Jo’s Monday walk : São Brás circular

Fancy living in a windmill?

Fancy living in a windmill?

Enough of nostalgia!  I think we’ll do one last Algarve walk before I get stuck into a British winter. This one’s a country walk, led for me by Georgie, a lovely lady who lives in the inland village of São Brás de Alportel.  If you’re ever in the Algarve at Easter, this village hosts a beautiful parade through lavender strewn, cobbled streets.  It’s a treat for all the senses.

It was a glorious morning when we set out, but I was informed there was a 40% chance of rain! We had driven up above the village to the site of the former pousada, with wonderful, wide-ranging views all around.

Looking out to the surrounding hills

Looking out to the surrounding hills

It was soon obvious we were heading for a windmill

It was soon obvious we were heading to a windmill

This tree seems to have a sense of humour!

This tree seems to have a sense of humour!

We had already discussed the fact that on breezy days, the wind whistles around the hilltops. Someone who had once stayed in the pousada recollected that the shutters had banged and rattled ferociously throughout the night.  No sign or sound of that today, but weather up in the hills can change frequently.

A windmill conversion should not have been surprising

A windmill conversion, ready to occupy

Starting at so high a point, it was fairly obvious that we would be going down and then, at some future point, back up again.  Georgie assured us that, taking your time, it wasn’t especially taxing.  The cobbled path gave way to a rough track, and we paused frequently to take notice of our surrounds.  Soon we came to a fonte or spring, used for laundry purposes in former times.

The trail follows a stream and reed beds before climbing up into the hills.  In Spring these would be carpeted with cistus and wild flowers.

Did I mention changeable weather?

Did I mention changeable weather?

The blue is rapidly disappearing from the sky!

The blue is rapidly disappearing from the sky!

A couple of years ago forest fires ravaged the gullies around here, and evidence of the burnt out trees was starkly visible.  Nature is quick to regenerate and we were more concerned with the clouds that seemed to have zipped in from nowhere.  A few spits and spots of rain were laughed off as we hastened towards our coffee stop.

What a treat this little place was!  Tesouros da Serra means ‘treasures of the sierra’. Nobody was arguing! The produce on display looked delicious, but we knew that in a short while we would have a lunch stop.  We settled for sharing some alfarroba biscuits, but made a mental note to come back another day.

One of the really delightful things about this cafe, in an out of the way spot at the back of São Brás, was its garden. Not widely accessible to the public, when Georgie asked if we might see the olive tree, claimed to be 2000 years old, we were assured that we could go in.

The sun was shining brightly again and we turned right along a path that led us through a forest of cork oaks.  Huge gnarled creatures, standing their ground as they had for generations. Cradled beneath them lay extraordinary fungi.

Coming out of the woods, we were back on the trail up to the pousada, which didn’t seem anything like as steep as expected.  Maybe it was the prospect of lunch!  I’ll give you a little peek in our restaurant, shall I?  ‘O Marques’ is in Gralheira, on the back road from São Brás to Loule.

I haven’t fully captured the beauty of this area.  Georgie assured me that in Spring it is quite magical, and I have no cause to disagree.  There are signboards along the way, giving details of the flora and fauna, and if you look at my links you will find more.  To find the pousada, take the N2 signed Alportel from the village and head to the top of the hill.  The cobbled path is off on your right, just after a bend in the road.  The distance covered was around 6 miles and took us 3 hours, including our half hour coffee stop.

I owe huge thanks to Georgie for guiding this walk and for being such good company.

walking logo

Time to draw breath, put that kettle on, and see where our walkers have got to this week.  As always, I’m really thrilled with all the contributions.  For details of how to join me, click on the logo above.  Many thanks to you all!

First up, Violet Sky treats us to some fascinating family history in a village in Fife  :


Drake has a bit of a theme going on with his Monday walks.  Have you noticed?

Do you wanna dance?

Join Amy in a watery green world in Texas.  You may be surprised at the scenery.  I was!

