Jo’s Monday walk : Farms of Cacela

  An Algarve windmill

Phew!  Back to colour again!  For a person who hates grey skies, monochrome is very hard work. Fortunately for me, my recent visit to the Algarve had its fair share of blue sky.

We’re leaving the beach behind and heading inland a little way today, to Vila Nova da Cacela.  It’s quite an ordinary sort of place but I was inordinately pleased to be doing this walk.  It was a case of third time lucky, because twice before I’d attempted to find the start point for the walk, unsuccessfully!

Let me explain.  Often my Algarve walks are in the company of a group of walkers.  The meeting point is always a neighbourhood cafe, designated by email.  After all, who starts walking without a good cup of coffee first?  Vila Nova da Cacela is one of those small towns in the Eastern Algarve that you’d have to detour to visit.  The busy (by Algarve standards) E125 runs past it and many times I’ve whistled by without a care.  Except, of course, when trying to find the designated cafe.

The town is not big, but just big enough that you might have doubts.  The first time I and my husband tried to join the walk, ‘opposite the mercado’ seemed like clear instructions.  But there was no sign of the walkers that day.  I believe we gave up and went to the beach!  The second time was a different cafe, and once again, with time in hand, we combed the streets of Vila Nova but could not find the walkers.  It felt like some kind of conspiracy!  We set off to explore the neighbourhood, sure that we’d bump into them round some corner, but it was not to be.

When we arrived on the third occasion (nobody can call us ‘quitters’) we were dumbfounded to find a traffic diversion bang smack in the centre of town.  The directions we were carefully following were no longer valid, and worse, behind us were 2 cars containing walkers we recognised , following us with the conviction that we knew where we were going!  Well, all’s well that ends well and we had at least found some walkers and, eventually, the cafe.  I bet you need another cup of coffee before we set off, don’t you?  I know I do!

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As we left the town, the fields were a-tumble with yellow flowers, and an old well sat placidly looking on.  A left turn brought us onto a track and soon we were approaching a lofty windmill, it’s sails still intact- quite rare these days.

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The view from the top of the steps

The view from the top of the steps

Wild flowers growing carelessly by

Wild flowers growing carelessly by

The windmill up close

The windmill up close

The walk is nothing special.  Just a meander around the country lanes surrounding Vila Nova da Cacela.  Even Wikipedia has next to nothing to say about the town.  Still, it’s a pleasant place to be on a sunny February day, with the blossom tickling the trees.

A gentle tickle of blossom

A gentle flourish of blossom

I was sad to learn, from one of the walkers, that almond production is no longer profitable in the Algarve.  Few new almond trees are being planted and the nuts are now widely imported.  This in a country where sweet almond treats appear in the tiniest and humblest of cafes and on market stalls everywhere.  I find it hard to understand.

Another 'find' in the hedgerows

Another ‘find’ in the hedgerows

We pass a few houses and a cafe or two, then we’re heading back into town.  Little separates town from country, a flock of nosy sheep reminding us of that.

It's goodbye to the orange trees

It’s goodbye to the orange trees

And hello to an inquisitive sheep

And hello to an inquisitive sheep

We’re heading back to ‘Cacela Mar’, our meeting place this morning.  Tables are set out on the grass and for just 11 euros we enjoy a 3 course meal with wine.  Our attention is caught by the glimmer of fungi in the grass. The waiter is quick to assure us that they’re not edible.

A gold-topped fungi

A gold-topped fungi

But I expect you'd rather have cake!

But I expect you’d rather have cake!

The walk took a couple of hours at a steady pace (and with a coffee stop thrown in).  It wasn’t at all taxing but I felt a huge sense of achievement afterwards.  I’d finally walked the ‘Farms of Cacela’!  Triumph!  I hope you enjoyed it too.

walking logo

Next, it’s time to thank everybody for their kind contributions and to share this week’s walks.  If you’d like to join in, the details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page, or you can just click on the logo above.  More coffee, before we start?

………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Jesh is first this week, with what sounds like my ideal wander.  Come and join us!

Tea Garden San Francisco

While Debbie has me California dreaming…

Walking the Grand Canal, California style

When you’re alone and life is making you lonely you can always go… to Esther!

Walk Downtown

Here’s Amy, talking to ducks again (smile)

Gotcha!

Drake is hoping they’ll soon be singing ‘We are the Champions’ :

Never walk alone!

Somebody else who doesn’t like to walk alone!  Thanks, Geoff :

You’ll never walk alone, part 3 

Gilly doesn’t mind a bit of solitude, especially if the surrounds are beautiful :

A Warren Walk

But if you visit Minou, you could indulge in some clog dancing!

Marken- a world away in 40 minutes

Finally, Jill sets the scene for a serene and mystical experience :

Tak Bat in Luang Prabang

Superb, weren’t they?  You can have a fine walk and never leave your armchair.  Many thanks for joining me.  I wish you a happy week, and some good walking.

