Jo’s Monday walk

Jo’s Monday walk : a fishy tale!

I like a fishy story.  Don’t you?  Truth to tell this one isn’t much of a story at all, and it’s not what I had intended to post.  But if you can’t be spontaneous in your own space… well, it’s a poor show!  It all started with a seahorse…

‘Let’s go to Olhão!’, I said.  ‘There’s a new seahorse sculpture and some net things up in the streets’.  What more of an invitation do you need?  The Ria Formosa, just offshore from Olhão, is known for its seahorses, and you can take a very delightful trip over to the sandbars to hunt for them.  Stuff of dreams?  A little less exciting, the sculpture, looking out to sea.

But Olhão is one of those ‘love it, hate it’ places.  Full of character, if you want to be polite.  Desperately shabby in the back streets, but in the process of acquiring a shiny new waterfront for the visitors.  The marina is always a treat, as you watch the boats to and fro-ing to the islands, but the riverside gardens are currently being torn up and replaced.  Hopefully they will retain some of their character, and the wonderful azulejo benches.  So uncomfortable to sit on, but beautiful to behold.  But we’ve not come to sit, invitingly though the icecream van flutters its eyelids at the tables beside the water.  The Arab quarter is always beguiling, so long as you don’t mind getting a little lost in the narrow tumble of streets.  Spot the whale on the roof?  No, I didn’t see it either at first.

I’m heading for the pedestrianised shopping area- not to shop, but this is where I think I might catch a fish or two.  And certainly some street art!

Olhão has a fair claim to being the street art capital of the Algarve.  The work depicting the fishing industry is among my favourites anywhere.  But finally I find what I’m looking for, and yet it still comes as a surprise.  Fish cavort above my head, darting through nets and flipping their tails.  ‘Linda‘ says the sign over the shop- beautiful- and I have to agree.

I wander along, snapping and exclaiming, until I come to the main church square, where an exhibition catches my eye.  I read the text and take a pic or two, and then I notice that the other half is staring skywards.  He’s spotted the storks.  Attention completely diverted.

I circle around the building, happy to find so many at home.  Did you notice the time on the clock?  I did, simply because at 3 on a Saturday afternoon I usually attend a Zoom meeting with some lovely ladies.  Some of you will know that Becky spends most winters here in the Algarve, and that Olhão is her home of choice.  I wondered if she might like to share the moment.

Back we wandered to a favourite café, with a ringside view of the leaping life above our heads.  All was quiet in the heat of the afternoon.  At weekends in summer the Portuguese go to the beach, leaving the towns strangely empty.  Though empty in these days is not so strange!  We settle at a table, with a refreshing wine, and I make the call.  ‘Would you like to come for a walk?’  And so I retrace my steps, waving my phone at the sky in the hope that they might see the fish, and maybe a stork or two.

I did promise you a fishy story.  I hope you weren’t disappointed?

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And now some shares!  A lucky dip into my ‘likes’ introduced me to Helen.  Please stop by and say hello?

Quarantine Walks: The Bulford Kiwi

 

Drake has his own individual take on life, and he always makes me smile :

Away from home

As times go by

I always like to share stunning photos, and these from Mercedes are beautiful :

Hiking in green Appenzell

Rupali shows us the beauty of her world :

Daily Walk

Weekend 98: Moments from the Wilderness

And Indra takes me to a city I’ve always wanted to visit :

Hong Kong… An Eclectic Mix

Anabel is rightly proud of her heritage, despite ‘dreich’ weather :

Port Glasgow Heritage Walk

A daunder round Dundee

While Margaret juggles with words :

Six Words?  Twelve Words?  All nonsense

And Natalie joins in with my fishy theme :

Life and Fish-Themed Art

Becky and I share a love for the same places :

Where the Douro flows into the Atlantic

A bit of an aberration with the print in the shares!  Made me rather late publishing today.  Apologies if I’ve missed anybody.  It’s not so easy keeping track right now.  Too many distractions.  I won’t be walking with you next week.  It’s seriously hot!  Enjoy your summer/winter/life!  See you soon.

Jo’s Monday walk : Beyond the River

‘Why Tavira?’ is a question I’m asked all the time when I talk about the place where I live.  Although I love the peace of the Algarve countryside, I could never willingly live in a little hillside cottage.  I would forever be gazing at the horizon, imagining the lap of the waves at my feet and the sound of the ocean in my ears.  Here in Tavira the river brings the sea to me, and it’s one of my greatest pleasures to board a ferry and ride out there to meet it.  This week the town ferry reopened.  There was no queue at the kiosk, nor in fact any other passengers aboard than me and my husband.  And a crew of five, some of whom were youngsters, learning the trade.  Prosperity will come again, and they need to be prepared.  For now, the instructions are to wear a mask on all forms of public transport, and so, bizarre though it felt on the open deck of a boat, we did.

