Jo’s Monday walk : Barragem de Bravura

The colour of the water delighted me

The colour of this water delights me

Over the weeks I’ve shown you quite a few different aspects of the Algarve.  Today we’re going to what the ‘Rough Guide’, my travel bible, describes as ‘the most picturesque’ of the Algarve’s many reservoirs.  I could find no reason to disagree.

Situated north of Lagos, at the western end of the Algarve, we drove first to the village of Odiaxere and followed signs from there.  It is also signed from Bensafrim on N120.  Unspoilt countryside rolls away beautifully to either side.

I wasn't sure if this meant  we were welcome, or not!

I wasn’t sure if this meant we were welcome, or not!

This sign confused me rather, and I worried for a moment about overt commercialism, but nothing could have been further from the truth.  The restaurant appeared closed and I don’t think we passed more than 4 people on the entire walk.  The car park lay just beyond this point, and from there a pebbly path wound down to the dam.

The dam keeper's cottage?  In a lovely situation

Past what I presumed was the dam keeper’s cottage, in a lovely situation

And there was the dam!

And there was the dam

Crossing over the dam leads to a rough track around the edge of the reservoir.  It wriggles prettily in and out of coves, disappearing into the distance.  An invitation to follow.

Looking back at the dam

Looking back at the dam

And out across the lake

And out across the lake

The eucalyptus forming a screen

The eucalyptus forms a screen

And that alluring water beckons

And that alluring water beckons!

And wispy leaves invite

While wispy leaves disguise

The wider vista beyond

The wider vista beyond

Now is probably a good time to mention that at the outset I had no idea of the length of this walk. I expected to find an information board or two along the trail, as is customary, but none materialised on the stretch I walked.

You might have realised by now that I’m not always a practical, sensible creature.  While full of good intent, I had omitted to bring bottled water with me on this warm Summer’s day.  (In my defence, I did have a map and a guide book!)  There was nowhere around at which a purchase could be made.  Looking across the lake I could see from the many inlets that walking right around it was not going to be an option.  So it was a case of walking to a point at which I could bare to turn back, and then retracing my steps.

This was no hardship, as the views in either direction were lovely.  The additional good news was that I couldn’t possibly get lost.

The path continued to meander

The path continued to meander

Guarded over by the eucalyptus

Guarded over by the eucalyptus

Hiding amongst the tree roots were delicate flowers

Hiding amongst the tree roots were delicate flowers

And Mr. Frog!

Mr. Frog!

These were quite common, too

And little ‘lemon drops’, grabbing the shade

At one point we came upon a couple with a picnic.  Now, wouldn’t that have been a sensible idea? You would certainly have needed insect repellent though.

Still the water was exquisitely turquoise

Still, the water was exquisitely turquoise

Winding back around the lake

Winding around the lake

And back to our beginnings

And back to our beginnings

On my return to the UK I tried unsuccessfully to find a website with a few more details about the trail around the reservoir.  The nearest I came was a German walking site which suggested that a full circuit would take between 7 and 8 hours!  This was not recommended because at some point the trail leaves the water’s edge and crosses higher ground, without benefit of any shade.

My cycling friends would probably be quite happy to make a full circuit.  For the less energetic of us, I would suggest that it would be a grand spot to take a book and just listen to the birds.  And picnic too, of course.

For me the walk was part of a three way adventure.  I’ll tell you more about that next time.

walking logo

Now it’s time to share last week’s walks.  I have created a Jo’s Monday walks page, which I hope will answer any queries.  Click on the logo if you need help, or come and meet my lovely friends.

Drake is quick off the mark!  He was first again last week, with beautiful Strasbourg  :

http://ledrakenoir.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/cityscape-walking/

Some wonderful surprises occurred!  Colline joined me, all the way from Toronto, with an expedition to Chinatown  :

http://collinesblog.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/out-shopping-in-chinatown/

And Sylvia brought the Indian Ocean right to my doorstep  :

http://anotherday2paradise.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/jos-monday-walk-challenge-up-the-hill-and-back-along-the-beach-front/

Remember Amy’s wonderful ‘hacienda’ in Spain?  I bet you’d like to see more!  :

https://shareandconnect.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/jos-monday-walk-ronda-countryside/

I was a little scared about the ghosts till I read Sue’s post.  Then, I was gobsmacked!  What a stunner!  Take me to Banff, please  :

http://traveltalesoflife.com/2014/06/23/lake-minnewanka-banffs-lake-of-the-spirits/

Please do join me if you can.  I love a bit of company when I’m walking.

105 comments

  1. Can you tell, I’m trying to catch up. The sign made me chuckle! Maybe they meant Hello, but don’t stay too long (lol). And I love the pic above the flowers most (because it breaks the “rules” – in design one is supposted to have an odd number – and I think it’s great when breaking the rules give such a great effect)

    1. Catching up is the most impossible task in the world! 🙂
      I had to go back to see which photo you meant. Yes, I like that between the two eucalypts too. Every now and then something just turns out well. Thank you!

