Jo’s Monday walk : Monte Clerigo

If you saw my last post you’ll know that I spent the previous weekend in Aljezur. Wild, west coast beauty, and quite unlike my own gentle Algarve shoreline. An untamed ocean pounding the cliffs. It can take your breath away- literally, sometimes, as the force of the wind hits you. I could never persuade my husband to live here. For him, warmth trumps beauty. But if I can spend time on these cliffs and beaches I’m in a world of my own. Come with me to the windswept beach of Monte Clerigo….

The weekend hadn’t gone entirely to plan, but then, mine seldom do. Part of life’s rich tapestry, you might say. Because we had just one night available I had selected a hotel close to the beaches, and offering breakfast. The night before departure an email advised me that, thanks to Covid-19, breakfasts were not available in May. A quick look at the map assured me that we would find somewhere to eat not too far away, so off we went! In Tavira the temperatures were hovering around 27C. Not so on the refreshing west coast! Pulling my cotton shirt tight around me, I rounded the corner of the hotel to observe the pretty swimming pool. Waves were rolling across the water, in the icy blast! No idling by the pool with that book, for sure. Supper at the local Mexican restaurant was to have been a spicy compensation. The heat of the jalapenos almost lifted me from my seat, but the burrito, sadly, was cold. Outside people huddled in padded jackets, trying to escape the howling wind. And the last straw? The only dessert available was a chocolate banoffee, and I can’t abide mushy banana. Are you feeling sorry for me yet?

We checked out of the hotel early next morning, under a clear blue sky. The small beachside village of Monte Clerigo was a 5 minute drive, and the day began to look up. The wind still battered us, but I gaped in delight at the expanse of beach that went on, and on… Even I wasn’t foolhardy enough to sit on the outside deck of the beachfront restaurant, but my eyes stayed riveted to the view.

Before too long I was dancing along that beach! Well, more truthfully, heading for shelter, bent double, beneath the cliffs. But with the wind behind me, striding back was a joy. Look at that village, nestled into the hillside! The next task, to climb high above it, to the cliff top.

Steep, uneven steps lead up from the beach, around the back of the pretty village houses, and join with a gravel track. Cars and campervans can drive this stretch and there is even limited off road parking, but after a few minutes you reach the cliff path.

The views sweep away, up and down the coast, breathtaking in their beauty. For a moment you forget the breeze, and then it sucks at your clothing and you fight for balance. Far below, the waves crash. The path is sandy, making your legs feel heavy, sinking unsteadily.

The path twists and turns along the cliff, with every now and then a blue and green striped marker, just to ensure you are still on course. Pockets of tiny blue flowers gaze heavenwards, and a mass of yellow something huddles together, hunkered down against the wind. The fleshy roots of Livingstone daisies beam scarlet against the sand.

The rugged bays stretch ahead and behind, and in places there are strips of boardwalk. Erosion is a constant problem on these cliffs. An old watchtower or abandoned dwelling crumbles silently towards the shore.

We had intended to walk as far as Arrifana Beach, but the buffeting winds and our weary legs brought us to a halt a little short of there, for we still had the return journey to make. Every bit as enticing, the low growing shrubs rolling ahead of us.

But still, I was happy to see the end of the trail, and to collapse into the car, warm from our exertions. Homeward bound, we did stop off at Arrifana, just for a swift peak. A surfer’s bay, it was busy, and the hand rails lined with boards and wet suits. A Sunday lunch spot.

I’d like to dedicate this post to my lovely friend, Marie. She was no walker, but she loved the sight and the sound of the sea. I have to smile, or rather wince, at the memory of one stroll we took together, to catch a breath of sea air. I clumsily jammed a finger in her car door, and the stroll became a sit on the boardwalk, head between my knees. A permanent reminder of Marie, as if I needed one. We spent hours together, watching Rafa pull off yet another French Open, and during lockdown a Saturday night Chinese takeaway at hers was a rare treat. She was a kind and gentle soul, with a strong core. Which she needed for these last weeks have been harrowing. Yesterday evening the call came. Suffering is no more, but a very lovely lady is no longer here to share the laughter and tears.

Marie Teresa Brannan – 3.8.54 – 30.5.21 R.I.P. You will be sorely missed. My love and thoughts are with your family.

walking logo

This was a hard post to finish, but thank you all for sharing it with me. As previously announced, I will be taking a break from blogging. It’s long overdue, and the hot summer days will often find me beside a beach. One last share before I go.

……………………………………………………………………

Come and have a look around Melbourne, with Teresa :

Going Around the City

Munsiyari- what does that mean to you? For me it’s a very beautiful place :

A Morning’s walk

And there’s no doubt that Rupali knows beauty when she sees it :

A walk in the garden: chasing colours – blue and green

Woodland, canal, a chirpy robin… Drake has it all, but those cows are watching you!

