Jo’s Monday walk : Hetton Lyons Country Park

The choices this week were another boring beach walk in the sunny Algarve, or a quick romp in the frozen north east of England.  Well, it’s no contest, is it?  Grab your scarf and mittens, and no loitering, please!  Except to feed the swans.

There’s a crisp beauty to it, as the frost nibbles at your ears and glistens on grass and fences.  Distant dog walkers embrace the morning air.

Out past the barn, I head towards the windmills, on a narrow lane.  A public footpath crosses the fields, the frozen earth firm underfoot.  Patterns abound, all etched in white, whilst solid puddles of ice line the path.

Despite the sun, the ice persists, tingling the toes, yet some of the fields are surprisingly green.  The blades whirr noisily above my head.

Fronds of bracken huddle beneath the hedge, the occasional, lucky one gilded by sunlight.  A forbidding, firmly-locked gate denies access.  No matter, as the country park lies straight ahead, just beyond the farmhouse.

The small pond is frozen solid, but most of the lake is clear and sparkling.  A path skirts the shore and the swans glide hopefully forwards.

There is a small cafe if you need a warm up afterwards.  As we drove through Hetton I saw a sign for homemade broth.  Sounded like a good idea!

I think the sign was on Market Street, but I was distracted by the mural.  Hope you didn’t get too cold walking with me.  I still have a few warm Algarve images that I may get to share with you before I go, but this is my last walk for a couple of weeks.

Many thanks for all your wonderful shares.  Please take a little time to read the following walks, especially if it’s someone you don’t know.  You may find a new friend.  There are lots this week but I’ll be in the Algarve for a few weeks, so you can make them last.  Once I get settled I hope to be back out with you again.

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Let’s start with a little stunning alpine scenery from Drake :

From a peak

And here’s a fair bit of the white stuff from Anabel too!

The Birks of Aberfeldy (and other walks)

You birders will love this!  Take a walk in the wild with Lisa :

In Search of the Endangered Slaty Becard- (and finding so much more!)

Dom hosts a regular walk feature on Wandsworth Radio.  Why not have a listen?

Walking Wandsworth Episode 6- Battersea Arts Centre

And you could munch along with Jackie while you do :

Comfort foods

“One of the most glorious landscapes I’ve ever been fortunate to have hiked in”, says Nicole :

A Magical Hike in Chile’s Parque Andino Juncal

Kathrin’s in a very happy place and I think you’ll like it too :

Hopfen am See aka my Happy Place

‘There’s gold in them there hills!”  Well, there was once, wasn’t there, Carol?

The Ten Dollar Town

You can just picture Pauline and Jack, having fun with all these folks!

Meandering in Uki Market

Lady Lee is back from her holidays.  You might be jealous!

New Year’s Eve and Day in Manila

Cornwall can still compete with most places, if the weather behaves.  In French, and English :

Hike around Lizard Point, England

And while we’re down that way, a sort of revisit, from Jude :

Garden Portrait : The Lost Gardens of Heligan Part 1

This time last year I was getting very excited about a trip to Tuscany.  Thanks for the memories, Woolly!

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk49_Pisa

This year I’m just days away from an extended stay in the Algarve.  Thanks for a lovely reminder, Becky :

There’s a pig loose

And just to thoroughly spoil you, here’s that warm beach walk I know you fancied, courtesy of Meg :

An early morning walk and an act of gross disloyalty

Lovely skies here this morning but still slippy stuff on the ground.  Take care out there!  I’ll be keeping an eye an you, and I’ll let you know when I’m walking again.  Bye for now!

 

Six word Saturday

Has anyone dropped a stitch lately?

On the bleakest of Winter days, I still couldn’t resist a little yarn bombing, this time at Saltholme Nature Reserve.

The details are amazing, aren’t they?  I couldn’t see a dropped stitch anywhere.  I had to keep on the move too, because it was SO cold!

It wouldn’t be complete without a tea party, would it?  (Hover over the smaller photos to see the captions, or click to view them in a gallery).  Have a great weekend, whatever the weather, and don’t forget to join Debbie with six words.

 

 

Silence in the Salt pans

Couldn’t you just lose yourself in this silence?  The end of another hot day in the Algarve, and the sun sinking gracefully into the salt pans.  The scene was so different when I walked out to Quatro Aguas earlier in the day.

A different quality of silence and not so easy to savour.  Almost harsh.  I like the gentler, reflective tones, when you can daydream a little.

How does silence look to you?  We had a different silence again here in the UK this morning, with a soft blanket of snow.

Jo’s Monday walk : Lisbon… one last time

“Let me take you by the hand, and lead you through the streets of…” Lisbon… one last time.  I’m sure Ralph Mctell won’t mind.  I’ve always loved this song but the YouTube video is harrowing.  There’s a dark side to cities that rarely appears on here, but I know you don’t have to wander far from tourist heaven to find it.

