Jo’s Monday walk : Amendoeira (Almond) Trail

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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?

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I rather thought so.  The sign pointed towards the village of Soalheira, and a trail led off through the welcoming carpet of false yellowhead.

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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…

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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.

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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)

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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!

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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?

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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! 

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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.

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Drake’s timing was simply wonderful!

Hit the road

Tobias always makes such good use of his ‘props’  :

Walk on Beach

Debbie just can’t resist a shot or two on the way to work!  Or anywhere, really…

Misty Walk Along the Thames

Fancy making your own Tequila?  You just need blue agave plants!  Cheers, Jackie!

Monday Walk : Tequila, Mexico

Amy takes us back to visit the exotic Ringling home.  What a beauty!

Monday Walk : Ca’ d’Zan

The national parks in the States look larger than life, don’t they?  I’d love to visit!

Arches National Park, Utah

Somewhere else I wouldn’t mind to try- Hawaii!  Have a wander with Carol :

A Walk Along Front Street

Waking to snow is not my idea of fun, but in the Rockies you’d expect it, and Anabel looks pleased :

Canadian Rockies : Num-ti-jah Lodge

My daughter spent her birthday and 3rd wedding anniversary in Edinburgh, and fully endorses Smidge’s recommendations :

Edinburgh ‘must do’ : Edinburgh Castle

Gilly would like my goats, wouldn’t she?  Her dogs might not be so keen :

Walking the Goat to the Bowling Green

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!

Biking the shores of Inle

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.

 

 

 

150 comments

      1. Oh… you’re so lucky to have it booked already. I stumbled on a business for sale only yesterday so now I’m trying to see if I can come up with the finances… at very short notice because someone else is ahead of me!😉

    1. The more photos the merrier 🙂 Can I ask you what your name is? You don’t have to tell me if you’d rather not. I’ll still be appreciative of you joining me anyway. 🙂

  1. Of all the vicarious walks I’ve enjoyed with you, this one is my favorite. (So far.) Those blossoms and wildflowers and rustic doorways! Looking at hiking trails in a book can often be misleading with regards to climbs – the difficuty factor is relative – so it’s great you found a book that at least tries to let you know what you’re in for. Happy Spring, Jo! 🌸🌷🌺🌼

    1. Thank you so much, Julie! 🙂 I think it’s probably one of my favourites too. We had very mixed weather and this was truly a sparkling day. And incomparable scenery and blossom 🙂 Hope all is going well in your world?

  2. This was a hearty walk with all these hills! Beautiful springtime photos, Jo. I love the almond blossoms, and I love the blue sky touching the green grass and those sweet little yellow flowers. I can almost feel the exhilaration of walking in such gorgeous meadows!

    1. I almost said that I didn’t want the walk ever to end, Debbie, but with all those ups and downs, maybe that would be an overstatement. 🙂 But you know what I mean! Thanks for your lovely company.

  3. Beautiful scenery and botanicals Jo – it’s getting me excited for Spring! As I write this I’m down in Mississippi where the the weather’s warmer and the birds about..and reading your post has truly got me in the spirit. Enough of this winter business.

  4. Such a delightful walk Jo🙂 I can see why you love this area so much not only is the scenery gorgeous but you get such a sense of calm and peacefulness from your post and the charms of a slower paced lifestyle! The almond blossom is so delicate and pretty – I simply love that soft shade of pink. Hope you’ve had a great week and have a lovely weekend too🙂

    1. Hi Rosemay 🙂 Thank you for your patience with my silly questions. I’m feeling very unsettled and ‘restless’ right now. It’s a crisp frosty morning and I should be full of the joys … I’m at the stage where I’ve looked at all my photos a time or two and there’s nothing very exciting in the immediate future- just a few family ‘concerns’. Soon cured! Me and the camera will take ourselves out in a while. I had a magnificent scramble on our local beach yesterday, avoiding the tide. 🙂 Thanks for asking. I’m fine- hope you are too.

      1. I enjoy your walks and questions too Jo – keeps me on my toes!! The beach walk sounds invigorating and a great pick-me-up! I will send you the link to my post for this week as it fits with a walking theme and have been meaning to join in for a while. In the meantime hope you have a lovely weekend🙂

  5. Lovely blossom Jo. And what a long walk! Crikey I bowed at at the coffee shop. I can walk for a long distance, but no ups and downs, and after 5 nights on an inflatable bed that likes to deflate, I have aches where I didn’t know I could ache! Now I am back home with a reliable connection I will try and get another Shrewsbury walk up for you. So much to do though. And I am glad to say I have seen daffodils AND blossom – but today was wet, wet, wet😦

    1. Good to have you back, Jude. Didn’t realise how much I’d missed you! 🙂 But priorities, lady! A walk will wait- stick with short posts 🙂 This one was 11km- not too bad for length but a lot of uppy-downy. 🙂 Beautiful, though.
      I guess that’ll be my bed when I arrive then, huh? Don’t lay on any style for me- I’m not used to it 🙂 🙂 Smiling, Jude. Glad it’s all happening for you.

      1. Whoopee! I’m waiting for the return of Rafa. Consistent, aren’t I? Which is more than can be said for the weather in Rio. Thanks a lot, hon. I’ll be right over. 🙂

  6. Where ever you go Jo you find the most wonderful walks to take us on. I loved every thing about this one, you can never show us too many of the delicate and beautiful spring blossom, and the donkey behind the pots, and the goats and the derelict but oh so photogenic village doors (Norm would love them) You even managed to find us a cup of coffee. I look forward eagerly to your next walk. Now to go check out the rest of your willing walkers.

