Author: restlessjo

Hi! I’m Jo! Johanna when I’m feeling posh, Jan to my Dad, and Joasiu to my Polish family. A bit of a mix-up, that’s me. The one constant, however, is my restless nature. I love to travel and to explore our world. It doesn’t have to be the big wide world. I can be ridiculously happy not too far from home, so long as I’m seeking new horizons. Of course I have a wish list, and it was to help me fulfil my dreams that I started to write travel guides for a venture called Simonseeks. I’d always kept a travel diary, and it was hugely satisfying to share my experiences and to make new friends who shared my passion for travel. Alas, Simonseeks hit a few troubles, but I still find myself writing about my travels. I’ve become addicted. I’d love to share them, and to make more friends. So, it has to be a blog- right? Or do I mean- write?

Jo’s Monday walk : Mesquita & the Fonte

Follow the N270 inland from Tavira and you come to an area of gentle undulations.  After Santa Catarina, look for a sign saying Mesquita, off to your left.  Park close by the restaurant Lagar da Mesquita, and you find yourself in a fairly easy walking environment, with a number of enticements.  I’m not talking cake just yet, so don’t go getting your hopes up.

Relatively easy to miss in the long grass, the Monte Negro well is a solid structure, of unknown origin but believed to be several centuries old.  On a blue sky day with crisp shadows, bright blooms nod and a dog barks at us, but still wags his tail.

A gentle incline takes you up the Ribeira do Bengado valley to a trig point blessed with two windmills.  Neither seem to be functional right now.

In the distance, the faintest shimmer of ocean glints in the sunlight.  Down in the valley, we walk beneath trailing branches, on a carpet of leaves and fallen acorns from the many oaks.  A cross stands, all alone, on a rough hewn wall.

The path emerges beside a cottage rich in bougainvillea.  Another dog inspects us, through closed gates, and decides we’re harmless.

Soon we come to the natural Fonte and a bit of fun.  Vigorous scrubbing demonstrates how it might have been done, ‘back in the day’, while a few turns of the handle easily produces water from the well.  Wash day in the sun!

Grapefruit dangle temptingly over a fence, and it’s time for the luxury of a coffee stop.

We’re on our way to the last of the features of this walk- the Geoponto, and the beautiful ornamental rock known as limestone breach.  Going far back in time, much of the Algarve was beneath the ocean.  Remnants of coral and fossilised animals from that era can still be found in the limestone, quartz and feldspar which make up the local geology.

A fascinating prospect, isn’t it?  The rock is now used in the building industry, and for decoration.   Across the fields the trail leads back to the road.  An empty rill passes another water wheel and soon the crossroads signed Lagar da Mesquita appear.

I hope you enjoyed our walk today.  Even if you only came for the cake.

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Time to share a few more walks.  Many thanks to my contributors and all of you who’re happy to walk along with us.  Join me next time here on Jo’s Monday walk.  And maybe bring a walk of your own?


I do like quirky, don’t you?  An odd little piece of Cornwall, on Jude’s doorstep :

Hayle: Penpol Terrace Walk

Just let it happen, with Drake.  It could lead anywhere :

Unplanned bike ride

I know somebody who loves apple pie, Alice.  Especially with custard!

Historic Town Famous for Apple Pie

Speaking of which, let’s see what Jackie’s got this week :

High Tea

Natalie’s staying indoors, but surrounded by beautiful flowers :

7 Tidbits about Chrysanthemums

Janet’s indoors too but her interests are rather different :

Monday walk….but not too far

While Mama Cormier shows us around her neighbourhood :

My Monday walk on Tuesday

And for those of you who like snow with your spectacular scenery :

A Quick Jaunt to Moab, Utah

Or you can carry on the Camino, with Cathy :

(Camino day 45) Melide to Arzúa

It’s December and I’m sure a lot of you are leading busy lives.  Please don’t stress too much!  It won’t make Christmas any better.

Six word Saturday

I like a bit of contrast!

If you saw the dazzling blue of last week’s Six Word Saturday you’ll know what I mean.