 

134 comments

  1. The flowers are exquisite, such rich vibrant colours must be a joy to walk amongst. I think the coffee is a great idea! I am sure the coffee in this part of the world is pretty delicious too! This a beautiful authentic post to enjoy. Thank you for sharing the ‘real’ culture of these local farms. Happy days.

  2. Well done for not giving up and eventually tracking down the other walkers. Your lovely images are immensely cheering. Coffee and an almond treat sounds like just the thing, so it’s sad to hear almond production has stopped in Portugal. 😉

    1. There are still almond trees everywhere so I’m sure some of them will still be harvested. They eat an immense amount of almond based cakes! I will be checking on markets and fairs where the almonds have come from and trying to just buy local. 🙂

    1. Yes, this is how an Algarve February usually looks. Wonderful, isn’t it? But it does have cooler days and grey skies too sometimes, if I’m honest. I could cope 🙂 The cake was just the ending of a 3 course meal. Got to replace that burned up energy! 🙂

  3. Oh Jo, this post is as much a sweet treat as those almond goodies you speak of. I wonder why they don’t grow almond trees anymore? What a stunning walk, glad it all worked out despite the dodgy directions 😮 Your photos make me realise what we are missing here and now I can’t wait for those warmer, spring days. And the meals are cheap there! I’ve been working on Hubby about getting away for a short trip to the sun..he said that he has something up his sleeve. Let’s see! I’m hinting strongly at Porto for a long weekend…and guess whose post I’ll be reading in earnest if so! Sorry I didn’t get over here yesterday, I didn’t even get my own post out. Hubby’s birthday and taking my cat Maisy to the vets…well, you know how the day can get away with you. Have a lovely evening Jo 🙂

    1. Hi sweetheart! Don’t feel you have to visit at any particular time. I know full well that the week’s not long enough. I intended to come looking for you yesterday to see how you were doing with the black and white, and here we are and it’s this evening already 🙂 Hope hubby had a great birthday!
      The almond trees are still grown but the almonds are hand picked so it’s time consuming. Apparently it’s been automated abroad, and Algarve almonds are no longer cost effective 😦 I shall go on eating them for as long as I can!

      1. Ahh…you are a sweetie Jo, thank you! And yes, a lovely if quiet birthday, I took him out to the Indian, he loves the food. Claire came too which was lovely 🙂 I love almonds,very healthy for you as you know I’m sure. Hugs to you dear Jo 🙂

  4. Oh for the days when I could walk for ‘just’ a couple of hours! On my Sunday stroll down a narrow primrose-bordered track, I was disturbed by an engine roar behind me. Just in time I managed to climb the bank, hanging on to a clutch of brambles. Six 4 x 4s passed me close enough to touch, with me hanging on for grim death! The drivers all lowered their windows and said bon jour, and one offered to take me to the end of the track. I explained that if he did I would be unable to walk home such a distance! I shall know better than to go that way again on a Sunday.

    1. Oh, Viv! I have it all coming, don’t I? One of these days I’ll be a little old lady sitting on a Portuguese doorstep (if I’m lucky!) Got to keep pushing for now, in case I don’t make it. Hugs! 🙂

  5. Wow, spring comes very early to that region. I admire your peserverence. I probably would have given up after the second time…or maybe not. The walk seems to have been worth it. That sheep looks more like a poodlae than a sheep. 😀

    1. We don’t normally have trouble finding them, so pure pig-headedness took us back there. And it was worth it. The company that day was very good, and the sheep were cute too 🙂

  6. I love walking in the country Jo I am a country girl through and through and this post was just delightful I’m so pleased you persevered and found the café and the walkers. Is this a walking group or is it an organised walk for tourists?

    1. Morning, Pauline! (or Evening 🙂 ) It’s a walking group. Two groups in fact- the Strollers and the Striders, doing different levels of walks. They run from late September to May/June and stop when it becomes too hot. There’s always a nice meal at the end, if you want to go along,and I’ve met some lovely people since we joined. And it takes us to places we might not otherwise see. 🙂

    1. I enjoy the social side of it, Draco. Some walks are more spectacular than others and I like to get out exploring on my own too. 🙂 Always playing ‘catch up’ on the group walks because of the camera.

  7. A place, a walk, or even an old windmill doesn’t have to be spectacular or famous or written about to make it a special place. That adorable sheep alone would be a great reward at the end of this walk!

    1. They were just idling beneath those trees when our group of walkers came along, AG. One of them (the walkers) has a few sheep on her own property in the UK, and she said ‘what am I doing standing here taking photos of sheep???’ But they were very cute 🙂

  8. I too would not complain in a leisurely walk like that. Love seeing the wild flowers in bloom. So what do they plant to take the place of almonds? More grapes?

    1. The almond trees will remain until they wither and die, I suspect, Bebs. It’s a way of life for many. Just sad that they cannot make a living from it any more.

