Friday seemed like a good day for a walk in a garden. We walked up the steep hill to visit Quinta Palmeira but couldn’t find the entrance gate. A tall stonewall stood between us and the garden. We studied the map and guessed that we should turn right and circle the garden. Wrong.
At one point the road became very steep and narrowed. We were still walking along the garden wall, but, now, we were in a narrow space between that wall and another high wall on the other side of the road. All of a sudden we heard a dog barking. In seconds the dog was on top of the neighboring wall, just over our heads, barking furiously at us.
We walked quickly, trying to get past so that the dog would calm down. The barking behind us became louder and more frantic. Then we heard a huge “THUD.” The dog had fallen off the wall and was lying (dead or stunned?) on the road. Should we go back to see if the dog was OK and risk the dog attacking us, or should we get down the road as fast as we could?
No question about it but to keep moving, and, when we were almost out of sight, we glanced back and saw the dog get up and slowly hobble back up the hill to the gate entrance of his home.
We were very hot and tired when we finally discovered the gate of the garden, locked and closed, with a sign “only open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.”
So, the next Tuesday we walked back up the steep hill, paid the entry fee, and climbed the long drive up into the garden. We were disheartened to see the neglected flowerbeds around the old house. How many years had it been since this was a garden in its prime?
We continued walking, down past the old croquet lawns, and finally discovered what we had come to see – a truly lovely area of the garden.
We saw no other visitors to the garden that morning. We had a hard time finding this place and were disappointed to find the garden in decline. Yet, we’re sure the magic of (finally) locating the garden entrance and our delight in discovering this garden’s beauty will make it our most memorable garden in Madeira.