We pulled out of the quayside, where the work of building a new bridge continues apace, and soon were chugging out through the marshes.  Lilac heather lines the riverbank, but my gaze was directed far beyond, counting the flamingos.  The day was full of billowing clouds, which could have explained the emptiness of the ferry.   After all these years, still I find the views from the landing stage compelling.

We followed the path across the Ilha towards the beach.  The main seafood restaurant was being industriously cleaned and rearranged, in readiness for hoped for customers.  The adjacent campsite is to remain closed this summer, and the object of our affections, The Sunshine Bar, had yet to open, but the recycled fish at O Xiri has a new lease of life.

With no particular objective in mind, we set off along the deserted beach, walking into a boisterous breeze.  As we paused to regain our breath, a tiny figure appeared on the horizon.  We watched as the quad bike drew near, and then passed us by.  The maritime police with a pleasant occupation.  Nothing but a few gulls to keep us company.  In vain I tried to capture them in flight.  Better to focus on the jewellery of the beach!

We had reached the area known as Terra Estreita.  Another ferry and a boardwalk connects this beach with Santa Luzia on the mainland.  Beach umbrellas in residence, but not a soul to be seen.  Just the tyre tracks of the young policeman.

Turn back, or carry on?  The legs were starting to feel a bit leaden in the soft sand, but we knew that the Beach Bar at Barril was open.  A fair incentive for another half hour or so’s walking.  Maybe even cake?

The clouds were starting to amass and the wind to bluster, but I was intrigued by the clumps of greenery and plants I had never before seen growing on this beach.  Nature rearranging herself in the absence of humans.  We had already noticed that the shoreline was different in places.  The action of wind and waves.  Soon I was in the mesmerising presence of the anchors at Barril.

I defy anyone to walk past without taking at least one or two photos of them.  Possibly after refreshments.  The sky was miraculously clearing again by the time we were ready to return, and the wind gentling us along from behind.  More found treasure!

Finally the lighthouse at the river mouth came into view.  It’s not a bad life being a beach attendant right now.

Almost ready to board, but I can’t leave you without a bit of biscuit cake, can I?  A treat, because it’s been a sobering week, in many ways.

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Janet led the way, last week, in being too upset to walk.  Many of us knew just how she felt :

Today I can’t walk

But Margaret will cheer you up :

A Tale of Three Birds: Chapter Two- The Curlew

And Anabel has beautiful rock formations in Berwickshire :

Cove to Siccar Point

Trees, sky, tiny flowers… just a few of the things in Susan’s new world :

Walking around a lockdown

Drake demonstrates how beautiful green can be :

Most of all greenish

While Rita celebrates the blossom trees in Toronto :

Feeling high at High Park

Doesn’t matter what day it is, Rupali can find beauty :

Wordless Wednesday Walk 3

And Sheetal can get excited about Florence :

Date with David

Irene contents herself with the simple things in life :

Along the Trail

I’ve never hiked Dartmouth… but I’d like to.  Please meet Zara!

Dartmoor Hiking Trails: Princetown to Fox Tor

So far I’ve been documenting and diarying my life here in the Algarve, in this exceptional period.  I think you can see, it’s a beautiful place.  I don’t intend to stick to a schedule from now on, so if you share a walk with me I’ll be delighted, but I can’t be sure when I’ll share it here.  Wishing you all a peaceful and healthy transition to a better world.  It’s ours to make the best of, isn’t it?  Stay safe!  And eat cake?

Jo’s Monday walk : Barragem de Beliche

A lingering rock cistus highlights the banks of the reservoir.  A couple of weeks ago I ventured up to Beliche, in part to check the water levels, but also because it’s a largely uninhabited area.  Or so I thought!  The car parking area alongside the dam surprised me.  Leathers and helmet clad bikers were thronging the space.  But they kept to themselves, and we duly distanced ourselves too.  As they pulled away we got a thumbs up and a cheery wave.  Life has to move forward, but you can choose your own pace.

Around here, you can imagine, it’s pretty slow.  April and early May saw a lot of rainfall.  A Godsend, because the reservoirs were dangerously low.  And also because the Portuguese really don’t like the rain, and were very happy to stay home and avoid it.  Fique em casa!  Stay at home.  Job done!

There were no tourists, so nobody to get upset but a handful of disgruntled expats who’ve chosen to live here.  Blue skies are theirs by right, aren’t they?  And eventually were restored, the timing being almost perfect, as beaches and beautiful countryside again became available.  With enormous gratitude for what we have, and not a little trepidation, we set out.

