Jo’s Monday walk : Vaqueiros

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A dilemma this week!  Whether to take you back to those blue Algarve skies, or stay with reality, here in the UK?  Ever the escapist, I’ve opted to leave reality on hold, just a little while longer.  Vaqueiros is another of those pretty hill villages in the Eastern Algarve.  A quirky little walk, this time I had the company of my walking friends, so no need to worry about angry dogs.

Again, the drive up into the hills from Tavira was a test for the driver, but pure delight for the passenger.  Before coming to the Algarve I would never have expected to find hairpin bends and smoke coloured hills.  Every twist and turn looks down across another tiny village, or out across a lovely panorama.  With each bend I want to shout ‘stop the car’, and leap out with my camera.  But, of course, that isn’t a practical option, and the dedicated walkers in our group would have been less than impressed.  Coffee stops, however, are mandatory, and we congregate outside a miniscule cafe in Vaqueiros.  I’m eye to eye with a languid grey cat, sitting comfortably atop a heap of beer crates.  Raising my camera appears to be the signal for a sprint start.  Another wasted photo opportunity!  Nothing for it but to start walking.

Vaqueiros is one of the villages along the Via Algarviana, a 300km walking and biking trail which crosses the Algarve.  The walk today is a circular route of just 13km.  In late November the sun is shining brightly but walkers are scarce.  The olive trees are laden with fruits, soon to be harvested. Our route takes us out of the village, joining a gently rising track.  Gnarled olive trees and umbrella pines are our chief companions.

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Can you see Michael, in the deep shade, at the rear of the group of walkers?  They are quite fit and walk at a decent pace.  I’m always hanging back, looking for an interesting shot.  Unless I get engrossed in conversation, which can sometimes happen.  I try to maintain a balance between enjoying my companions and the landscape.

Red and yellow markers indicate that we are still following a trail, but we mostly rely on our group leader.  An Algarve resident, he has been walking these hills for many years.  His well-muscled legs handle the ups and downs with ease.  Some of us are not so lucky! Along the route we come upon a couple of fords, but water levels are notoriously low this year. The rain came all in one week and everywhere is tinder dry.

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A cluster of hens are happy in the shade.

I mentioned at the beginning that this is a quirky walk.  Up in these hills you unexpectedly come upon the remains of a theme park. ‘Parque Mineiro’ was a misguided idea which never actually came to fruition.  Copper was once mined in this area and was presumably the inspiration behind the theme park.  I wasn’t at all prepared for the sight of a little yellow train, and yet there it was, intact and still sitting on the rails.

I’m sorry to disappoint, but there isn’t a cake stop on this walk.  Groans all round!  The village doesn’t have one and in fact we took a picnic with us. We ended up back at Vaqueiros, outside the same little cafe.  The lads helped to empty those beer crates while my tumbler of red cost but 40 cents!

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It’s a lovely part of the world.  This promotional video of the Via Algarviana is a nice introduction.  There is a board near the cafe which shows way-marked trails, should you ever get that far.

And that’s my walking done till after Christmas, so may I take this opportunity to wish all of you a happy and healthy Christmas (yes, you are allowed cake!  You can walk it off afterwards).  Time to put that kettle on!

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A last round-up before Christmas.  Huge thanks to all of you who’ve followed along, up hill and down dale.  I’ve enjoyed your company so much, and thank you for helping to keep me trim.  Join me any time you like.  Details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.

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Quick off the mark last week, Drake was in thoughtful mood :

Space for reflection

Lovely to have Debbie back in our midst again!

A Winter Stroll on Beach Street

Lots of you seem to know my weaknesses now!  Many thanks, Elaine :

A canalside walk

It’s round up time with Amy.  Pick a favourite?

A Walk through my Monday Walks

I shall make it to Water of Leith one day- trust me, Anabel!

Edinburgh- everything is going to be alright 

Still walking in circles with Geoff!

