Jo’s Monday walk : Querenca to Fonte de Benemola

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Another of the Algarve’s sleepy villages, Querenca was looking idyllic on the last day of my October holiday.  Our walking group were meeting at the cafe on the left of the photo above.  It’s quite a drive up into the hills and a ‘bica’ of coffee is always appreciated before we start walking.

Surrounded by rolling hills and leafy green scenery, Querenca breathes pure tranquillity. Excepting when the Festa das Chouricas takes place, at the end of January, and the waft of spicy sausage rouses the locals.  In honour of St. Luis, the patron saint of animals, the celebrations give thanks for the pigs, bred locally, that feed the villagers throughout the year.  I rather fancy trying chouriço à bombeiro, where the sausage is doused in brandy and set alight. Bombeiros are fire fighters, in case you wondered.  Time to set forth.

We leave the village square in a downhill direction, over lovingly worn cobbles.  I’m too busy admiring the scenery to realise that the return route could well be steeply uphill. There are 13.7 kilometres to cover first.  I’ve walked to Fonte de Benemola in the past, but this route is unfamiliar.

Portuguese street names do sometimes seen inordinately long.  And did you notice that cat, giving me such a baleful look?

Continuing downhill we find the beginning of the trail to the Fonte, or spring.  A lush green valley leads beneath lofty cliffs, the arid red of the Algarve soil revealed in the fissures.  It reminds me greatly of my trip to Rocha da Pena, but today the weather is impeccable.

img_4322The trail winds along dustily, and becomes quite rock strewn in places.  In Spring these nooks and crannies will be dressed in the finery of rock roses and lavender, with the promise of wild orchids.  This late in the year colour is harder to find.

When finally I reach the Fonte, the bamboo and rushes are bleached almost colourless.  A soft shushing noise betrays the presence of the water, a sign ‘olho’ pointing hopefully.  A young couple are balanced on the rocks, trying to capture on camera the bubble of water as it rises and swirls in an ‘eye’.  I carry on, knowing that I’ve seen it in far less parched surroundings.

These natural springs prevail throughout Portugal’s hills.  This is ‘the eye’ in Springtime.

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As we follow signs back to the village I wonder if the cheery basket maker is still there, with his whistles and bird imitators.  I had purchased a wicker bowl last time, feeling sorry for him as he sat alone in the woods.  It serves as a slightly wonky erstwhile fruit bowl. Many new arrivals are enjoying the unseasonally hot weather, and I feel sure that he will be enjoying good trade in his shady dell.

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Remember that climb back into the village?  I confess I had forgotten all about it.  It took a while before I was puffing and panting back into the village square.  There just has to be a reward, don’t you think?

Much later I discovered a video of the Fonte that I thought you might like to see.

There are a number of routes around the natural springs.  Walking Trails of the Algarve pages 76 and 80 will give you shorter variations on this walk, or you can simply follow the signboards.  This video will give you a glimpse of the basket maker.  Please ignore the advertising.  I hope you’ve got the kettle on, ready to join my walkers from your armchair?

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Thanks so much, everybody, for your kind contributions to my walks.  I wasn’t at all sure where to lead you this week but in the end I opted for sunshine, as Winter wraps itself around us here in the UK.  I hope you enjoyed it.  If you’d like to contribute anytime the details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Just click on the logo above.

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I do like a tinker in a museum and a browse round a market.  Geoff can tell you a story or two as well :

From Paddington to Page#walking#london

Woolly likes a little stroll, with not too much effort and some classy cars :

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Car-Show

But sometimes he gets a little further :

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Geelong-Foreshore

Jackie’s by the York River, in Yorktown.  Virginia, of course!

Day 6- Yorktown

Nothing like a good fumble around the Albert Docks with Drake.  He’s in his element!

Come and get it

Does anyone know what Pargeting is?  Jude does, and I really love it :

Love Lavenham

Becky’s counting to 6 this week, but there are lots more than that!

There are pomegranates in the tree

While Carol’s fossil hunting and has found loads!

Buried Treasure

Or you could join Kathrin for a delicious trip to the beach :

A day at Solana Beach

How do you follow the legend that is Badfish?  Why, with devotion, of course :

ONE FINE DAY in BRATISLAVA : Part III

That’s it for now.  I think I’ll be walking in the UK again next week.  Feel free to join me but, more importantly, take care till then.

