Love is not love which alters it when alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove: O no! It is an ever fixed mark that looks on tempests and is never shaken; it is the star to every wandering bark whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken. Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks within his bending sickle’s compass come: Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, but bears it out, even to the edge of doom. William Shakespeare
This is a love story probably without a happy end, like a Shakespeare novel. Europaradise is a wild life park located near Montemor-o-Velho (about 20 km from Coimbra, Portugal). And it is since 1998 a joint labour of love from of an old Portuguese couple. A love of animals and nature not matched by public and private support. As many other Portuguese in the 60’s, the couple emigrates to France to seek a better life. With hard work and entrepreneurial spirit they’ve made a fortune and return to Montemor to buy and maintain a wild life park. Perfect love story but without any state or company funds (only a supermarket chain supports the park with some leftover fruits and vegetables) their dream sorrowed. Today many animals are in cages and the paths are badly in need of maintenance. We felt their heartbreak as they escort us throughout this precious gem in the heart of a beautiful Mediterranean forest.
Along a pedestrian walk of about 2 kilometers we saw about 30 species of mammals and 90 species of birds, including animals from the European continent, African and Asian, such as tigers, zebras, ostriches, peacocks, porcupines, among others. The owners are very proud of a specimen of “casuar-unicarúnculado”, the only one remaining in the world. Like the park, a remainder of better days. Next the owner that escorted us inside a tigers cage. I never been so close to a tiger in my life but alongside with its caretaker the animals were very friendly.
To make a long story short. It’s up to us to keep this dream alive. The tickets cost only 5€. There no brochures or fancy ads and you need gps assist to find the place but it’s definitely worths a visit. Love’s not Time’s fool
By Ana Rita Mendes 7/4/2017
Location: Quinta da gardoa, 3140-104 Montemor o Velho
Open all yearTop Rides
Tigers cage. The casuar-unicarúnculado specimen
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