The Capital Ring : Richmond to Greenford, via Osterley

Violet shows us how beautiful Christmas in small town Ontario can be :

River of lights

Then we can hop across the water to cosmopolitan Toronto :

Toronto…. waterscape walks

You might have missed this one last week?  I did!  Apologies!

Metal and Wood Trail

Jaspa takes us to South America again.  Such a beautiful cathedral!

Trujillo’s Colonial Heart, Peru 

Walk homewards with Ruth?  You won’t regret it :

Stroll home

And isn’t it always a pleasure to spend time with Pauline and Jack?

Farm walk

Gilly lives in a lovely part of the world.  She’s lovely too!

The Otter in August

Hope to see some of you next week, if you’re not too busy entertaining and having fun.  I’ll be looking forward to a bit of fresh air in that gap between Christmas and New Year.  Off I go, to wrap presents.  I still have some to buy!  Take good care till I see you again, and have a wonderful time with your loved ones.

 

 

106 comments

  1. Jo, the chickens and cacti or deciduous plants make me think of our Western scenery. I liked seeing the green ribbons around a tall hill or moyntain. Is this evidence of “terracing” the land? Jo, I will be happy no cake since I need to not eat as many sweets as I Do. Lol

      1. A walk on the beach is enjoyable any time of year🙂 It is summer storm season here.. Which means a few sunny days followed by lots of rain and occasionally hail. But at least it isn’t cold. I hope you are a long way from the floods I have been hearing about.

      2. We’re about an hour from the worst ones. Being on the coast has its advantages, and our homes are on the top of a hill (both here and in the Algarve 🙂 ). Poor York! It;s a beautiful city but it has had many flooding problems down the years.

      3. Glad you are safe. There is a lot of advantages having a house on top of the hill🙂 It often floods here too. My neighbors at the bottom of the hill in our street often fill with water when Brisbane is hit by storms.

  2. Hello sweetheart I’m really behind now, but I’m glad to see this splendid post, great photos and the views are stunning. I’d be frustrated with the walkers when there is so much to photograph. It would be great to have like minded people like you and Jude to walk with occasionally. I love to walk as well but not march! These gnarly trees look like they are reaching out to capture someone, pretty ladies with cameras maybe, watch out!

    I can imagine how much work it is to do the challenge nearly every week, and while I’d miss it, I agree with Jude that once a month would be better than gving it up.
    I’m all ready for Christmas now, hope you are too. I’ve just had a half day to go have lunch with my friend Sue, in Topsham, another half day tomorrow, then off until Tuesday, hooray!

    1. I did the lunch and coffee dates yesterday, Gilly, and had a lovely day. Nothing’s gone right so far today, but I’ve still got another one. Too tired to do more than a bit of wrapping tonight. (and maybe a glass of something 🙂 )
      Woo-hoo! Enjoy your time off- you’ve earned it.

  3. 13 km in how many hours? I bet we take the same amount of time to cover 3km! A lovely walk: the Algarve is looking more and more like a Warsaw side-trip destination. My mob are here and my grand-daughter has designed Christmas lunch, saving me the the decision-angst.

    1. You probably do, but no worse for that. 🙂 Thanks for making the time to pop in, Meg. The grand-daughter sounds a good un 🙂 James has volunteered to cook chicken cacciatore on Christmas Eve but I suspect it will cost me angst in the shopping and prep. Wish I could just ‘go with the flow’ but tis not my nature. Tis, however, my nature to send you big Christmas hugs! Have a fine old time, and much love in 2016 xxx

      1. Fingers crossed, we think we’re good now! Thanks for asking;). Have a very Merry Christmas, Jo, it’s been great connecting and hearing about all your incredible travels🙂.

  4. I so enjoy reading about your walks. I am envious of your group. I wish I knew a walking/hiking group to join here in Prague. That theme park is intriguing. Will you be spending the holidays in the Algarve? Wishing you a holiday filled with cheer and cheers.😉 🍺🎄

    1. We’ve not yet managed an Algarve Christmas, Julie. 😦 Dad always comes for Christmas lunch and our son is home for a few days. The best we can usually hope for is an early January getaway but this year we have Polish family coming so it’s on hold. But we make up for it the rest of the year 🙂 🙂 Thanks and happy hols to you too!

