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 : Lisbon… one last time

“Let me take you by the hand, and lead you through the streets of…” Lisbon… one last time.  I’m sure Ralph Mctell won’t mind.  I’ve always loved this song but the YouTube video is harrowing.  There’s a dark side to cities that rarely appears on here, but I know you don’t have to wander far from tourist heaven to find it.

You can walk this walk from top to bottom, or bottom to top.  I’ve done it both ways.  I can only suggest that you take your time, and stop off for coffee whenever the fancy takes you.  And I can definitely promise you cake.

Here we are, at the top of Parque de Eduardo VII, looking down on the panorama of Lisbon.  Close by you will find the bus station, which was my final destination that day.  You have choices of where to linger.  I never did make it into the Calouste Gulbenkian museum, but I did let myself be sidetracked by the estufa fria (cold greenhouse) in Edward’s park.

I shan’t even attempt to name names, except for one specimen I received a cutting of from the family in Kraków.  It’s thriving still on my windowsill.

That last one is a Tradescantia Spathacea and it can be found in Belize, Guatemala and the south of Mexico.  And on my windowsill.

The simple joy of flowers.  So, we’re still at the top of the park but, if you should feel the need for a cuppa, I know the very place.  Linha d’Água.  Otherwise it’s a gentle stroll down through the park, pausing to admire the restored Pavilhão, and a few azulejos, of course.

Cross busy Praça do Marques de Pombal and you’re on the Avenida da Liberdade.  Follow the patterned pavements all the way down to Rossio, or Praça de Dom Pedro IV, as it’s properly known.  The whole character of the walk changes here as you are on the edge of the Baixa, the lower part of the city.  Its tall, narrow streets are named for the gold, silversmiths and other tradesfolk for whom this was once the commercial centre.

If you didn’t stop for a drink before, or even if you did, this is another good area.  A Brasileira and Café Nicola have both stood the test of time.

Refreshed, it’s time to go upwards a little.  If the queues aren’t too bad you might want to use Elevador de Santa Justa.  Otherwise it’s a steep climb up to Largo do Carmo and the beautiful ruined Convento.  Sadly, I had no time to enter.

The views out across the city, towards Castelo de São Jorge, are as good as any you’ll find in Lisbon.  You can make your way past the exit from the Elevador and down to a terrace full of recliners.  Not a bad place for a cocktail!  And an internal lift will carry you back down to street level.

Now I have to make my way all the way back to the bus station.  Better leave you with that promised cake, as I journey home to the Algarve.

It’s been a long series of posts, but I hope it’s given you some idea of how lovely a city Lisbon is.  I’m returning to the Algarve soon but I will share one more Monday walk before I go.  Not sure where it will be, just yet.

As usual I’d like to thank you all for your company and your contributions.  Please find a little time to read these.  I do appreciate it.  If you’d like to join me with a walk, next week will be your last chance for a while.  Details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.


Nothing like a bit of company to make a good walk great, is there, Jude?

Readymoney Cove to Fowey

Funnily enough this is somewhere Jude and I have been, together!  Thanks, Anabel!

Edinburgh: a Canongate walk

I’d like to introduce you to a lady called Martha.  She’s walking on one of my old stomping grounds :

Best walks in London : Thames Path west, Richmond to Hampton Court

That white stuff just won’t go away!  Pity poor Jackie in Toronto :

Les Feves Au Lard

And you can almost hear the ice crackling on Drake’s post!

Added white atmosphere

But of course it’s a very different story in Australia.  Let Pauline introduce you to the Scribbly Gum Moth.  Yes, really!

A walk round my patch

This is a very delightful photo walk with Aarti :

Photowalk in Bosque El Olivar

And who doesn’t love a walk with views like this?  Not Sunny Days in Seattle :

Hiking : Oyster Dome

Finally, something completely different, from Kat  :

In the Footsteps of the Samurai : Walking the Nakasendo Way

Good variety, I’m sure you’ll agree.  The forecast’s not good for this week but I hope to get out and about.  If not, I’ll be watching the Australian Open tennis.  Enjoy your week, however you spend it!

Six word Saturday

Taking a step back into childhood

What to do on a grey day in January?  Why, visit a Lego exhibition, of course.  A walk through time, in bricks, at Preston Park Museum.

Lascaux cave paintings

Copernicus discovers Heliocentrism

The railway’s coming!

China on the rise

Amazing what you can do with a few bricks, isn’t it?  The captions should help if you’re bemused.  All part of Saturday’s rich entertainment, as is Debbie’s Six Word Saturday.  Enjoy your day!