Cibolo Nature Centre

Rarely, if ever, have I seen anywhere more beautiful than the beaches Noe shares in South Sulawesi  :

West Coast of Gusung Island

But just to prove that English beaches can hold their own, Suzanne’s been to St. Ives  :

St. Ives, Cornwall- beaches, boats and the Old Green Door

Such a treat I have for you next!  A magic carpet ride  🙂  If you don’t know Lisa, you must!

Magic Carpet Airlines Special- for Subscribers only

Stay on the carpet and we’ll fly to the Antipodes to join Meg!  :

The River Road 9- grandeur and a  river crossing

And Pauline is ‘stamping about’, just down the road!  :

Rediscovering my stamping ground

Tobias is here with some lovely Hamburg curves and woods.  Say hello, won’t you?  :

Downtown strolls

Home Range

And in a last mad scramble, Shan has made it!

New York State Museum

Fantastic times, all round!  I hope you enjoy reading these as much as I enjoy the sharing.  Happy walking!


  1. Wonderful! And what a lovely little coffee spot that is Jo! The ‘amazing plant’ looks like a cycad. We had a pair of male and female cycads in our garden in the hills! 🙂

  2. Such an interesting walk Jo. Pleased you were able to take is for a peep in the garden at that amazing gnarled olive tree. Thank you for the link to my last weeks walk, afraid it is just too hot for a walk this week, I’m melting… So I’m enjoying finding the coolest place at home (which is under the house in the garage) to walk with the rest of the cyber walking group.

    1. That garden was a lovely surprise, Pauline, and really beautiful. You would have enjoyed it! Stay cool (ish) my love. I think there will be plenty of people walking to keep warm soon 😦

  3. The first thing I was reminded of reading your delightful post Jo is how similar the weather sounds to that of Crete. Even in the summer, it was quite changeable. Very hot and clear, blue skies and then the wind would change quite suddenly, bringing in rolling clouds across the mountains, stirring up the seas and cooling everything down. Sometimes rain would follow. Then everything would return to calm, blue and that white hot weather we all know and love 🙂 Love the windmill house and again, those ancient olive trees reminds me of Crete. Beautiful. Thank you for taking me along this wonderful walk, I enjoyed every minute of it and didn’t find it too steep either 🙂

    1. Morning, Sherri! It’s always lovely to have your company on a walk. You’re so appreciative 🙂

      You know those moments that bring a smile that you were talking about in your last post? I had several this morning. I was feeling glum but when I opened my Inbox and there was a lengthy reassuring message from James about the phone. Silly, I know, but I was just happy to receive it. Then I came here and this mornings comments were in- how can you not smile? Hugs, darlin’. Hope your week is going well. 🙂

      1. Morning Jo! So great when that happens isn’t it? I love it when I open my emails (except darn thing aren’t working at the moment so got that to fix but that’s another story) and get a message from my boys. Not silly at all. I hope your day is filled with more of those lovely, small moments to brighten your day 🙂 I’m off to spend the day with my mum. We both have been sad over the loss of our friend so we are going to lighten the mood and go out for lunch. These things all help don’t they? Hugs back to you lovely lady…let’s hope it’s a good week for us both… 🙂 ❤

  4. Well I enjoyed this Jo ! Got to love windmills .. I wondered too about the pock marks …
    I think I might have bought some of those little meringues but don’t suppose they would have survived the walk 😉 one way or another .
    Twisted olive trees with their knobbly weird shapes just HAVE to be in the picture !

    1. Somebody, somewhere always asks the right question, Poppy 🙂 Just a case of finding it!
      I had NO idea what to buy- I just gawped! (not a pretty sight)
      Have a great week! 🙂

  5. thanks for the country walk dear Jo – and by the way – I am due for a walk with you soon – so that will be coming later this month – but you know for some reason I really enjoyed the produce/pastries in the glass display case – but it all worked so well together.
    and I have never see cork oaks before so that was way cool – enjoyed the walk – and have a great week ❤

    1. Some of the cork oaks were very big and impressive, Yvette, but I was busy snapping at the fungi and we weren’t in the woods for long. I nearly got left behind. You know what people are like when someone mentions lunch. I swear they were going faster 🙂
      Be glad to see you any time you can make it. Have fun meantime. Having you here always reminds me- I need to go and find some more ‘Joy’. 🙂

      1. oh that was so sweet to read Jo ❤ ❤ – and also was smiling picturing everyone moving faster for lunch – you said that right – but glad you did not get left behind… TTYL

    1. Thanks for finding the time to come to mine 🙂 Not one of my best walks (try Algar Seco or have a look at the Palace at Estoi) but quite typical of inland Portugal. You picked up on the windmill. The conversion job is not to everyone’s taste- it’s a bit ‘bling’ for a windmill 🙂 The whole would have been made of stone and then plastered over. That’s the natural stone you can see peeking out.