  5. What a great tour, Jo. My eye was immediately captured by that stick insect (Image_1022). You didn’t think I’d let something like that pass without me noticing it!😀

    Have a great Christmas and Happy New Year (I’m sure this is about the tenth time I’ve told you this, but I really mean it) xxxx

  6. I think you should be on the payroll for Tourism Portugal Jo. I just finished watching the video and having visions of cycling the trail dancing in my head. Love all those little villages along the way. There’s another one for the list.🙂

    1. Oh, that poor list, Sue! 🙂 You’re not doing so very badly. Thanks for all the lovely company and encouragement you’ve provided throughout the year. I do appreciate it. 🙂 Take some Christmas hugs with you to compensate for lack of snow. 🙂 Have a super time and all the best for 2016.

  7. I took advantage of a blue sky afternoon to pop out and hunt down a few presents for the grandkiddies (and OH, but don’t tell him) so late to the party today. OK I know I am ALWAYS late. Your layout on this post is quite beautiful Jo. I love the first tree and then the four images together. Having the wider central space works well with photos and yours just get better and better. (Can I have cake now😕 ) I can see why you love the Algarve so much, I reckon I’d be happy there too. Definitely another holiday there beckons.🙂
    Have I already wished you a good time? Happy Christmas Jo, and I hope to have a few different walks for you next year!
    Jude xx

    1. That might be worth hanging on for, Jude 🙂 You won’t believe it but I recently found a last year’s Christmas cake that I’d bought and not cut into! Wonder if it will be ok if I doctor it with brandy? Maybe I should just drink the brandy… 🙂 Thanks for your kind words.

      1. Now I have read the comments I see you are wondering whether or not to continue with the walks. I know lots of people would miss them, but they are a lot of work, not just the walking, as you well know. Maybe you have other things you’d like to blog about? A walk a month? Anyway I am sure you will come to a decision some time🙂
        As for the cake as long as it isn’t mouldy it will be fine. I’d just drink the brandy though, in case the cake is too dry in which case make a bread and butter pudding with it (leave out the bread naturally😉 )

      2. Bread and butter pud sounds good, after I scrape off the marzipan, of course 🙂 Why am I an hour later than you? Must be something daft in the settings. At least I can control my snow 🙂 I’m just wondering if people are getting bored with the walks. We’ll see 🙂

      3. Good question, for which I don’t have an answer. So now you want me to peel off the hard marzipan, put it in a big envelope and send it to you to roll out? Might I suggest this is getting a tad silly? 🙂 🙂

      4. You are getting grumpy😀 Oh, alright I’ll buy my own marzipan, though given the fact that today we spent 20 minutes driving around Tesco car park with no luck, that might not happen! Guess I’m walking down tomorrow. Thank goodness I can my veggies, cheese and meat from the market. Didn’t spot any mince pies though😦

      5. You know I don’t have a grumpy bone in my body! James is taking me to Morrison’s tomorrow to buy the ingredients so he can cook for us on Christmas Eve. How about that for a treat? We can have anything in the Jamie Oliver cookbook! (this is a first, incidentally, and I will be peeling the Christmas veg while he cooks).Had lunch out with the girls and then coffee with a longstanding friend who has been much less lucky than me this year. Nothing to be grumpy about, but I don’t have your address to send the marzipan 🙂

  8. Glad you chose this one Jo … most BLUE sky I’ve seen all week ! Well in fact that’s a fib Lol … as we drove home from Dorset this afternoon the last half hour from the M5 back to our Hills it was a picture postcard🙂
    You do find some lovely walks and November there looks very appealing .
    Wishing you a fabulous time Jo over the Christmas holidays … I’ve really enjoyed your posts very much and look forward to lots more in 2016 xx

