Jo’s Monday walk : A Faro interlude

I feel a bit like that White Rabbit today, and if I had a pocket watch I’m sure I’d be consulting it and shaking my head. Whose ever idea was it to make my Monday walks a fortnightly event? Oh- mine! Well, not the brightest idea I ever had, because it’s too easy to forget which Monday my walk is due. If I can’t keep count, how can I expect you to? So, yes, I’m late! Having gleefully published a bevy of greens this morning, I then realised that I had a pressing engagement with my walking friends. I do apologise! But it’s still Monday in my part of the world so, shall we go?

We probably need a word or two of explanation here. Our neighbour and close friend needed to be at Faro hospital one day last week, and we agreed to take her. We are still expected to remain at home, but with certain exceptions and this was a necessary journey. Not sure how long the appointment would take, we set off to wander the streets of Faro, to see what changes had been wrought by the pandemic. All was eerily calm- no blaring traffic horns, and most of the shops closed. Like many a city centre, and especially here in Portugal, the streets are a total melange of architecture. New rubs shoulders with old and care worn, if not completely derelict, while some old and stately residences have been beautifully preserved. Street art has become commonplace.

The railway runs along the front at Faro and just beyond the railway station stands an imposing but not pretty building. A former flour mill, starting in May it’s set to be turned into an apartment block, so I was glad that I had an opportunity to inspect the artwork. Normally I would turn right from the railway, passing the bus station and head towards the marina and old town. The hub of the city, the cafΓ©s are usually busy and the shiny red fire engines on standby for duty.

Sturdy walls enclose much of the old town and vendors ply their trade beneath them, selling trips to the barrier islands and to observe birds and dolphins. Across a vast expanse of water lies the airport, and planes normally roar overhead at regular intervals. But not today! All is silent, until the train trundles along the tracks to discharge its pitiful cargo.

The kiosks are shuttered and the former fishermen’s huts stand forlorn. The occasional passerby passes, masked like ourselves, usually with averted gaze. The gaiety has gone from our lives, leaving behind suspicion and mistrust.

A sign of life, and even laughter, comes from a bizarrely painted shop in the city walls, and beyond that, the strange mournful sound of a didgeridoo. I recognise the sound before I see the performer, a young man in a beanie, sitting propped against the wall, playing for himself alone.

We’re happy to return to the hospital, past the empty car park, and pick up our friend. Faro, like many another, no longer feels like the city we love. But finishing on a positive note, life is set to return to the Algarve when current restrictions start to ease after Easter. And in the meantime, I’m sure Sami will be happy to add this to her collection of murals.

Sami’s Colourful World

walking logo

A great collection of walks to share this week. Apologies again and I will endeavour to stick to my schedule in future. Always happy if you can join me on Jo’s Monday walk.

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Say hello to Linda? She’s not the only one!

I was late to the party…

I had no idea what Cady had in store when she said ‘come back on Monday’ :

Jo’s Monday Walk: The Cemetery

Backtrackin’

What’s a little rain when the world is this beautiful? Let Sarah be your guide :

Where the Gods descended: Kamikochi

Carol has a wonderful surprise for us this week. And then you meet the kings of the canyon!

On the inside

Where Kings Grow

I was very wrong to think that Alice was taking us to a home for cats!

Oldest Tabby Structure in South Carolina

Meanwhile Cee’s waiting for those tulips to bloom. Not long now!

Jo’s Monday Walk: Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm

And Drake’s enjoying the change of season :

Time for change

Joanne was tempted out into the sunshine, and Charlie enjoyed his walk :

Jo’s Monday walk

Janet’s an early riser. See what she found in March!

Monday walk…Marching into Spring

While Lady Lee’s been doing jigsaws in lockdown :

Puzzle number 19 – Asian lanterns

Never too late for a walk! Karen takes a closer look at her surrounds :

My Monday walk, too late all round

Jude’s a busy bee at present. Nowhere she’d rather be than in a beautiful garden :

Meteorological spring

Wishing you all a happy week. Get out walking, if you can? See you soon!

109 comments

    1. It has great character, Margaret, in a way that I kind of expect Cadiz does. There is a manicured bit for the tourists in the old town and that’s lovely, but rather a lot is ‘grungy’ with hidden gems. I think Becky would agree πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for finding time- I didn’t mean to be pushy. Enjoy your ‘busyness’ πŸ™‚

  1. Morning Jo. Love some of that street art, looks amazing. Nice walk although it’s a bit weird it being so very quiet. Getting the streets to yourself is nice in a way but bet you can’t wait until life returns.

    1. Cities should never be this quiet, Jonno! I remember one of my favourite waiters in Tavira throwing up his hands in despair and saying ‘this is not my city!’ Just before they all closed again after Christmas. He had worked the restaurants for 30 years!

