Jo’s Monday walk : Sunny Seville, on a mission

Metropol Parassol

This is probably not the image that first comes to mind when someone mentions Seville, but it’s an image that grabbed my attention when I first saw it, back in 2011.  Metropol Parasol is familiarly known as Las Setas (the mushrooms) but it reminds me of a giant waffle.  Maybe I had breakfast on the brain, for the sun was just cresting the surrounding buildings as I walked all around the perimeter.  I settled myself at a convenient table in Grupo Sala to devour an avocado torrada, my eyes moving appreciatively from my plate to this surreal vision.

During mundane excavations in the Plaza de la Encarnación, Roman ruins were discovered.  Work came to a halt, but the finds can be seen in a museum beneath Metropol Parasol.  Sadly I did not manage to see these, nor to ascend to the walkway to look down upon the city.  I was much too early, and my wandering footsteps had far to roam that day.

A maze of calles weave Seville together, and at every second corner there appears an image of a saint, or a church.  I counted San Pedro and Santa Inés, Santa Catalina and San Andrés, San Nicholas and Santa Magdalena, San José and Santa Marta, all looking down on life with gravity.

Slow progress is made through these narrow streets.  The light and shade captivate, each alley and doorway cloaking in mystery the life within.  At a busy crossroads I hear the smart-stepping click of horses hooves, and am just in time to capture the smiling bride and groom.

Seville literally hums with life, an invitation to flamenco or a bodega awaiting everywhere in the heart of this city.  In Plaza de San Salvador the buzz of excitable Spanish conversation stops me in my tracks.  That and the sheer beauty of the square, glowing rosy pink in the sunlight.

But I have an appointment to keep, and must press on.  It’s Halloween and, forsooth, there’s a witch or two about.  It’s courtyards that entrance me, and the spellbinding rhythm of tapping feet.  A city of saints and sinners.

Ahead lies the prize.  The Giralda Tower, beckoning, from a distance.  Soon I am within touching distance, a little sad to see it swathed in scaffolding, but no matter.  I am here on a mission.

In a rooftop bar, overlooking the mighty cathedral, me and Sue (Words Visual) finally get to have that long conversation.

We watch the men at work on the scaffolding, and later there’s a passionate performance of flamenco.  An evening meal, with cake, of course!

You were worth every step of the journey, Sue.  Thank you so much for your lovely company.

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And thanks to everyone who’s walked with me this week.  It’s always a pleasure to walk with you.  Join me any time, here on Jo’s Monday walk.

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I was quite excited to see where Drake was taking me this week, because I’ve actually been there before :

Eight hundred year old icon

The challenge?  To make a power station look good in the rain.  Debbie’s up for it!

Not my usual south bank walk

When it rains, Jackie cooks or reads a book :

Morning Coffee

Meet Geanie, all the way from Utah!  I’m sure you’ll have fun together :

The Best Travel Destination Might be in Your Own Backyard

Irene always finds beauty close to home too :

Morning on the Marsh

I may be just a Stroller/sometimes Strider, but I love a little ambition in a walker.  Go Mel!

Camino Madrid 2020 – the nuts and bolts of walking in Spain

And Cathy, of course, with the challenge now behind her :

(Camino day 42) Sarria to Portomarín & ruminations (week 6)

Jude has been trying to tempt me with an English autumn.  Thanks for the memories, hon :

The Lanes in November

While Sandra was high up in Lisbon- great vantage points!

Miradouros in Lisbon, #Portugal

Finding a little magic in the Welsh hills, let’s finish with a lovely joyful walk with Becky :

Time travel in Wales

Next week I shall be continuing to walk through Seville.  Hope to see you then.  Meanwhile, take care.  Wishing you all a great week!

Six word Saturday

An hour with my feet up!

A rare commodity!  I thoroughly enjoyed gliding along on the Río Guadalquivir.  Debbie has a fabulous chunk of history for you today.  Pop over and share Six Words.  Wishing you a lazy Saturday!

