Jo’s Monday walk : A brief sojourn in Cascais

Since I very first heard the name, suggestive of seashells, I’ve wanted to visit Cascais, on the Lisbon coast.  That was many years ago, and so I had just a hint of doubt that it would still satisfy my expectations.  A harbour full of boats, a swathe or two of sand, and beautifully cobbled streets where I can wander at will, all are conjured in my mind.  A haven from the beautiful but busy streets of the city.  But how will I view the reality?

Boarding the train at Belem, I watched the estuary widen, caressed by shimmering sunlight.  With rapt attention I counted off the stations, until at last we reached the end of the line, Cascais.  It was late in the afternoon and I needed to find my accomodation.

Instructions in hand to head steadily upwards, I climbed the steps and streets away from the centre, taking note of interesting street art and entertainers.  A quick introduction to my room and I was back on the street.  Time for a proper look around.

The main square is an attractive space, with wide views out across the bay and locals comfortably ensconced on benches, passing the time of day.  A solid fortress protects the marina.  It dates from 1488, but was inadequate for the task, succumbing to invasion by Spanish troops in 1580.  It was subsequently enlarged by King Philip of Spain, and has the characteristic star-shaped floor plan of a Renaissance citadel.

The light was already beginning to fade as I rounded the headland, only to be enchanted by the sight before me.

A fairytale palace and a delightful cove, with the soft lap of the sea.  And an alluring lighthouse, waiting to beam gently at me.  Noting the restaurant, nestled above the rocks, I head on round the bay, following the setting sun.

All along the shoreline people are pausing to take in this splendour, some settling down on the rocks for a grand finale.

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As the light fades, I take in the majestic proportions of the Casa de Santa Maria.  Where better to sip a caipirinha, as the lighthouse blinks slowly at me, than the restaurant in the cove?  Just time to slip into the park before the gates close for the evening.

And then wend my way back, passing the marina, and the floodlit fortress with its neon support act.  I think I’ve fallen a little in love.

Is it any wonder that King Luis I decided to make Cascais his summer residence in 1870?  The citadel was equipped with the first electric lights in the country in 1878, and with the advent of the railway in 1889 this former fishing community acquired cosmopolitan status.

Next morning it’s time to leave, with not a little reluctance, but I have more to see in Lisbon, and a coach home to the Algarve that evening.  I draw out every last bit of pleasure by walking along the coast to the station at Estoril.

Passing the quiet beaches of Rainha and Conceicao, I revel in the late October sunshine.  A surprising number of people are taking their morning exercise on the promenade, and one or two inviting cafes beckon, but I resist.  Breakfast, not long ago, was spent talking to a lovely young Austrian woman.  All too soon, ahead of me, the distinctive structure that signifes Estoril to me.

I hope you enjoyed my brief visit.  I’d love to have seen inside the fort and some of the museums, but there simply wasn’t time.  Why not pop over to Sami’s blog.  She knows Cascais much better than me.

One week nearer to Christmas, and I still have so much of Lisbon to share.  Thank you so much for all of your support and for walking with me.  Pop the kettle on and enjoy my companions, won’t you?  Details on joining me are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.


Lisa shares some more stories and history from Israel :

Trees, Turtles and Trumpeldor

Meet Dhara, a newcomer to my walks, sharing the beauty of South California :

Our Fleeting Flirtation with Mono Lake… and Why We’ll be Back!

Did you visit Hikeminded last week?  Don’t miss these very beautiful shots of Winter :

Berlin Day Hike : Wintertime at the Arkenberge

It won’t take you 5 minutes to visit Violet, for some delightful sculpture :

And the bears will play

I think Marsha is bidding for longest ever walk post title :

How the Ancient Puebloans Lived Large in the Grand Canyon Even Though Water Was Scarce

I wouldn’t dare accuse Jackie of this!


Ellen’s eating again!  No utensils required :

Going for a walk in search of Ethiopian food/Little Five Points, Atlanta

While Cathy takes us to one of the world’s great icons :

Mijajima : Itsukushima-jinja & the floating o-torii gate 

Drake celebrates life in one of the world’s great capitals :

Paris, ‘warm’ december

And sprinkling on the fairy dust, lovely Pauline in Oz :

A walk in an enchanted garden

That’s it for another week.  Are you feeling festive?  We have just a scraping of snow here this morning.  It’ll do me nicely.  Have a good week, everybody, and take care out there!