If anything could dispel doubt, it was the sparkling blue waters of the Beliche dam.  Such a relief to see water levels being restored, for summers here can be long and hot.  Bypassing the fearsome machinery, we climbed the hill to gaze back down at the dam.

I freely admit, not the most exciting walk we have ever undertaken, but just then it felt like giant steps into the unknown.  I delighted in the freshness of the air, and the soft sprinkling of lemon and lilac flowers dusting the hillside.

A cloud passed overhead, just as I was pausing to admire another solitary cistus.  And then drifted away to join its brothers, dreaming in the sky.

This circular walk is a little more than 6kms, sufficient in the mounting heat, and before long we were below the IC27, which runs north towards the Alentejo.  There are a couple of farms in the valley, and a donkey, who gave me rather a disdainful look.

Experience has taught me to be more wary of beehives!  And their aggressive inhabitants.

The map indicated a river flowing towards the dam, but it must long since have dried up.  The telltale reminder, an overgrown measure of depth, was just visible through the shrubs.  A gentle climb brought us back to the car park.  I’d love to share the lemon drizzle cake made by one of my companions, to celebrate our first visit since the onset of the virus.  But I devoured 2 pieces, and never even gave it a thought!  Next time…

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However, I’m more than willing to share some great walks.  Here we go!

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Always good to meet another Algarve blogger, and Tracy is also a published authoress :

Montes Mourinhos – Pera circular

Wouldn’t you just love to meet Sheetal here?  I know I would!

Dinner in Trastevere, Rome

Indra shares her memories of the natural beauty of Canada :

Summer of 2019: Waterton, Canada

While Janet improves my vocabulary, amidst the natural surroundings of Arizona :

The Riparian Preserve

Sharon is surrounded by some beautiful countryside too :

Caton Riverside Walk

And Susanne is simply happy to be outdoors again :

Back for a Walk at Coulon Park

An easy, unhurried style of life, with Drake :

Some even forget the mobile

And a poignant and personal post from Alice :

One Last Song

A poetic lady I know as ‘Heart to Heart’ (Dil se Dil tak… )  Such a lovely name for a blog, Rita :

The woods are lovely dark and deep…

There must be a history to this village name, Jonno?  Always smiling, these two!

Our Favourite Devon Walk to Heanton Punchardon

You can admire a little beauty with Rupali any time :

Wordless Wednesday Walk 2

While Anabel knows the way to my heart.  Via a drystone roundhouse is especially good :

Edin’s Hall Broch

Calling Becky, Debbie, Sue and Margaret- Ulli has found us some more goats!

Hidden Gem Downtown

That’s it for this week!  I’m going to put the brakes on for a little while.  It’s getting too hot to walk on a regular basis, though I did another 6kms yesterday to check out the larger dam at Odeleite.  Not looking too bad at present, but there’s a long way to go.  Take care all, and I’ll see you soon.

Jo’s Monday walk : Praia de Barril

Such a familiar sight, and one that I love, especially when the heather is in bloom here at Barril.  The salt marshes can be a wallow of mud and scurrying crabs, but catch it right, with the tide in, and it’s very beautiful.  The temperatures have been steadily rising this week, and with them the temptation to visit the beach.  We parked at our usual spot, looking out to the bridge, and the Ilha beyond.

The path over the causeway is narrow, and has been closed while emergency measures were in place, but the time has not been wasted.  New signboards describe the antics of the bocas cava-terra, or Fiddler crabs, and the wading birds that happily fish these waters.

Track maintenance has taken place too, sand being always anxious to reclaim its rights, and the engines and carriages have been given a shiny new coat of paint.  A 15 to 20 minute stroll brings you to the beach, Praia de Barril, on Tavira Island.

A fringe of green weed decorates part of the shoreline, and in the distance a heat haze.  We turn to walk in the opposite direction, aware of other footsteps in the sand, but not a soul in sight.  The haze persists on yonder horizon too.

The strangest thing!  As we walk, the haze expands to meet us, and before too long we are shrouded in a fine, damp mist.  Turning back, we can’t help but chuckle that it’s just like the sea fret on the north east coast of England.  Only once before has this happened to us here.  I can remember the eerie feeling as we sat on the beach, engulfed in a sunny fog.  Then, as now, it had rolled away again within half an hour or so.

The graveyard anchors clung on, unimpressed.  I’m sure they must have seen much worse in their many years.  The beach bar was newly reopened and we stopped for a drink and chat to the young waiter, who had had no work or income for 2 months.  He shrugged and smiled, glad to be working again, even if custom was poor.  ‘We have to try!’  And in bright sunlight we started back.

