Jo’s ‘not a Monday walk’

Hi folks!  Normal service is far from being resumed, but I’m aware of collecting lots of walks which I really ought to share, so here I am today.  Could I perhaps ask that you don’t send me any more links for the moment?  I have family arriving at the weekend and they have first call on my time.  I shall have a sixth birthday to celebrate, Halloween to avoid (my daughter more than makes up for me), and then the weight of numbers will come crashing down on my head.  A big one!

As if that’s not enough, I have a cat to feed.  One that hisses at me. (I do understand, I’m not the patient mistress of the house  🙂  ).  Actually, the mistress explained to me how I should place a doorstop to prevent me being locked out in the garden with said cat.  And then the door blew shut, as she was explaining, and both of us were marooned in the garden.  Life, huh?  Her on tiptoe, looking over the wall for a neighbour.  Balanced on the back of a chair.  “Christina?”  Nothing!  I holler too, but my husband is painting, in blissful ignorance.  Finally a workman a few doors down comes to see what the matter is.  ‘Er, could you open my back door and let us in, please?’  The front door is wide open.  Hopefully I won’t repeat the incident in her absence.

So, what else?  Todos a caminhar, the free walks programme aimed at encouraging a healthy population, has resumed.  On a sunkissed Sunday morning we lined up on the boardwalk at Cabanas, with music to enhance the enthusiastic warm up.  Good for a giggle if you’re an observer.  And then we’re off!  Out of the village on a back lane, past orange and olive groves.  Some of us chattering, some striding out determinedly.  At the halfway point, a bottle of water, an apple and a breakfast bar, thoughtfully provided by the council.  And afterwards, an invitation to lunch with a lovely couple.  Sunday became a celebration of life, as we boated across the narrow channel to the ilha, and strolled on the finest of sand.

I’m still dipping into the archives for today’s photos, but you can keep track of most of my doings on Instagram or Facebook.  It’s much easier to share to them straight from the phone.

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Please read and enjoy these, if you haven’t already.  I won’t be sharing any more for a while.  Many thanks to everybody.

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Seems ages since I shared a walk of Becky’s.  She’s back in Portugal later this week.  Whoop-e-doop!

A palace fit for an English Queen

A glass of wine with Drake?  It would be an honour :

Colors of mood

Rupali shares some wonderful colours too :

Leaves in Autumn

Was September beautiful for you?  It certainly was for Lady Lee :

The Changing Seasons, September

Alastair managed to find his way to my walks.  Please do visit and say hello :

My Walk this Week 127 – Autumn Morning

It’s never boring at Jesh’s place, no matter what she’s up to :

Vacation Busyness

Janaline has seen the world, and there’s nothing like the beauty of Ireland :

Why I walk to explore places like Rathmullen in Ireland

Raspberry heaven with Irene :

Take Your Pick

Someone who’s always living the good life- join Jackie for a slice or two :

Pizza toss 

You butter believe it

Let’s hear it for Cathy!  She’s completed the Camino- loud fanfare!- and still shared some beautiful walks with me.  This is just one of many:

Wupatki Pueblo

I’m back in the UK on 9th November.  I should just make it to a Girl’s Night and then it’ll be crazy while we finish packing and handing over our home.  Catch up with you when I can.  Take care till then!

Starting over

Did you notice the John Lennon title link to my last post?  I’m thinking it’s probably easier to write here than to try to keep up with each of you individually, lovely as you all are.  Yes, I wanted to come back with a brand new blog, full of the pure exuberance of life and the beauty of the Algarve, but it’s not practical at the moment, for a variety of reasons.  So, simply an update.

You know those Indian Summers we sometimes talk about in the UK?  We’ve definitely been experiencing one here in the Algarve.  Temperatures have just started to dip a little, which is good news for my walking friends.  The first Striders walk of the season, on 2nd October, was kept to a miserly 10km in the Algarvian hills, but nobody was sorry when the walk was over.  A long table was set up beneath an awning but, by the time we’d finished eating, the sun was avidly gobbling up the shade.  It was time to down the wine and move on.  But not before coffee and cake, of course.

