Jo’s Monday walk

Jo’s Monday walk : Cotherstone and the Teesdale Way

If you saw my shabby summerhouse last week, you’ll know that I’m a fan of the Open Garden scheme.  Sometimes it throws up a real jewel.  It’s a bit of a bus man’s holiday for my husband, but you can always get him to go and look at a garden.  Me, I’m just happy to go somewhere new.  Not that Cotherstone is new, exactly.  We’ve driven by this village en route to Teesdale and the falls beyond, and scarcely noticed it.  Discovering that the whole village opened its gardens for charity gave us a golden opportunity to explore.

Map in hand, off we went!  There were 15 or more gardens to delight in.  You’ll note that we didn’t get very far before the coffee stop, but we’d had a longish drive from home.  Looking over the garden wall of The Limes was just too tempting. (and the homemade rhubarb slice was tart and delicious!)  A perfect summer’s day, it was easy to sit in the sunshine and smile at the super keen youngsters of the household.  They were Sunday smart and performing waiting duties, with impeccable manners.

When I did stir myself, I was gifted a fine zucchini plant, much to my astonishment.  Never having mothered such a specimen before, I was a little anxious for its survival, but I’m happy to report that it has since thrived.

The Methodist Chapel was open and I paused long enough to admire the stained glass, and wonder briefly if I should turn my talents to rug making?  Back into the sunshine, I dodged a fearsome looking farm machine, before dipping into another garden.

Each garden had its own character.  Some manicured to within an inch of their life, others far more casual; one devoted to recycled goods, another fragrant with a nosegay of sweetpeas.  Their common factor?  A gardener with a smile, and time to chat.

Midway through the village a narrow lane led down towards a river I hadn’t even realised was there.  I was about to meet the River Balder, which joins the Tees at this point.  On the far shore, a river beach, perfectly sited for cooling tired feet.

It’s an enchanted piece of woodland, leaves dancing in dappled shade over russet waters.  The moss covered bridge must surely have been there in Merlin’s time.  I followed the Teesdale Way just far enough to satisfy my curiosity, and then retraced my steps.  A steep clamber up a stepped path brought us to the top of the village, and what was probably my favourite garden, Glensleigh.  Beautifully terraced, the views were far reaching, and the lovely Norwegian owner didn’t seem to mind in the least that a public right of way ran right through her garden.

A bee-keeping demonstration next, the lady keeper, outfitted like a spaceman, fearlessly handling the honeycomb.  A glance over the allotment walls- time is pressing on!  I’ve lost count of the number of gardens we’ve seen.

Back on the main street, we were offered a celebratory prosecco, and took 10 minutes to admire the owner’s beautifully presented patio.  I can’t say that this is common practise at Open Gardens, but it was very much appreciated on a warm day.

On the village green children were dangling toes in the stream and eating icecreams.  Just a few more visits.  Opposite the magnificent church an aged gentleman sat on a bench in his lovely small patch and exchanged pleasantries.  He’d never left his home county.  ‘Why would he?’ his gentle smile seemed to say.  In the stream at the bottom of his garden, two American crayfish seemed content to end their wanderings too.  Wouldn’t you?

While looking for a few facts about Cotherstone, I came upon this 6 mile circular walk from the Fox and Hounds at West Green.  It covers some of our outing today.  Next time I’ll go looking for the ‘fairy cupboards’.

Apologies to anyone whose walk I haven’t included here today.  I’ve scheduled the post because I’m up on the Northumbrian coast for our anniversary, and I haven’t got my laptop.  They’ll appear in next week’s walk- promise!  Meanwhile, please do read and enjoy….

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My nautical friend, Drake, shares a mutual passion – water!

Sailing

I can’t keep up with Jackie!  Can you?  Wonder what’s to eat?

Bed and Breakfast

How about Niagara, looking floral and lovely, with Alice :

Floral clock, Niagara Parks

Some very personal memories shared by Artfulinguist :

A UVic Stroll Down Memory Lane

Not something I associate with beautiful Norway, but Rupali has set me straight :

A tour to Norwegian cherry farm

Nowhere better than our very own Lake District, with Melodie :

Randonnee/Hike Nether Wasdale

I’m home at teatime (earlier if the weather misbehaves too badly  🙂  ) so I’ll catch up with you all then, if not sooner.  Have a great week!