  2. I love those coloured benches set out along the pavement, just waiting to be occupied. Places feel so much different when everything is closed and deserted don’t they? I wandered round many side streets and back alleys in Manchester on Sunday and saw very few people. The current situation worked to my advantage though as I was able to photograph the artwork on many shutters which I wouldn’t normally get to see if the shops had been open πŸ™‚

    1. Parked cars are my pet hate. I’m no good at Photoshopping them out. I left the truck in, marginally, because it added something. Authenticity? I don’t know. Those kiosks are usually bustling with trippers. 😦

  3. So much is different because of the pandemic. I can feel your reaction to this town now that it’s so different from what you knew.
    I love the street art! It tells me what Faro is like when it’s alive.
    Alison

    1. It’s a place with a definite grungy side, Alison, but heaps of character, and a beautiful old town. Hopefully next time we go will be less strange πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  4. Using the word “forlorn” as a description seems right, Jo. I feel such sadness when we view shuttered businesses or realize how much change has taken place in our little corner of the world. I am glad you shared from yours. Statistically we are doing much better here in Los Angeles County (compared to where we’ve been for what feels like forever,” and so life is slowly moving into a better frame. I hope we all can say that soon!

    1. Numbers are well down here too, Debbie, but the government want to exercise caution over Easter, sadly. It’s normally such a beautiful time here, but not last year, and now, not this! We had planned to be in the UK for this one so would have missed the processions, but that doesn’t help somehow. I keep saying it in jest, but it may be true- I’m forgetting how to be social. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

      1. I understand quite well, Jo. We haven’t socialized with anyone outside of family in a year in at least a year, unless you count Zoom or Facetime. I’m slowly beginning to think I might be able to do more, but have lost the skill to organize. It’s going to take some time to feel at ease, I think! I hope it won’t be long before you can be with your family and friends in the UK!

  5. interesting and lots of murals, Jo. it must be nice to walk around town though it is eerily empty. hope your friend is okay. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  6. I’ve been interluding all weekend and then some and now I am way behind reading my friend’s posts! Faro has quite the collection of colorful buildings! You must live near there to take your friend to the hospital…….I don’t know where you live exactly! I only know Algarve! Do you live close to Becky B? Anyway I am glad you mentioned the didgeridoo! I didn’t know what that was either, so I had to look closely! Is that instrument common in the Algarve? Thanks for adding both my walks! Cady

    1. Interluding somewhere nice? That weekend you cancelled for the weather, presumably. We are about half hour from Faro on the motorway. The scenic route 45 minutes depending on traffic.
      Tavira is about half hour from the border with Spain so we’re midway between there and Faro. Becky usually stays in OlhΓ£o, the next sizeable town to us and 25 minutes approximately by car. The first didgeridoo I ever saw here. He may well have been a young Australian πŸ€”πŸ’•

      1. No, we have just been out and about shopping and eating in restaurants; indoors and maskless! We are going away for a few days after Easter! Meeting up with some other folks !YEAH! Oh, so you are very close to Spain too! Very nice! Cady

  7. Loads of murals in Faro Joanne! A didgeridoo player in Faro, how odd πŸ™‚
    Thanks for contributing to Monday Murals

  8. Great post and fantastic photos, Jo. They bring back fond memories from our time in Faro. One thing I still remember vividly- I was amazed to see the storks nesting in the most unusual places! Such a beautiful little place. Thanks for sharing and have a good day πŸ˜€ Aiva

    1. There weren’t so many storks in town as usual. Lots in the countryside. Perhaps they are social distancing πŸ€£πŸ’• Thanks darlin! Lovely here. Just doing jobs today!

  9. ooh it does look strange with noone in sight, so not Faro! Rather lovely though you were able to go for an explore whilst she had her appointment.

    1. Yes, I felt rather naughty and a bit furtive but it was fabulous even just driving along the 125! Whatever have we come to? You must have felt a bit the same about your trip down to Mum’s? Did Robert come too? πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  10. Sounds like a strange interlude in a place where you’d normally expect something quite different. It’s like a photo I have on my wall of a very popular beach here that I visited when it was quite deserted. I quite like the mishmash of Faro’s street art, and the bright, sunny countenance of the town is most appealing. I thought I’d offer a rather more grueling walk that I took a while back: https://grahamsisland.com/2020/11/23/hilina-pali-trail-loop/

    1. That’s great, Graham! Thanks a lot πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ I love empty beaches but at the moment we’re not allowed there. Empty cities are just unnatural! The old town in Faro is rather special but I didn’t venture there on this occasion.

    1. We do too, Su, because businesses are starting to slide. There will be survivors, but there will be those who don’t. Keeping the virus at bay has come at enormous cost here. 😦 😦

      1. It’s become such a common story here too. For us it’s about the total absence of overseas visitors and the realisation of how many businesses relied on them.

      2. Australia has controlled the situation carefully so that seems reasonable. I have no idea how much interchanging would normally happen between the 2 countries but it’s an easy option, isn’t it? πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Do you have cheap flights between you?

      3. My OH spent years commuting between Melbourne and Auckland; and it was t uncommon! When I was younger, you didn’t even need a passport for trans-Tasman travel.

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