Present meets past?

I wanted somewhere suitably elegant to end my daughter’s visit to the Algarve, and they don’t come any more elegant than the Estói Palace.  In A palace in warm sunshine, back in November 2014, I suggested that it might make a good venue for afternoon tea.  Do you remember it, Paula?  Long overdue, I think.  The sun was just sliding down the sky when we got there and the terrace looked so inviting.

What a study in opulence this place is.  No need to introduce you to azulejos after Monday’s post but I can never resist sharing a few more beauties.

More restoration work had been carried out since my last visit.  The small summerhouses were a picture, with their vibrant stained glass and painted walls and ceiling.  The grotto was open and my son-in-law, who has a particular interest in ironwork, studied the details with interest.

Enough of admiring our reflection.  It’s time to go indoors for refreshment.  Truth be told, it really couldn’t compete with the decor.

Does that window look familiar, Becky?  You’ll be happily ensconced in your Algarve life by now.  I’ve taken liberties with your Past meets Present.  I’m sorry!  You did such a nice job on the Palacio not long ago.  Paula- I thought you might like an update for Traces of the Past?

Oddly enough, the waiter said they only had cheesecake.  Ah well!  Cake’s cake, isn’t it?  There wasn’t a crumb left when son-in-law had finished.

Jo’s Monday walk : In search of Tiles

There were two main reasons for my visit to Lisbon last October.  I’ve already shared with you the first- the Jerónimos Monastery.  This is the second- the Museu Nacional do Azulejo.  It’s not normally recommended to walk there, but it’s not a great distance, and there’s a very nice restaurant when you arrive.  So, why not?

My start point was Praça do Comércio, always an interesting space, where Lisbon fronts the water.  Some people can sleep anywhere, can’t they?

I even found a tiny strip of beach, but let’s not get distracted.  The road threads along the riverfront, beneath Alfama.  Roadworks were a bit of a nuisance, as was a chap on a bench, who misdirected us for the price of a euro.  That’s cities for you!  I had it in my head that along the way I might stop off at São Vicente de Fora, for the cloisters, a coffee, and a view.  Don’t try it on foot!  A tuk-tuk ride would be a much better idea.

Google Maps showed that it was only 1.2 miles from the Praça to the museum, but I found myself hugging shade as it was remarkably warm for late October.  Interesting rather than scenic is how I would describe the route, as we passed the cruise terminal and then Santa Apolónia railroad station.  At a bridge spanning railway and docks, a tourist bus sped past.  And then, amazingly, there it was!

What a wonderful use for an old monastery.  Tile lovers, you are in for a treat!  The convent of Madre de Deus was founded in 1509 by Queen Leonor.  Over time, many azulejo panels were stored there, and in 1957 it was decided to have an exhibition commemorating 500 years after Leonor’s birth.  The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation undertook the restoration work needed.  When the exhibition ended, in Jauary 1958, a wealth of tiles were available and it was proposed to transfer the Ceramic Section of Lisbon’s Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga to the building.  It was finally opened to the public as a museum in the 1970s.

First things first!  It was into the restaurant for some recovery time with delicious salads, in a prettily tiled setting, or a leafy outdoor courtyard if you preferred.  Fully fortified, it was time to tackle three floors of azulejos.

The museum surrounds the courtyard and cloisters, and has an incredible collection of azulejos, dating from 16th century to present day.

The magnificently restored church is incorporated into the museum.  You will be advised not to miss it and I could easily see why.  The decor includes rich, gilded woodwork, fine paintings and, of course, azulejo panels.

Time to climb to the next level.  There are interesting distractions along the way, but if you really can’t manage it then there’s a lift.

The azulejos change style and era on the next floor.  I tried to keep track of the accompanying details but it was too difficult.  Much easier to simply admire.  The museum website has an App to help you identify the pieces.

One of the most thrilling aspects of my visit to the Jerónimos Monastery was the moment when I stepped through a doorway to find myself looking down into the body of the church.  The same thing happens with Madre de Deus on the second level of the museum. I love the feeling of omniscience.  A seat in the Gods.

There is just one more level.  The exhibition culminates, at the top of the building, with an amazing 40 metre panorama of Lisbon, dating from 1730.  I have to admit, my eyes were starting to glaze over by the time I’d looked my fill.

The good news is that you don’t have to walk all the way back to the centre.  There’s a bus stop directly outside the museum and in 10 minutes you can be whizzed back to Rossio, and a different world.