Six word Saturday

Would anyone like a marmalade sandwich?

I had my annual Christmas jaunt to Newcastle-on-Tyne this week, and a date with a very engaging character, in Fenwick’s shop window.

He got up to some very strange antics, but then, that’s Paddington Bear for you.

The windows are skilfully done and seldom disappoint, either children or adults.  Really difficult to photograph, though.

Dawn loves a Lingering Look at Windows.  Perhaps you do too.  Why not join her?  And please don’t forget to share six words with our Debbie.  Whatever you do, have a great weekend!  And if you love snow, I hope you have just the right amount.


Finding a sequence

This is SO not the day for a walk, as storm Caroline huffs and puffs her way towards us, but Paula’s magnificent Sequence this morning sent my mind drifting back to late summer.  I was pootling around in Saltburn-by-the-Sea when I spotted a signpost promising a clifftop walk to Marske.  It was only a mile or 2 down the coast, but the climb up to the cliffs appeared a little daunting.  I knew the views would be great, though!

With a sense of achievement after my climb I set off on the clifftop, peering over the edge at a lone rider and, off in the distance, the towering offshore wind farm at Redcar.  Sweeping views right along the coast.

Soon Marske was ahead of me and I needed to get down off the cliff top.  Uncertain of which way to choose, I made a delightful discovery.  A row of terraced houses with themed seaside gardens overlooking a lovely cove.

And what else, draped in all their winter finery, but a Sequence of tractors, for Thursday’s Special.

Can I just remind you that Becky is playing with square skies all of December?  The lead photo needs to be square, and contain sky.  Like mine!

Jo’s Monday walk : Loitering in LOULÉ

I always try for variety in my walks.  Sometimes I have to look back to see where I’ve taken you, as was the case with Loulé .  The attractive tile panel of the Arab market, shown above, was hidden away in a Pingo Doce supermarket. (I was looking for a birthday cake at the time, strangely enough)  Loulé is one of those places you can go when the Algarve weather is not all that you might have hoped for. (yes, it happens!  Though not often, in my experience.)  There’s always something of interest to see and do there.

Despite the urban sprawl, it has a rather elegant old quarter, resplendent with calçadas, so I’m sure my friend Madhu would enjoy it.  Billowy panels fluttered above the streets, evidence that it had been consistently hot and sunny.  Meandering on Rua 5 de Outubro, I had an urge to go and see Nossa Senhora da Piedade.  It’s an uphill climb to the church, but I think it’s worth it.

As luck would have it, I was diverted before I could even begin my climb.  A banner on the side of a church building proclaimed the closing days of an art exhibition, by João Garcia Miguel.  A smile from the receptionist, just inside the doors of Convento de Santo Antonio, invited me inside.

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But what an extraordinary sight greeted my eyes.  I’m afraid the art exhibition took second place.  The central nave of the church had been restored, in a plain and simple style, while retaining the crumbly but beautiful arches and alcoves of the side chapel.

A solitary, beautiful fresco vied with the artwork.  The most joyful experience!  The cloisters were barriered off and in poor condition, but restoration appeared to be ongoing.  I will return, for sure.  But first, a hill for us to climb…

I won’t dwell too long on Nossa Senhora da Piedade, as we’ve been there before, but I’m sure you can see the attraction.  The tiny chapel was built in 1553, almost survived the earthquake of 1755, and has been restored in all its exquisite detail since then.

Overshadowed by the huge dome of the 2oth century addition, you might never know this chapel exists, but it’s been bringing the crowds here for the Easter procession since the 16th century.

I must have had my religious head on that day because, wandering back into town, I found myself drawn to Nossa Senhora da Conceição.  Sitting in a quiet corner on Rua Paio Peres Correia, there’s often a queue outside this small chapel with its beautiful 18th century azulejos.  I was lucky!

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So many riches in my walk today!  I think we’ll just tootle past the bandstand and head for home.  But, wait a minute!  I’ve not treated you to cake lately, have I?  Better put that right.  Please, be my guest!

