Jo’s Monday walk : A romp in El Rompido

Two lighthouses for the price of one!  Driving into the village of El Rompido in Southern Spain, they are almost the first thing you see.  The smaller of the two was erected in 1861, marking the mouth of the Piedras river.  It no longer works, but its much taller amigo came along in 1975 and now lights up the estuary.  Striking though they are, it’s not the lighthouses that have brought me here.  El Rompido is home to the Marismas de Piedra y Flecha nature reserve and there are beautiful walks around the salt marshes.

The trail leads out around the edge of El Rompido, once a quiet fishing village, and in the off season still retaining much of its charm.  Bypass the small marina and the golf course and you are surrounded by nature in all its finery.

The area is a magnet for bird watchers.  The White Stork, Montagu’s harrier, stone curlew, the little grebe, the hoopoe, the spoonbill, the stilt, marsh harrier, the canastera, common tern, northern pintail, teals, the oystercatcher, the sandwich tern, the sandpiper, the plover, and the laughing gull can all be found here.  As usual, my group was chattering like a flock of magpies so I failed to capture the evidence, but I did distance myself, once in a while, to admire the landscape.

Information boards along the way give you clues as to what to look for, and in places the trail diverges so you have a choice- longer or shorter. If you’re with a group, pay attention, or you’ll find yourself taking a wrong turn.  It hardly matters though, as the landscape is flat and you can see for miles.  The humpbacked bridge is visible long before you get there.

We have only crossed the border into Spain and driven half hour out to the coast, so it’s no surprise that the landscape is similar to that of the Algarve.  Water rules here, too.  A key difference arises as you turn into the woodland, where magnificent plumes of Umbrella pine line the path.  These are not so common in the Algarve, but we share the prickly pear.

The trail turns back towards the village, and a boardwalk carries you past the golfers.  It’s lined in places with the pretty lanterna that abound at this time of year, pink and yellow the most common.  I especially like the rarer yellow and white variety.

Before long you are passing the lighthouses again, with time to wander the back streets of El Rompido, nonchalantly examining shop windows for a trinket or two before they close for siesta.  Or perhaps you are hungry and need to head straight to your restaurant.  There are any number to choose from, some with rather nice sea views.  Do stop in at the tourismo, beside the church, if you possibly can.  The friendliest, most informative receptionist I have ever met!  It’s worth a return trip just to talk to her, and maybe even try the ferry crossing.

I like to end with a treat or two.  The almond flavoured pudim flan was lovely, and isn’t that the most beautiful hibiscus you ever saw?  And in case you are wondering what I’m doing in Spain, this is the other half of a pre-Christmas visit.  I’m home in the Algarve right now, and it feels good.

walking logo

The midnight hour at New Year, as planned, was spent on Ponte Romano bridge in Tavira, in company with some lovely people.  We were told the fireworks weren’t as good as last year, but it really didn’t matter.  We were where we wanted to be.  Thank you all for accompanying me on the journey.  You’re welcome on Jo’s Monday walk at any time.  Let’s share some walks, shall we?


Susan pushed herself right to the edge on this one!

Walking Valencia Peak Trail

Join Alice in sunny Savannah :

A walk in the square

It was a very merry Christmas with Jackie :

Feliz Navidad

And Eunice celebrated the New Year with some lovely bright skies :

New Year’s Day walk 2019

Spot the likeness with Debbie, down at the souq?  She’ll bash me for being cheeky  🙂

Unlimited fun with Debbie

You just can’t have better company than Becky if you’re going on a walk.  Do let her show you Porto :

A day of contrasts

Many of you will know Sartenada.  I’m including this walk because it beautifully portrays 20 year old memories for me :

Holiday in Italy – Capri

I do miss him when he’s not around!  Drake travels the world, and shares generously :

Through the Twenty-Eighteen

Cathy risks heat stroke exploring more fascinating desert ruins :

Chaco Culture : Chetro Ketl & Pueblo Bonito

Some of my UK friends will be familiar with this one.  Happily for me, I’m too far distant to test myself :

UK Hiking – South West Coast Path, Branscombe to Sidmouth

The festivities in the Algarve are finally over and it’s onwards into another year.  I have more to share than I can possibly make time for.  Life is full here- new friends, new language.  Be patient with me?  I’ll do my best.


  1. We visited this area in the far, far distant past – the name only springs to mind. I can’t remember what we did or why we stopped there, it was in the days when we toured a lot with car and caravan so it may just have been a sightseeing visit. I enjoyed walking with you. Incidentally, did you know that the Sicilians eat the prickly pear as a breakfast fruit but the French eat it as a laxative? I discovered this when I was with a French friend in Cefalau who was shocked at the number of ‘fruits’ some people could eat!


