Six word Saturday


Hello, and how are you all?

The 'tents' return to Tavira

The ‘tents’ return to Tavira

What a fortnight, but what to select to show you what I’ve been up to?  In brief, of course.  More by luck than planning, the Mediterranean Diet Fair took place whilst I was in Tavira, which accounts for those little white tents and the variety of goodies within. It marked the end of an extremely hot Summer, in which the evenings were soothed by riverside entertainment.

The floodlit castle walls took on a magic of their own

The floodlit castle walls took on a magic of their own

And the churches opened their doors to show everyone the beauty inside

And the churches opened their doors to show everyone the beauty inside

Including the incomparable beauty of the Misericordia Church

Including the incomparable beauty of the Misericordia Church

With its wonderful azulejo panels

With its wonderful azulejo panels

The days were spent mostly wandering beaches.  I discovered a new obsession with buoys.  And I continued my exploration along the west coast of Portugal, up into the beautiful Alentejo.

Zambueira do Mar in the Alentejo

Zambueira do Mar in the Alentejo

Then there was the excitement that was the Medieval Fair at Castro Marim, with both castelo and mighty fortress an arena for combat, and an array of stalls and distractions.  Plus an evening of sand sculptures at FIESA.

Adding colour to Beethoven at FIESA

Adding colour to Beethoven at FIESA

I even managed to combine Morning Glory for Gilly with a hint of metal bench for Jude!  Yes, it was a fine holiday, and there are many tales to tell.  Gilly is going to the Algarve soon herself, and Jude always extends a warm welcome, so pop in and say ‘hi’ to them both.

A bench at Cacela Velha

A bench at Cacela Velha

I have to decide where to take you walking on Monday, and then I have a wedding in Poland, so I’ll miss Six word Saturday again next week.  I hope you’ve all had a great Summer, and if you’d like to share it with Cate I’m sure she’d be pleased.  See you soon!


Six word Saturday



The view that draws me back…

Looking down the years of our Portuguese home, there’s an image that appears over and over. It’s the bridge, Ponte Romana, in Tavira, with its lovely backdrop.  Many’s the evening I’ve idled, with a glass of port, watching the dip and swoop of the swifts.  Trying hard to catch their flight on camera, in an unsuspecting moment.

It’s just one reason to keep me going back.

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This week Brie Anne at The Daily Post asks if you have a ‘muse‘.  Something to which you are drawn again and again.

Meanwhile Cate has just six words at Show My Face.  How about you?


In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Muse.”

Jo’s Monday walk : a surprise, at Estoi

The mother church at Estoi

The mother church at Estoi

Do you remember the lovely palace gardens at Estoi in the Algarve?  I was there last November for a Garden Fair. Always on the lookout for somewhere new to walk, I sat up and took notice when, advertised in the ‘Portugal News’, I spotted a guided walk in the countryside surrounding Estoi.

The village of Estoi makes a pleasant enough wander in itself, and so, one surprisingly warm April Saturday, I joined up with the group of walkers.  A young man called Chris was our walk leader. After gathering up his flock by the church steps in the main square, he set off, at a fair pace.  A little too fair, in all probability, for someone who loves the distraction of wild flowers.  But I managed to keep up… mostly!

The sky patterns were bewitching that day!

The sky patterns were bewitching that day!

I was really taken with the views

I was really taken with the views

In no time we’d turned down a trail that threaded round behind the village.  I chatted companionably with several of the walkers, eager as always to exchange titbits of information. And then I became hopelessly distracted by the flowers.  The red soil appeared quite dry, but from beneath every rock there peeped a smudge of colour.

Growing wild and free

Growing wild and free

The occasional farmhouse appeared, with its noisy dogs, and we passed by a field of melons.  I don’t recall ever seeing melons grow, but was assured that this was a melon crop.  A wild iris stretched shyly in the gentlest breeze. But the stars of the show for me, the gaily abandoned hot pink of the small rock cistus.

How can you ignore this?

Who can ignore these?

Profusely growing wild sage, lavender (both green and lilac shades), not to mention the less flamboyant white cistus- each had found a place.  An Algarve Spring has a wealth of treasures.

Click any photo in the gallery to walk  with me 

I continued to chat whenever I fell in step with someone.  Hearing interesting stories.  We were nearing the end of the walk when my then companion said ‘ah, I remember this!’  A group of the walkers had gathered to look through a high wire fence.  What was the attraction?  Unfortunately, by the time I got there the creatures had turned their back, and I didn’t manage much of a photo.

