Jo’s Monday walk : Barranco das Lajes

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My walk through Portugal’s Barranco das Lajes definitely comes in the category of ‘tales with a happy ending’, but for a while I wasn’t so sure.

Let me set the scene.  The skies were the clearest of blues.  I’d been in the Algarve for long enough to take this completely for granted (a week!). I’d ambled on beaches, and been out with my walker friends.  I’d even met up with a lovely blogger and her husband for coffee. (Hi Becky!)  I was in as relaxed a state as I ever achieve.  But those smoke blue hills on the horizon were calling me.  Much earlier in the year I’d been there and resolved to come back for a walk.

Out came the guide to Walking Trails in the Algarve , which you might remember from my walk on the cliff tops at Carrapateira.  This walk has a very different location.  From my eastern Algarve home in Tavira it is a lovely drive along the N270 to São Brás de Alportel. As Becky points out in her most recent walk, directions in this guide are a little vague.  Fortunately my husband has a good memory for roads.  North we went, through the villages of Alportel, Cova da Muda, Javali, Parises, and Cabeca do Velho, climbing higher and higher into the hills.  When it seemed we couldn’t go any higher, and my ears were popping, we reached the minute village of Cabanas- the start of the trail.

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A more peaceful spot you could not hope to find…. until!  Over a farm wall hopped two dogs, the leader barking ferociously and heading straight for me.  Barking dogs are a pretty common factor on any walk in the Algarve countryside.  Most farmers have an animal or two to protect their property.  Usually they are on a leash, or behind a sturdy gate.  In such an isolated spot, the farmer obviously did not expect company.  He shouted at the dogs, but not before the leader had reached me and leapt at the back of my knee. Ouch!  I have to admit I was shaken and not a little worried that it had broken the skin, but I was ‘lucky’.

The walk follows the asphalt road a very short distance through the village of Lajes, before turning down a trail.  I limped along feeling a little sorry for myself, and wishing I’d had a walking pole handy for defence.  But it was such a beautiful day, and my surroundings so serene, it really was hard to stay grumpy.

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The trail descended quite gently, but it soon became clear that I had made the wrong choice of footwear.  My grazed toes did help to take my mind off my sore leg.  Grateful for small mercies!  A pause for a little discreet padding.  Can you believe that I really was enjoying myself?  But I sincerely hope that you will learn from my bad example.  Meanwhile the trail passed through olive and fig groves, beneath numerous cork and holm oaks and down to a watercourse, with rustling bamboo.

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Climbing back out of the valley, I marveled at the early flowering fruit trees.  I couldn’t decide whether these were the famous Strawberry trees (known for their powerful liqueur, Medronho) or Loquats.  In Spring these valleys will sing with with wild flowers- the rose and white faces of Cistus, lavenders in lilac and green- but for now the predominant colour is green.

Another intriguing plant draped itself rather seductively through a Eucalyptus tree- a white variety of the bottle brush?

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Almost at the end of the 5.5km walk, there is an optional loop up to Cerro da Ursa- a bit of a climb to a panoramic view.  The good news is that having reached the summit you are then back at the level of the road.  Even better, the car was merely yards away.

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After all that trauma I’m sure you can guess what I did next?  A whizz back down the hills takes us to the lovely little cafe, Tesouros da Serra, on the outskirts of São Brás.  Fig and carob cake was exactly what I needed!  Sore bits quite forgotten.

Should you be feeling energetic, details and a map can be found on the link to the Walking Trails guide.  As estimated, the walk took around 2 hours, but we didn’t hurry.  It was too beautiful.

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I do hope you’ll read some of these great contributions, and I have to apologise for keeping some of them waiting rather a long time. I’m very grateful for your company and the lovely walks we share.  Please join us if you have a walk, long or short- I really don’t mind which.  Details can be found on my Jo’s Monday walk page, or just click on the logo above.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Now, how did Esther know I loved John Denver?

Walk Down Country Roads

Aah, the memories!  A small boy I knew loved trains!  Thanks so much, Jackie…

Train of Thought

And this week, some beautiful gardens in Toronto :

Allan Gardens

It’s always a pleasure to accompany Drake, almost anywhere!

This way please..

An idyllic landscape next from Pauline (and a few cows) :

The Rural Heart of New Zealand

Elena took such delight in Rotterdam, it’s totally infectious!

Rotterdam in a Day (part 3)

I always love to welcome a newcomer to my walks, especially if we can meet for coffee:

New York- Coffee in Central Park

Or better yet, a beach!

Coolangatta- Classic Cars by the Beach

And if that won’t do, there’s treasure!  Please say hello to Lee Anne at ‘Just me please’ :

Eagles Nest- A abundance of treasure

Don’t you love Yvette’s new look?  And the way she looks at life too!

Walk with Jo (street photos)

Gilly took such a beautiful stroll in my absence.  Hope you didn’t miss it?

A field of brassica

And then when I got home she had this waiting :

A City Stroll at Christmas

You never know what you’re going to get with Tobias, but there’s sure to be an eye pleaser :

Uzes

Meantime, Jaspa takes us back to the days of slavery :

Bulow Plantation Ruins State Park, Florida

I can confirm what Becky says, but it was still warm.  I’m missing my Algarve already!

