Jo’s Monday walk : Lagoão Trail

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I do like to have a bit of fun on a walk, and for me that invariably means water.  When the guide book says that the river might not be fordable after heavy rainfall, I picture great torrents.  But this is, after all, the Algarve, and the prospect of being swept away downstream is not huge.  The only way to find out is to follow the trail and see.

So it was that we parked up, between the football ground and the fire station, in the wonderfully somnolent village of São Marcos da Serra.  Our destination that day was the hilltop village of Alferce, site of yet another magnificent Presepio de Natal, this one with life-sized figures.  The Lagoão Trail was almost en route, so it was decided to ‘make a day of it’.

This is a nicely level, circular 10km walk, initially following the river.  Much of the scenery has a soft Autumn tinge to it on this January day.  A great billow of smoke announces a farmer, burning off dead wood and shrubs.  The delicate pink of a rose bush delights my eye.

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Before too long we approach the ford, which I’m happy to say is fordable.  Mick goes first, in his sturdy boots.  While I’m fiddling about taking my shoes off, a car splashes through, catching me completely by surprise.

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I linger to gaze into the swirling waters, lapping clear and cool at my bare toes.  The river is moving quite swiftly, creating gurgly pools in its midst. Satisfied with my brief plodge, I follow the trail, admiring the wispy fronds of toffee-coloured tamarisk.

Soon a junction is reached.  Consulting the map it’s obvious that the walk can be shortened, but the reservoir beautifully reflects the umbrella pines and it’s too tempting to continue to walk beside it.

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The trail winds away from the reservoir and past a couple of tired-looking farms.  A posse of cats try to outstare me, in that way that cats do. Distracted by them, and trying to photograph a heap of drying cork, I fail to notice the dog till it’s leaping and snarling at my side.  My protector has his toe boot at the ready, and fortunately it backs off.

Hurrying on around the bend, I catch the tinkling of a bell.  I anticipate goats, but it is in fact another dog.  A much more laidback character, this sheepdog scarcely looks in my direction, but he has an ear cocked for his charges.  They watch me with curiosity, from the other side of the wall.

The final stretch of the walk turns back beside the river.  I’m quite surprised to find a railway track ahead but, checking my map, it appears the line runs north to Beja in the Alentejo.

As often happens, the road back into the village involves a bit of uphill, but there are gleaming white chimney pots to distract, and even an iris, peeping out of foliage.  A couple of villagers sit on the steps of their houses, in the sleepy warmth.  In the main square a few benches are occupied, next to the pretty little church.  I peer into a shop window at a Nativity scene made entirely of cork. Not easy to photograph!  A sign at the community centre indicates a main display inside, but it won’t open until 3.00, and I’ll be gone.

A glint of sunlight draws me towards the Christmas tree.  It’s made from recycled plastics. A brilliant idea, and one we could all copy.

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The only restaurant appears to be closed, but there’s a tiny cafe where a tumbler of wine and a cake costs very little.  Duly fortified, it’s down through the village and back across the river.  The empty car park is now overflowing and it appears it’s ‘match day’.  Young, fit bodies mill about and it’s time to reluctantly move on.

This walk features at page 100 of the Walking Trails in the Algarve, where you will find a map and details.  Time to put the kettle on?

Many thanks to you all for continuing to share your walks with me, no matter what the weather. Details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page, and everyone’s welcome!

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I rarely turn down a good scone.  I guess Anabel knows that :

A stroll in the grounds of Scone Palace

Say hello to Eunice, please?  A Meccano bridge and Mandarin duck make a pleasing combination :

A New Year canal walk

A familiar theme- Capability Brown- from Lady Lee :

Stowe House

Going prospecting with Liesbet!

Things to see in the Northern Gold Country

Jackie explores an inspiring garden :

Albin Polasek Sculpture Gardens

A boat, a beach hut and a lighthouse with Stephanie in Puget Sound :

A Walk through Point No Point County Park

I really enjoyed looking at Brugge with Woolly.  Have you missed any of his posts?