The Strollers walk on the following Friday fared a little better.  We were near the salt marshes, with a hint of a breeze now and again.  A different mix of people, some of whom we hadn’t seen in a long while, and another wonderful accompaniment of hugs, smiles and traded stories.  Does it feel different now that we’re to become a permanent part of the community?  Not yet, but I have noticed subtle differences.  At one time I couldn’t bear to be out of the sun, and would feel myself twitching if I was in the shade a fraction longer than was absolutely necessary.  Now that sunshine has more or less become a constant, I can seek shade with equanimity.  Maybe Winter will change that, but for now we find ourselves adopting the Portuguese custom of pulling down the blinds in our house to keep out excessive heat.

Our third walk included a train ride with a ticket collector who was greatly amused by 27 Brits, smiling and brandishing passports at him at 8.30 in the morning.  Our discounted fare was 80 cents for the 10km, two stops, ride.  We then walked back, a loop of town, pine forest, beach and countryside totalling 14km, all on the flat.  More reunions and friendships renewed, and lots more hugs and smiles.  We are all so appreciative of what we have here.  Not just the wonderful climate, but the lasting warmth of companionship.  Few of us have been unscathed by anxiety or illness, but a sympathetic shoulder is never hard to find.

Since coming here, I’ve cast a fresh look around our home.  Aside from outstanding DIY (phew, Mick’s department!) there are a few issues about storage and how we use the space we have.  Cupboards and wardrobes have been given a stern looking at.  We’ve joined the local library and a small army of English language books will be making their way to a new and worthwhile home.  An antique television set, weighing a ton but producing not a single programme, in any language, has made it’s way to the refuse collection, located down an exceedingly pretty back lane.

The negatives?  Knee deep in photo albums prior to departure, I forgot a couple of things I normally regard as essential to my Algarve life.  The cable to download photos from my camera and my memory stick, so I’ve had to improvise for photos.  And my diary!  Unheard of, this last, so I’ve taken to recording events online on the notepad.  Not entirely satisfactory.  🙂  Still to do?  Partly due to a wretched cough I’ve not yet joined an exercise class, nor a language class, but I will!

You’d laugh!  As I finish writing this, rain is bouncing off the table on the patio.  But I’m smiling indulgently and enjoying the sound.  Good thing we finished that painting!  And tomorrow is set to be dry for another walk.  Have a great weekend, and I’ll catch up with you when I can.  Our Internet is feeble, but we’ll fix that too.

Liverpool : From Cavern to Cathedral

“Imagine I’m in love with you, It’s easy cos it’s true…”  It’s a bit of a crazy leap from Terracotta Army to Beatles, but the Cavern drew me like a magnet.  I left the enthralling exhibition somewhat dazed and wandered in what I hoped was the direction of the Beatles’ old haunt.  Alone, and beginning to feel weary from an early start, I hovered beside Cilla, trying to find the confidence to descend those steps.  If in doubt, have a glass of wine?  Perhaps not the best motto for life, but I retreated to a nearby restaurant, overlooking the comings and goings on Mathew St., and gathered my courage over a very nice chicken curry.

I needn’t have worried.  It was early evening and the warm up ‘lad’, Tony Skeggs, was on, and what a very fine job he made of it.  I was soon singing away, balanced on my stool, without a care in the world.  Aside from getting back to the hotel afterwards, of course, but eventually I hummed my way ‘home’ without misadventure, and sang myself to sleep.

I had a rough plan for the following day, part of which included a Magical Mystery Tour.  The forecast wasn’t great and I ‘imagined’ I might be better on a bus, but with a dry start I thought I’d do a little exploring on foot first.  Restless always comes naturally.  But first I had a bit of a treat.  The lovely lass on reception in Sleep Eat Love informed me that their new bistro was opening that morning.  Their first ever customer, I was greeted like royalty.  Fortified with scrambled eggs and coffee, that smile still on my face, I ventured forth.

I did try to plot a course to the cathedral on Google Maps, but I’m a pretty hopeless case and soon ended up following my instincts.  That can be disastrous, but I was lucky this day.  Signs for Lime Street Station kept me on track, and right opposite, magnificent St. George’s Square.