You can walk this walk from top to bottom, or bottom to top.  I’ve done it both ways.  I can only suggest that you take your time, and stop off for coffee whenever the fancy takes you.  And I can definitely promise you cake.

Here we are, at the top of Parque de Eduardo VII, looking down on the panorama of Lisbon.  Close by you will find the bus station, which was my final destination that day.  You have choices of where to linger.  I never did make it into the Calouste Gulbenkian museum, but I did let myself be sidetracked by the estufa fria (cold greenhouse) in Edward’s park.

I shan’t even attempt to name names, except for one specimen I received a cutting of from the family in Kraków.  It’s thriving still on my windowsill.

That last one is a Tradescantia Spathacea and it can be found in Belize, Guatemala and the south of Mexico.  And on my windowsill.

The simple joy of flowers.  So, we’re still at the top of the park but, if you should feel the need for a cuppa, I know the very place.  Linha d’Água.  Otherwise it’s a gentle stroll down through the park, pausing to admire the restored Pavilhão, and a few azulejos, of course.

Cross busy Praça do Marques de Pombal and you’re on the Avenida da Liberdade.  Follow the patterned pavements all the way down to Rossio, or Praça de Dom Pedro IV, as it’s properly known.  The whole character of the walk changes here as you are on the edge of the Baixa, the lower part of the city.  Its tall, narrow streets are named for the gold, silversmiths and other tradesfolk for whom this was once the commercial centre.

If you didn’t stop for a drink before, or even if you did, this is another good area.  A Brasileira and Café Nicola have both stood the test of time.

Refreshed, it’s time to go upwards a little.  If the queues aren’t too bad you might want to use Elevador de Santa Justa.  Otherwise it’s a steep climb up to Largo do Carmo and the beautiful ruined Convento.  Sadly, I had no time to enter.

The views out across the city, towards Castelo de São Jorge, are as good as any you’ll find in Lisbon.  You can make your way past the exit from the Elevador and down to a terrace full of recliners.  Not a bad place for a cocktail!  And an internal lift will carry you back down to street level.

Now I have to make my way all the way back to the bus station.  Better leave you with that promised cake, as I journey home to the Algarve.

It’s been a long series of posts, but I hope it’s given you some idea of how lovely a city Lisbon is.  I’m returning to the Algarve soon but I will share one more Monday walk before I go.  Not sure where it will be, just yet.

As usual I’d like to thank you all for your company and your contributions.  Please find a little time to read these.  I do appreciate it.  If you’d like to join me with a walk, next week will be your last chance for a while.  Details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.

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Nothing like a bit of company to make a good walk great, is there, Jude?

Readymoney Cove to Fowey

Funnily enough this is somewhere Jude and I have been, together!  Thanks, Anabel!

Edinburgh: a Canongate walk

I’d like to introduce you to a lady called Martha.  She’s walking on one of my old stomping grounds :

Best walks in London : Thames Path west, Richmond to Hampton Court

That white stuff just won’t go away!  Pity poor Jackie in Toronto :

Les Feves Au Lard

And you can almost hear the ice crackling on Drake’s post!

Added white atmosphere

But of course it’s a very different story in Australia.  Let Pauline introduce you to the Scribbly Gum Moth.  Yes, really!

A walk round my patch

This is a very delightful photo walk with Aarti :

Photowalk in Bosque El Olivar

And who doesn’t love a walk with views like this?  Not Sunny Days in Seattle :

Hiking : Oyster Dome

Finally, something completely different, from Kat  :

In the Footsteps of the Samurai : Walking the Nakasendo Way

Good variety, I’m sure you’ll agree.  The forecast’s not good for this week but I hope to get out and about.  If not, I’ll be watching the Australian Open tennis.  Enjoy your week, however you spend it!

Six word Saturday

Taking a step back into childhood

What to do on a grey day in January?  Why, visit a Lego exhibition, of course.  A walk through time, in bricks, at Preston Park Museum.

Lascaux cave paintings

Copernicus discovers Heliocentrism

The railway’s coming!

China on the rise

Amazing what you can do with a few bricks, isn’t it?  The captions should help if you’re bemused.  All part of Saturday’s rich entertainment, as is Debbie’s Six Word Saturday.  Enjoy your day!

Present meets past?

I wanted somewhere suitably elegant to end my daughter’s visit to the Algarve, and they don’t come any more elegant than the Estói Palace.  In A palace in warm sunshine, back in November 2014, I suggested that it might make a good venue for afternoon tea.  Do you remember it, Paula?  Long overdue, I think.  The sun was just sliding down the sky when we got there and the terrace looked so inviting.

What a study in opulence this place is.  No need to introduce you to azulejos after Monday’s post but I can never resist sharing a few more beauties.