The engines, in various stages of undress, made me smile.  Hopefully they will be pulling full coaches again, before the summer is over.

Back over the bridge and homeward bound, where I can offer you a choice of something sweet, or savoury if you prefer.  And shade!

Now and again I like to spoil you.  🙂  The heat has reached a crescendo around 30C this weekend, and an evening stroll by the water is a luxury.

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Let’s see what my walkers around the world are up to.  Many thanks to all of you for continuing to share.  Your company is always appreciated.

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Start at ‘Ye Olde Fighting Cocks’, with Debbie :

Wandering around St. Albans again

Janet appears to have found an oasis in the desert :

Monday walk…at the olive mill

But Rupali doesn’t need words :

Wordless Wednesday Walk

And Drake is all at sea!

Foreigners missing

Natalie doesn’t have any problem with getting out among the Spring flowers :

Life with Moments of Beauty

And I didn’t mind a few grey skies in Berwickshire, with Anabel :

Duns Law

Mel takes us silver mining in the Outback :

Walking through history in Broken Hill

While Denzil takes us on a longish walk from a pretty Belgian town :

Walk from Diest to Loksbergen (and back)

Ending with Cathy, in one of the loveliest cities I know :

A first glimpse into the glory of Florence

Next week we’ll go and look at a reservoir, to see how well they’re faring.  I hope you’ll come along.  Meantime, enjoy your week!

Jo’s Monday walk : Beyond the hill

Often when I’m walking, or we’re driving, I’ll have those ‘wonder where that goes?’ moments.  Sometimes I never find out.  A week or two ago the other half gave in to one of my impulses, and lived to regret it!  We were walking in the back lanes, here in the Algarve, not far from our home.  Close to the pretty Ermida de Nossa Senhora de Saude, that you saw last week, a rust brown dirt track leads up and over a hill.  Well… what are we waiting for?  I need to know where it goes.

I’ve discovered an affinity with clouds.  Not those solid grey things, that blanket out the sun and planes have to carve their way through, but the soft-edged wisps that drift into the distance.  I love to watch them float over a hill, or sail out to sea.  More interesting than seamless blue sky.

Something else that fascinates- the rock formations with their crumpled, lived-in faces and wrinkly frowns.  And often a thatch of green clinging to the tops.  Here and there the skeleton of a tree, once ravaged by fire, still clings to life.

The motorway interrupts the scenery for a few brief moments, empty as it often was, even before the virus, and I get my bearings.  The trail heads north to meet up with a few inland villages.  As always, there’s a ruin at the crest of the hill.

With a magnificent view to the distant sea.  The trail undulates gently, a carpet of wild flowers on either side.  Can you see the bee hives down below?  You would think that with all that nectar they’d be contented, happy creatures, but that was not the case.

Suddenly my husband gave a cry.  He’d been stung on the lip.  The creature was in angry mood and a few minutes later he’d been stung again, on the back of the head.  A dark cloud threatened our morning.

I was lucky.  I wasn’t the victim.  For a while we walked very cautiously, but then the beauty of the surrounds, and a sign pointing the way home, lifted my spirits.  A conical house, all alone, would make a perfect sanctuary.

Before long we were walking beneath the motorway and back down the Fonte Salgada road, into Tavira.  Kettle on for a well-earned cuppa.

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Time to share a few more walks.  Thanks to all of you for keeping them coming!

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I love it when I meet someone else who loves our great outdoors.  Meet Donna!

Huckaby Trail – Sedona

Janet has something rather delightful to share this week.  Well, two somethings, really!

Jo’s morning walk…bathing beauty

While Natalie shares the beauty of a very wise tree :

Life and Advice From a Tree

Blossom and peaceful scenes on Debbie’s home patch too :

Wandering around St. Albans

And you can always enjoy a good gallivant with Anabel :

Burnmouth to Eyemouth

Or a jaunt round Lancashire with Eunice :

Spring comes to the Jumbles

Even a smile or two with Drake :

The guardian dog is a bird

Cee has joined us again this week.  How did she know I love figs?

Jo’s Monday Walk – Arneson Garden in Canby, Oregon

Only for the more intrepid amongst you, but you’ll certainly enjoy looking over Kelly’s shoulder :

Revisiting Nepal, Part 4

And touring some of the world’s most beautiful artworks, with Cathy :

The Uffizi in Florence, Italy

It’s 18th May.  Another landmark in restoring life to ‘normal’.  Today restaurants are allowed to open, with 50% capacity and other restrictions that will make the dining out experience far less carefree than it once was.  There are no tourists so we must continue to try and support them.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  Meanwhile, have a good week and many thanks for your company.

