Last year, topped with my green fedora, I led an 18-day tour of gardens and cultural icons of Spain with ASA Cultural Tours. It was a hoot! Not only the must-sees like the Alhambra in Granada, but dreamy garden landscapes with olives and wild flowers not normally open to the public. Afterwards my wife Lynda and I visited Portugal for the first time. More heat, history and romance. Porto was a knock out. I love the history of this region, with its connections to Rome and Africa, as well as the Americas. The garden landscapes and their plants bring this history to life.
Top tip for holidaying on the Iberian Peninsula
Either live on tapas or get used to digesting dinner in your sleep. It’s a cliché I know but the late dinners, particularly in Spain, are a pain. So seek out some quality tapas or better still have hearty lunch.
Something he always packs
Two electronic devices to cover all my communication needs – my laptop and smart phone – but also a Kindle for reading. Books are too bulky and the paper-white Kindle is kind on the eyes without the diversions of my other two devices.
A destination on his bucket list
Japan sits there, waiting. Lynda and I had planned our first visit in March 2011, on our way to live in London (and work at Kew Gardens) for few years. Then the tsunami hit and we’ve never got back. That was going to be a spring visit but I gather autumn is almost as pretty.
A travel disaster – or near-miss
More irritation than disaster, but I was excited by the prospect of a direct flight from Sydney to Santiago (with a brief hop from Melbourne) for a whirl-wind trip to visit South American botanic gardens. Instead, the flight was diverted to Canberra due to storms around Sydney. We sat on the tarmac until safe to fly to Sydney, where despite sprinting to the gate I missed the connection. Over the next 24 hours we flew to Brisbane, then Auckland for a late-night/early-morning sleepover, and finally to Santiago. My time in Rio was cut in half. On the upside, I got to read plenty of my favourite Argentinian author, Borges, on the Kindle.
About Professor Tim Entwisle, Director & Chief Executive, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria
Professor Tim Entwisle is a scientist, scientific communicator and botanic gardens director, and currently President of the International Association of Botanic Gardens. He was appointed Director and Chief Executive of Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria in March 2013, following two years in a senior role at Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, and eight years as Executive Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust in Sydney. Tim writes for a variety of science, nature and garden magazines and maintains an active social media profile (including his prize-winning Talkingplants blog). He contributes regularly to radio, including ABC RN Blueprint for Living, and hosted Talking Plants and co-hosted In Season.
To connect with Tim, and the Royal Botanic Gardens:
Twitter: @TimEntwisle @RBG_Victoria
Facebook: @Tim Entwisle @Botanic Gardens Victoria
Main image: The beautiful Duoro valley, near Porto (Portugal).