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Just a tiny bit jealous of Becky, who’s back in the Algarve, walking, on my behalf!

More than a glimpse of the Guadiana

It won’t be so warm in this country!  Play a game with Biti?

Guess what country?

London Wlogger is doing a grand job of hosting walks around our capital, including part of my old stomping ground :

Mile End Park to London Fields : Exploring Parks of the 19th and 21st Century

And are you familiar with When in my Journeys?  This is a lovely walk!

A walk on the streets of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Sometimes photography can be pure poetry.  Paula is surely mistress of the art form :

Braving the Elements with Grace

We’ve had some ferocious weather this month.  Drake examines the debris around the Baltic :

Day after a hard stormy day 

Denzil tells a sorry tale, but all’s well that ends well :

Sint-Agatha-Rode and the patron saint of breast cancer 

And Carol finds something really rather mysterious in Cornwall :

A Secret Place

Not so much a walk as a seal fan club, with beautiful photos.  Thanks, Susan!

Seal Walk

That’s it for another week.  I hope you enjoyed sharing.  Take good care of yourselves!

144 comments

  1. Such beautiful scenery Jo can see why you love the south of Portugal so much! This must be round Christmas time yet it could be in the summer months apart from some of the trees! Quite an eventful walk too with the ford crossing and snarling dog – glad he backed off! Hope you have a restful weekend xx 🙂

      1. Oh dear…so sorry to hear that, hope you both soon feel much better. Yes…Rafa in the final, woo hoo! Oh I do hope this means he’s making a comeback after all his injuries! I’m okayish…been a tough week/month, doing my usual, hanging in there. Hugs dear Jo…get well! xxx

  2. This seems like the perfect hike to me – minus the snarling dog of course! What beautiful countryside, stunning blue skies, loving company and wine and cake at the end – lucky you.

    1. It was idyllic! 🙂 We’ve both struggled with flu since we got back to the UK and looking back at these is like a distant dream. One we plan to repeat though 🙂 🙂

  3. Cars splashing, dogs barking…perhaps a little more of an adventure than I would have expected. 🙂 Love the church trimmed in that wonderful shade of blue.

    1. You never quite know, Karen, especially with the dogs! Usually they’re behind a wall or fence but they’ll often prance after you, some wagging their tail and some not 🙂

  4. I was in bare foot yesterday in the hills . . . .your ford crossing looked a lot easier than mine though! Hope you are feeling better and that you are getting over the flu x

    1. It was a good ford, Becky 🙂 In the book it’s shown as stepping stones but there are a few houses through the valley and it seems practical to run the road through. The cough’s persistent but I managed to get out and get some fresh air today, thanks (very fresh! 🙂 ) And Rafa helped to put a smile on my face.

      1. So glad you are up and about, and that Rafa is doing what he should to keep you happy 🙂
        PS I like roads through fords as I’m not going with wobbly stepping stones!

  5. I really enjoyed this walk, Jo, especially the barefoot splodge through the stream. Gorgeous photos. The rose is lovely and such a delicate pink. So happy that the first dog decided that you didn’t look very tasty. 😅 xx

    1. So nice to have your company again, Ad. 🙂 Always good to have a smiley face along. (and someone else to distract the bad dog 🙂 🙂 ) Mirrors all positioned and feeling homely yet? Time to put your feet up by the pool?

  6. I agree, Jo, a walk along a meandering stream or the oceanfront is invigorating. Your photographs capture this energy! I love all of the reflections as well as the geometrics of your surroundings. Happy I caught this walk! Hope you’re doing well, I’ve missed you – although I have been checking in occasionally. Have a great day!

