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  :

‘Muchty

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!

113 comments

  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 😦

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