Who'd have expected an ostrich farm in the Algarve?

Who’d have expected an ostrich farm in the Algarve?

I hope you enjoyed my walk around Estoi this week.  ‘Let’s walk’ advertises in the Portugal News.  It cost 5 euros to join the walk, which lasted about 2 and a half hours.  See Portugal Walks website for details.  The walks cease in the hot summer months.

Many thanks again for your company.  I hope you’ve got the kettle on for a good read!

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For details of how to join in with Jo’s Monday walk, please click on the logo to go to my page.  Thanks to everyone for all your wonderful contributions.


First of all, Drake takes us back to the time when he was a baby duck!

Memory walk through the village

Then Meg meets a friend and shows us around Poznan, in Poland :

To Poznan

It’s years since I was in our Lake District, but Anabel’s posts make me want to go back!

Lake District walks : Silver How

Every now and then I let someone ‘cheat’.  Especially when the alternative is very wet!

Bayous and swamps

Sometimes the beauty of our landscape just takes my breath away. See what I mean, with Amy :

Monday walk : Rainbow Bridge National Monument

Jude, meanwhile, is ‘at home’ in Cornwall.  Or hopes she soon will be!

Lizard Point

And in Scotland’s beautiful capital, Geoff climbs Calton Hill :

Fringe Benefits No. 3

Finally, say hello to a newcomer, Ruth :

On the Way

Yet again I’m scheduling this walk because when you read it I should be returning from the Norfolk Broads (no rest for the wicked!).  I should be back in time to chat with you on Monday evening.  Take care till then.

Santa Maria do Castelo

Such a gentle expression

Such a gentle invitation

Tavira, in Portugal’s Algarve, has so many churches that I often walk by without a backward glance. Taking our customary first day stroll back in April, I spotted a sign outside the Church of Santa Maria do Castelo.  An invitation to a temporary exhibition of Sacred Art.  My curiosity piqued, nothing for it but to step inside.

Photos were not allowed within the exhibition space, so I contented myself with absorbing the atmosphere of the empty church.

Peaceful in prayer

Peaceful in her alcove

The Church of Santa Maria do Castelo is a 13th century building, rebuilt after the earthquake of 1755.  Believed to be on the site of a former mosque, as the name suggests, it is perched up on the hill beside the castle.  All that remains of the castle are a few walls and an evocative garden.

Within the church lies the tomb of the seven knights of Santiago who, according to legend, were killed defending the town from an ambush by the Moors.  The wood carving is exquisite.

The wood carving is  outstanding

The wood carving is outstanding

One of more than 30 churches in and around Tavira, this link will give you a brief introduction, if you are at all interested.  Until the end of August, 12 of the towns churches will be open during the week, so now is a good opportunity to take a look.

The azulejo panels are also incredibly beautiful

The azulejo panels are also incredibly beautiful

Some of the artwork is overly decorative and not to everyone’s taste but it is set in a serene and beautiful white space, and the ceilings are wonderful.

As I slipped out of the door I paused to capture an angelic wood carving, and incurred the wrath of the curator.  I had forgotten to take the flash off my camera.  Be warned!


I left feeling very guilty, but I hope that, if you’re in the neighbourhood, you’ll stop by.

Jo’s Monday walk : Just boats!

A sea of boats at Santa Luzia

A sea of boats, at Santa Luzia

Today’s walk is going to be pure self indulgence, so I apologise in advance if you’re not a lover of boats.  I’ve taken you to the Algarve’s Santa Luzia before, and we’ve loitered in the tiled bliss of the back streets.  One of the walks I did with my Stroller friends this past holiday was in territory very familiar to me.  We started at a cafe (of course) in Santa Luzia, and walked across to Barril (remember the Anchor Graveyard?) on Tavira Island.

I was busy chatting and ‘catching up’ with people, so I forgot to wield the camera until we began to walk back.  We headed through the holiday village Pedras d’el Rei and turned right, down a path I didn’t know, and suddenly I began to take notice.

Walking with the group doesn’t really work well for photographs, especially once they get the bit between their teeth and are headed for lunch.  We emerged on a back lane in Santa Luzia and bundled into the restaurant “Moura”. Plentiful food and wine was consumed, but then I was eager to get back into the sunshine.  I deposited my husband on a bench, gazing at the salt marshes through half closed eyes, and I was off, camera in hand.

Mick's view!

Mick’s view!

