True sign of Spring, and a sight to gladden the heart- almond blossom. This is what the Algarve in February means to me, though the sky may not always be so blue. (but that’s next week’s walk) Again I’m taking you up into the hills, and you’ll need a map to follow. Our start point is the village of Cruz de Alta Mora, inland from the River Guadiana. The road dips and sways through unheard of villages. There are occasional bus stops along the way, but nary a person waiting. Does this look like an inviting place to start a walk?
I rather thought so. The sign pointed towards the village of Soalheira, and a trail led off through the welcoming carpet of false yellowhead.
You might have noticed a tendency I have to find walks with hills in them? The walking guide I was using gives an indication of the ‘ups and downs’, and I always look to see how strenuous it might become. (but then often do the walk anyway, if it’s not too long) In this case the steepest incline comes right at the end of the walk. One of the signboards in the village of Alta Mora described the trail as the way of the cabra Algarvia– the Algarvean Goat- so I shouldn’t have been at all surprised to come upon a pen full of them.
Did you spot the ruined windmill on the top of the hill? Or the ginger cat in that sparse grass? ( you can click on the photo to make it easier) I was headed upwards, but initially it wasn’t too steep. If you wanted the view from the top, that comes at a cost…
And then it’s far behind you, and you can see the next village ahead. Looking back at my photos I can see I got a little carried away on this walk, but it was quite hard not to. Aside from the blossom, I am enamoured of the wild cistus. I find this countryside almost impossible not to love.
After Caldeirao, the trail idles through the greenest of valleys, then rises somewhat surprisingly to a tarmac road. There, nestled in the landscape and unmentioned in the guide, a tiny cafe awaits. This is the point at which all thoughts of walking might well disappear out of the window. Or, more appropriately, off the enticing balcony. Laundry dangles over the valley below. The scene is only despoiled by a cacophony of compounded dogs. A puppy in the cafe garden twitches its nose at visitors, while Mum snoozes determinedly in the sun.
I know that many of you will be disappointed at the non-appearance of cake. I will humbly make amends in my next walk. For now, I need to head on to the idyllic, though partially abandoned, villages of Funchosa em Cima and de Baixo. (upper and lower)
It’s a steep climb back out of the valley and then roll down into the next, Ribeira do Beliche. I spot a donkey in a courtyard, his back firmly turned to me. I edge closer, but pause when my husband reminds me they do a wicked back kick. A shot under cover of planters will have to do!
There are river crossings to be made. A few uneven stones straddle the water, and I end up with one wet foot. No matter- it’s a warm day. Crouched by the side of the water, I spot some tiny delicate orchids. Funny how similar they are to some I’ve seen on the cliffs at home. Alas, my shots are horribly blurred, so I’ll simply tell you that next week I have a different orchid, which I found very exciting.
I cross the stream a second time, a little more successfully, and then begins that last, long slog up the hill, which leads, eventually, back to our start point. Not for the feint hearted! You don’t want to watch me, so I’ll end with a delicacy of blossom. Is it ever possible to have too much?
Phew! I have to say I’m rather tired after all that, and just have the energy to point you towards Walking Trails in the Algarve, where this walk appears, right near the end, at p. 144. Full details of how to get there are given in the guide. And now, the kettle on, I think!
Thank you all for your tolerance while I was away. I tried to keep up as best I could, but managed to miss a few of you. Amends made here, I hope. Once again I have some wonderful contributions. If you possibly can, please find the time to read them. And maybe even join me on a walk next week? Shorter, I promise! Details on Jo’s Monday walk page or the logo above.
Drake’s timing was simply wonderful!
Tobias always makes such good use of his ‘props’ :
Debbie just can’t resist a shot or two on the way to work! Or anywhere, really…
Fancy making your own Tequila? You just need blue agave plants! Cheers, Jackie!
Amy takes us back to visit the exotic Ringling home. What a beauty!
The national parks in the States look larger than life, don’t they? I’d love to visit!
Somewhere else I wouldn’t mind to try- Hawaii! Have a wander with Carol :
Waking to snow is not my idea of fun, but in the Rockies you’d expect it, and Anabel looks pleased :
My daughter spent her birthday and 3rd wedding anniversary in Edinburgh, and fully endorses Smidge’s recommendations :
Gilly would like my goats, wouldn’t she? Her dogs might not be so keen :
And Jill just scraped in, in the early hours of this morning. I haven’t even had time to read it yet, but I will!
I woke to snow this morning, looking oh, so pretty, outside my window. I haven’t had time to ‘enjoy’ it yet, but hopefully? Once again, my thanks to all. For those of you I saw on Saturday, Vincent and Flavia were fabulous! Have a great week, and see you soon.