 

Jo’s Monday walk : The long way to the River

My current walks from home can be repetitious, but there are many ways to add variety.  Let’s see how much you recognise as we wander through a few lanes and back along the river.  We’ve looked over this wall together, though I don’t remember the horses.  And how about that rock, shaped like a bottle-nosed dolphin?  I very nearly missed the cairn, nestling among the boulders.

My husband is an avid litter picker, a practise I find tedious, though sadly necessary, so I have developed a keen eye for distracting details.  Passing motorists must wonder what I’m staring at, while he scours the roadsides.  A minute flower, shy in grassy surrounds, or a fragile cluster of froth, swaying to tantalise with the slightest puff of breeze.  A straying guinea fowl.  Though two’s company.  If I’m really lucky, a butterfly to follow, hopefully, as it flits from nectar to nectar.

I develop new enthusiasms as the season ticks over, forsaking poppies reluctantly, but delighted by thistles and their many lilac hues.  Morning glory has such a pretty name.  Solagnum, not so much.  Small, pure white cistus, I love, and the ever faithful rose.

At the Ermida da Nossa Senhora de Saude we carry on towards the river.  In the bright sunlight I imagine the spikey agave leaves as a dinosaur, stalking its prey.  Suddenly a shower hits, and we scamper for the scant shelter.

Minutes later the sun is beaming again, and it’s on down the road to Tavira, the wildflowers making cheerful company.

But it’s not all as pretty as a picture.  Beneath the railway bridge, graffiti lurks.

And then you’re welcomed by the riverside walk, with its feast of flowers, and a view I’ve come to love.

Increasingly Tavira has become a tourist town.  It’s easy to see why, but I have to admit to preferring it without them, so this little sojourn has its advantages.  I can’t help smiling with pride, though, when someone stands by ‘my’ river, admiring.

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Time to share some of your walks.  Many thanks for continuing to walk with me.  I love your company!

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Leading off with Debbie, and a place that I know rather well :

Walking the banks of the Rio Tejo

Cheryl shows us a little more of enchanting South Korea :

A Walk in Daewangam Park & Ilsan Beach

It comes in all shapes and sizes.  Drake shares his from Denmark :

Spring variations

And Colline from her home in Montreal

An Array of Spring Flowers

While the woods are greening up nicely for Margaret :

One More Walk in the Woods

And Jude swirls us into a lesson on beautiful Bluebells :

Wild landscapes

Karen shows us a seriously empty Sydney!

Familiar but strange

And Janet takes us on a postcard walk  🙂  :

Monday walk…Le Grand Ballon

Denzil is as informative as ever.  He’s my Belgium expert :

How to walk or cycle the Promenade Verte in Brussels

Always worth climbing a hill for a glimpse of water.  Thanks, Irene!

Up to the Top

And Sandra is so glad to be back!

#Hike Deprivation

It’s always worth following Cathy, to see what colourful thing her eye has found this time :

A day in the Marrakech Medina

I’ll have another walk for you next week, and then we’ll see how it goes.  Around the world we are starting to look beyond the grip of this virus.  I look forward to a day when we can walk without restraint.  Till then, stay safe!

Jo’s Monday walk : Vaqueiros, Cheese fest & the choir

Back in January, before our Iives were seriously upended, I took you on a walk from Vaqueiros.  The blossom was out then.  It seems such a long time ago.  A different, more carefree life.  But I want to take you back, to the beginning of March, for one last outing with the wonderful choir, Ossonoba, before all our boundaries diminished.

We were meeting at the crossroads of a country lane, close to the village of Malfrades, a little uncertain of what was to follow.  What we were sure of was a warm welcome, and smiles of recognition from the choir.

As usual, we had an experienced guide to lead the walk and answer any questions we might have about flora and fauna.  In Portuguese, of course, but if we looked too perplexed there was a member of Almargem on hand to explain.  This organisation had liaised with the choir to promote the Via Algarviana, and we were engaged in conversation several times with a charming young woman, anxious that we enjoy our experience.  And enjoy it we did!  The wonderful, big-faced white rock cistus were just getting into their stride too.

We were at one of the highest points of the Eastern Algarve, and as if that were not enough, were all set to climb a disused viewing tower for panoramic views of our surrounds.  You might have wondered about my leading photo.  We’ve reached the top!

The less confident might have opted for a seat with a view, but even it didn’t look very secure.  We followed the gently rolling trail down to the lake, with one more surprise in store.  Beside the path, winking silently in the sunlight, mysterious wild bee orchids.