Not a bad place to sit, is it?  But I prefer to wander.


I’m content to amble up and down the gangways, admiring the boats from every angle.  Nobody seems to mind, and the few people not lazing after lunch simply nod and smile.  The fishermen are too busy discussing the day’s catch to care, and I am careful to step over the coils of rope.




Are your eyes beginning to glaze over?  I should have warned you that I can look at boats for hours.  I expect Mick’s asleep on his bench by now.  Not too many more and then I’ll head back.



Thank you so much for your patience.  I enjoyed the indulgence.  It was easy to sit in my armchair and turn the clock back.  I hope you didn’t mind ambling in the sunshine.  Or you could join me in the back streets of Santa Luzia?

Can you believe it’s a whole year since I started sharing walks? It all started here.  I’ve led you on a merry dance since then and can only be grateful that so many of you have stayed with me.

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Thank you again for all the lovely shares this week.  If any of you have a walk you’d like to share, the details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Just click on the logo or the link.  All comers welcome!  And now I really must put that kettle on.  Coffee, anyone?


Now, what have I got for you this week?

Drake first!  Don’t miss his incredibly spooky photo in an abandoned orphanage!

The World in one City 

Debbie’s on a mission to bring us canals.  And she does it in style!

Milan’s Grand Canal

Who would have thought a Tokyo suburb would be so interesting?  In like-minded company, of course.

Calling all Travellers 

Geoff takes us back to his old London haunts and a host of memories :

My Kinda Town 

Join Esther in the clouds.  You know you want to!

Walk in the Clouds

Amy and egrets!  A winning combination if ever I saw one :

Monday walk : A Race

And finally, please welcome Susan.  Beaches are always a hit with me :

Walkin’ Wednesday

It just remains to wish you all a happy week, and I hope it’s full of pleasant walks.

Jo’s Monday walk : Farms of Cacela

  An Algarve windmill

Phew!  Back to colour again!  For a person who hates grey skies, monochrome is very hard work. Fortunately for me, my recent visit to the Algarve had its fair share of blue sky.

We’re leaving the beach behind and heading inland a little way today, to Vila Nova da Cacela.  It’s quite an ordinary sort of place but I was inordinately pleased to be doing this walk.  It was a case of third time lucky, because twice before I’d attempted to find the start point for the walk, unsuccessfully!

Let me explain.  Often my Algarve walks are in the company of a group of walkers.  The meeting point is always a neighbourhood cafe, designated by email.  After all, who starts walking without a good cup of coffee first?  Vila Nova da Cacela is one of those small towns in the Eastern Algarve that you’d have to detour to visit.  The busy (by Algarve standards) E125 runs past it and many times I’ve whistled by without a care.  Except, of course, when trying to find the designated cafe.

The town is not big, but just big enough that you might have doubts.  The first time I and my husband tried to join the walk, ‘opposite the mercado’ seemed like clear instructions.  But there was no sign of the walkers that day.  I believe we gave up and went to the beach!  The second time was a different cafe, and once again, with time in hand, we combed the streets of Vila Nova but could not find the walkers.  It felt like some kind of conspiracy!  We set off to explore the neighbourhood, sure that we’d bump into them round some corner, but it was not to be.

When we arrived on the third occasion (nobody can call us ‘quitters’) we were dumbfounded to find a traffic diversion bang smack in the centre of town.  The directions we were carefully following were no longer valid, and worse, behind us were 2 cars containing walkers we recognised , following us with the conviction that we knew where we were going!  Well, all’s well that ends well and we had at least found some walkers and, eventually, the cafe.  I bet you need another cup of coffee before we set off, don’t you?  I know I do!


As we left the town, the fields were a-tumble with yellow flowers, and an old well sat placidly looking on.  A left turn brought us onto a track and soon we were approaching a lofty windmill, it’s sails still intact- quite rare these days.


The view from the top of the steps

The view from the top of the steps

Wild flowers growing carelessly by

Wild flowers growing carelessly by

The windmill up close

The windmill up close

The walk is nothing special.  Just a meander around the country lanes surrounding Vila Nova da Cacela.  Even Wikipedia has next to nothing to say about the town.  Still, it’s a pleasant place to be on a sunny February day, with the blossom tickling the trees.

A gentle tickle of blossom

A gentle flourish of blossom

I was sad to learn, from one of the walkers, that almond production is no longer profitable in the Algarve.  Few new almond trees are being planted and the nuts are now widely imported.  This in a country where sweet almond treats appear in the tiniest and humblest of cafes and on market stalls everywhere.  I find it hard to understand.