I loved capturing the swirling mists and contorted shapes, but gradually it cleared to blue. I thought of Cathy and her Photography Invitation  but I never forget Six Word Saturday.  Start counting down with Debbie?  Happy Saturday!


Jo’s Monday walk : Back to Serenity (Monte Velho)

I thought long and hard over whether I ought to include this walk, but I loved it.  Full of warmth and companionship, it was in celebration of a very special lady.  Roberta Smith was always Bobbie to me, and she was there right from the very beginning of my Algarve walking days.  A very determined lady, she had overcome a near fatal aneurism to get back to walking in the hills she loved.  Always she was spurred on by the promise of the one gin and tonic she allowed herself each week.  Simple pleasures for a lady who needed to be frugal.

Always kind to others, in the end life wasn’t kind to her.  Months short of her 65th birthday, and of drawing the pension she had so looked forward to, cancer abruptly claimed Bobbie.  We, her walking friends, were in shock.  It has taken close to a year for us to make this walk, in celebration of our time with her.  On a day of blue skies and softly drifting clouds, many of us said our goodbyes.

I’ve never struggled to know what Bobbie saw in these hills.  From the first time I ventured up here, I was under their spell.  The patterns that trail from valley to summit and down again, as the clouds gently jostle for position.  The trees, in silhouette on the horizon, gnarled and torn, up close.  The isolation of distant dwellings, and the ruins, sorrowful remnants of life.  The blues and violet shades that come with evening.  I love them all.

It is the time of year for medronho, the berries ripening with gold and scarlet temptation.  Recently I was offered them with a dessert, but more often they are distilled to a fiery beverage.  To keep out those winter chills.  The wind can be cold up here.

Finally, at the summit, a ceremony was performed.  One of our group had carried her ashes.  Another filled a glass with the G & T she loved.  Another had photos of when we were last all together.  We had no idea, then…

We continued through desperately arid land, streams dry as dust, but life clinging on determinedly, as it must.  Afterwards we convened at a restaurant in the hills that we often use.  Those who had been unable to walk joined us there, to celebrate Bobbie’s life, and to raise a toast.

Life is short.  Some are luckier than others.  But all of us must find a path.  I hope that Bobbie and her many friends will not mind me sharing hers.

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There are many walks and lives to share here this week.  Please find a little time to visit each other.  See you next time, on Jo’s Monday walk.


Patience is rewarded, oh, so beautifully, for Jude :

Waiting for a sunny day

While Alice finds beauty of a very different kind :

The Elephant on the Desert

Feast your eyes on this lot!  Sandy plays gourmet in Lisbon :

Food and Restaurants -# Portugal

Someone else who doesn’t have an aversion to food- you can always eat well with Jackie :

Hot Chocolate

Some beautiful finds in the woods, with Janet :

Monday walk…in memoriam

While Natalie shows us Autumn in all its splendour :

Agawa Canyon: From Rail to Trail

A follow-up to Denzil’s recent Foresters’ Memorial post :

The 2-Memorial Sonian Forest Walk

And to Ann Christine’s walk through stunning Old Tbilisi :

Thursday Thoughts – A Last Walk – Until next time, Aleksandr!

Have you been walking with that lovely man Ernst lately?  And Gisella, too :

A mountain hike in the Appenzeller Alps (Switzerland)

Or that other lovely man, who sometimes likes life a…

Little bit dangerous

And talking of gentlemen, have you seen this post from Debbie?

A very short walk with a Superstar

It’s a little cool for me in Irene’s part of the world.  Or do I mean, ‘a lot’?

Frosty Morning Walk

A Winter Fantasyland

And Karen can hardly see her hand in front of her face!

A soggy walk in the Blue Mountains

I don’t know much about this part of the world, but I wouldn’t mind keeping Athena company :

Hiking the Columbia Gorge

And I had hoped to join Cathy on her journey, but it wasn’t to be :

(Camino day 44) Lestedo to Melide

I did, however, make it to the Azores, and I will return.  If these photos don’t entice you…

Hiking the Azores: The Mystery behind the Mistérios Negros

That’s all for another week.  I’m feeling quite emotional.  It must be the time of year.  Thank you so much, all of you who’ve followed the Living the dream journey with me.  Stay well, be kind to each other, and enjoy your week!