131 comments

  1. What a beautiful place Jo! Your photos are wonderful with the vivid blue offset by the white buildings. Have just watched the video too it’s so soothing with the beautiful sound of the water – the Fonte looks picturesque and unspoilt something from another time. Very refreshing at this crazy time of year. Our younger daughter arrives next Saturday from London for nearly 3 weeks so trying to get as organised as possible beforehand. Hope you are feeling ok and have a peaceful and relaxing weekend, take care xx

    1. Hi sweetheart 🙂 I haven’t quite thrown myself into the madness of Christmas yet, and ours will be very quiet this year. Just a few meals out with friends alongside the traditional stuff. Slow down! You’ll still get there 🙂 🙂 Take care of yourself!

      1. Good advice Jo which I need to follow!! Sounds lovely I still miss a cold Christmas not that it’s especially warm here by Perth standards. My real tree is arriving this week love the scent that it infuses round our home 😃

  2. what a charming and peaceful village, Jo! is the white building a church? so beautiful! i enjoyed the video of all the natural springs! so refreshing! what a lovely walk! thank you.

    1. We’ve definitely hit changeable time of year, Corey. I think they’ve had their share of rain in Portugal too, but it was much needed. 🙂 Thanks for your company.

    1. It’s a pleasure to take you anywhere, Sherri 🙂 🙂 How are you doing? It’s a little ‘fresh’ here, isn’t it, but there’s snow in Poland and Scandinavia so I’m still feeling lucky 🙂

      1. Fresh is right, like a winter wonderland this morning, my black car turned white! They’ve had snow in parts of Scotland too I think…brrrrrr!!! I’ve loved sharing the sunshine with you today Jo…love walking with you🙂 Doing okay…hope you are too…but, well, you know…the sharp sadness, then the happy memories🙂 xxx

      1. She was lovely! Approved alcohol as a relaxant 🙂 🙂 Not forbidden but in moderation. Ha! I don’t DO moderation 🙂 Will maybe try Pilates instead. Thank you for caring 🙂

  3. Girlfriend … the beauty you capture everywhere is amazing. Always a pleasure to walk with you. So glad that you also feature the treats. Would mind one now. My favourite image is the street image with the 2 people far in the front. Lovely, lovely post .. just the perfect start of my little frosty day. Yesterday afternoon we only had +1C, so the night has to been quite chilly. I slept like a log. After breakfast hug!

    1. Morning sweetheart 🙂 I was just about to check out and spotted you in my Inbox. Whooppee! -5C according to my phone but I think it lies. Glorious and frosty. Going to get my skates on (not literally 🙂 ) Hugs, darlin and warm thanks.

  4. I look at your October skies with envy this morning as we have another (much needed I know but . . .) rainy day today. Very grey skies out there so don’t think I’ll risk this walk today! However going to add it to the list, we’ve mulled over it before and never been quite sure but now I know it looks fabulous we will have to try it🙂

    1. Please get all that wonderful rain that’s filling the barrancos out of the way before January. That’s so kind of you 🙂 You did see my ‘last day’ skies? Dismal to match my mood at the time. Almost tap dancing again now 🙂 -5C according to my phone but I haven’t gone out to test it. Great frost though and sparkly bright. Which would you rather?

      1. We’ll do our best for you but have had similar requests from our December guests so might be a challenge😉
        Think I’d prefer to be with you in your tap shoes sparkling away this morning – hope this means your back is ok xxx

  5. How nice that you have a walking group with which to share the walk and a chat over a cup of coffee! There’s something undeniably romantic about a white church and a blue, blue sky.

    1. The countryside is really beautiful, Alison. You might have to choose your walks with care, because of your back, but there are aplenty. 🙂 Whereabouts have you planned?

  6. Such a picturesque area, Jo. And, you just knew I needed to see some blue sky on this cloudy day here, didn’t you? When our hikes start downhill, all I can think about it the climb back up at the end. I much rather do it the other way around.🙂

  7. What a gorgeous walk, Jo, and a long one at that. You’ll certainly keep in shape with those distances. I love those gleaming white buildings against the rich blue skies. And that little reward at the end looks delicious but, at least for me, would be quite insufficient after all that hiking, huffing and panting! What lovely reminders of beautiful Portugal. Can I escape there soon?🙂

      1. You were lucky to have such a nice day, Jo. I was interviewing for a job in Kurdistan, of all places, but in the end, I didn’t get the job. I’m not sure if I feel like teaching abroad again anyway, so I’m thinking of Croatia/Prague/Budapest in the coming year, and possibly walking the Camino de Santiago in the fall. We’ll see though. That might be too ambitious! How about you?🙂