The village of Vaqueiros, our destination, is just ahead, for the choir are to perform there, one last time for the season.  In January the village had been completely deserted, so we were astounded to find the main street lined with stalls.  Smoke from several bread ovens drifted into the air, with lingering delicious smells.  Local cheeses, sausages and bread were on sale, alongside beautiful hand crafts.

We made our way to the top of the village.  The choir were assembling on the church steps, those who had walked with us slipping away to change.  It was hot there in the open and I looked around for shade.  A dog lay in a lazy stupor.  The choir shuffled.

Finally they were ready, and the sounds, so familiar to me now, filled the air.  Pure joy in singing, and in each other’s company, is what makes this choir very special to me.  After the concert we were invited to follow them to a nearby restaurant.  They ate, and drank, and sang…A Capela, as they do.  A day to remember.

I’m sure they will have carried on singing, even though their plans for travel have been disrupted.  I hope to join them again in the autumn, but there’s a certain indefatiguable lady whose #SquareTops I’ll be joining even sooner.

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A bumper collection of walks this week.  Good to know you’ve still been out and about, enjoying our world, whatever the restrictions.

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Starting with a stunner from Jude :

The George V Walk in Lockdown

Always nice to welcome a newcomer.  Especially one with a sense of humour.  Meet Geanie!

Duck Takes a Walk (During COVID 19)

Joseph has a great fondness for moss.  Why not let him show you?

A Daily Walk

I had no idea that South Korea was such a beautiful country till I followed Cheryl :

A Walk in Daewangam Park & Ilsan Beach

Not just a walk along a lovely beach, but dolphins too, from Alice!

Dolphin Watch

And some spectacular sculptures, courtesy of Natalie :

5 Circular Art Works To See

Lush forest to sooth the soul, with Susanne :

Green River, Rain or Shine!  And Steelhead sighting!

Andrew, being interesting on his home patch :

Village Walks – Blow Wells and Watercress Beds

Drake, a little sentimental?

Broken eggs

Margaret, being resourceful on her doorstep :

Walking Every Single Day During Lockdown

And Janet, keeping it even closer to home :

Monday walk…in my room

Nor has Eunice strayed very far :

Smithills Hall and Moss Bank Park

While Ann Christine shares her beautiful Swedish homeland :

Thursday Thoughts – A Spring Hike

It’s a real honour and a privilege to be joined by Cee this week.  Come and see her garden!

Jo’s Monday Walk & Lens-Artists Photo #94 – Walk in My Front Yard

And Pauline takes the next step, with a video link into hers :

Come with me for a video walk in the garden…

But Cathy simply carries me off into a beautiful bubble from the past :

Lucca to Florence, Italy

Fabulous, all of them!  Thank you so much for your company.  I take much pleasure in our virtual world.  Stay safe!

Jo’s Monday walk : Back to the salt pans

I make no apologies for being back among the salt marshes today, for they always captivate me.  Especially when powder puff clouds drift away to the horizon in a pure blue sky, or luxuriate in salty sand puddles.  It’s a landscape that changes mood with the weather; sullen and drab, until the sun sweeps aside the muted colours, bathing them, and me, in warmth and light.

As with Changing Reality I’m heading for the sea, but this time in an easterly direction, towards the small resort, Cabanas.  A cycle path renders this area a hazard to walkers in peak times, but today I’m breaking new ground for me and striking out into the marshes.

You probably don’t recognise the cyclist’s bridge over the River Almargem from this angle, dwarfed as it is by the railway bridge.  I always hope to catch a train trundling across, but it never happens.  Turning my back on the bridges, I follow the river.  Far better than trains, I have the prospect of flamingos in this calm stretch of water.  And sure enough, there they are!  Tiny at first, in the distance.

I hope to startle them a little, for they are beautiful in flight, but they remain oblivious and eventually I tear myself away.  The way ahead looks promising.  Behind me, a shimmering lagoon of water.  The flamingos, mere specks.

I follow the curve of the rough path, towards the open sea at first, but then curving back around the salt pans.

The sludge and caramel colours and soft reflections blend together with the azure sky.

As I near the salt mountain I wonder at the giant ‘needle’ suspended in the sand.  We’re approaching my Hula ladies again, graceful in the breeze.

There are two choices now- a return via the Salinas estate, or to continue on towards Fort Rato and back into Tavira that way.  I opt for the first, and am gratified to snatch a photo of the train hurtling along.

One last look from the cyclist’s bridge and home to put the kettle on, another 9 or 10km completed.  I’m sure there must be cake as a reward.  I’m linking again with Jude’s #2020 Photo Challenge.  This week she’s looking at curved lines and I feel sure I have a number here.  No squares for me today, but #SquareTops does share a strong connection with salt.