If not, so be happy

If it’s adventure you’re wanting, Sarah’s your girl!

A walk on Sausage Island: It’s all about the Elephants

As Mel points out, many Australian place names are unappealing, but never let that stop you walking with her :

Dawdling, Daydreaming and Dillydallying at The Drip, Mudgee

A simple walk, in lovely company! Join Manja and Bestia :

New trail

Marsha has been a source of inspiration, and not a little fun, since the day I met her!

#WQWWC #26: Hope we can make it up Thumb Butte Trail

And Rosemay has been a constant friend. Join her in this adventure :

Exploring Denali National Park – Part 1 (Looking out for Bears, Wolves and Lynxes)

Last, but not least, Carol brings you sensational views :

San Francisco Views

Take care of each other, and get out walking when you can. This morning I will be walking with friends, who all knew Marie. Part of the walk will be on the beach, and afterwards we’ll lunch at a restaurant she loved, and raise a glass. As her son said to me last night, ‘remember the good times’.

147 comments

  1. A lovely walk Jo and a beautiful tribute to your friend Marie. Sounds like you had some good times together that you can cherish forever. Enjoy the sunshine.

    1. We did, Jonno. Her son arrives tomorrow and cremation on Wednesday so I’ll be glad to have that over. Reaching the 30s here so beside the sea is best. Have a good summer πŸ€—πŸ–οΈπŸ’•

  2. Adored your post this week Jo, from the glorious beaches to the sad but eloquent farewell to your lovely friend. How young she was! Your text brought the scenery to life for us and the images were the icing on a beautiful cake. Enjoy your break my friend!

    1. Thanks so much, Tina. It’s been a rough few weeks and this morning we learned of the death of our best man’s wife too. Not looking forward to the cremation on Wednesday but we have lost a good friend. The family have lost a wonderful mum and doting grandma. Take good care of yourselves this summer πŸ€—πŸ’•πŸ’•

      1. So sad for your loss Jo. My brother who is 70 visited this week. He was recently diagnosed w dementia and it breaks my heart to think what’s ahead for him. In times of sadness it’s important for us to remember the good times. Thank goodness for them.

  3. Gorgeous landscape, and photos! And you had me right there with your descriptions. Not a fan of howling wind, but know how invigorating walking in it can be.
    So sorry for your loss Jo.
    Alison

    1. Thanks, Alison! It’s a fabulous coastline. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ So sad because many who knew her are just returning to Portugal, and she’s not there to enjoy it.

  4. This was such a lovely post and I enjoyed walking along with you around Monte Clerigo. It did sound like a cold and lackluster start especially with that morning meal (cold burrito 😒). That view and sunshine looked like it made up for it later. What a stunning blue sky. Seemed like you didn’t let the strong winds stop you in your tracks. Also a thoughtful dedication to Marie at the end. She sounded like a great person and friend. Hope your week is going well, Jo. Take care πŸ’•

    1. Hi, Mabel πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ It’s a wonderful place so long as you wear the right clothes! It’s been a difficult few weeks. We were close and it’s hard to watch someone you love decline so rapidly.

      1. The right clothes can always make a big difference. I always like to overdress as opposed to under-dress as you can always take layers off. Sending love and hugs to you, Jo. Keep walking and the weekend is almost here πŸ™‚

  5. Wow the scene is breathtaking 😍😍😍😍I would love to experience the feeling. please follow my blog (meenartblog.wordpress.com)

  6. A moving tribute to your friend, Marie – I am so sorry for your loss.
    Enjoy your blogging break – I will miss your sunny presence on WP and look forward to your return. May you enjoy the sunshine and the longer days, and may each day be filled with yummy food, beautiful vistas and quiet time for rejuvenation.
    Big Hug!

    1. I do tend to race at life, Ju-Lyn, so quiet time is definitely needed. But we have a number of friends newly returned to the Algarve and the days are very social. Thanks so much for your company here. It’s been much appreciated πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  7. Oh my gosh, Jo, this post had me laughing and crying. I’m so sorry for your loss and your jammed finger in the car, however long ago that was. I know this was a hard post to write. Your heart is heavy, yet you did and in such a funny way clinging to your clothes with all your might. The pictures are again so blue and beautiful contrasted with that nasty but alluring sand. Who can resist putting their feet in sand? It’s part of human DNA. The wind ripples in the sand just call to be disturbed by a footprint, don’t they?