    1. That’s kind of you to say, Poppy. I’ve been having a bit of a wonder lately whether I should abandon the walks. Are they getting too repetitious? I thought I’d leave asking the question till after Christmas. Prevaricate. prevaricate… that’s what I do. 😦 Your company and lovely comments have been much appreciated. Wishing you a fine old time at Christmas, and beyond! 🙂

      1. .. ho ho ho Jo ..phone not working and internet intermittement engineer to morrow morning Lol .. sorry didn’t mean to ignore you… it just went off pffftt like that …
        Think your walks would be missed but can imagine a lot of work each week with the prose and getting pics together … just going to peek at your baubles🙂

      2. I do worry about people who peek at my baubles, Poppy! 🙂 Unless it’s you, of course! Not great timing to be ‘out of the loop’. Hope he can fix it, otherwise it will really have to be a peaceful Christmas 😦

    1. It started so well here today, Anabel! Beautiful skies, but by the time I was ready to go out it was raining. Serves me right again- I told Jude we hadn’t had much 🙂 No wrapping done either 😦 Loadsa time…..

  9. Whag a beautiful walk Jo! I want to be an escapist too! We haven’t had any snow yet and it has been unseasonably warm which is very odd. But it has been so gray and cloudy that it is getting to me! Thankfully we leave for Arizona soon for the holidays where I can get lots of sunshine and walks in! Happy Holidays!!

  10. I am still absolutely entranced at the notion of a countryside that includes 300km of a walking trail. Your photos look so much like my home in Central California, but the lifestyle is obviously very different. Cheers for your holiday, and best wishes for a New Year.

    1. It’s a funny old world, isn’t it? The trail is end to end of the country, but inland- the less popular area from a tourist point of view. Which suits me very nicely, though I do try to promote it. Thanks for your support and I hope 2016 is great for you too. 🙂

  11. Well I have to tell you there no walks around here in T-Shirts currently wild to mild to gales all in one day – rather odd patchy weather – but your situation looks quiet welcoming – Thank you for all your support over the year and I wish you and your family and a safe happy and healthy New Year.

    1. Hi Scott! Thanks for spending time with me at this busy old time of year. I will be doing frantic blog-hopping squeezed in whenever I can. 🙂 We had the most glorious sunrise this morning and I was full of hope, but by the time I’d got my act together… Ah well- umbrella up and into the fray 🙂 Merry Christmas!

  12. Jude and I were just saying the other day how we tend to get left behind while trying to take the perfect photo and then have to bustle to catch up. It’s worth it to get these lovely shots though. Happy Christmas to you Jo.

  13. “It’s a lovely part of the world” you wrote, totally agree – such an amazing walk here, really did enjoy it…🙂

    Excellent captures, the last one just breathtaking…🙂

    1. The walk looks very similar to the one where I got ‘bit’, Drake, so I wasn’t sure about posting it, but it’s nice to see a bit of sunshine. You must be a bit damp in your part of the world? It’s not been too bad in the north east. Thank you! Christmas hugs 🙂

  14. Love this walk, Jo. Certainly beautiful scenery and it looked like the weather was pleasant too. I don’t fault you for hanging back and taking in the sights – just make sure that your walking companions are always in sight!😀 No cake shop on the way? What a pity but perhaps on the next walk🙂

    1. Sorry Mabel- you ended up in spam! Funny how WP randomly selects to dump different people there each time! Good job I always check 🙂 Yes, it was a lovely day! Expect I’ll find cake again soon. Merry Christmas to you and thanks for your company and support.

      1. Thanks for checking, Jo. I really wondered where my comment went, now I know🙂 Spam Folder must be hungry. It’s been happening a lot to my comments on other blogs too.

        Take care this time of the year, and I look forward to seeing more photos from you in the year ahead🙂

  15. Reminiscing a great journey is absolutely okay, as long as you’ll come back to reality at some point:) A beautiful and peaceful looking landscape! Yes, I’ll also have to start wrapping presents:) Have a merry Christmas:)

      1. Totally chilled🙂 we found a tree, going out Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and so nothing more to do! Hope your ‘headless chicken’ mode has gone by Thursday x

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