      2. Goodness, that sounded exotic, Cathy! 🙂 Shame, or maybe not! Those are good choices. I’d love to do the Caminho- so I keep saying! With the recent back and knee problems I’m not so sure. Algarve 2nd January, and then 4 nights in Florence at the end of February (SO excited!) then back to the Algarve end of March. Haven’t got past that so far. 🙂

      3. It certainly would have been exotic, Jo. After having an interview where they told me that the students there are privileged and spoiled and unmotivated, I was tossing and turning all night thinking I would turn them down if they made an offer. It turned out they turned me down! Oh well, I think it’s for the best. I’m just no longer sure I’m keen to teach English abroad again. There are so many poorly managed schools, it’s hard to get enthusiastic about it all again, though I still love the idea of living abroad! As for the Camino, I would LOVE to do it, and I think I should do it sooner rather than later. At least I’m in decent shape now; who knows how long that will be the case! Your plans sounds exciting. You’ll be about ready to return to the Algarve in January, when it’s cold and miserable at home. Florence sounds magnificent. Have you been there before? I’ve never yet been to Italy at all. Well, your plans through the end of March sound good to me. None of my “plans” would even begin until April. 🙂

      4. Florence has been on my list forever so I’m really happy to have booked it, Cathy. We have loved Italy in the past and if we’re going to settle in the Algarve I need to try to see some more of the world first.

  8. il candore accecante della chiesa e delle case contrasta meravigliosamente con il blu del cielo, e le immagini che proponi sono all’altezza dello splendore dei luoghi
    La fonte potrebbe essere magica?
    si può sognare in questi luoghi incantati
    felice sera cara Giovanna ( la tua cattiva maestra d’italiano ha ha
    Annalisa

  9. Another glorious, gentle stroll🙂 a mere 13k eh? I laughed when I saw the map, those squashed up gradient lines are a bit of a give away. They say ‘don’t even thnk about it’ to me, so I’m glad you did it for me. Lovely pictures sweetie and I can hear that silent buzz in the village.
    How’s the back today, any better? I hope you’re still resting it xx

    1. No, only for the super fit, like me, Gilly! Ha! I didn’t go walking today because it was still hurting. Probably walked too far on Saturday (instead of zumba 🙂 🙂 ) and then a lot of ironing etc yesterday. Guess who was home? Peaceful week now though. Gave in and went to GP this afternoon. Lovely lady says she thinks I only have cervical spondylosis. She sanctioned alcohol as a relaxant! My kind of GP 🙂 🙂 How are you doing?

      1. Well, like Jude I could do the 13k, just not up and down hills! I think it’s the ironing that caused the problem, you should take a leaf from my book and learn the noble art of expert folding. My iron comes out about twice a year! Spondylosis isn’t nice at all, but I didn’t know you could get it in the same area as the sciatic nerve. Many years ago, I had a GP that recommended chocolate for anaemia, so I’ve always obeyed🙂
        I’m doing okay, two more appointments this week, occy health and haematology. Have fun being careful this week x:-)x

      2. I shall! 🙂 Looking forward to a trip to Sheffield on Sunday. Not the city but a Christmas market on the edge of the Peaks, where my friend from Durham’s pub is. 🙂 You made stuff for Christmas craft markets? Hugs, darlin.

    2. Haha… I love your ‘noble art of folding’ – I keep telling Jo to stop ironing and that James is well old enough to wield his own iron. I taught my boys to iron their shirts when they turned nine!! My iron doesn’t come out very often either, but I do like a crumple free pillow case.

  10. Oh, I want to be there! That blue sky! Those white buildings! And I am full of admiration for you tackling a 13.8 km walk. I could do that if it was fairly flat. My problem is getting over the wretched stiles we have in this country. Should have moved to the east😦
    We started off with grey again this morning, but I am pleased to say the sky was blue by the time we had finished our shopping in St Ives. If it is sunny tomorrow I may force myself out on to a beach…

    1. Not a lot of choice when we go out with The Striders, Jude. The leader is an ex-Naval commander and they’re mostly a fit bunch. A couple of them are older than me and like to push themselves a bit. One had a serious brain aneurism and if she can do it… 🙂 It’s only once a week, weather permitting, and the food/drink afterwards is fab (and cheap 🙂 ) Stiles are not a problem to me. Saw a lovely lady GP this afternoon (nagged into it by husband and daughter) and I’m feeling a bit of an imposter. She told me how fit I am for my age! 🙂 🙂 Thinks it’s only cervical spondylosis so I can keep on with t’ai chi and pain killers where needed. She even nodded and smiled at alcohol 🙂 Easy on the zumba though. Just a shame it’s still hurting, but I feel more cheerful.