Thanks for your company again this week.  It’s much appreciated.  I hope you can join me with a walk of your own soon.  Details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Meantime please do enjoy these :


Powder white, fresh snow makes for the most beautiful scenery.  Thanks, Drake!

The white track

I think Pauline might be grateful for a handful or two :

Hiding from the heat in the gallery

Becky will be enjoying this in a week or so’s time :

Another glimpse of the Guadiana

You could get the impression that Jackie doesn’t do anything but eat!

Cold Turkey

And Woolly?  He’s visiting War Graves again :


An old friend takes us on a hike, California style.  Thanks, Kongo!

March to the Sea

Ending with something simply splendiferous!  Don’t miss this from Jude :

Heligan by Night

Whatever the week has in store, I hope you enjoy it.  I’m off out with my English walking group today.  See you soon!


Six word Saturday

A hangover from the old year

Scarcely were my feet back on English soil, last November, than I was scampering up to Durham to see Lumiere 2017.  The consensus was that, in comparison with previous shows, this one was a bit of a disappointment.  It’s hard to maintain such standards as were set in November 2015.

I’ve been so busy sharing my Algarve exploits that I’d almost forgotten about the show.  I thought it time to show you a few of my highlights, before I move on.  As usual I started my tour in daylight, curious as to what I’d find. Below we have ‘Dome and Arches’ in the Market Place.

One of my favourite light installations took place in Durham University Botanic Garden.  ‘For the Birds’ was very clever and wonderfully atmospheric, but extremely difficult to reproduce in photographs.  Softly tweeting birds, suspended on fine wires, swooped through the trees in the darkness.  Patches of dramatic colour illuminated the valley, leading you on a magical journey.

Castle and Cathedral next.  ‘Our Moon’ smiles, blinks, twitches and frowns as the faces of Durham’s residents animate the facade of the Castle.  The Cathedral complex came in for a lot of criticism.  The Nave of the Cathedral was flooded in an eerie light, while the cloisters featured ‘Entre Les Rangs’, illuminated ‘flowers’ intended as a tribute to shimmering fields of wheat.

In all there were 28 installations, scattered throughout the city.  My opening photos were taken inside St. Oswald’s Church and were probably my greatest challenge.  ‘What Matters’ features thousands of hand-blown glass pieces, depicting the birth of light in the universe.  Incredibly beautiful.

I hope any hangovers are long gone. and that you enjoyed this look back with me.  Don’t forget to share your Six Words with Debbie.


Fizz!  Bang!  Whoop-whoop-whoop!  I know they’re a dreadful waste of money, but I can’t help the excitement I feel whenever I see fireworks.  The child in me claps it’s hands, and beams at the sky.

When my Polish family invited me to Norfolk to join their New Year celebrations, I knew there would be dancing, vodka- of course!- kissing, and more food than I could reasonably be expected to eat in a week.  I wasn’t disappointed on any of these counts, but the promise of fireworks at Cromer on New Year’s Day was the icing on the cake. (and yes, there was plenty of that, too).

Impatiently, we waited for the lights to dim and the show to start, gazing across the water for signs of activity on the pier.

And then, finally, the count down.  5-4-3-2-1- whooppee!

Impossible to replicate the sounds, the colours and the pure joy.  This week Paula has asked us to Pick a Word in Thursday’s Special.  I’ve picked an easy word, Festive, to stave off the January blues.

Jo’s Monday walk : Crossing the Tyne

There’s nothing like a bracing walk on New Year’s Day to whisk away the cobwebs.  This one, in North Shields, is well nigh perfect.  It all began with Tammy, whose North Shields Heritage Trail I featured on my last Monday walk.  Shields is only about 40 minutes north of me, by car, and we usually get there via the Tyne Tunnel.  It had not occurred to me that we could get there by ferry.  What a mistake!

Yes- 700 years!  The Heritage Trail starts from the ferry point.  My husband remarked that he and his Dad had made the crossing a few times when he was a lad, but I’d never crossed the Tyne by ferry.  And here it was, pulling in!  Obviously, a slight diversion was called for.

Ferries of some description are estimated to have been crossing the Tyne since the 14th century.  Steam packets began operating between North and South Shields in 1816.  Later on, bridges were discussed, but it wasn’t until the Tyne Tunnel opened in 1967 that there was a real alternative.  Once a hubbub of activity, the river was peaceful that day.  Excitement came in the form of two huge, oil platform ‘legs’ being towed out to sea.

With half an hour between ferries when we docked, curiosity got the better of me.  Not being familiar with this area of South Shields, I was excited to discover the National Centre for the Written Word – a truly state of the art building.  A cultural venue with library and exhibition space, I became a child again in the world of Captain Pugwash.  The pirates had come to town.