Passing the busy station, I paused to gape at the frontage of a grand looking hotel.  I was peering inside, with my usual curiosity, when a cheerful voice said ‘Come on in, love, and have a look!’  I can’t get over the friendliness of the locals.  The cleaner was still hard at work and there was a lovely smell of polish in the air.  I had entered an Aladdin’s cave of Art Deco, being transformed into, of all things, a food court!  I know my daughter would have revelled in the extravagant curls and swirls of Barcelona Bar.

Seeing church spires ahead I thought I might have reached the cathedral, but it turned out to be the Bombed Out Church, a rather forlorn relic, whose railings were adorned with poetry.  A sad looking tramp had made it his home.

Strange how such a very large cathedral can become invisible.  I had to ask for directions, but soon I was gazing upwards at the rosy might of the Anglican Cathedral.  Not sure if it was open, I noticed a couple coming through a narrow gateway and went to investigate.  I’m so very glad I did because, for the next half hour, I wandered beneath the greenery of St. James’ Gardens.

I was intrigued to discover that the gardens had once been a quarry, from which the stone for most of Liverpool’s public buildings had been cut, in the 18th century.  From 1825 to 1936 it became the city’s main cemetery.  Today it wraps around the cathedral like an ancient skirt.

And what a cathedral!  Designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and built almost entirely of the local pink sandstone, it is the largest in Britain, and the largest Anglican Cathedral in the world.  The foundation stone was laid in 1904 by King Edward VII and it was finally completed 74 years later in 1978.  For me the Lady Chapel was the most beautiful part of the church, and I paused to light a candle in the gallery overlooking this quiet, lovely place.  The stained glass panels depict women of significance from the bible, and important Liverpool women who were missionaries or worked for the poor of the city.  The central space of the cathedral was vast, and laid out at one end was an array of beautifully dressed tables and chairs.  I had read somewhere of a cafe in the cathedral and wondered if I was appropriately dressed to grace one of these tables.  But first, the Tower!

I never can resist a view, even though it usually involves a climb.  There are 3 stages to this one.  First by lift, followed by a narrow corridor that overlooks the bells, then a second lift and 108 steps to the top.  All worth it!  You can, apparently, on a fine day see Blackpool Tower in the distance, but I was more interested in closer range.  And yes, we’ve finally earned a cuppa, so it’s back down again, via the embroidery exhibition, and over to the mezzanine cafe.  I was half disappointed to find that those grand tables weren’t for the likes of me, but I had a lovely chat with a young woman and her daughter, enjoying both the fruity Liverpool cake and listening to her wonderful ‘Scouse’ accent.

The weather had finally caught up with me and, as I headed down Hope St. towards the Liverpool Roman Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral, the first spots of rain arrived.  Just time to scurry up the steps for a quick look.  I remembered seeing it on TV when Paul McCartney conducted the Liverpool Oratorio from there.  Originally the cathedral was to have been a Lutyens design but World War II intervened and in the 1960s ‘Paddy’s Wigwam’, as it is affectionately known, was completed, to the design of Sir Frank Gibberd.

All thoughts of a Magical Mystery tour had long since been abandoned and, as the rain began to pelt down, I headed back downhill to the Waterfront and a world class selection of museums.  I was beguiled and saddened by John and Yoko in the Museum of Liverpool, and spent an hour or so absorbing modern art in Tate Liverpool.  As I looked out on Albert Dock in pounding rain, I reflected on the brilliant couple of days I’d spent.  I hope you enjoyed them too.

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This isn’t officially a Jo’s Monday walk but, as I’m taking time off to get settled in the Algarve, I thought I’d do a round up of the walks I received this week.  Please take a few minutes to visit if you can.

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Lady Lee is sharing churches too.  She says to make a wish in each :

Visita Iglesia

We all need a little peace sometimes.  Irene has a lovely spot too :

Place to Read

Murals are always popular.  How about these?

8 mural project Downtown Tucson

You think I walk a long way?  You should try accompanying Geoff and Dog :

Ring of Walking – #CapitalRing#Crystal Palace to #Richmond

There’s always food on offer at Jackie’s.  And today’s accompaniment is…

Relish

Jaspa takes us on a wander in another beautiful city :

Prague Pastels

That’s it from me for a while.  I’ll pop in whenever I can.  Take care of yourselves, and bye for now!

