News flash: it’s actually chilly enough that I’m wearing sweats, a long sleeve shirt, and have a blanket wrapped around me! Granted, I am sitting in the breeze from the open window at 9 AM. But still! It’s the first time it’s been that cold in the morning.

As they tend to be, this Sunday in Lisbon was very quiet, since we were both tired from the night before. Pretty much all we did was to go out to the botanical gardens nearby, which have one locked gate about 4 minutes’ walk from our house and a main entrance about 10 minutes’ walk (uphill, of course) from here.

The gardens were lovely, a pocket of peace and quiet right in the midst of the city, especially on a Sunday when no one is about anyway. Like everything else here though, they were rather run down, another symbol of former colonial glory gone to seed (literally.) Most of these gardens were originally built to showcase different species of plants brought from colonies and voyages around the world — in other words, to show off.

Now, with the original reasons for its construction long gone, the place is somewhat haphazardly maintained by students at the University of Sciences nearby. There was a wide variety of flora, including some kind of sequoia (although not exactly a redwood), and the paths and beds were neatly groomed, with evidence of weeding and pruning all around. But there were wild cats wandering the grounds, all the water features were drained and/or clogged with growth, and the “greenhouse” had its doors open to the elements, allowing the plants inside to sicken and wilt. There were some happy looking carnivorous plants in there though, which is hardly surprising, given the number of flies I could hear buzzing away.

After that big excursion, we took the long way home to explore some new streets in our neighborhood, and then took it easy for the rest of the day, napped and read and ate dinner. It feels so decadent to be relaxing like this, and I have to keep reminding myself that it’s OK, I’ve earned and planned for this, and there will be plenty of things to do later on. Right now… it’s OK to kick back and have lazy days. A hard lesson to learn.

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