Spring is a gorgeous time for the senses. Through the eyes is nice to see many colours from all sort of flowers and the beautiful wings of the butterflies. But what about the other senses? During my last trip I have experienced to be in a National Park and a Sensory Garden in Spain.
The Cíes Islands are a natural paradise in Galicia, Spain, concretely in the Vigo’s estuary that forms an impressive Marine-Terrestrial Natural Park. It is one of the country’s most beautiful places, which is the reason why the Romans named them the islands of the gods.
The archipelago Cíes Islands is made up of three islands: Monteagudo island, Do Faro island and San Martiño island. The first two are joined by the beach Playa de Rodas, which has been awarded with the title of “The Best Beach in the World” by the renowned British newspaper “The Guardian”, and a natural breakwater. The islands were declared part of the Atlantic Islands National Park in 2002 and now it is a UNESCO World Heritage candidate.
The Cíes Islands offer to visitors an excellent tour in a highly protected area for a maximum enjoyment of nature, birds sightseeing and baths in crystalline waters. The only way to get to the islands is by boat in around 45 minutes. The islands are accessible; as a visitor with disability you can ask for information in Braille, help from volunteers, a special wheelchair for hiking, an amphibious chair, a pair of amphibious crutches, among others. The public transport there is also accessible.
Other great place to visit in Vigo is the Sensory Garden of the Museum Quiñones de León. This garden was awarded by its accessibility due to a sensory walk. Blind and visually impaired people can enjoy the garden through tactile and olfactory stimuli. The sound of the water, the fountains, the smell of the flowers, the smell of the eucalyptus trees and the birds chirping were my favourite part of my experience in this Sensory Garden.
Personally I love to go to gardens and I see how important is the accessibility in such a peaceful place full of stimuli. It is not very common to find urban parks designed to enjoy the stimuli and a sensory garden is a great example of accessibility for blind and visually impaired people and also is a way to create a multi-sensory experience for all.