Not only that, but there was an exceptionally nice strawberry and rhubarb cheesecake in the cafe.  Needless to say, me and the skeleton missed the next ferry.  Back at the terminal, the sign below puts our whereabouts in context, 3 miles from Jarrow and 8 from Sunderland.

The Heritage Trail boards are very informative and give a good sense of how life was lived when the docks here were a thriving industry, and during their decline.  I can’t begin to reproduce them all, but I can give you a flavour.

We traced them past former industrial buildings and modern emerging apartments, towards the Fish Quay.  The ‘Old Wooden Dolly’ will have a tale or two to tell.  She started life as the figurehead on a collier brig, which was attacked off the coast by a privateer in 1781.  Sailors regarded her as a good luck charm, and would cut off pieces of her to take to sea to keep them safe.

You can still get a good plate of fish and chips in these parts.  The fleet were obviously finished for the day, with nets spread, as we approached the quay.  The High Light, built in 1808, together with the Low Light down below, helped guide ships into a safe channel to enter the Tyne.  The water here looks deceptively calm but there are vicious rocks just around the headland at Tynemouth.

Fishing boats have been sailing from North Shields since 1225, when the Prior of Tynemouth granted locals the right to build 7 shiels (simple dwellings) and a quay, to improve fishing supplies and increase the wealth of the priory.  I wondered where the name Shields came from.

The sun is low in the sky already, at not much after 2pm.  Beside ‘The Smokehouses’ pub an extraordinary building catches my eye.

It looks as though it’s listing a little, all at sea.  And there, by the shore, the main reason I have come to North Shields today.  Do you remember the corten steel sculpture of Tommy at Seaham?  Fiddler’s Green is an equally mournful but brilliant piece of work, from the same sculptor, Ray Lonsdale.  A tribute to fishermen lost at sea, the last rays of sunshine settle on his stoic back.

The fisherman looks out to the remains of Clifford’s Fort with, beyond it, Tynemouth Priory, and on the far shore, South Shields.

At this point the Heritage Trail heads uphill, past the High Light.  In the 18th century the narrow strip of land beside the river became too overcrowded, and North Shields spread to the plateau 60 feet above.  The rich shipowners and businessmen occupied the higher ground while working people remained in Low Town.  Dockwray Square, a set of elegant townhouses, was built in 1763.  Unfortunately the drainage was poor and the area became less desirable.  Today it’s the site of a small park, containing a cheery statue of comedian Stan Laurel, who lived at no. 8 during his boyhood, from 1897 to 1902.

The Trail ends in New Town, where we meet another of our Wooden Dollies.  A surprise to me, this one, because it’s carved by Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson of Kilburn fame.  His signature mice are carved into the skirt and sleeve.  A visit to his gallery is included in this walk.

A cast of many characters, I’m sure you’ll agree, making me rather proud of my northern heritage.  I hope you enjoyed exploring the Shields with me as much as I enjoyed writing and researching this post.

I may be slow responding to comments this week, as I’m with Polish family in Norfolk.  It being New Year’s Day, you may well be slow to make any.  I hope you enjoyed your celebrations over the festive period, and there aren’t too many sore heads around.  Take your time over this week’s selection of walks and, if you like, join me next week at Jo’s Monday walk.  You’ll be very welcome.


Can I start by introducing you to Mel?  She has very grand plans for 2018 :

Under the Tuscan Sun – in Hiking Boots

I don’t really like snow, but in Tish’s hands it assumes a certain magic (but it still melts 🙂 )

Wenlock Snow Walk

Jackie’s ladling out the mulled wine to warm you up!

Mulling over Wine

If you’re quick, you’ll just catch this!  It sounds great so thanks, Denzil :

A magical evening with the kids

Or you could stop by Museu d’Orsay with Drake :

Little museum walk

Ann Christine shows us that Gran Canaria isn’t just beaches.  It’s beautiful!

What I came to this island for

Too far away from me, but I do love a lighthouse :

Semaphore Heritage Walk

Some exciting stuff from Nicole, hiking with her Dad :

At the Doorstep of the Andes : A Hike to El Morado Hanging Glacier

Woolly reminds us of the 24 hour truce for Christmas, in 1914 :

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk47_Christmas Truce

I’ll end with somewhere close to my heart.  Don’t miss this, from Verne :

Ten days hiking the unknown side of Algarve

Time now to look ahead, and to wish you all a healthy, happy and fulfilling year.