Jo’s Monday walk : Enchanting Castro Marim

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The period just after Christmas can be an enchanting time to be in the Algarve.  Especially if you are lucky and the skies are awash with blue.  Each of the towns and villages have their own Presepio de Natal or Nativity scene, and these vary from life size models to much simpler displays in a church, or a shop window.  I hope to share a few of these with you, but today we’re taking a short walk to find a rather special one.

You may remember Castro Marim as the scene of a remarkable Medieval Fair each August.  The town lies right at the border with Spain, looking out over the River Guadiana.  Alongside the river lie a series of centuries old salt pans.  A high quality salt is harvested here and, for the first time ever, 3 tons of it have formed the basis of the local Nativity scene.  It is a startling and beautiful sight.

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The detail is extraordinary.  The trees are delicately crafted from wisps of plants, and every conceivable craft is depicted in amongst them.  Did you notice the pumpkin patch, and the birds protecting their eggs up on the rooftop? And the storks aloft upon the chimney?  You probably need to click on the gallery for a closer look.  If you like, you can throw a few coins, in appreciation.

The Presepio de Natal is very conveniently and easily signed from the main parking area in Castro Marim, and takes place on Rua 25 de Abril. Maybe a date for next year’s diary?  But as we are here in the centre of town I’m sure you’d like a look around.  Any potential kings among you?

Climb the steps to the Igreja Matriz and you have sweeping views of the town and its surrounds. You can peep through the grills of the church at the regal azulejo panel, and spy on the locals hanging out their washing.

A little meandering will bring you within sight of the gardens of Revelim de St. Antonio.  You cannot miss them because they are crowned by a windmill.  But first I have to warn you, there’s a bit of a climb.

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I was delighted to find that the restaurant at the summit was open.  Can you imagine a nicer spot to linger over a coffee laced with cream?

It made the climbing a few steps entirely worthwhile.  I hope you enjoyed this gentle saunter. I’m saving the strenuous stuff for later.

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Thank you all for your patience.  I have tried to pop in on a few of you but, if I’ve missed you, please accept my apologies.  I’m travelling back to the UK today so my responses won’t be immediate but I’ll get there as soon as I can.  Meantime, pop that kettle on!  You have some fine walks to enjoy.

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Nothing beats a canalside stroll in my book.  Thanks for being so patient, Anabel :

Glasgow canal walks

Jackie’s been out and about chasing a bit of magic :

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

And Woolly had a grand time ‘In Brugge’.  There are some beautiful images!

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It gets pretty cold in Bavaria but it’s so beautiful!  Thanks for sharing, Lady Lee :

Freezing in Freising 

Much warmer where lovely Becky was.  We managed to meet up again in the Algarve :

It maybe midwinter but it doesn’t feel like it

I thought I’d lost Susan, but fortunately she has kept right on walking :

Walking with Vultures

And Violet Sky’s been busy looking for bargains at Honest Ed’s :

Honestly

What would a walk be without Drake for company?

Hjem til Aarhus

And the ‘other’ Susan has some lovely ideas for strolling in New York City :

Take a Stroll with Me Through Rockefeller Park

Isn’t it kind when people remember you when you’re far away?  Thanks, Elaine :

Glen Finglas Reservoir

Hope the new year is progressing well for you.  See you soon with more walks and reminiscences.

 

136 comments

  1. I’ve been reading through your posts for this week, and love that I have set foot in this wonderful part of the world. It makes your great pictures and prose have even more life! I’m trying to come up with something for your next group walk, but have been too lazy so far to get it done. Maybe today….. 😉

    1. No worries! You’ll get there when you feel the need. I’m just appreciative you take the time to read and comment so kindly. Are you pondering further travels? 🙂

  2. well still need to catch up here – and wow – I am glad you climbed the steps.
    love the silhouettes and that windmill with those lines….
    but such a nice place to visit – thanks for sharing with us readers.

    1. It is a bit cold and miserable, Sam, and I’m loaded with cold 😦 Not all bad though because it was a wonderful holiday, and I’m watching Rafa (on the edge of my seat 🙂 ) Have a great weekend!

  3. Wow the salt nativity creations are amazing! I would have thought it was a winter wonderland if I hadn’t known better! The cafe at the top of your walk is certainly a lovely spot for a cream-laced coffee! Safe trip back to the Uk and have a lovely weekend xx

    1. It was wonderfully sheltered behind the glass screen in the cafe. A nice find! 🙂 It was 16-19C most days we were there but with a hint of cool breeze. Astoundingly, I’m told it’s snowing in the Algarve this morning!

  4. Oh my, I just adore the tiny village, it’s like fairyland! I did notice all the detail, the pumpkin patch is delightful, and the oven too, all the animals, oh I could go on! I would not be able to pull myself away from it…a magical time to visit the Algarve most defnintely, one I would never know about if not for you 🙂 I hope your journey home was a good one lovely lady 🙂 xxx

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