Another 'find' in the hedgerows

Another ‘find’ in the hedgerows

We pass a few houses and a cafe or two, then we’re heading back into town.  Little separates town from country, a flock of nosy sheep reminding us of that.

It's goodbye to the orange trees

It’s goodbye to the orange trees

And hello to an inquisitive sheep

And hello to an inquisitive sheep

We’re heading back to ‘Cacela Mar’, our meeting place this morning.  Tables are set out on the grass and for just 11 euros we enjoy a 3 course meal with wine.  Our attention is caught by the glimmer of fungi in the grass. The waiter is quick to assure us that they’re not edible.

A gold-topped fungi

A gold-topped fungi

But I expect you'd rather have cake!

But I expect you’d rather have cake!

The walk took a couple of hours at a steady pace (and with a coffee stop thrown in).  It wasn’t at all taxing but I felt a huge sense of achievement afterwards.  I’d finally walked the ‘Farms of Cacela’!  Triumph!  I hope you enjoyed it too.

walking logo

Next, it’s time to thank everybody for their kind contributions and to share this week’s walks.  If you’d like to join in, the details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page, or you can just click on the logo above.  More coffee, before we start?


Jesh is first this week, with what sounds like my ideal wander.  Come and join us!

Tea Garden San Francisco

While Debbie has me California dreaming…

Walking the Grand Canal, California style

When you’re alone and life is making you lonely you can always go… to Esther!

Walk Downtown

Here’s Amy, talking to ducks again (smile)


Drake is hoping they’ll soon be singing ‘We are the Champions’ :

Never walk alone!

Somebody else who doesn’t like to walk alone!  Thanks, Geoff :

You’ll never walk alone, part 3 

Gilly doesn’t mind a bit of solitude, especially if the surrounds are beautiful :

A Warren Walk

But if you visit Minou, you could indulge in some clog dancing!

Marken- a world away in 40 minutes

Finally, Jill sets the scene for a serene and mystical experience :

Tak Bat in Luang Prabang

Superb, weren’t they?  You can have a fine walk and never leave your armchair.  Many thanks for joining me.  I wish you a happy week, and some good walking.


“Fado com História”

The venue

The venue

As I was meandering around the cobbled streets of Tavira, I spotted, several times, a leaflet in a shop window.  Always interested in a new venture, I went to find out more.  ” Fado com História” is situated in the heart of the old quarter, just beside the Misericordia Church and below the castle walls.  What I found delighted me.  If you’ve never experienced Fado, or think that it might not be for you, I can recommend you to this introduction.

Fado originated in Lisbon, and the show begins with a video featuring some of Portugal’s most famous Fado singers, so that you get a feel for the sound.  Most prominent among these was Amalia Rodrigues(1920-1999).  She said that “Fado has to be felt.  Fado isn’t sung, but just happens.  You feel it, you don’t understand it, nor can it be explained.”  Such passion did she arouse that, when she died, Portugal held 3 days of national mourning.

A wonderful live performance

A wonderful live performance

Nowadays Fado can be heard throughout Portugal, usually in an atmospheric bar or restaurant. “Fado com História” is a small venue, featuring a trio of live artists.  They include Virgilio Lanca, who plays guitar and makes most of the explanations in a soft voice.  He describes fado as “a song that gives you goosebumps”.  Miguel Drago plays Portuguese guitar, which has 12 metallic strings in groups of 2.  You could hear a pin drop as the two begin a guitarrada, demonstrating the ebb and flow of their art.

They are joined by a fadista, Teresa Viola, a lovely young woman with a beautiful voice.  She closes her eyes, takes a deep breath, and leans into the performance.  Accompanied by the guitarists she sings 4 or 5 fados, explaining the stories behind them.  The backdrop is a wall-sized photograph of a 1942 performance at Cafe Luso, in Lisbon, featuring the great Amalia.

The passion of the performers for their project is clearly evident, and at the end of the show they are happy to talk about it.  They are working in conjunction with the Fado Museum in Lisbon but have found a different way to present fado, and the live performances are key.

The museum is open from 10am to 5pm every day except Sundays, and a new show begins each hour.  Details are at http://www.fadocomhistoria.wix.com/fado .  I can only suggest that if you have the opportunity at any time you should go along.  You will be warmly welcomed.  This video is in Portuguese but is quite easy to follow.