    1. I don’t think so, Ayetree. Traditional Portuguese desserts are more of the custard/almond style or fruit. The young lady chef is quite adventurous and presents both traditional and modern choices. I could recommend if you’re ever in the neighbourhood. 🙂

  6. The olive tree is incredible and seems invincible. The windmill house would be a delight to rent for the season, just to have the views. Lovely walk, Jo and all the more pleasant to have a guide.

  7. The windmill would make a lovely home – if I didn’t love my tree-eyrie here so much. This is a great walk – plenty of sky and food and residuals. I love the human traces in your posts, and your sense of humour. I never encounter cafes on my walks, and rarely people, which I suppose is part of what makes them special for me.

      1. Possibly in May. We have birthday celebrations and a new baby due (the lovely couple whose wedding we went to last May) but nothing definite right now. 🙂

  8. Delighted to have another walk in Portugal. I feel much warmer for it Jo. I love the windmill conversion. Having seen the treats at the cafe I must go have some lunch. 🙂

  9. Such a fascinating walk, Jo. I can see several faces in that ancient olive tree trunk. How amazing that it’s lived for so long! That ferny plant is so unusual. I presume it unfurls from the middle. Your dessert looks delicious, but definitely only enough for one person. 🙂

    1. I knew you’d find faces, Ad! The one that struck me was looking down at his roots. Well- you would, wouldn’t you? 🙂
      Yes, I don’t do sharing when it comes to dessert.

  10. What a beautiful walk Jo! I enjoyed it so much, I don’t know why I haven’t joined you before but I will be a regular from now on! 🙂 Wishing you a wonderful week ahead!

  11. On this day of our first significant snowfall, this was a delightful walk. I’m intrigued about living in a converted lighthouse. I also want to know what your dessert was, in that tilted bowl. In the meantime, my walk is going up hill and down, too!

  12. Pingback: Walk | ladysighs
  13. I loved this walk Jo. And that view (2nd photo) is one I could happily look at for a while. I tried to comment on your first fungi but couldn’t find the post comment button – so here is what I said “As soon as I saw this I was reminded of the Metropol Parasol in Seville.

    I will try and get a walk posted this week! Had a chill out day today, but plans afoot for tomorrow 😀

    1. No worries about the walk, Jude. Whenever you have the time (and a connection) 🙂 It’s just nice to hear your voice and a sunny smile from ‘down under’.
      I know what you mean about the Metropol Parasol. Amy has posted some superb photos of it and I’m determined to get there to see it next time I’m in the Algarve (as yet unplanned)

      1. True, it is not so far from the Eastern Algarve. We did a day trip to Seville from the Western Algarve. Loved Seville and I would like to spend more time there and in Cadiz.

      2. Makes a change to be complaining about heat, doesn’t it, Jude? 🙂 I’ve just been with M-R and she’s wiped out! I don’t know how I’d cope because I hate air con and cannot bare to be indoors when its sunny. A big parasol and my feet in the sea?
        The Blue Mountains sound delicious! Thanks so much, Jude. Meg next week! It’s all excitement isn’t it? Take care!

  14. The good lady is itching to go somewhere hot next year (have I mentioned that I am taking her to the Arctic Circle for Christmas 🙂 ) – you have sold me on the Algarve (wonder if I dare take the clubs!) Another fascinating post Jo.

    1. Arctic Circle? Ooh, that’s a little harsh, Robin! You’ll have to do a lot to compensate for that. Best leave the clubs at home 🙂 But then, there are plenty of churches and things for her to explore while you squeeze a quick round in. 🙂 (not to mention beaches)

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