Jo’s Monday walk : Alte and about

Fonte Pequena at Alte

One of the great things about our Algarve walking group is the knowledge we can share.  Walking one day in Spring I was talking to a lovely lady called Stephanie.  She mentioned a favourite walk which included an abandoned, ruined village, and later sent me an email with a map.  So it was that, heading west for a wine tasting, we decided to seek out the village.  Just one problem- I didn’t have the map with me.  But I did have some scribbled instructions, which I thought should do.  The start was in pretty as a picture Alte, which we know well.

I always want to linger by Fonte Pequena, the smaller of the two natural springs, but my notes said to cross over the bridge and follow the signs for Julia.  Not paying attention, as usual, I turned left instead of right.  When the track became perilous and tangled with scratchy shrubs, I realised my mistake.  Back down and turn right.  Boa Vista beckoned, from the top of a seriously steep hill.  Lovely views, and a stunning passion flower.

A sign at the hilltop indicated that it was just 1.6km to Julia.  Being June it was a little too hot for hiking and I was grateful for any shade I could find.  At the edge of the village I hesitated, unsure of which way, but a villager pointed us in the right direction.  So far so good!  Down through the small cluster of houses we went, scrambling a bit as we hit some loose rocks.  Just as I was beginning to get in a lather, we came to the main road, N124.  An accusing look from the other half!  ‘Couldn’t we have driven here?’  An all too familiar scenario.  ‘But where’s the fun in that?’

The road was empty, but shade was non-existent.  A cowardly decision was about to be made.  Or should I say, good sense prevailed?  The signpost indicated 4km down a dirt track to Esteval dos Mouros, the ruined village.  Neither of us fancied getting hotter and stickier, and we still had the wine tasting venue to find.  The ruins would have to keep for a cooler day.

Back into Alte, hugging the sidewalk for shade.  The spring gurgled down the hill, vivid lemon cactus flowers blinking in the sunlight.  A relief to enter the cheerful pastelaria.  There’s just time for a morsel of cake.

Back on the road, Quinta do Francês proved tricky to find and we arrived with minutes to spare.  A very pleasurable time was spent wine tasting, but I was reluctant to bring an end to such a lovely day.  Our route home took us through Silves, where a striking mural caught my eye.  A quiet stroll by the river and beneath the jacarandas brought the day to a perfect close.

Linking this to Sami’s Monday Murals, where a bunch of like-minded people love to share.  I hope she won’t mind.  I had hoped to see Stephanie when the Algarve walkers met at Bolton Abbey in Yorkshire this week, as she lives nearby.  If she’s reading this I can assure her that we’ll be back to complete her walk this Autumn.  In the meantime I shall be sharing some English walks.

Next weekend is our wedding anniversary and I’m dragging him off up the Northumberland coast.  I hope to schedule a walk for next Monday, but my response rate may not be great as I’ll be in transit.

Many thanks to all of you who contribute and comment to keep my Monday walks alive.  I appreciate your company so much.  How can I possibly quit with you folks to spur me on?  Join me here any time.  Kettle on now, and settle in for a read :

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How fascinating is this, our starter from Rupali?

Monday walk to “the Norwegian book town”

And these botanical gardens are rather special too.  Take a look with Miriam :

Jo’s Monday Walk : Huntington Library 

If I was looking for a piece of real estate, and I had lots of money in my pocket… I’d join Alice!

A walk on Queen Street

The things Janet gets up to in Wyoming!

Monday walk…to the phone booth

Lady Lee has been gadding about again!  🙂  🙂

Our long weekend in Cologne and Bonn

Time to write : Picture Prompt 19 (Creative Writing Prompt) – Gin, Rex and Niki

And as for Jackie, what’s on the menu this week?  Sounds good!

Jambalaya Crawfish Pie and File Gumbo

Melodie takes us hiking and then for a swim, in a quieter part of the English Lake District :

Orthwaite

Or you can enjoy a glorious splash of colour with Drake!

Color Inferno

Koalas and kangaroos!  This is a very cuddlesome post from Carol, though maybe not the echidna!

Feathers and Fur

Eunice is definitely an animal lover too, and she likes a good ramble :

Jumbles Reservoir – a long walk

‘Far from the madding crowd’ with Cathy, in the most beautiful scenery!

The Devil’s Garden Hike at Arches

I’ve watched TV coverage from the Algarve these past couple of days, and am horrified at the fires engulfing swathes of the countryside that I love.  What sad times for so many!