Six word Saturday

New winter timetable for Tavira ferry

Normally the town ferry to Tavira Island stops in late September.  This year it has continued, with a stop off at Quatro Aguas, replacing the smaller ferry from there.  A winter’s day, with water like a millpond.  Since these were taken on Wednesday, we’ve had 2 rainy days, but it’s back to blue this morning.  I can happily waste my time here, Debbie.  Happy Saturday!


Living the dream… a year on!

Who’d have thought the 70th year of my life would turn out like this?  I sat on the roof terrace with my daughter recently, and we talked our way back through time.  Her memories are so much more vivid than mine.  I was just happy to have her sitting beside me, sharing the view of sky, sea and salt marsh that brings me so much pleasure.

Living the dream… 6 months on had me on the verge of an adventure that makes me smile whenever I think about it.  The Azores, a true love affair that reunited me with clouds and refreshing rain.  That made me want to dance in the puddles like a child.  On my return to the Algarve, more doubts set in.  Was I really suited to this energy sapping heat?  I like to live my life at pace, keeping age at bay you might say.  I was assured that this was a cool summer, by Algarve standards, but still it was a relief to return to the UK for most of August.  A delight too, to share time with my family, made more precious by their distance from my new life.  However hard I try to bridge the gap, with texts and phone calls and Skype, there is no substitute for a hug.

Back in the Algarve, both me and my husband were a little down and disorientated.  Though my son’s beaming smile when he announced his engagement was a moment to savour.  We tried to find ourselves again.  The continuing heat necessitated almost daily trips to the beach, me desperate for a breeze, him happy to laze with the waves lapping his toes.  I had ‘discovered’ croquet and a new circle of friends, while he joined a tennis club.  We were a little at odds and grumpy with each other, uncertain who to blame for the fading dream.  I planned a couple of trips on the water, always guaranteed to make me happy.  September drifted past, and gradually mutual friends returned from their summer sojourn.  The life we had loved was about to resume… but first, a frenzied October.

We had issued numerous invitations to family and friends on our UK departure.  All had given us space to settle in, but October proved to be the tipping point.  We welcomed a succession of guests, all of whom seemed to be as dazzled by our Algarve home as we had been.  Michael donned his chauffeur cap and I assumed my role as planner and tour guide.  All of it very enjoyable, for they were an appreciative audience, and lovely people.  At the same time, we were enrolling for a new term of Portuguese lessons (oh dear!) and trying to maintain our social life.  I didn’t feel well and slept poorly.  But the warmth of responses around me couldn’t be ignored.  People were so kind and caring.  How could I not respond?

A kaleidoscope of events since then!  Walks aplenty, two meetups with lovely blogging friends (in the same week!), entertaining at home (which always makes me nervous, but I needn’t have worried), birthday celebrations, a fantastic light show in Faro.  Do I still have regrets?  Of course!  I wish facility with the language came a little easier.  Overheard snippets of conversation that you can’t understand are no fun at all.  I’m still trying.  The big loss, of course, is the ability to zip down the road to family.  I’m not alone in that.  But I can honestly say, a year down the line, that this place feels like home, and continues to put a smile on my face.  You can’t ask for more, can you?  Even for a restless soul.

Jo’s Monday walk : Seville, second helpings

I was in Seville for not much more than 24 hours.  Just enough to complete my mission in meeting Sue, with a little time to spare.  On my second day I planned to see as much of the city as I could, intending to join a free walking tour.  That way I wouldn’t get lost in the maze of streets, and would make it back to the bus station in Plaza de Armas for my return coach home.

Of course, I had to get to the meeting point first.  The day dawned bright and clear and I set off across the city towards Plaza de Espana.  Cafés were coming to life in the sparkling sun as I headed through the leafy greenery of the Murillo gardens, and skirted the beautiful Real Alcazar.