Not every day is a sunny day

It’s great to be able to close with another special lady.  I met Cathy, once upon a time :

A November rock scramble on Billy Goat trail

That’s all for now.  I’ll probably be on my way to Nottingham when you read this and I’m sure that you understand that time with my daughter is precious.  However, I hope to be able to reply to some of you whilst in transit and I’m an early bird so I can sneak some computer time in the mornings.  I’ll catch up with the remainder on my return on Thursday, and join you for another walk next week. Take care till then!

 

 

156 comments

  1. I am visiting and enjoyed the walk up to the top of this beautiful landscape. Too bad about that dog! Scary and now glad is just bruised and not broken through skin. Walking sticks do sound advisable on this kind of hike where country dogs may be territorial, Jo.
    The photos and cake erased most of the pain, eh?! 🙂

  2. Love your walk. I live by the seaside and with lovely countryside behind me too, so I have the best of both worlds. I may try to write about my walks one day, but it’s not something I do normally. Your images are brilliant too.

    1. Thank you! My north east home is right on the coast and I can’t imagine living away from the sea. But it’s great to have somewhere as lovely as this to escape. Give it a try- it’s easy enough and you can use as much or as little detail as you like 🙂

  3. Beautiful scenery, loved your photos and those blue skies makes me long for sunshine, it has been very grey here in the UK for too long already and we still have all of the winter to deal with. I hope you knee is better now? I am very scared of dogs and an incident like that would freak me out. Thanks for this lovely post and may 2016 take you along some more great trails.

    1. Sounds like a lovely idea. I seem to remember you sending me another walk that I haven’t yet featured. The trip to the Algarve and then a visit to my daughter have left me struggling for time and Christmas is almost upon me. Thanks very much 🙂

    1. Morning Denzil 🙂 Thank you! Bright and clear this morning after all yesterday’s rain. I wish I could go out and enjoy it but there’s far too much to do. See you on Monday 🙂

    1. Do you know, I feel quite exhausted! But it has little to do with the walk. It’s more to do with my whistle stop trip to Nottingham and the prospect of getting ready for Christmas in the next week or so 🙂 🙂

    1. As I read this, a beautiful sunrise is materialising, Elaine 🙂 Could just be a blue sky day after all last night’s rain. I hope so because we plan to buy the tree today and the wreaths for the cemetery. Have a good weekend!

  4. Ouch! And that is so scary when a dog does that (you’ll remember my dog bite years ago), glad you were okay, albeit shaken, and then your poor toe too 😦 Still, sounds as if you enjoyed your walk despite all that, and how beautiful (reminds me of the countryside in parts of Crete where we walked) as always are your photos. Welcome home Jo, lovely to see you again…hugs! xx

  5. Hope your leg is ok Jo – I would have been terrified. Love dogs when I know them and they are not ferocious. Did you need any treatment or shots? The countryside looks beautiful though – the sky reminds me of a clear blue sky on a crisp winter’s day in Perth 🙂

  6. these are all just lovely, lovely photos. I like the close-ups of the flowers. I think the landscape is more like the Grand Canyon, awesome, but you lose something in a photograph…but you know something is there that you must go see some day

  7. I did not have a “medronho” since I was a child. I used to pick it up on my way to school. What a sunny walk that was. I would have loved being there. You keep safe

  8. Carob and fig cake sounds delish and a nice reward ;). Coming across dogs in a remote place can be scary! Reminds me of the time I was in Tuscany and went for a run on a beautiful day and came across this tiny dog that wouldn’t let me cross the street to get back home..I had to wait and wait for someone to drive by and motion to them – bc I don’t speak Italian – to help me with this tiny little animal. But I’m telling you he meant business!

  9. Jo, your poor toes and leg – you definitely earned that scrummy cake at the end. 😀 The walk looks beautiful and I’m fascinated by the various fruit trees and the cork tree. Thanks for sharing with us all.

  10. Thx for the wan jo – some of the shadows you captured were my fav of this post -but what beauty in them all!! hope your feet are healing or healed – ❤️ and mmmm on the dessert!

  11. hola Jo, era da tempo che non ti salutavo, tutto bene? Un bel progetto di macchia mediterranea come si trova anche in alcuni luoghi qui in Italia, splendida la foto dell’albero nudo, e quelle delle varietà dei corbezzoli
    abbi una notte felice

  12. Even though I own three big dogs, I’m very scared of other people’s dogs, Jo. If I saw one coming towards me aggressively I’d be a blubbering mess. I’m really glad the chomp didn’t break the skin. I’ve also found myself caught out with the wrong footwear while walking – argh! But all in all it sounds like you enjoyed this walk and the fig and carob cake at the end must have been a real treat indeed! 😀

    1. Hi Dianne 🙂 Sorry, I missed your comment when I was answering them on my phone. I’ve now been to Nottingham and back and the Algarve is another of those distant dreams. Guess I’ll be back though 🙂 🙂 (in spite of the dogs!)

