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 : Porto Carvalhoso

Some of you have already met Medronho, the Strawberry Tree. It lines the Algarve hillside at this time of year, when early mornings and evenings can have a nip in the air. I’m sure that many a nip of the firewater distilled from the Medronho fruit has been imbibed here in these hills, to ward off the winter chills.

It was on just such a morning that I clambered up the steep hill above the village of Porto Carvalhoso, with a few like-minded friends. I didn’t notice anyone with a hip flask but coloured water bottles are the perfect disguise. Many of the cork oaks had been stripped, vulnerable in their nakedness.

Up and over the hill we went. After the initial scramble the trail leveled out and there was time to enjoy our surrounds. A striking, stone house had good views down the valley, while the tumbledown next door was clearly marked with the initials that denote the boundary of someone’s property. We were following a route on an App called Wikiloc, from which we’ve had mixed results. Anyone who subscribes can add a walk, so if they get a little lost and have to retrace their steps… well, you usually end up doing the same.

On this particular occasion we were gazing down the valley trying to fathom which way next. The route appeared to drop down a slippery slope, with no obvious way to descend. Fortunately a brave volunteer decided to test it out and, reassured, we followed on. The trods were completely overgrown. Happily no twisted ankles resulted, and soon the path became visible again. A rich tapestry of soft greens and beige surrounded us. In the distance a small cluster of houses invited. On our approach the sound of sawing filled the air, a sizeable logpile for the winter nights.

A stream runs through the bottom of the valley, the mill race watching in silence as the water gurgles. We wonder if there will be a water crossing, but thankfully not this time. It’s getting deep after recent rains. Instead we start the gentle climb back to the village, where our car awaits.

I remember this day as a light-hearted one. Part of a glorious weekend. Time with friends is precious. For now, they are my family. Porto Carvalhoso is a tiny village, just off the N270 which runs north from Tavira.

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I had to share a walk today, because a backlog of shares is building up. Please find some time to visit the following walks. You might well find a friend. And maybe join me next time, here on Jo’s Monday walk? You’ll be very welcome.

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Isn’t Autumn beautiful? Meg’s happy to share :

Autumn Scenery

And the photos in this one are stunning! Thanks, Denzil and Herman :

The Millennium Tower and La Fange de l’Abime

Natalie managed Walktober. One of these days I’ll get there!

Fun Ride/My Walktober

Eunice enjoyed a pretty part of the Yorkshire Dales :

Kirby Lonsdale – exploring somewhere new

And if you should one day be in need of a periwig, Marion knows just the place!

A walk around Abergavenny

Meanwhile, Margaret asks a very fair kwestion :

What’s the point of walking?

I’m always affected by the way Drake sees the world :

Unaffected, the affected way

Lack of noise

How about a gentle stroll with Albert?

Shoreline Walk – Return via Western Foreshores

Or a little soft mist, with Rupali :

Weekend 110: A walk in the mist

I never can resist a waterfall, and Aiva is the perfect guide :

A fantastic walk of the weekend : Exploring Ireland’s Highest Waterfall

Why not take a visual stroll with Flavia?

Vico Equense – Ceramics (Part 1)

While Carol takes us Skywalking in Queensland :

I Spy

And Kelly gets even higher in beautiful Bali!

Atop Gunung Agung

This week I will have been a resident of the Algarve for two years. I expected to write an update on Living the Dream, but right now I’m feeling sad. Hopefully I’ll give myself a shake and ‘crack on’!

Six word Saturday

Where do we go from here?

But best of all, the sparkle of water

Life is a little more restricted this weekend, but these were Found in the Neighbourhood. Hope you have a good one! See you Monday, with a walk.

Six Word Saturday

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A house for Jude

Often enough we go wandering in the hills. Sometimes we follow a trail. Sometimes one of us has trod that way before. One of us is looking for a home with a beautiful view. It might be modern, or a more traditional Portuguese style. But we all stop, look and offer an opinion. It matters not, of course, for the house is seldom on the market and, if it were, would be way beyond our budget. But it’s a harmless pursuit.

We start in the village. A rather ramshackle window is firmly shuttered, inviting no buyers. An uphill cobbled track leads to a country lane, and the most exquisitely gnarled olive tree trunk. I stop to admire.

A feature of this part of the world, great boulders are stacked one upon another. They interlock, braced against the sky. Has some idle giant been playing at jigsaws, then strode off into the clouds? The textures absorb the sunlight.

The land opens out, with a scattering of almond trees. How beautiful will they look in spring, laden with armfuls of white blossom? A narrow lane leads to a quirky little bungalow. Perhaps I could live here, but it’s much too far from shore.

The views are far reaching and lovely, and I can picture the smoke-coloured evening hills. Still, the valley can never surpass the sea for me.

But maybe for Jude? I’d better ask her!

2020 Photo Challenge #46

Monday Mural

Playing around sometimes ends in tears. The Chameleon Trail, through pine forest from Vila Real de Santo Antonio to Monte Gordo, is currently out of bounds to Tavira. Not exactly locked down, we can’t go beyond the bounds of our municipality at present. But that still gives us a bit of scope. And you can play with the slider- hot chameleon, cool chameleon?

Pop over and share a Monday Mural with Sami. Have a good week!

A birthday treat

I’m going to be a little bit naughty today. You see, Su’s invited me to a tea party and, as usual, I’m totally unprepared. So what I thought I’d do is share with you my birthday treat last Thursday. Raspberry cheesecake with a chocolate base, anybody?

Let me set the scene. Heavy rain is threatened and a warning in place for electrical storms. I know I’m lucky to be able to go out to celebrate the day, but I did have such plans. A nice little spot overlooking a dam. Serene and beautiful. Sunset on the water, and a sunrise full of misty promise. But when the rain drifts in, visibility nil. Go to plan B. A restaurant I’ve been curious about for some time. Cha Cha Cha, in Olháo.

Initially we think, hop a train. A leisurely afternoon with fine wine. But the storm threatens and we jump in the car. Into a head wind on the waterfront. Will we make it before the storm hits?

Barely just! We have the place almost to ourselves. Heavy wooden doors bolt us in. A tiny outlook to a bougainvillea clad wall. Swiftly and firmly closed and the plum velvet curtains swished shut. The sound of drumming rain and the growls of thunder prowling the rooftops. We don’t mind. Secure and warm. And there’s cake! An atypical Algarve birthday, in an atypical year.

Now come on over to Su’s place for sumptuous food and a bit of a gossip.

Virtual afternoon tea, November 2020

Sunshine after the rain

I’ve had the song running through my head since I read Ana’s post on Saturday. The sun will come out tomorrow is almost guaranteed in my present home in the Algarve. But it wasn’t always so. Back in the north east of England there were as many grey days as blue. I’m one of the lucky ones, who’ve managed to turn the dream into reality, and I try to be grateful for that every day.

Rain, here, is something to be cherished, though I didn’t actually tap-dance, Gene Kelly style, when the heavens opened last week. I did watch, awe-struck, as the lightning rolled and the thunder clapped. And marvelled afterwards at the fresh green beauty of my world.

I find the salt pans almost as lovely under leaden skies, but there is no denying the joy I feel when sunlight glints on the water. The world sparkles with a magic all its own. It fills me with hope for a brighter and better future. If only we can make it happen.