More restoration work had been carried out since my last visit.  The small summerhouses were a picture, with their vibrant stained glass and painted walls and ceiling.  The grotto was open and my son-in-law, who has a particular interest in ironwork, studied the details with interest.

Enough of admiring our reflection.  It’s time to go indoors for refreshment.  Truth be told, it really couldn’t compete with the decor.

Does that window look familiar, Becky?  You’ll be happily ensconced in your Algarve life by now.  I’ve taken liberties with your Past meets Present.  I’m sorry!  You did such a nice job on the Palacio not long ago.  Paula- I thought you might like an update for Traces of the Past?

Oddly enough, the waiter said they only had cheesecake.  Ah well!  Cake’s cake, isn’t it?  There wasn’t a crumb left when son-in-law had finished.

Jo’s Monday walk : In search of Tiles

There were two main reasons for my visit to Lisbon last October.  I’ve already shared with you the first- the Jerónimos Monastery.  This is the second- the Museu Nacional do Azulejo.  It’s not normally recommended to walk there, but it’s not a great distance, and there’s a very nice restaurant when you arrive.  So, why not?

My start point was Praça do Comércio, always an interesting space, where Lisbon fronts the water.  Some people can sleep anywhere, can’t they?

I even found a tiny strip of beach, but let’s not get distracted.  The road threads along the riverfront, beneath Alfama.  Roadworks were a bit of a nuisance, as was a chap on a bench, who misdirected us for the price of a euro.  That’s cities for you!  I had it in my head that along the way I might stop off at São Vicente de Fora, for the cloisters, a coffee, and a view.  Don’t try it on foot!  A tuk-tuk ride would be a much better idea.

Google Maps showed that it was only 1.2 miles from the Praça to the museum, but I found myself hugging shade as it was remarkably warm for late October.  Interesting rather than scenic is how I would describe the route, as we passed the cruise terminal and then Santa Apolónia railroad station.  At a bridge spanning railway and docks, a tourist bus sped past.  And then, amazingly, there it was!

What a wonderful use for an old monastery.  Tile lovers, you are in for a treat!  The convent of Madre de Deus was founded in 1509 by Queen Leonor.  Over time, many azulejo panels were stored there, and in 1957 it was decided to have an exhibition commemorating 500 years after Leonor’s birth.  The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation undertook the restoration work needed.  When the exhibition ended, in Jauary 1958, a wealth of tiles were available and it was proposed to transfer the Ceramic Section of Lisbon’s Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga to the building.  It was finally opened to the public as a museum in the 1970s.

First things first!  It was into the restaurant for some recovery time with delicious salads, in a prettily tiled setting, or a leafy outdoor courtyard if you preferred.  Fully fortified, it was time to tackle three floors of azulejos.

The museum surrounds the courtyard and cloisters, and has an incredible collection of azulejos, dating from 16th century to present day.

The magnificently restored church is incorporated into the museum.  You will be advised not to miss it and I could easily see why.  The decor includes rich, gilded woodwork, fine paintings and, of course, azulejo panels.

Time to climb to the next level.  There are interesting distractions along the way, but if you really can’t manage it then there’s a lift.

The azulejos change style and era on the next floor.  I tried to keep track of the accompanying details but it was too difficult.  Much easier to simply admire.  The museum website has an App to help you identify the pieces.

One of the most thrilling aspects of my visit to the Jerónimos Monastery was the moment when I stepped through a doorway to find myself looking down into the body of the church.  The same thing happens with Madre de Deus on the second level of the museum. I love the feeling of omniscience.  A seat in the Gods.

There is just one more level.  The exhibition culminates, at the top of the building, with an amazing 40 metre panorama of Lisbon, dating from 1730.  I have to admit, my eyes were starting to glaze over by the time I’d looked my fill.

The good news is that you don’t have to walk all the way back to the centre.  There’s a bus stop directly outside the museum and in 10 minutes you can be whizzed back to Rossio, and a different world.

Thanks for your company again this week.  It’s much appreciated.  I hope you can join me with a walk of your own soon.  Details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Meantime please do enjoy these :

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Powder white, fresh snow makes for the most beautiful scenery.  Thanks, Drake!

The white track

I think Pauline might be grateful for a handful or two :

Hiding from the heat in the gallery

Becky will be enjoying this in a week or so’s time :

Another glimpse of the Guadiana

You could get the impression that Jackie doesn’t do anything but eat!

Cold Turkey

And Woolly?  He’s visiting War Graves again :

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk48_Prowse-Point

An old friend takes us on a hike, California style.  Thanks, Kongo!

March to the Sea

Ending with something simply splendiferous!  Don’t miss this from Jude :

Heligan by Night

Whatever the week has in store, I hope you enjoy it.  I’m off out with my English walking group today.  See you soon!