    1. Just goes to emphasize the difference between Italians and French, Mari. 🙂 🙂 I did know that it was edible but I’ve never tried it. Have you? Recommend it as one of my five a day? 🙂


  2. Ahh I love the boats and blue sky, the birds and flowers would be a bonus. I have a lovely picture in my mind of you two on the bridge at midnight, what a lovely place to spend New Year’s Eve.

    How are the Portuguese lessons going? I’m afraid I’d struggle to separate it from Spanish and I’d get in a right tangle.Hugs darling x 🙂 x


    1. Hiya darlin 🙂 🙂 Thank you! Had our first proper Portuguese lesson yesterday in a class like the League of Nations but the teacher was great. Can only get better 🙂 Found a t’ai chi class too, so it’s all systems go. Not enough hours in the week! But we managed to sit on a sunny bench at Cacela Velha this afternoon and just gaze at the sea. (well, I did- I think Mick was asleep 🙂 )

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I knew he liked to sunbathe but didn’t realise that meant sleep, shows that I’m nor one to laze on a beach at all I suppose. You’ll probably pick up the lingo quickly, you’ve been listening to it for years and you love a chat!


      2. I was the one who went to yoga this morning, but he fell asleep on the bench! Sunshine seems to have that soporific effect on him 🙂 It’s a tricky language. Especially when you muddle it up with Polish 🙂


  3. I’m a fan of flat land, saltmarsh and your contentment. Is prickly pear a pest there? You got it beautifully outlined in light. I hope the year is unfolding splendidly for you – and a bit slower than it is here. Off to Queensland on Monday for a month. And I haven’t sorted 2019 yet.


    1. Have a wonderful time in Queensland, Meg! Not a pest, I don’t think 😦 I’ll befriend it anyway 🙂 Need to get my skates on in the planning department. That flippin’ ticking clock! Sending hugs 🙂 🙂


  4. I’m quite certain we passed this region as we crossed over Southern Spain a few years ago and into Portugal. However, because we were on a bus we couldn’t stop to see more of it 😦

    The area looks great for birdwatching.. definitely an activity easier done solo or just a few people, as for the evidence you write about here. It really looks gorgeous and peaceful.

    mmm and that flan is a good treat afterwards. The prickly pear is a wonderful plant. I may be incorrect, but I think it bears a very nutritious fruit that we had the pleasure of trying when we were in Morocco. Hard to open though, but the guy on the street did that for us thankfully.

    Lovely post and photos,


    1. You would have passed at a distance, Peta- via Lepe and Huelva from Seville. There are lots of salt marshes close by us and I’m off there walking with some lady friends today, while the lads tackle the hills. 🙂 🙂 I did hear that you can eat prickly pear, but have never done so. Cakes… a different matter 🙂 Thanks, hon!


  5. I would love to walk the bird sanctuary, Jo. There were many species you mentioned that I’ve never seen. Never heard of, really! The plant material and flowers are common in our California climate so we share that in common. I am sure you’ll frequently venture into Spain and have such lovely walks with discovery. It’s also nice to hear your’e now at home and enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of your new environs! The warmth and sunshine must be very exhilarating! Hope you have a wonderful week!


    1. It’s pleasantly warm in the daytime but can be quite chilly once the sun goes down, Debbie. There’s a bit of adjustment to do (and a lot of decorating 🙂 ) but it is definitely home. Wonderful to see the almond blossom already heralding Spring. Thanks, darlin! You too!


  6. This is a lovely walk, Jo. It’s interesting to see the lantana growing. It was brought to Australia as an ornamental plant but quickly became a pest. It just takes over to the detriment of native species. There are plans to try and eradicate it.


  7. How wonderful to see that you’re walking again, Jo! I’ve been absent from blogging for almost all of December, so perhaps you already were and I just missed it. At any rate, this looks like a delightful place to explore and I’m glad to have had a chance to visit. I also appreciate the treats you share and it’s grand that they’re calorie-free (to me, at least.) 🙂 Here’s to many more walks in 2019!!



    1. I’ve seen your comments a time or two, Janet, but I’m only posting Monday walks at present. Life here is beautiful and takes up all my energy. I’ll visit when I can. Have a fantastic 2019 😎🎆💕


      1. I completely understand, Jo. I hope to get back to the walks soon, but there’s only so much time, isn’t there? That being said, I’m happy to see you’re back with your walks and I’ll be right there walking with you.

        Liked by 1 person

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