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I’m very lucky to have some lovely people following this blog.  Drake is assuredly one of them :

Story of the tiny church

Skywalker holds the line (no, not Luke!)

And a quiet little lady can show you Korean cherry blossoms in all their glory :

Namsan’s Cherry Blossom Trail

Experience the beauty of her world with Rupali :

Morning walk

Weekend Walk 93

Staying close to her new home, Janet loves the morning too :

Monday walk…Yes, indeed, I’m walkin’

While Amanda is happy to introduce you to her Home by the Sea :

Birds and Sports

And Eunice has found a new walk, close by :

A circular walk from Barrow Bridge

Indra will very happily take you to Central Park :

A Welcome Escape

While Colline is taking her books for a walk :

A Small Stream

Chocolates, anyone?  Sorry, there aren’t any, but Natalie has the recipe for staying fit and well :

Life is Like a Box of Chocolates

I always enjoy a stroll with Flavia.  And this time I’m singing…Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen!

Copenhagen – Rosenborg Castle

While Su tempted me into a fabulous garden with her beguiling title :

To touch a hundred flowers

And Irene looks back at London as it once was, and will be again :

Memories of London

A feast of photography from Cathy this week :

Morocco: Essaouira to Marrakech’s Bahia Palace

And in a completely different style, but no less beautiful, Lynn shares her world :

Local Walks: Back to Washington Park

I hope you found something to enjoy here with me today.  I’ll be back walking next Monday.  Stay safe till then!

Jo’s Monday walk : Capelinha and the lanes

Following on from last week’s walk down to the sea, I suggested I’d take you around a few of the country lanes and tracks, almost on my doorstep.  When we first bought our house in Tavira, there was very little property behind us.  From the rooftop we not only had our lovely sea view, but tree tops and greenery rolling away into the gentle hills.  Time, and development, being what it is, much of this is now interspersed with rooftops.  But it still only takes 5 or 10 minutes to be in open countryside.

When we direct people to our home we always say, stay on the E125 road through Tavira and take the turn off signed Fonte Salgada at the roundabout.  Our peaceful estate is on the left hand side, but if you continue on, you will be directed towards an animal sanctuary and a chapel.  This is the area known as Capelinha, a small scale but quite beautiful land of orchards.

Quinta de Capelinha lies not far along the road.  This was once the home of Manuel Joaquim Tavares Pais de Sousa e Andrade, Viscount and Baron, as well as Councilor and Mayor of Tavira, back in the 19th century.  The derelict family chapel sits by the roadside, abutted by a modern home and horticultural business, which specialises in fruit trees.

Today we will stay on the country road to Fonte Salgada, but there are several turn offs- narrow trails that weave in and around the orchards.

I pause to admire ripening carobs, and somewhere distant I can hear the sound of bells and the bleating of a lamb whose mother is out of sight.  The next turn off is ours, but just ahead lies the village of Fonte Salgada itself.  Should we take a look?

Sleepy in the midday sun, there’s not a lot to the village.  A café, closed at the minute, but no shop, so far as I could see.  A grain or cattle store, and a well.  Nowhere to spend your Saturday pocket money.

The road leads on up into the hills and I turn back to continue my walk.  There has been plentiful rain this Spring, a relief after a long, dry Winter.  The fields overflow with wildflowers and the air is scented with the heady aroma of orange blossom.

Figs ripen on the bough and the grass ripples with daisies.  The eloquence of the sky is a constant source of pleasure.

You’ve seen that last house before.  From wide, sweeping views I’ve turned down one of the many tracks leading back towards home.  Here I can dither and dawdle at will, eye picking out subjects that appeal.  Those little rock cairns seem to be flourishing.  And don’t the limes look exquisite?

The potato vines play hide and seek with the daisies, and a brave few remaining rock cistus turn their pretty faces up to the sun.  Plants I cannot name still have the power to enchant.  A stony path climbs gently past wizened olive trees and I’ve not far to go.  The air feels fresh and alive, raindrops clinging on in more sheltered places.

I am taking this opportunity to link to Jude’s #2020 Photo Challenge.  I know the vistas will appeal.  There are quite a few converging lines, and she never can resist a plant or two.  Funnily enough she is wandering down Cornish lanes in her post this morning.  A sign of the times?

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A lovely wander with Jude :

The Lanes in April

I had to include this one from Cathy.  I was with her every step of the way!

