budda Eden PortugalEntrance to the Buddha Eden garden
Asia Lions Garden Buddha Eden PortugalAsian Lion Sculptures
Lake of Pagoda Garden Buddha PortugalAlong the way to Pagoda Lake
Lake of Pagoda Garden Buddha PortugalView along Pagoda Lake

 Lake of Pagoda Garden Buddha Eden PortugalThe Thirteen Buddhas of the Dead at bottom

Yakushi the Buddha of health and medicine Yakushi the Buddha of health and medicine Bodhisattva a figure in awakening the compassion of all BuddhasBodhisattva a figure in awakening the compassion of all Buddhas

Going up towards Fire Place View Point (13), there is a fantastic view of Pagoda Lake.

Lake of Pagoda Garden Buddha Eden PortugalGeneral view of Pagoda Lake
Soldiers Terracotta Garden Buddhas Eden PortugalThe army of Terracotta

On the way to the Giant Buddhas (10) we can see an aligned set of several seated Buddhas and others displayed on the surfaces in form of shields in the middle of two columns.

On the way to giant Buddhas Eden garden PortugalOn the way to the Giant Buddhas
Garden Buddhas Eden PortugalBuddha in the middle of two columns

We then arrive at the impressive area of the Giant Buddhas. However there was also miniature buddhas in that area.

Buddhas Eden Garden PortugalThe Giant Buddhas

Buddhas Eden Garden Portugal Lying Buddha
Garden Buddhas Eden PortugalMiniatures of Buddhas

Going down through the stairs we went to the Golden Buddhas (9) area where there are also a set of sculptures of Asian lions.

Buddha Giant Garden PortugalGiant Buddhas at bottom Golden Buddha PortugalA friendly smile of the golden buddha

Before moving to the Amphitheater (7) there was still time to take a picture in the pavilion in the middle of the Pagoda Lake.

Garden Buddha EdenIn the area of the golden buddhas Garden Buddha EdenA selfie in the pavilion of the Pagoda lake

In the Amphitheater it is the Modern Sculpture Garden (4) with works of national and international artists.

Turtle in Buddha Eden Garden PortugalIn the Arte Modern Garden

 Pablo Atchugarry Garden Buddha Eden PortugalFrom Pablo Atchugarry Allen Jones sculpture Buddha Eden GardenFrom Allen Jones
The sculptures of  Peter Burke Buddha Eden GardenThe hands sculptures of Peter Burke
Jardim Buda EdenOne of the passages for the terracotta army

From the Amphitheater we went to an area where there are the largest amount of terracotta soldiers.

Soldiers of Terracotta Buddha Eden Garden PortugalThe always striking presence of terracotta soldiers

Then we cross the bridge twoards Palm Lake (3) near the entrance to the Buddha Eden garden.

Buddha Eden Garden Portugal KOI fishesOn the way to Palm Lake obsercing the Koi carp fish

Before arriving at Palm Lake we passed by the African Sculpture Garden and the Bamboo Maze.

We start taking photos at the African Sculpture Garden...

Buddha Eden African art PortugalMiniatures of monkeys
Buddha Eden garden Portugal crocodileA bite from a crocodile
 Buddha Eden  African Sculpture  African sculpture in a family environment Art African Garden Buddha Eden PortugalWith the elegance of African sculpture
African art Shona ZimbabweArt Shona of Zimbabwe (a) Art African Garden Buddha Eden PortugalArt Shona of Zimbabwe (b)

… and below more photos of the Modern Art garden and the Bamboo Maze.

Garden Art Modern Buddha Eden PortugalView of the Modern Art Garden Garden Buddha Eden Art Modern Portugal Some statues at the Modern Art Garden

Bamboo Maze Garden Buddha Eden Portugal Lost in the African Savannah in the Bamboo Maze

The last area to visit at the Buddha Eden garden was the Palm Lake, a magificent lake with the famous koi carp fish.

Buddha Eden Garden Fountain PortugalFountain of the big sphere close to Palm Lake
Lake of Palm Garden Buddha EdenView of the extension of the Palm Lake
Palm Lake Garden Buddha Eden PortugalThe pruned trees close to Palm Lake Palm Lake Buddha Eden PortugalThe tenants of Palm Lake

After visiting the Buddha Eden garden, we have travelled about twenty kilometers to the city of Caldas da Rainha.