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Jo’s Monday walk : Sáo Brás de Alportel, then and now

One Monday morning, earlier this year, I was wandering in the sleepy back streets of Sáo Brás de Alportel.  In a ruin mostly used for car parking I stopped to examine the remnants of old photos pasted onto the walls.   This is a town rich in tradition, where paper flowers are liberally used to decorate the streets at Easter time.  The scenes feature a quiet nearby street, the bombeiros or fire brigade, a local dance, and a lorry load of cork.  A museum in the town is dedicated to the cork industry, and piles of cork can often be seen drying in the surrounding hills.  The use of Monochrome can make a scene look ancient, but in Sáo Brás the past never seems very far away.

Until the council decided a change of image was needed.  New fountains on slick marble squares, and metal animal sculptures now grace the centre of town.  It’s surprising what a game changer this is.  The whole mood of the place is altered.

In the same way, replacing the colour in a photo with monochrome creates a change of mood.

It’s a gentle palette in Sáo Bras.  Washing adorns the wall as it must always have done.  Azulejo panels softly crown each doorway, predominately blue and white.  Modern art blends with old and crumbling buildings.  And in the countryside, bleached fields patiently await a turn in the season.

But it will take more than a few sculptures to separate Sáo Brás from its claim to antiquity.  You can follow a Roman road through the back streets of town.  And where better to savour that most traditional of Portuguese tarts?

My walk today isn’t at all what I intended, but I was having far too much fun on Saturday and left my camera and phone at a party.  I hadn’t downloaded my photos from last week’s adventure in Seville, so that will have to wait.  Not half so famous and a fraction of its size, but I think this little town in the Algarve hills has its own brand of charm.  I hope Patti will accept my contribution to the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge this week.

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Not too many shares this week, so please take the time to visit if you can.  Many thanks to all who participate.  Contributions are always welcome here on Jo’s Monday walk. Have a great week everybody!

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I love a leafy hollow in the woods.  Drake takes us speeding through :

Life beyond forestry

Natalie takes us through some very different woods to a beach :

Hiking the Tonquin Trail

Lots of leaves about this week.  Good to share a smile with Lady Lee :

The Weekly Smile for October

And linger a while with Irene :

Autumn on the Trail

A healthy splash of colour from Eunice this week :

Dublin street art

And a city I’d love to revisit.  West coast with Alice :

San Diego Waterfront- Seaport Village

How much do you know about Waterloo?  Denzil takes us through some of the history :

Walking the Battlefield of Waterloo

While Cathy is still on the Camino, but the end is in sight :

(Camino day 41) Triacastela to Sarria

Who doesn’t like to end on a high?  Thanks so much, Gilly  🙂

A glorious November day

I’m easing off this week after a slightly manic time.  Many thanks to all of you for following along and for your good wishes.

Six word Saturday

The epitome of elegance and style

The Palace at Estoi– now a hotel.  Beautiful, isn’t it?  This week has been a mad whirl, during which I have met 2 very lovely blogging ladies (you know who you are 🙂  🙂  ) in 2 different countries.  More to follow.  Meanwhile Debbie is tempting me to reveal my age.  Go and play Six Words with her.  You know you want to!  And have a happy weekend.  I’m off to party!

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Just a few lines, to close…

I thought I’d put together a celebration of Algarve lines before Becky calls time on the Lines and Squares challenge this month.  I found the above in a craft shop in Alte and was half-tempted to take it home.  And I love the faded mosaic patterns on the stone tables beside Fonte Pequena.

Not strictly Algarve lines, because we nipped across the border.  Fred was very taken with this tiny door in a wall in the sleepy, Spanish village of Sanlucar de Guadiana.  He couldn’t get in though.  Maybe some of Alice’s cake?  ‘Eat me!’

Back on this side of the border, I can never wander in Santa Luzia without finding something my camera likes.

And finally, a little razzamatazz in Loulé on market day.  Overkill, or what?  I’m traveling today but will try and keep up with you.  Meanwhile, for Becky, it’s a rosy End of the Line.  Many thanks to our wonderful hostess for keeping us distracted throughout October.