    Thanks for the mention in your long list of links. I am loving our friendship and will miss you while you bath in the sunshine and salt air. But I hope your time is restful and rejuvenating. Come by and see me when you have a second. πŸ™‚ Lots of love and sandy hugs with chocolate cake smeared in the corners of my mouth. πŸ™‚

    1. It’s detestable, sand, isn’t it? Wonderful for splashing along the shoreline, but afterwards it finds every crevice and wrinkle to cling to, and you carry a bucket load home with you, uninvited. Accusing glare from husband- how did all that get on the car floor? πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Ages since we’ve had chocolate cake! Though I know you won’t believe me. Take good care of yourself, Marsha, and I’ll see you around.

      1. Sand comes with a touch of the sturdiest glue there is. Someone should learn how it works and market it. I’m sorry you haven’t had any chocolate cake in ages. I’m sure you look much slimmer and healthier than I do. We went to CA to visit friends and had enough cake to last a lifetime. I’m still working on getting rid of the excess pounds before some friends visit us. I think chocolate cake is like sand on the inside and hopefully none of it shows up on the floor of the car. πŸ™‚ Love ya, Jo. Have a good break.

  8. I loved this chronicle and its photos, Jo – my kind of place with the wild beauty of the sea, sky, and shore (and unfortunately, even my kind of place with the disappointments as that always seems to happen to this incorrigible over-expecter!) Sorry about your friend; what a lovely tribute to her.

    1. She and I spent a lot of hours watching Rafa, Lexie. I’m watching him on my own today. So sad!
      It’s a beautiful place, for sure. Thanks a lot for your company πŸ€—πŸ’•

  9. Deepest sympathies Jo on the loss of your friend Marie – it has obviously been such a difficult time. No easy words but hope the walks and special memories will be something of a comfort in time. A poignant and beautiful post. The colours of the west coast are spectacular and remind me of some of our scenery here in south west WA. I actually love the winds blowing in from the ocean myself – in summer they provide respite from the heat and in winter I find them invigorating (as long as I’m well rugged up). Thanks for including my walk this week too πŸ™‚ I was on veterinary nurse duties yesterday as Winston Le Schnoodle had to have dental work done – all good but he dislikes the bucket round his neck and is needing lots of cuddles! Hope you enjoy your well earned blogging break and thanks for the wonderful Monday Walks series! Stay in touch too when you can! Take care, xx πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    1. I love that wild coast, Rosemay, and we’ve seen it in all weathers. Though when I come to think of it, never in rain. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ On the Saturday afternoon we did a very different walk, under leaden skies but muggy. It flattened out that wonderful scenery and the sea was just a sullen grey. I didn’t like that so much.
      Yes, we’ve all had some tough times, nobody more so than Marie. I need to go across and feet her cat shortly. It’s rather bewildered by events. Take care, hon, and I will stay in touch, though not for a while. I still have several people to tell of Marie’s death.

      1. Yes I’m not a fan of muggy weather either Jo – we had a lot of humid days over summer and especially during autumn. Much cooler now and we”ll be lighting the wood fire again this evening πŸ™‚ Poor cat – it must be feeling so bewildered hopefully a family member or friend can adopt it? It’s hard to explain things to animals though they always sense when something is wrong. In the meantime take care of yourself and hopefully walking will provide some solace in these stressful times xx

  10. What a contrast in weather conditions from 27 degree to wearing padded jackets. It is very wil and rugged. Some friends are often in our thoughts, its a beuatiful place to think of yours.

    1. Thanks, Emma! I look out from my kitchen window straight across to Marie’s front window. I don’t know when I’ll ever get used to her not being there. She and her husband Bill were there when we arrived here. His dying 3 years ago was sudden and shocking. Hers is simply tragic. It’s been good to have your company πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  11. Sounds a bit like the west coast of Cornwall, where I grew up, all howling winds and magnificent views. Sympathies for the loss of your friend, and enjoy your blogging break and those lazy, hazy days of summer.

  12. What a pearler of a day for a walk along the coast! I love it when the wind blows and it seems to blast all the cobwebs out and you feel renewed. Maybe it is the combination of the wind AND the salty, sea air.

    My sympathies at the loss of your friend. It is never easy to say goodbye, but at least you can walk in her memory.

    Enjoy your Summer break, rest up and come back renewed. And, as always, thanks for including my meanderings in your posts. Melx

    1. A pearler of a day describes it well, Mel. Impossible not to feel the life force. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Thank you for the warmth of your company.

  13. What a beautiful coastline! Thank you for sharing. My sympathies for the loss of your good friend.

  14. Thank you for your beautiful and open share. Thinking of you today and, although envious that you’re heading into Summer, look forward to your return to the blogspace.

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