  2. I loved your walk Jo. The Algarve is such a beautiful part of the world.
    Thanks for creating a page for your walk – I will put it on my inspiring prompts page so that others can become aware of the lovely walks we can go on in cyber space 🙂

  3. The first thing I pack for my daily trips is water and snacks (after camera of course). These captures remind me of some artificial lakes I found in the Dolomites. I am relieved to hear you were safe this time 🙂 Thank you for sharing so many gorgeous captures, Jo.

    1. I’m not in the habit of carrying water in the UK so when I go to the Algarve I do sometimes forget. The walk was just a small part of a day’s excursion, fortunately. It was somewhere I was curious about, and so now I know 🙂
      Thanks for making time to visit, Paula 🙂

  4. Lovely to see another side of Portugal that I’ve never seen before. I especially love the sound of finding a lovely spot with a good book and a picnic.

    And I’ve only just discovered your Monday walks! Here’s a guest post (does that count?) on our Corsica blog about hiking La Restonica – would love to do this one day although I think I’d take the alternative route that doesn’t involve crawling across iron ladders and chains to pull yourself up over giant boulders!! http://www.thecorsicablog.co.uk/2012/09/hiking-la-restonica/

    1. I don’t see why it shouldn’t count, Kat, and for me it’s an introduction to another travel/walking blog. Win! Win! 🙂 Thanks a lot for joining in!

      1. It looks sensational, Kat! I couldn’t see anywhere to leave a comment but I’ve tweeted it and will include it in next week’s walk.

  5. It’s lovely to see eucalyptus trees in this area, Jo. I thought we (in Aussie land) were the only ones to have them 😉

    This looks like a beautiful walk and it’s a shame you forgot the water. Next time! 😀

    1. Lots and lots of eucalyptus and cork (for the wine bottles, naturally) as soon as you get away from the coast, Dianne. It’s like two separate worlds, and is one of the aspects I really love about the Algarve. I must do a hill walk sometime, but the perspectives are rather more challenging for my camera. 🙂

  6. Ha, I’d say you were probably very welcome, Jo, the owners probably wanted to make sure they greeted you coming and going! Your photographs are lovely, the warm turquoise of the water is similar in shade to the eucalyptus…I wonder if there’s a connection between plant and river. And hurrah!! Murray won! I grow fonder of him each time he plays and with each interview he does after his matches. 🙂 I’m happy to participate in your next walk and have included the link to my Pacific Blues!!

    http://elisaruland.com/2014/06/29/hiking-shorts-the-pacific-blues/

    1. I think you’ll enjoy the next walk too, Elisa 🙂 It has a little in common with some of the magnificent views in your post. Thank you so much for joining me. The company just gets better and better.
      I can cheer wholeheartedly for Andy until he plays Rafa. Then I have a crisis of loyalty 🙂
      I spent 3 hours of my Algarve time in a hotel lounge glued to the screen during the French Open final. Who wants to sit by a pool? Ha! ha!

  7. You captured the woodsy surroundings with the aqua water beautifully. Each photo showed a different angle and view. I expect you to do a blog on the essentials one must have when out on a walk. 🙂

  8. I really enjoyed this lovely walk, Jo. What a pretty place for a cottage. I could live there. Mr. Frog is so cute and looks quite at home. I bet he didn’t even know you were there. I’m working on another beach walk. 🙂

  9. Jo – enjoyed this walk and the eucalyptus shots were my favorite – and so were the closeups of the frog and flowers – it was like we paused on the walk and look down with you – except I had my ice water in hand – jk – have a good day restless one! ❤

      1. 🙂 – and I do have a walk to join in this week – the river walk – and while on that walk I took some street portraits of different people -(you said there were not rules…. ?)

        it was unplanned but a highlight too….

        hello-goodbye
        goodbye-hello

  10. Absolutely beautiful – Big Man and I are toying with the idea of a year in Portugal once we finish our renovations in the UK….the more I read your blog, the more it appeals!

    1. I am trying to keep them varied, Lisa, so I’m really glad that you’ve enjoyed them. If we hadn’t started our new ventures at about the same time, I’m sure I’d have made it to yours. At this rate I’ll be in bed before I get there 🙂

      1. Yes, the upcoming overnight hours are going to be interesting, Jo. At least I hope so. :). I’m thinking a nice walk is a little more my speed though, I’m not much of a night owl. Oh well! I’ll happily join your Monday group when my 24 hours are complete.

  11. This walk is charming and you describe it beautifully, weaving your narrative in and out of the photos. I too have left water behind on a crucial walk, and encountered that point of decision at halfway to nearly too far. But a twist in the track is hard to ignore. What IS around that corner? Next time!

    1. It was part of a long day at the ‘other end’ of the Algarve, Meg, and I had a few schemes in mind. The water would certainly have helped, but I was happy we saw as much as we did. 🙂
      Hope your various potions are helping the infection?

  12. Another glorious walk with you Jo, your photos capture the view beautifully and I would have been really confused by the Hello Goodbye sign too! Guess they wanted to cover all bases! Love the frog too 🙂

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