      1. Oh, well that’s good news I guess, and yes you are fit. You do a lot of exercises. I can see that Zumba might be a problem. I was told not to do any aerobic exercises because of the impact on my knees, but T’ai Chi would probably do me good. Hope the pain eases soon.

      2. Better again today. Soon be running up those stairs. Ha! 🙂 Pilates has been suggested and I may give that a go. Did I tell you I’m going to Florence at the end of February? SO excited! Booked it while I was an invalid so Mick must have felt sorry for me 🙂 🙂

      3. You mean for the joy of my company? 🙂 🙂 It was a Travelzoo offer and I had to grab it fast. I did think about you and Gilly and maybe even Meg but by the time I’d checked with everyone… 😦 I’ve wanted to go there forever, but there are other places… abjectly sorry.

      4. It will be fab 🙂 I’m hoping for a dry day or 2 so I can go to Boboli but I’ll go if I have to go in the rain. 🙂 I feel a bit mean now, because I know Gilly wanted to go too but late Feb’s not everyone’s cuppa tea and she’s till sorting health issues. Ah, well- I feel suitably chastised.

      5. My poor hubby will be delighted to accompany me. 🙂 I know it’s silly but I’m feeling already like I have a limited amount of time to do the things I’d like. Especially if we move to Portugal.

      6. Yes! It’s my duck pate sandwiches and Guinness place! On a very rainy day 🙂 Just popping to the shops but I’ll read as soon as I’m back in the warm. Thank you! 🙂 🙂

  11. Jo, this is such an idyllic walk, the village resembling a calm film set, the natural spring so lovely, perfect for dipping your toes. The street names are soooooo looooong! Does anyone say the whole name or are they all shortened! As for the cat…I’d keep my distance! Thank you for sharing this dreamy walk with us. At over 13 km I a quite happy to have completed it virtually!

    1. Our Tuesday walks with The Striders in the Algarve are anything from 12 to 19km, Annika. They’re pretty fit people! There is a much more sedate walk with The Strollers on Fridays which is just an amble between coffee shops but for the moment we’re trying to keep up. 🙂 Not sure how long it will last. Loved your company 🙂

  12. Jo it was great fun to watch the video and hearing the water running. No small walk at 13.7km with a big uphill too! Such a pretty little village with it’s shockingly white buildings. Always a delight to wander with you and hoping you are feeling to your old self today.

    1. Hiya, Sue 🙂 Didn’t walk today cos the back was still sore but I ended up doing much needed housework. Bit of a shock to the system!!! My GP has said alcohol is a good relaxant so I’m going to be horizontal soon. 🙂

    1. Oh, you organised person! I have to admit I sometimes forget even the water. Camera and pair of eyes are my priorities, I’m ashamed to admit 🙂 🙂 And you could use the basket to carry things? Actually mr. cheerful basket seller was right at the end of our walk. 🙂

    1. It is, Carol. 🙂 I hope for a few more blue skies when I return in January, though the temperatures will be a lot different.
      Bit easier this morning, thanks! Not quite such an old crock 🙂

  13. Looks very sunny and dry but love the pomegranates. A circular walk looks a good idea. Think there has been quite a bit of rain by now, much needed. One of our favourite walks near Cabanas has been fenced off. Must post about it soon but busy in London…

    1. I didn’t take so many photos as I often do, Gerry, or I’d have been left far behind with no idea which way’s home! Disadvantages of being with the group. 🙂 So I thought the video was a useful addition. Yes- nice to remember warmth 🙂

  14. Another walk I long to take – water and a rocky landscape and trees and an uncobbled path. I absolutely love the vivid whiteness of that first shot. And I’m sending the cat to my catophile friend if I may. I hope you’re feeling better my dear, and not pushing too hard through pain to keep the faith with your Monday walk. Snowy hugs.

    1. Snowy hugs!!!! 🙂 Oo-er! The twins will be licking flakes again on their way to school. Fabulous! Sorry, darlin’, I wasn’t ignoring your earlier remark but it was a major struggle to get the walk up this morning. The back is much easier but yesterday my knee became hugely inflamed. I think the GP may win in the end. Mick has just set off, sniffling, to join this week’s UK walkers but I’m staying home. Love you, Meg! Have a great day 🙂

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