Jo’s Monday walk : Sunrise on the Salt Pans

I sometimes do daft things!  When I saw a sunrise walk featured in Tavira, in Todos a Caminhar, I just knew I had to do it.  I’ve always wanted to live beside a beach, so that I could slip outside into that beguiling early morning light.  My reality is far from that, but a 20 minute stroll will bring me to the riverside, and beyond, a world of salt marshes and oyster catchers.

Trying not to disturb a certain person, I tiptoed down the stairs at 5.45, gulped a few mouthfuls of coffee, and out into the mild, morning air.  I thought I had made good time down to the Praca, but when I got there the place was deserted.  I hadn’t been sure how many other enthusiasts to expect, but the streets of Tavira were Sunday morning sleepy.  Just as I was deciding what to do, a lady in joggers sprinted into the square, threw off her jacket and made off at speed.  It was 6.18am!   I had missed the start by three minutes.  And sure enough, the sun was just starting to rise.

I had no intention of hot footing it after them.  I had all this to myself!  In lazy pursuit, I ambled out along the river.  The soft light pearled the water, the stillness unbroken.  Even the birds were enjoying a Sunday snooze.

As I reached the edge of the salt pans I smiled to myself.  There in the distance, lycra clad figures sped towards me.  All of this seemed wasted on them.  I continued to stroll and snap.  As they straggled past me, in twos and threes, I smiled ‘Bom dia!’ but most were focused on home.

Across the salt pans there was just enough light to reflect Tavira in the water.  Ahead, the small marina and boatyard of Quatro Aguas.  It’s a place that I love, but I had never seen it in such opalescent light.

Enjoying the early morning mellow.  Gently I retraced my steps, in the ever increasing light.  Mauve crept into the heather and bronze lit the sandbanks.  I played at being a birder for a while, an obliging chap posing for me.  The wrecked mill drew closer.

And then I was back in town, and crossing the flyover.  A fisherman, releasing his boat to catch the tide.  Passing the common, a strange sight caught my eye.  An inverted Minnie Mouse, remnant of last night’s festival revelry, perhaps?

An elderly gentleman with a nice smile had also observed the balloon.  As I stopped to take the shot, an agitated shrieking filled the air.  Body taut and wings beating rapidly, it flew overhead again and again.  I supposed it must have had young close by.  Feeling like an intruder, I wearily returned home, where all was still silent.  Time to put the kettle on and start the day.

I hope you enjoyed watching the sun rise with me.  I’d like to add it to Cathy’s Photographic challenge at Wander.essence.  She’s doing some fine work over there.  I tried to bring the salt marshes alive for you.  I’m half-tempted to add this to Tina’s Soft too.  I hope she won’t mind.  The light on the water was so very soft that morning.  Are you following the Lens Artists?

Many thanks to all of you who accompany me each week.  My wanderings would be nothing without you.  Join me here any time.

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Let’s start with Lady Lee and an outing to the park :

Skywatch – our day out

Alice invites you to ‘smell the flowers’.  It’s that time of year, isn’t it?

Delaware Park- Buffalo NY

Some people say I have too many of these, but Jackie’s a lady who knows all about food :

Tea Break

A world far removed from my experience.  Let Janet take you there :

Monday walk…. sites and sights of Sheridan

Nothing I like better than going adventuring with Drake :

Bay of Kiel

Geoff rediscovers the delights of the Kent coast :

Thanet, a Walk on the Not so Wild Side #walking#kent

And Eunice shares some local history and a pleasant walk :

A local walk to Hall i’ th’ Wood

The heat has been getting to them in Norfolk, I think, but Janaline makes the most of this garden tour :

A walk through West Acre Garden in Norfolk

Fancy walking a race circuit?  Let Jaspa take you to Monaco!

Walking the Epic Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix Racetrack

I always love Aarti’s style :

Walk in a Monasterio

A very different monastery experience from Banactee, dipping back into memory :

Climbing on Mt. Sinai

And finally, another enthralling outing with Cathy.  The scenery is superb!

Strolling along Park Avenue at Arches

That’s all folks!  Wishing you a wonderful week.  Hope you can get out and about a bit.  See you next week!

Jo’s Monday walk : Elvaston Castle Country Park

In between visiting Poland and the Algarve, I managed to slip in 4 days with my daughter, in Nottingham.  Knowing that I like to get out and about, one day she suggested a visit to Elvaston Castle Country Park.  We had no real idea what to expect, but the Gothic revival masterpiece, staring at us across a mound of topiary, was a promising start.  Part of a 321 acre estate, Elvaston Castle was designed by James Wyatt in the early 1800s, around a house dating from 1633.  For 400 years it was home to the Stanhope family, later to become the Earls of Harrington.