    1. What a lovely day for surprises, Elisa 🙂 I’m just getting over a bout of flu and I’ve had no end of lovely bloggers keeping me company. Missed you too! Hope life is good 🙂

  7. What a beautiful walk, Jo! 😀 Fording streams and rivers bring back fond childhood memories of rolling up my trousers and wading in – too bad you were splashed by the inconsiderate car! The Christmas tree struck me straightaway, like a giant star and I had to look once, twice to realise how it was made up of plastic, a terrific and inventive idea! Lovely post and always a delight to read about your walks. 😃❤️

  8. OMG – this post just keeps in giving. I was first attracted to the beautiful, endless blue skies in the first gallery. Then I was treated to the landscapes in the second. It looks like an arid climate, but somehow, lush was the only word that came to my mind to describe it, In the third gallery, I want to jump into that last picture for a swim (although that might not be a good idea as you said that the river was quite strong)! Then you dazzle my eyes with all those yummy reflections, make me laugh with the animal expressions, and then treat me to the bluest sky of all (but maybe it is just the gleaming white building that makes it seem so). And what is not to love about a recycled Christmas tree! I have location envy as I sit in Singapore where the rains seem to be endless and a clear blue sky is unheard of. Thanks for the treats!

    1. That’s hilarious, Lisa! Don’t we always crave what someone else has? It’s bitter cold here and I’m recovering from flu, and already the Algarve seems like a distant dream 🙂 🙂 Never mind- I’ll be back in a couple of months, and maybe on a more permanent basis sometime late this year. Fingers crossed 🙂

      1. I hope I can join you in the Algarve for a visit someday (although it will be a few years because I still have another ocean to cross). Just breathtaking. Sorry to hear that you are under the weather. But you are right, we do always crave what someone else has….I MISS WINTER. Get well soon!

  9. so glad it was near perfect, Jo )read your comment to Sue) and hope you heal from the flu (read your comment to Deb) and I always love wlaking in the Algarve with you (via blog…) and the swirling water shot (after you were splashed) is my fav of the post…..

    1. I love that swirly water shot, Yvette! I could have played all day but a certain impatient person was standing tapping his toe. And I have to humour him sometimes or who’d protect me from crazy dogs? 🙂 🙂

  10. My goodness Jo! Snarling dogs and overflowing waters with surprise cars! Sounds like you are having more adventure than this girl. What a gorgeous collection of photos. Love that recycled tree.

  11. I love level walks, and blue skies, of course. You sure have a knack for finding nativity scenes of all varieties, Jo! 🙂 Your photos are beautiful as always… the colors, the reflections, the shots of the countryside. I hope you didn’t get splashed too much by that car!

    1. That car was such a lucky shot, Liesbet! I couldn’t believe my eyes when it zipped round the corner. 🙂 No more nativities- I promise 🙂 🙂 Well, maybe next year…

  12. What a nice walk, Jo. Looks so peaceful, except that dog 😉 I was going to say how much I love the first photo and the swirling water photo, and… then I saw the cake.That looks very yummy. 😉
    Have a wonderful day. Thanks for taking us with you.

    1. Thanks, Helen 🙂 The swirling water is my favourite and that first one was just a lucky shot. You just never know about the dogs. Mostly they’re behind gates and just make a lot of noise but it’s farming country and you need to be aware (or have your protector along 🙂 ).

    1. The walks are reasonably well signed, but I doubt I’d have the confidence to do one on my own. Mick is the map reader and I just blunder along with the camera. (he’s useful for warding off dogs too, bless him 🙂 )

  13. When I don’t have time for walks, a visit with you is an amazing ‘consolation’ prize, but the winner is me for the rewards of your photos and narration. There would be no way to select the best photo – so many are so comforting or inviting. It’s been a hard week, my body is tired, and it’s so nice to sit back, legs outstretched, feet crossed, and enjoy this post.

    Thank you!

  14. I think this is one of my favourites of all your walks, I’d love to do it! Your photos are ace, love the roses, the landscapes and the swirling water. I’ve got a strong image of you getting splashed by that naughty car and M standing there laughing at you. Perfect my lovely 🙂

  15. How long before we are all well and flourishing again, you especially my dear friend.

    I’m a timid creature and always a bit jumpy about fords, especially ones where you can feel the car edging imperceptibly downstream. This post reminds me of backroads travel in Australia, but then what doesn’t these days? The swirling water image is stunning. That posse of cats was bold: little did they know what they were taking on! Were they in league with the dog do you think? Gleaming white seems to be colour of the Algarve, and everything seems to be just painted, at least in this town. A pleasant walk at the beginning of another full-on week. You don’t push yourself and be well. Sunshiny hugs to you.