The growth’s history of the city of Caldas da Rainha is linked to Queen D. Leonor, who in 1485 ordered the constrution of a thermal hospital after having seen people bathing in hot springs. Continuing open to the public, the Thermal Hospital of Caldas da Rainha is the oldest in the world for the treatment in thermal waters.

In addtion to the medicinal thermal waters, Caldas da Rainha has a rich tradition in the manufacture of ceramic products.

When we arrived at the center of Caldas da Rainha we passed by the historic market at Praça da Fruta (Square of Fruit) in Praça da República. It is a historic market for producers and sellers of fruit, vegetables and regional products.

Market da Fruta Caldas da RainhaPraça da Fruta at Caldas da Rainha

Market of Caldas da Rainha PortugalView of Praça da Fruta

Then we went to lunch at the restaurant O Recanto of traditional Portuguese cuisine and local gastronomy. The chosen dishes were meat of boar and codfish. It was a delicious!

Meat of boarMeat of boar

Codfish PortugalCodfish

After lunch we walk to D.Carlos I Park, a beautiful leisure garden where there are romantic boats for rowing.

Park D. Carlos I Caldas da Rainha PortugalIn the lake of D. Carlos I Park Park D. Carlos I Caldas da Rainha PortugalCentury trees in D. Carlos I Park

Park D. Carlos I Caldas da Rainha Portugal A beautifil climbing plant in D. Carlos I Park

Beside D. Carlos I Park it is José Malhoa Museum related to the Portuguese Naturalism. It contains painting and sculptures from the 19th and 20th centuries.

Museum José Malhoa Caldas da Rainha PortugalEntrance of José Malhoa Museum
Ceramic Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro Caldas da Rainha PortugalCeramic collection of Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro
Ceramic Jesus nativity scene PortugalCeramic Jesus nativity scene José Malhoa oil painting in the last interrogation of Marquis of PombalJosé Malhoa oil painting in the last interrogation of Marquis of Pombal

Connected to D. Carlos I Park it is the Queen D. Maria Leonor Forest. Walking along the Queen D. Maria Leonor Forest we went to visit the Ceramics Museum.

The building of romantic architecture of the Museum of Ceramics dates from the beginning of the 19th century and displays collections of national and international ceramics from the 17th to the contemporary.

Forest  Rainha D. Leonor Caldas da Rainha PortugalAt Queen D. Leonor Forest Museum Ceramic Caldas da Rainha PortugalFacade of the Ceramic Museum

Ceramic Caldas da Rainha PortugalCeramic of the region of Caldas da Rainha

Bowl of Bordalo Pinheiro Portugal ceramicBowl of Bordalo Pinheiro
A banister vase PortugalA banister vase of Real Fábrica do Rato

We say goodbye to the city of Caldas da Rainha with a photo of the Thermal Hospital in the Square of the Queen D. Leonor.

Hospital Thermal Caldas da Rainha PortugalThe Thermal Hospital

Then we went to see the sunset at the seaside town of Foz do Arelho, about ten kilometers from the center of Caldas da Rainha.

With a fantastic landscape we walk along the beautiful wooden walkway of Foz do Arelho with serval viewpoints on circular platforms.

Foz do Arelho PortugalView of Foz do Arelho

Wooden sidewalks Foz do Arelho PortugalAn extension wooden walkway part in Foz do Arelho

Wooden sidewalk Foz do Arelho PortugalViewpoints in circular platforms in Foz do Arelho Sunset Foz do Arelho PortugalThe sunset in Foz do Arelho

The peace and tranquility transmitted by the Buddha Eden garden inspired by the buddhist philosophy in the search for the happiness of each one was a very rewarding experience for us.

It has also given us immense pleasure to witness that the city of Caldas da Rainha preserves its cultural and historic heritage thorugh its museums and romantic gardens as well as its two major references, the Thermal Hospital and the production of quality in ceramic products.

References website (1) Buddha Eden (2) Tursimo Centro das Caldas da Rainha

Thanks to Manuel Manero for blogging recommendations

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Rui Vasconcelos

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