Cinque Terre: A vineyard walk in stunning Manarola

Serendipity has Sheetal in another of Cathy’s destinations.  Not strictly a walk, but too beautiful to leave out :

Travelling into the Tuscan World

Rupali takes us to another beautiful city.  I hope to follow her, one day :

An evening in Stockholm

Natalie stays close to home, but still finds beauty :

Life and Trumpeter Swan Sightings

Wherever he is, Drake is always perceptive :

When local is real local

And Eunice, too, is staying in her own neck of the woods :

A local walk at Easter

That likeable rogue, Jonno, is still out and about, with his missus :

The Croyde Bay Wednesday Walk

Just the name of this one wins me over!  Thanks, Alice :

Seahorse Way

Janet’s Monday walking again!  And any other day she can get out and about :

Monday walk…into the sun

Becky looks back on (or forward to  🙂  ) an Algarve favourite :

Rambling in the Algarvian hills

Let’s close with Cathy.  No-one is more prolific!  I love this symphony in blue :

Morocco: A day among the blue boats of Essaouira

I can occasionally get lost in these lanes, my sense of direction being lamentable.  I hope you enjoyed wandering with me.  Have a good week, stay safe, and see you next time!

Jo’s Monday walk : Changing reality

You don’t know what you have, till you’ve lost it?  I don’t think I was ever in any doubt about just how precious are our Algarve salt marshes, and the beaches beyond them.  One day, towards the end of March, with a State of Emergency in place, I set out to walk, within our prescribed area, from home.  Bypassing the town centre I headed past the salt processing centre and on beside the marshes.

The stork, in its nest, feeding young.  Just seconds before it had flown overhead, beak stuffed with fish.  My camera, too slow to capture.

Out along the road, on their own, two cottages stand together, backs turned to Tavira.  The road is narrow here, and paved only on one side.  Drivers approaching each other must choose who will mount the low curb to allow passage, a sometimes interesting manoeuvre to observe.  And then the road forks, one way passing an orange farm, the other continuing towards Fort Rato and the river beach.

The marshes are home to many birds, wading in the cloudy waters.  Everyone stops to watch if the flamingos wander close, wary, but diligent in their search for crill.  They are more easily seen from the Quatro Aguas road, or from the deck of the ferry as it chugs out from Tavira.

The abandoned fort broods silently, as it has for the many years since defence from attack by marauding pirates was a threat.  I wonder again why no-one has seen this as a business opportunity, but am quietly grateful that they haven’t.  This sometimes ugly stretch of river beach is beloved of dog walkers, and small children who can play safely in the shallow waters.

For me, it is my nearest access point to open water, the natural curve sweeping round to meet the river.  On the far shore, Quatro Aguas presents its more manicured facade to the sea.  I am well used to wandering here, watching the boats come and go, and sometimes venturing into the grounds of the Vila Galé Albacora hotel.  There’s a pretty courtyard, with a church, and a small museum dedicated to the fishing industry.

The hotel is closed, like all others since the threat of the virus became known.  Restaurants too, and there is nothing now to disturb the peace of the morning.  I skirt the boundaries and head back towards Tavira.

Clouds are bubbling up a little, as so often at change of tide.  This time I take the turn off past the farm, following the cycle trail.  On one side, the salt marshes, stretching towards Cabanas.  On the other, the row of palms I’ve come to regard as my Hula ladies, rustling their skirts in the breeze.

I’m heading for home now, beneath the railway tracks and past the Salinas estate.  I cross the E125, strangely silent, and follow the road through fields and houses towards the place that I live.

As I’m writing this, I feel the emotions stir for, just a couple of days after this walk, the closure signs went up on Shell Beach.  I no longer have access to the sea.  I have not tried to walk to Quatro Aguas, but fear this may be similarly out of bounds.  Particularly during the Easter period, the police have been vigilant in keeping people safe.  I’m hoping that the rules will soon be relaxed a little but, in the meantime, I have the countryside and beautiful hills behind my home and a good stretch of salt marsh.  You may have noticed the absence of cake?  The cafés are closed, of course, but you can still visit a bakery and take home something nice.  Next time, perhaps!  Meanwhile, did you spot a few chimney tops along the way?  I hope you’re joining in with Becky’s #SquareTops!  Looking very dapper today!

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When I was young I would often end up here in the Summer holidays.  Thanks for the memories, Eunice :

Peasholm Park, Scarborough

I never can resist a stretch of sea to walk beside, especially if it’s a bit choppy :

Walking along Jeju’s Yongduam Coastal Road & Olle Route 17

The greenkeeper’s got his eye on you, Drake!

Without rush and stress

It’s amazing what you can find in the desert, isn’t it, Mel?

Sunset, Sand and Sculpture

While Cathy brings us Italy in all its beauty :

Cinque Terre: Charming Portovenere

I’m still sharing walks, though I understand your opportunities are more limited at the minute.  I’m just happy to have you virtual travel with me.  Stay safe!