Today’s walk is extremely green.  I know that many of you have singed, brown grass right now, and might regard this as a refreshing change.  The country park had a slightly neglected air, but many families were happily picnicking in the grounds, and I was glad to read that a renovation plan is underway.  In 1970, when the estate was opened, it was one of the first country parks in England.  Both buildings and gardens are Grade 2 listed.  Behind the house are a church and graveyard.

Circling the house, we noted tea rooms, and eyes lit up at the prospect of cake.  Looking in the windows, Lisa remembered that she’d been here once, long ago, for a wedding.  I don’t know if it was the topiary, but there was a distinctly Alice in Wonderland feel to the gardens.

On to the lakeside, where the rockwork captured our imagination.  Tufa, gritstone and gypsum were used to create arches and grottoes, framing a view and lending an air of enchantment.  My very own woodland elf was right at home….

Paths meander all around the lake, and beneath the trees. My squirrel friend scampered away up a tree, but then thought better of it and returned to finish his lunch, defiantly keeping an eye on me.

Set deep within the woods, a Moorish Temple stands tall and hauntingly silent.  Built as a summer house around 1846, it has fallen into disrepair.  Apparently it featured in Ken Russell’s 1969 film, ‘Women in Love’, with Glenda Jackson in a balcony scene.

Time to inspect the tearooms, and step back in time.  The age of the building was apparent but sympathetic restoration could easily bring it to life.

If you’re interested in garden history I found a fascinating document within the Derbyshire council website.  If not, simply sit back and enjoy the faded grandeur of the Old English walled garden.  Once it provided fruit and vegetables for the family, many of them grown within glasshouses.  William Barron, Head Gardener in 1830, transformed the original walled garden with innovative drainage and heating systems, allowing six varieties of grape to flourish.  Traces of it linger still.

I hope you enjoyed ambling with me.  Many more details, including directions, are to be found on the Derbyshire website.

More wonderful walks to share this week.  Pop that kettle on and settle in for a read.  The world will wait!  Many thanks to all of you.

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I always like to start off with a beauty, and Debbie never disappoints :

Hilly walk in Korea’s Machu Picchu

Did you meet Mel last week?  Let her take you shopping in style.  I do like an arcade!

Looking up in Melbourne

I’m not much of a shopper, nor much of a cook, but Jackie is well capable in both departments :

Novel meals

Lady Lee cooks too, and is content and happy with her bounty :

Ten things of thankful

Home sweet home with Drake, in Denmark :

Idyllic village

Rupali works just down the road from some glorious scenery!

My Monday walk: Nothing so special

Pure contentment in South Carolina, with Alice and family :

Morning beach walk

Or a double explosion of fun and colour with Pauline and Jack, Down Under :

Queensland Garden Expo…

What the little bird whispered in Jack’s ear

Cathy’s in training for the Camino in September.  This one doesn’t look an easy hike, but much shorter!

The Delicate Arch hike at Arches National Park

Much closer to home, Eunice rounds us off this week :

A summer afternoon in Southport

That’s it for another week.  Sounds like it’s going to be a hot one, so take care!  Join me next time on Jo’s Monday walk.

Jo’s Monday walk : A Tall Ships Treat

A visit from the Tall Ships is always a special occasion, but when it coincides with a significant birthday there is an opportunity to make it very special indeed.  When Thursday dawned cool and grey, I thought I might’ve made a mistake with my husband’s birthday surprise.  But, the tickets were bought, and I’d even purchased train tickets to Sunderland.  He could drink without driving, and not worry over parking.  The pattern of the week had been overcast skies till about 3pm, when magically the clouds rolled back.  Here’s hoping!

To host the start of a Tall Ships Race is a great coup, and Sunderland has made the most of the opportunity.  Leaving the station it’s only about 10 minutes walk to the riverside, and from there you have a choice whether or not to cross over the River Wear.  The ships were berthed on both sides of the river and are nothing short of majestic.  As ticket holders we stayed on the near shore and followed the trickle of people heading down to the quay.  The East End of Sunderland is still undergoing changes to bring this historic area into the 21st century.

The Tall Ships will race over a thousand nautical miles in 3 weeks.  The first leg races from Sunderland to Esbjerg in Denmark, then to Stavanger in Norway, and finally to Harlingen in the Netherlands.  You can see the full line up of over 50 ships on the Tall Ships website.