I hope you enjoyed returning with me to Loulé today.  Next week I plan to take you to Cascais, on the Lisbon coast.  A change is as good as a rest?

Thanks so much for the lovely response I got last week.  I’ve got some great walks to share, so let’s get that kettle on and settle in.  Join me with a walk of your own any time.  Details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.


Anabel starts us off with a walk around a delightful Scottish island I’d never even heard of!

A walk round Kerrera

Cathy wanders in all sorts of fascinating places.  Some day I’ll catch up!

A walking tour of Pest & a confusing (but fun) visit to the szechenyi thermal baths

And closer to home :

Maryland Heights : the Overlook Cliff Trail

This week Jackie is being disgustingly lazy.  I know- I’m jealous!

Tutti Frutti

And Ellen only breaks into a saunter now and again :

Going for a Crazy Cabbagetown Walk/Atlanta, Georgia, Pt.2

Not our Sue, though!  Energy is her middle name :

Irish Cliffs of Moher and Selfie Shenanigans

Hikeminded!  Isn’t that a great name?  I hope you’ll read her post too :

Berlin Day Hike : Fallen Leaves in Blumenthal

I think Carol deliberately set me up with this one.  May not be quite what you expect :

Roaming in Roma

Shazza stays close to home, and braves the weather :

A waterfall walk in the Dales

And talking of weather, these seas look awfully cold, Drake!

Traveling boxes

Australian beaches are a sight to behold, especially in the company of Meg  :

Eurobodalla beaches : Josh’s Beach

Woolly tells me that there are more than 2,500 Commonwealth War Grave cemeteries on the Western Front.  So much sadness!



Come boardwalking in the sunny south with Pauline!  It’ll set you up for the week ahead :

Joining Jo on a Monday walk

Another sunny city that I’ve always wanted to see (and don’t miss the Transporter Bridge)- thanks Cadyluck Leedy!

Jo’s Monday Walk: Bilboa, Spain

That’s it for another week.  I have my last pre-Christmas walk with my walking group today, so I expect mince pies will follow.

A Sunday silhouette

What to do when a good friend becomes so obsessed with squares that she wants to turn the sky square?  Humour her, of course.  This photo was taken in Cascais.  All you need is a Square Sky photo and you can join in, any day in December.


Six word Saturday

Let’s have a touch of serenity!

Heaven knows, we need it at this time of year.  Serenity, for me, usually involves water.  The gentle bobbing of boats and whisper of tide, lapping shore.  A frond or two of green, framing sky and sea.  A powder puff of cloud….

Not so serene if you’re down there digging for clams, I suspect

Do any of these say Serene to you?  Let’s give it one last try.

Tavira is lovely, don’t you think?  Perhaps that should have been my six words.  Do go and have some fun with Debbie.  Happy weekend!

A sad story?

Up a flight of cobbled steps, on the corner of a tiny square, stands one of the most bedraggled, unloved houses in Tavira.  In a town where every other street has a ‘do-er upper’ – part of it’s charm – this one is nothing uncommon.  Often I look at a ruin and think, ‘that would make a great little home’, and pass right on by.  But this lost soul always stops me in my tracks.

I first saw it a dozen years ago, when I’d been puffing up and down hills, exploring Tavira’s delightful back streets.  It looked the perfect size.  And maybe I could have a tiny roof terrace where I could closet myself away, and peer down at the occasional passer by.  And then, one Christmas time, I saw the little square decked in all its finery.  What wonderful neighbours I could have!

But the years have rolled by, and I haven’t claimed it as mine.  Time hasn’t been kind and now I can see inside to the wooden ceiling.  Weeds sprout from the roof and gutters.  And still I’m tempted!  Why hasn’t it been snapped up?  Did I mention the steep, cobbled steps?  How would I ever get the shopping home as I get older and dothery?

It’s not as though there aren’t plenty of others to feel sorry for.  Spare a kind thought for these.

Why am I sharing these today?  Well, I thought I’d cheer up my old buddy, Sue.  She loves nothing more than a good ruin.  And Paula’s back with Pick a Word in another engaging Thursday’s Special.  I chose Remains and Non-Human to illustrate.