    1. Hiya darlin 🙂 It does seem to be bugs time of year, doesn’t it? Never mind- it’ll soon be Spring… or Autumn, where you’re headed 🙂 You’ll not know what to do with all your free time.
      Collusive cats and dogs? Yes, sounds highly probable. The water was crystal clear and it made the nicest patterns, Meg. I could have played for a bit longer but a certain person was tapping his foot 🙂 🙂

      1. I’d have made the trip for pistacchio 🙂 🙂 Not so bad, thanks. Trying to catch up because what with flu and James I’m all to pot! He has now virtually been dismissed if he won’t go to London and left with £2400 debt to clear. I could cry when I think about it but he’s trying to stay positive and has stepped up the job hunt. Treasure your hugs from the sticky little icecreamy ones 🙂 🙂

  16. Ooh what a lovely walk and beautiful photos of it! That is no ordinary cake, that is “Pasteis de Nata”!! Yummy!!
    It is so much fun to see all the cork products in Portugal, even things such as caps and handbags made from cork!
    Peta

  17. There can’t be many places left for you to discover in the eastern Algarve. I love your shot of the car swishing through the ford. As a small child I loved to be driven through a ford; there was one in Clumber Park, but dad could never remember which road! Love the umbrella pines, the iris and the pink roses – it appears to be a very gentle place to live in.

    1. I’ll have to move out to the West Coast, Jude. I do worry about being boring and repetitious. Maybe I should wrap it in for a while. I certainly don’t have a walk in me today, even though the sun is beaming down. I just about had the energy to watch Rafa (no, I won’t mention the tennis, but you’ll be cheering for Fed now 🙂 )
      I don’t know what it is- I always get excited when I find a ford too. Unless it’s over my knees 🙂

      1. Poor you. Cold and flu really does sap you off energy. I know it took me a while to get over my cold. At least the sun is shining so that makes me feel more cheerful. Still cold, though not as cold as some parts of the UK. Take care – has the youngster reached a decision yet?

  18. Wow, you saw a little of everything here, Jo, from sheep and sheepdogs to cats to umbrella pine reflections to a recycled Christmas tree. And then you got drenched too! No wonder you topped it off with that custard pie! Are you feeling better yet?

  19. Love the still quiet languor of all these vistas, Jo. Very soothing to look at. I do hope you’re both feeling better soon. Just to help things along, you could try a good pinch of bicarb in a not-too-cold glass of water 3x per day. Viruses thrive in acidic cons. 🙂

    1. Thanks for the tip, Tish. We seem to be just passing it back and forwards between us. A friend recommended pineapple juice for the wracking cough but I couldn’t get any in the local shops. I don’t have bicarb in (what a spud useless housewife! 🙂 🙂 ) but we need to go out later so I’ll do my best.

  20. Beautifully clear water! The drying cork: at first I thought it was a pile of tyres. Is that from a special cork tree, or is it just the bark cut off all sorts of trees? What do they use it for locally?

    1. Hi Denzil 🙂 They strip the oaks at regular intervals. I will have a post coming up on the Cork Museum which explains in greater detail but initially the cork was used to make cork stoppers for wine bottles, and also harnesses and farm equipment.

    1. Wall to wall blue skies, Gerry, but we’re paying for it now. We’re both loaded with cold and not fit enough to go out with our English walking group today. 😦 Watching tennis from Down Under instead. 🙂 Hope all’s well with you?

  21. Looks a great place to spend a day, Jo. Those protective pines and the pink roses are so welcoming.
    Glad you had a good break, but glad to see you back here too
    Have a good week

    1. Thanks, Debs 🙂 We’re down with flu at the minute and it was a struggle getting this up this morning, so I’m glad you like it. It’s our son’s birthday today so we need to find some energy to take him out for a meal. I think we’ll have to sit in a corner out of the way.

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