  13. Oh, I’ve been chased by dogs when out running, Jo. My friend was bitten once, too. Around here it seems the dog owners blame us for running past their unleashed dogs which doesn’t make much sense to me. Anyway, glad the dogs didn’t deter you from walking on. Your photos are beautiful, blue skies so inviting! Thanks for taking us along.

  14. You take such wonderful walks but it’s also your enthusiasm shining through each post that makes me want to tag along! I carry walking poles whenever I hike but haven’t had to use them on any dogs yet – poor you!

  15. What a beautiful walk Jo! How scary though about the dog. That would have definitely made my heart pump. I’m glad it all sorted out and your dessert looks quite delicious.

      1. Haha.. no wonder as they keep changing things! It has been so warm here recently I wonder when that hard winter we were told to expect is going to hit us. Probably the day we move 😉

  16. Can I regard this walk as my exercise for the day??? The flower at the beginning is a wonderful tarantara. I enjoyed your description of the drive, and the shadows on the track made me mutter “I want to be there”. As an expert non-botanist, who gets it wrong more often than right, I wonder of the white flower is some sort of eucalypt?

    As for your encounter with the dog, I’m glad it didn’t stop you. The mere sound of barking in the distance made me scurry back from amazing solitary explorations on a misty morning in Palmyra which I very much regret. But then there was the threat of rabies.

  17. You go on some wonderful walks Jo, looks like it was a perfect day. The eucalyptus tree looks very similar to those we have growing near us, the ones that Koalas and Cockatoos love. Hope that you’re keeping safe and dry, have seen the dreadful flooding on the news but my knowledge of UK geography is pretty poor.

    1. Are you home again after your adventures Sam? I have limited access here but will come and visit when I’m back in the north east. The north west has had a terrible time but we’ve been lucky x

  18. Those pretty white flowers are actually the eucalyptus blossoms and the seeds with the pointy ends are the gum nuts. Aren’t they beautiful?

    I’m pleased to hear you escaped the attack dogs without too much damage, and the rest of your walk sounded delightful.

  19. Oh Jo sorry to hear about the dogs! What a fright! I’ve been chased on bike many times nut never been actually touched. Amazing what a dog chasing you can do for incentive to pedal fast. At any rate a lovely walk and i hope there are no long term effects.

  20. What a wonderful walk Jo, it’s so green. I remember a tour blokey on the coach to Seville saying that there is a lot of underground water that keeps plants healthy, but has there been rain as well? I’m sorry to hear about your leg, that must have been scary, reminds me of Shirley McLain’s book about walking the Camino when she was threatened by dogs! I’d be the one in the wrong shoes as well .
    Has the cork oak been ‘harvested’? poor thing but as its survived to a good age it can’t do any harm. It is a strawberry tree, and poo I didn’t get to try the Medrono, The cake looks lush too. Hope you’re having fun with your girly, mine have all gone home and its really quiet without them.

    1. There was seriously heavy rain fall for a week in November but nothing since. The cork trees are numbered with the year of harvest and I think it’s about 11 years between each. Poor you xxx

  21. Oh Jo! I’m sorry about your getting bitten by that dog! At least he didn’t break the skin, but I’m sure you were shaken and sore anyway. And then to have worn the wrong shoes and have your feet stressed out. I’ve had that happen on many walks myself, so I understand. Luckily, it looks like it was a gorgeous walk and a beautiful day, and you topped it off with a special treat! I’m glad all is well and that you really enjoyed yourself after all. 🙂

      1. Right, Jo! You will never forget that walk! Like the time I got stung by a bee inside my mouth when eating a peanut butter & jelly sandwich on a hike. The bee was on the sandwich and I bit right into him, but not before he got a good sting into my mouth. That was on Billy Goat Trail, the one Mike and I took in November! 🙂

  22. What a lovely walk, Jo. Love the beautiful blue skies. I envy you those hills to walk up. Florida is so flat. 😦 I think loquats are smoother than this fruit. Maybe they’re Lychees. The fig and carob cake looks to die for. Have a great week. 🙂 xx

  23. Just a short flight away and there you have impossibly blue skies and flowering fruit trees … super lovely post Jo . Really enjoyed it after all the drab and rain this week . I do feel so sorry for those further north with all the terrible flooding once again – and what a time of year for it too .
    Enjoy your girly time 🙂

    1. The sun is just trying to peak through here. I’ m on my way but I’ve sent my husband walking on my behalf. It’s the last one for my walking friends so there’ll be food!

  24. That cake, and the views, look amazing! Well earned, by the sounds of it. I think the creamy flowers are actually the eucalyptus blossom and the red ones are the strawberry tree/medronho. Great pics!

  25. Double ouch! Views and flora are stunning though 😊
    Maybe one day we’ll do a walk together making sure of course we have appropriate maps, footwear and dog scarer, or at least another coffee but with delicious cake this time!!

      1. Have a lovely time in Nottingham.
        PS we had a second grey day yesterday and today looks like it’s going to be cloudy too, so you’re not missing too much sun!!

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