China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors

You may have seen them on TV, but nothing can quite give you the frisson that accompanies your first sight of the Terracotta Warriors.  Standing in the never ending queue, you wonder what can have brought so many people, over weeks and weeks, to this exhibition.  Fully booked all summer until 28th October, the World Museum in Liverpool has tried to accommodate still more people by booking into the early evening.  The atmosphere is charged with anticipation as you are beckoned into the cinema for a brief introduction.  And then, you meet a Horseman, and enter the darkened arena where the story is told.

China’s First Emperor, Qin Shi Huang, was responsible for the most extraordinary feat.  In 246BC, aged just 13, he ascended to the throne, in a period of tumultuous conflict between warring tribes.  As he grew in power and stature he managed to unify the tribes, but along the way he became obsessed with the idea of immortality.  In 1974 a chance discovery by farmers digging a well in the Shaanxi province of China was to reveal an incredible underground army of life-sized Terracotta Warriors, 2000 years after his death.

The belief system of the time included an after life, provision for which the Emperor made in the most excessive indulgence.  A mausoleum was constructed, modelled on the Qin capital Xianyang, with inner and outer cities, beneath an enormous burial mound.  Buried in pits east of this, more than 8000 warriors for the Emperor’s protection.  130 chariots were found with 520 horses.  I was totally mesmerised by the replica bronze chariots with their teams of horses, thought to represent the chariots in which the Emperor travelled across his newly unified lands.  They were buried so that he could carry on touring his Empire in the afterlife.

No luxury was spared, and there were musicians, strongmen and acrobats for entertainment.  The gigantic bronze cauldron above is thought to have been used in acrobatic performances.  The kneeling stable boy below would have cared for the horses in the after life.

Sadly the Emperor may have brought about his own premature death.  He ordered his alchemist to make potions to extend his life, some of which contained mercury.  His unexpected death was most probably from mercury poisoning.

The exhibition defies description and it is amazing to think that these are but a fraction of the total necropolis.  The Terracotta Army have traveled the world, inspiring awe and disbelief.  The enclosed links will help you to understand much better than I can.

Jo’s Monday walk : Wild on the Waterfront

As the coach raced west into the oncoming storm, buffeted by black clouds, I had to wonder what windy Liverpool had in store.  But I needn’t have worried.  On the edge of the city the sun suddenly appeared, and I received a right royal welcome.  Liverpool One bus station is perfectly placed if, like me, you’re on a whistle stop visit.  Simply cross over the Strand and you’re face to face with the grandeur of the Waterfront.  The wind might have tugged at my coat tails, but I had a permanent smile on my face.  And everyone smiled back!

There is no doubt that Liverpool is a maritime city.  The River Mersey rolls choppily away into the Irish Sea, part of a long history of seafaring.  The Industrial Revolution established Liverpool as a major port, trading in coal and cotton, and also in slaves.  In the 19th century it was a chief point of embarkation for North America, flooded with the mass of Irish immigrants resulting from the Potato Famine.  The trio of the Royal Liver Building, Cunard and the Port of Liverpool buildings, collectively known as the ‘Three Graces’, dominate the Waterfront, an enduring symbol of the city.  Since its decline, the dockland has been handsomely converted to tourism.  Albert Dock is now home to Tate Gallery, the Merseyside Maritime Museum, International Slavery Museum and The Beatles Story, with shops and restaurants galore.

The fierce looking cat, chasing those rats, is made from around 1000 recycled milk containers, collected by employees of the Cunard Building and sculpted by local artist Faith Bebbington.  The Leeds-Liverpool canal terminates at the small marina in Canning Dock.

Like most people, I seem to see pink everywhere I go these days.  I hope you’re In the Pink this morning, Becky?  Waffles for breakfast?

Does anyone remember Billy Fury?  He played my home town once and I was an excited member of the audience.  Now his statue stands by a small green in front of the Pump House, his back to the river and the elements.  Keeping him company, a hopeful family of emigrants.

The Museum of Liverpool thrusts its nose towards the river, the words Imagine and Peace pleading to be heard.  I know I will have to return later, but for now I have a different destination.   The main purpose of my visit is to see the Terracotta Warriors exhibition at the World Museum.  The wind continues to whip round corners as I try to orient myself.  High on the skyline I have spotted the Radio City Tower.  Officially St. John’s Beacon, created as a ventilation shaft for the shopping complex below, in 1970 it was home to a revolving restaurant.  Radio broadcasting transferred to the 140 metre high tower in July 2000.  What an exciting place to work!  I should just have time to whizz up the tower in the high speed lift for that panoramic view.  With rain forecast the following day, it’s now or never.