  9. I really love your walks, Jo. I look forward to the places you’ll take me next.
    This walk makes me especially happy to see the beginnings of spring with lovely flowers and lambs. 🙂 It’s been a long winter here and I can’t wait for the first tulips to start popping up.

  10. Jo, how wonderful beautiful …. how fare is this from where you live???? Not in UK now. *smile
    Amazing … I’m so envy – even if I had the same blue sky for 2 days. Love the landscape and that you went for the farmland. “A gentle flourish of blossom” is my favorite. That – A gold-topped fungi – makes some of my imagination busy. *laughter
    What a carry for to find “walkers” – so glad you did – great images again. Absolute stunning landscape. Thanks for letting me walk with you, guys. I really enjoyed.

    1. Hi Vivi! 🙂 About 20 minutes by car. If you pedaled hard on your bike maybe not much longer but you might like to dawdle 🙂 Grey again here but I think your blueness is headed this way 🙂 🙂

      1. When I sent my comment … my computer told me to reload … and I thought that my comment was lost. I don’t think you will get our weather … I think we will get yours, very seldom that the weather in UK comes from Scandinavia. So time for … take off. *smile

      2. Me too …. laundry day .. and on the bike the whole afternoon, so tired. See you in morning. Keep the hands on the duvet. *smile

      1. Girlfriend, have a beautiful – the cleaning can truly wait, even if it’s for your dad … you two should enjoy the weather instead. And I have got your grey, not wet yet … so I will do my ironing today. Have a lovely one. Breakfast hug.

      1. I LOATHE the way we farm our food animals here: it’s utterly careless of them, with everything being done to save money rather than for their welfare. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s like that everywhere; but I’m more aware of what goes on here …

      2. I’m not very aware at all but I suspect you’re right. Where isn’t money the driver? I’d be a happy vegetarian but that won’t help those animals either.

      3. I did my best with that, but my GP said I started far too late … Anyway, Jo – sorry to drag you off-topic from your lovely post ! Over and out for now … 🙂

  11. You know what they say, Jo…third time’s a charm and you and Mike finally met your group and took this lovely walk with companions. Pristine skies and charming country side. The plates on the wall are a decorative touch and caught my eye…from my armchair. 🐑🐑🐑🐏

  12. love the blue – sky, door, shutters (?) and paintwork – and cake, though that doesn’t look at all big enough to share 😕

    Thanks for letting me tag along with you Jo, but this is not burning up enough calories 😦

  13. What a lovely walk Jo and such blue skies even in February I can see why you love the Algarve! The trees, flowers and pretty buildings – it all looks so relaxing and peaceful! Wishing you a great week 🙂

  14. Loving all of the color Jo! It’s warm here this week but no sign of flowers yet. Love the photo of the windmill and of course I am a sucker for the sheep. I chuckled at your walking group conspiracy theory. 🙂

  15. Oh yes! I would love the cake for sure Jo! 😆 Such great landscape shots. It’s so beautiful and peaceful there. Love the cute sheep. 😀 ♥

    1. The sun was so gentle and warm that day, Sonel. One of the nicest of the holiday. Are your temperatures getting back to comfortable yet? I know you don’t cope well with heat. Hugs, darlin’. 🙂

      1. Glad to hear Jo and I can see you enjoyed it very much. 😀

        Still a bit hot during the day but cool in the mornings and sometimes at night. Yeah, I don’t. 😆

        Thanks for the hugs hon. Here’s lots of hugs for you as well. 😀 ♥

  16. I love this walk, Jo. It gives me just enough spring colors and blue skies to cheer me up here in the dreary south of China. Thanks for the smile and the fun walk through the farms. It really is too bad about the almond production, isn’t it? That cake sure looks tasty. 🙂

    1. It’s cheaper to produce them abroad, Cathy! I find that shocking when it’s part of their staple diet and there are almond trees everywhere.
      It’s grey and dreary here too. Walked this morning and just beat the rain home. 🙂 Booked another week in the Algarve next month just to remind me how it looks 🙂 (and in case Spring doesn’t come this far north!)

      1. I’m sure you’ll get spring eventually, though it may be slow in coming. But I know you, any excuse to go to the Algarve. I can’t wait to be reminded once again of my lovely time there. 🙂

  17. Such pretty spring scenes Jo! Love the long shot of the windmill with the flowering tree in the foreground and the inquisitive sheep. I can imagine how much you must miss this.

  18. Glad you are back to color too. I liked the description of “Wild flowers growing carelessly by”. I like seeing or receiving a beautiful arrangement, but there is something special about a wild field of flowers.

  19. essendo più a sud della mia regione vedo che la primavera è già più avanzata, l’atmosfera campestre è sempre magnifica e camminare con te il lunedì è sempre piacevole 🙂

    1. Yes, Spring is much slower here in the north east of England so I have to live on my memories 🙂 Have a lovely week, cara! Thank you for your wonderful visit this morning.

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