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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
I rarely turn down a good scone. I guess Anabel knows that :
Say hello to Eunice, please? A Meccano bridge and Mandarin duck make a pleasing combination :
A familiar theme- Capability Brown- from Lady Lee :
Going prospecting with Liesbet!
Jackie explores an inspiring garden :
A boat, a beach hut and a lighthouse with Stephanie in Puget Sound :
I really enjoyed looking at Brugge with Woolly. Have you missed any of his posts?
Just a tiny bit jealous of Becky, who’s back in the Algarve, walking, on my behalf!
It won’t be so warm in this country! Play a game with Biti?
London Wlogger is doing a grand job of hosting walks around our capital, including part of my old stomping ground :
And are you familiar with When in my Journeys? This is a lovely walk!
Sometimes photography can be pure poetry. Paula is surely mistress of the art form :
We’ve had some ferocious weather this month. Drake examines the debris around the Baltic :
Denzil tells a sorry tale, but all’s well that ends well :
And Carol finds something really rather mysterious in Cornwall :
Not so much a walk as a seal fan club, with beautiful photos. Thanks, Susan!
That’s it for another week. I hope you enjoyed sharing. Take good care of yourselves!