Sometimes things go to plan.  Sometimes they don’t.  I arrived at Plaza de Espana to find barricades and a squad of security guards.  Apparently Green Day were playing a concert in these fabulous surrounds the following day, so access was forbidden.  The Plaza is the undisputed jewel of the Maria Luisa Park, built for the Ibero-American Expo of 1929.  I am lucky enough to have seen it in all its glory on a previous occasion, and was looking forward to a return visit.  Our guide explained a little of the history to the tour group, and then set off in the direction from which I had come.  We were to cross the city and end at the Metropol Parasol, a route I had already traversed that day.  I made a snap decision and excused myself.  Time was too precious to waste and I knew that I was close to the river.  It was the perfect day for a cruise.

And across the road beckoned another historic monument that I had hoped to see, the Torre del Oro.  The 36 metre high tower was constructed in 1220, part of the wall defending the Alcazar and formerly linked to the Torre de la Plata.  Unfortunately the tower was closed as it was All Saint’s Day, a public holiday, but I was more than happy to hop on board a boat.

Nor was I alone.  The water was busy with all manner of craft, young and old enjoying the holiday.  Cruceros Torre del Oro provide an hour long, panoramic cruise on Río Guadalquivir, Sevilla flaunting her charms on all sides.  Comely, traditional Triana gives way to the futuristic Expo ’92 site and, in the distance, the fairground rides of Isla Magica.  As the boat gently turned midstream, I gazed deep into the heart of the city, towards the cathedral, guarded by her exquisite tower.  All too soon I was stepping ashore.

Denied access to the tower, I set off along the quay, the serenity of the river forgotten as traffic whizzed past me, from one set of traffic lights to the next.  Impatient for a green light, I crossed over to admire the Plaza de Toros.  Although I would never set foot inside to witness the tormenting of a bull, the building itself does command respect.

On the far shore, the flutter of umbrellas at a pavement café danced an invitation.  Crossing Puente de Triana, I admired the sweep of the river.  Would a table here be affordable, I wondered?  I cast my eyes over a menu or two.  Not too bad, and the view would be worth it.

I squeezed into a space, facing the river, with an hour just to contemplate the beautiful city before me, and all I’d seen and done.

I ate Flamenquins- ham and gooey, melted cheese in crispy breadcrumbs- no room for dessert.  Trailing a backward glance or two, I recrossed the river and followed it along the shore, towards my waiting coach.  It had been a delightful re-acquaintance with Seville.

If you missed my previous walk in Sunny Seville, you missed a treat.  No, not just the cakes, though they were good.  I met lovely Sue!

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Many thanks to all my wonderful contributors.  Walking is so much better with your company.  Join me any time, here on Jo’s Monday walk.  Newcomers and old friends, I always try to make you welcome.


As I remarked to Drake, if I didn’t live in Tavira I could be very tempted by this place :

Modern old-fashionedness

The name has always delighted.  The place might have a little catching up to do, Debs :

Elephants and castles

We all have a long way to go to ‘save the planet’.  Here’s a reminder from Natalie :

Have you heard about the Float’em Garden?

Rain is a precious commodity, but too much or too little can cause real distress :

Jo’s Monday walk…a break in the rain

Candy shares some fine photos from northern Spain :

Walking around Astorga

Just look what Irene can see on the horizon!

Beyond the Dunes

Sometimes I get lazy about visiting other blogs, but I made a lovely find this week.  Lots of Azores posts :

Hiking the Azores: Along Levada do Serra do Faial

Ann Christine is thoughtful on Thursdays, but she also takes us to beautiful places :

A Walk with Aleksandr in Old Tbilisi

Walking is a great stress buster.  Sounds like Terri might need one or two :

Sunday Stills: Walking Through the #Calm Before the Storm

Meanwhile the Camino saga continues with Cathy :

(Camino day 43) Portomarín to Lestedo

There’s not much water about in Australia right now.  Share a little with Carol?

River Walk

Can you believe, it’s almost a year since I moved to Portugal?  Later this week I plan to conclude my series Living the Dream.  Hope to see you then.


Six word Saturday

A night of illusion and fantasy

Not easy to recreate with photographs, but this video shows some of the effort that went into creating LUZA 2019 at Faro.  A night full of light!

Wishing you all a happy weekend!  I guess this one fits Debbie’s Light theme as well as Six Word Saturday.