Jo’s Monday walk : Morgado do Quintáo

You might know, I spent time with my daughter last week.  Last year we managed to celebrate my birthday together, culminating in a rather lovely wine tour.  Happy to repeat the experience, if not the exact event, I searched for somewhere to wander through a vine or two.  Morgado do Quintáo, not far from Silves, provided the very place.

Following Google Maps, we thought we had the vineyard nicely pinned, but entry was not quite so simple.  Eventually we decided on some blue gates at the rear of the property, and a friendly voice over the intercom told us we were in the right place.  We followed a rough trail round to the farmhouse, and were delighted to find that we had company for the sampling.  An Irish couple and 2 young folk from Norway were waiting beneath the 2,000 year old olive tree.  Moments later our hostess joined us, and the tasting began.

We were sampling 3 wines, cultivated from ancient vines of Crato Branco and Negra Mole.  The vineyard was being brought to life, after years of neglect, with careful nurturing.  A wonderful spread of petiscos (nibbles) accompanied our wines, including bread, meats, local cheese, honey and delicious plum chutney.  The small businesses help each other out, more than happy to share their fine produce.  We chatted amongst ourselves, sharing our stories with each sip of wine, alongside the history of the grape.  An affectionate retriever made eyes at my daughter, when the owner wasn’t looking.  Just a morsel of meat? So hard to resist.

The wind was a little chill beneath the olive tree and I took myself off to play around with the flamingos bobbing on the pool, until it was time for the vineyard tour.  I love the russets of the vines at this time of year, the harvest safely stored.

It’s not a large enterprise, but they are hopeful that the business will grow.  If enthusiasm reaps rewards, they should do well.  The old farmhouse hides a wealth of antique machinery, and a wardrobe that seems to invite entry, for surely Narnia must be beyond those doors?

I gleefully acquired the last jar of plum chutney in the low key sales pitch afterwards.  Next year they will host their first wedding.  Already there is guest accommodation on site.  So easy to relax here with a good glass of wine.  I hope you enjoyed the experience.

Not too much walking this week, but I can always offer you great company.  As we drove off, the retriever lolloped alongside of us, his tail a golden plume in the setting sun.  I think we made a friend.

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Many thanks to all of you who stroll with me on a Monday, or any other day.  Feel free to join me here with a walk of your own, or simply enjoy the walks I share.  Details are over on my Jo’s Monday walk page.

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Let’s start with a very special walk with my Australian friend, Miriam.  Please do read and share :

Light the Night

Janet is back from a break.  Guess where?

Monday walk… in a French forest (again)

There are some good-looking cities around, and Lady Lee has enjoyed many :

Dusseldorf

Candy shares a less well-known but beautiful city, too :

Parks, walls and squares in Leon

Can you have too much of a good thing?  Jackie has her own view :

Thankful Abundance

Meanwhile, Drake can always make something out of nothing.  It’s a skillset!

Haphazardly around the corner

If you want to walk in the Lake District, Tea Bee will be your willing guide :

Hike to Haystacks, Lake District, Cumbria

And if you’re thinking of doing the Camino, Cathy has very many experiences to share :

(Camino day 39) Trabadelo to O’Cebreiro 

(Camino day 40) O’Cebreiro to Triacastela

A man after my own heart, Andrew- not to mention his lovely wife :

Travels in Portugal, A Wild River and a Cliff Top Walk in Odeceixa

And what can I say about Meg- my perfect companion :

Walks around home : October (Part 1)

Or Margaret, busy squirreling away for the winter :

(Almost) all is safely gathered in….

There are some places that simply weave a spell.  Share one with Ann Christine :

Thursday Thoughts – Tbilisi, A Feast for the Eye

That’s all for another week.  I hope you have a good one.  P.S No cakes today!  They’re all here.

Six word Saturday

Layers of deliciousness!  Which to choose?

Maybe a little of each?  Amy invited us to explore Layers in this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge.  I certainly did my best during my daughter’s visit.  This photo is an October Square, so I think I can count a line or two for Becky, and Debbie is always generous with her Six Words.  It just remains  to wish you all a happy weekend.  See you on Monday!

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