From the tower I observe the Waterfront in miniature, and the two cathedrals- part of tomorrow’s itinerary.  Almost directly beneath me, the World Museum.  I have only to cross the small green park and I’m there.  But first I have to check into my accommodation, chosen for its proximity to the exhibition.  From the photo on the website I imagine I’m sleeping in a cupboard in Sleep Eat Love, but my ridiculously cheap single room, with ensuite, is amazing value for a city centre stopover.  I sleep well after my exertions.

I don’t intend to share all of my Terracotta Warrior images with you today.  I really feel they deserve a post of their own.  This is just a glimpse of what captivated me, and if you’re quick you may still have time to see them for yourself.  China’s First Emperor and his warriors are on display till 28th October.

I’d like to leave you with an exhibition that moved me deeply.  Liverpool will always have a place in my heart as the birthplace of the Beatles.  No-one was more horrified than me that day in October 1980 when John Lennon was shot dead.  In the time since then his widow has done an amazing job at promoting world peace and keeping his memory alive.  Yoko and the Museum of Liverpool present Double Fantasy.

As you can probably imagine, life is a little hectic right now, but I do hope to share my Warriors with you, and a glimpse of my second day in Liverpool, before I head for the Algarve next weekend.  I hope that you’ve enjoyed this one half as much as I did.  And now to share some walks.

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Debbie starts us off with some brilliant street art, and videos to show how it’s done :

Off to a Wonderful Wedding in Berlin

Banactee finds a little more, in hidden corners of Hamburg :

The Color Palette in the streets of Hamburg

Humble apologies to Shelley.  I neglected to include this beautiful post last week.  Please pay her a visit!

To be a traveler, or not to be

Ever been to Lake Ontario?  Jackie is always good company! :

Toasting Marshmallows and Movie Popcorn

This is how beautiful the Philippines can be.  Lady Lee shares precious time spent with family :

Hidden Valley Springs

Haven’t you always wanted to visit Savannah?  I have!  Let Alice show you around :

Factors Walk

Live in the north west of England?  Sharon has some great walks for dog owners :

Ten fido-friendly Country pubs you can walk to from Clitheroe

Yay!  Mel has finished the Via Francigena.  Time off for good behaviour :

Day 40 – FINAL DAY – Via Francigena- La Storta to Roma

Lovely Cathy keeps trecking, but posts about the native American’s survival methods, in an extremely difficult climate :

The Sandal Trail through Navajo National Monument

That’s it for Jo’s Monday walk for a little while, though I will keep in touch.  Please look after yourselves till then.  I’m off out into the sunshine for a last walk with my Hartlepool group.

Six word Saturday

Where will I be next year?

It’s been a hectic week and I have so much to share, but I’m running out of time.  Next weekend our move to the Algarve begins.  Newcastle is just one of many places I’ll miss.  I visited the city for the Heritage Open Day event and the star of the show was undoubtedly Trinity House.  Photos inside were not permitted for security reasons, but you can, and should, book a tour. Former law courts, the Guildhall, were impressive too.

But who’d have thought that after all these years I’d find an area of Newcastle I really didn’t know?  I followed the Tyne out to Ouseburn, whose arty vibe and grungy, graffiti covered streets were a revelation.  Even on such a grey day, my spirits were lifted.

This may be my last ever Six Word Saturday and I’m very grateful to Debbie for indulging and entertaining me so beautifully over the years.  One thing’s for sure.  I’ll not stop exploring and following my nose.  I just can’t help myself.  🙂

Wishing you all a happy Saturday!

Here’s lookin’ at you, kid!

What is it about something that makes you just stop and have to take the photo?  I’m not sure, but this little guy and his crab friend have it.  I was heading into our railway station when the mural caught my eye.  I’ve created a small square to fit Becky’s challenge, In the Pink.  It’s such a very nice representation of Hartlepool Headland, with its pastel houses.  Below you can see the whole.  Am I pushing my luck to say Small is Beautiful?