    1. Thanks so much sweetheart. 🙂 The rain is dripping down my windows right now. Good to be home 😦 Funnily enough I thought of Norm’s challenge. I have some lovely windows and doors and was going to share them on Dawn’s ‘lingering look’ tomorrow, but maybe I can link to Norm too. 🙂

  7. what a wonderful and lovely walk, Jo. surely spring has arrived in your part of the world. your photographs are beautiful as always and the almond blossoms are simply gorgeous. thanks!🙂

  8. Indeed a very beautiful place to take a walk Jo and I don’t blame you at all for sharing the gorgeous blossoms. They are just so beautiful! Loved the sights as well. You took the most amazing shots! Thanks for sharing and for taking me on yet another adventurous virtual tour.😀 ♥

    1. Thanks, darlin 🙂 You know you’re always very welcome along. I wanted to leave a comment on your beautiful memorial post, Sonel, but you had comments closed, understandably. Too painful, but the loveliest memories. Sending warm hugs!

      1. I do and thanks for that darling. It is open now if you want to leave a comment and I do appreciate the thought. Love you for it. Yes, it still is very painful but it’s getting better. Thanks for understanding. Love & Hugs to you as well. ♥❤

    1. I truly loved this one, Becky, and hope you will too. Sunny here this morning too, and I noticed next door’s daffodils are almost out. (but they’ve got the builders in, so less than ideal 😦 ) Good wrap up and walk weather, but I’m off to Dad’s later to do a bit of housework. Hope you’re enjoying your company. 🙂

      1. oh shame it’s a housework day rather than walking for you, but enjoy the daffodils! Some of our guests are off to Culatra this morning, and others mooching around town. Lovely to have them here but a very little part of me just wants to go off and walk in the hills!

  9. Well I was hooked from the first photo. I can smell the blossom from here. I love it, and the remains of last years almonds, and the orange tree and the yellow carpet and the cistus, but I wish someone would take those poor goats for a walk!
    I’m impressed with your mountain goat ability to do all that up hill and down dale stuff, I can do the distance but not the hills. Glorious countryside, and I’ve downloaded the book for one day maybe. Happy week honey🙂

    1. Don’t worry about the goats, Gilly! They do get taken for an uppy-downy- I’ve seen them out and about. I guess they’d never round them up again if they let them wander. The pen was bigger than it looks but they were all huddled together. Shockingly bad photo really but I was scrambling up hill and Mick wasn’t waiting. 🙂 He’s the one with the sense of direction so I have to stay at least in sight most of the time 🙂 I forgot to mention the length of the walk (11km) in the post. It was a bit of an effort to get it finished and out. Mostly the hills were gradual and the scenery was so lovely I didn’t even care about the ups. 🙂 Thanks, darlin’. Have a good one, too!

  10. Wonderful to see you Jo. Why does your winter in Algarve look more summery than my summer in Sydney? Probably because I’m spending a bit too much time on the city streets. At least I have your beautiful walks to tide me over until I head back to the countryside (or sea). Every picture is fabulous.

    1. I know what you mean, Jackie 😦 It’s pretty cold here in the UK but I was delighted to find daffodils about to open. Joys of Spring!
      Here I go singing that song again- thanks a lot 🙂

  11. Your photos show why you find it impossible not to love this countryside.
    I looked at the link Walking Trails Algarve it is very tempting.
    I would only have to mention this to Pauline and we would be off again.
    OH DEAR !! she has not visited this post yet.

      1. Jo we are back home and I am picking up with my old mates at the Surf Club and at the gym. But if Pauling organises a trip that will tip the scales.
        It is so good to just follow you and be satisfied with the grass in the local paddock._/\_

  12. What a lovely walk. I didn’t miss the cake at all. Who would when they were a bystander to a love affair with almond blossom? I did wish the orchids had been more obliging, but there’s next week’s to look forward to. I loved the prospects and the door and the donkey and the sky – the whole post in fact!

    1. I had 3 orchid shots, Meg- one blurred, one very blurred and one too distant to get a good impression. I was tempted to include one for you anyway, but a girl has a reputation to protect, doesn’t she? 🙂 (in hindsight, I could have claimed a mini earth tremor, but let’s not go tempting fate!) Donkey and door are favourites too. Thanks, darlin’. 🙂

    1. Super stuff, Jesh 🙂 I actually saw that you were taking part in six words on Saturday but I was really pushed for time and didn’t visit. Those old villages were so picturesque! 🙂

  13. I love those almond blossoms, and the whole countryside, Jo. What a gorgeous walk, even with the challenging hills! It seems you had a wonderful time, as always, in the Algarve. We’ll be waiting for cake next time.🙂

    1. Choice of cake next time, Cathy. 🙂 Lots of great company and good food, as well as all that beauty. Can’t go wrong, can I? 🙂
      Will come and get an update with you when I’ve packed James off to Leeds again.

  14. Oh your photos are just so gorgeous Jo. The first three particularly had me do a double-take as they could have been taken from where I lived in California. Every April they have an Almond Blossom Festival, the blossoms everywhere a delight. What a wonderful walk…and memories…thank you🙂 xx

  15. Such a lovely walk Jo! I can’t believe the trees are already blooming there. I can’t wait for spring to come to my part of Europe. It seems to me the seasons stuck in autumn mode here in Luzern, We only had a very tiny bit of snow a few weeks ago. It was gone after a few days though, and now it’s so warm you would think it is early autumn!

    1. Hello Ann! So happy to hear from you! I saw on the news yesterday evening of another earth tremor in Christchurch and thought immediately of you. Thank you for beating me to it 🙂

  16. Jo, dear Jo, this walk with you was fantastic and full of unforgettable moments as always! You are so lucky to live in such a marvelous place where nature smiles at you and you feel drunken from its scenes, aromas and colors! I feel like that after reading your interesting posts! Have a great day!

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