Despite grey skies they were an awesome sight as we made our way along the quayside.  Various entertainments were on offer, and we paused for a few minutes to observe Martin Lewis of the ‘Money Show’, taking questions from the audience.  On the far shore, next to the National Glass Centre, a full scale fairground was in progress, and some of the ships had entertainment on board.

No time to linger at this stage.  We had a destination.  Unbeknownst to my husband I had booked a 2 hour sail on a Tall Ship.  Until we checked in I did not know which.  Enjoying a drink at the bar, we waited for our number to be called.  Half an hour later we were boarding the beautiful  Wylde Swan from the Netherlands.  The largest two-mast topsail schooner in the world, she was built for speed.  The story of our voyage was the subject of this week’s Six Word Saturday so I’ll simply say that it was magnificent.  The crew demonstrated their proficiency, hauling on ropes and tying sails, yet still finding time to engage with their passengers.  The camaraderie as they worked together was a joy to see.  As we returned to port the sun, which had been hovering behind the clouds, finally broke free and we were bathed in golden sunlight.

It was a long walk down the quayside and I had spotted a pub with a bird’s eye view of the festivities.  Naturally this involved a number of steps, but the sun terrace of the Boar’s Head was worth it.  Built in 1724, beside Youlls Passage where press gangs were reputed to work, the pub was later frequented by Laurel and Hardy.  Peggy Potts, a local brandy smuggler, lived just 50 metres away, and her family are said still to be patrons. We basked in warm sunshine and friendly chatter with the locals.

More strolling was required after our lunch, and there was plenty still to see.  Entertainers were either resting or setting up for a performance, and many of the crews were at ease.  Further along the quay the ships grow smaller, the industry of the port an interesting backdrop.

Our feet were tiring by this stage and there was still the walk back to the station.  A convenient icecream van was just what we needed.  The event was rounded off with fireworks each evening, and on Saturday a Parade of Sail, as the ships left harbour to begin the race.  If they didn’t manage to find a Cooling breeze or two, I don’t know who would! (do join Leya for this week’s brilliant Lens-Artists Photo Challenge).  And how could I forget Cathy?  I love what she’s doing over at Wander.essence!

The walks I share are all so very different in style and content.  Please find time to visit as many as you can, especially if it’s a blogger you don’t know.  Many thanks to all of you for sharing and for your wonderful company.  Kettle on?  We’re good to go, here at Jo’s Monday walk!

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Self-realisation is a wonderful thing, especially if you can share it with Elaine :

A quiet walk

When I said to Drake that I always wanted to visit Annecy, he came up with the goods!

Pure idyllic transitions

South Carolina!  There’s another dream for you!  Salt marsh, I’m familiar with from the Algarve :

A walk on the wildlife side

I can’t resist Meg, and her close scrutiny :

Sunday bushwalk

Lichens, fungi, grass, tree bark and herbal cures… you’ll find them all at Meg’s :

Weekend strolls

I’m not a great cook, but Lady Lee could tempt me with her chicken and cashews :

Food, glorious food!

But if all else fails, Jackie has a good idea :

Picnic

Who doesn’t sing along when the Bee Gees are on?  And maybe strut your stuff?  With Carol, of course!

Born to Sing

Or you could try a bit of gold digging?

Gold Fever

Meet Melanie and say hello to Captain Cook, while we’re Down Under :

Melbourne- It’s a Walk in the Park

This sounds a bit like a radio programme, but take a turn with Anabel.  You’ll love it!

Ambles from Ambleside

I don’t know anyone who writes better garden posts.  Another beauty from Jude!

Garden View: Bonython Manor Gardens

Seeing the title I thought Amanda might have a ship or two.  Far from it, but this is a wonderfully lyrical post :

Walking Around in Whitby

And finally, Cathy surprises me with a lovely swathe of bluebells :

Riverbend to Great Falls : the Bluebell Path

That’s it for another sweltering week.  Hope it’s fine where you are, but if you need a drop of rain then I hope it lands.  Take care till next time!

Jo’s Monday walk : That bridge, and beyond

Last week I guess I cheated a little on my walk in Kraków. There was a bit too much sitting about at the riverside, but it was a very warm day so I make no apologies.  I knew I’d be making up for it.  ‘Obiad’ was rather special, with a big family gathering for my last night, and all was peaceful in the house next morning.  Time to slip away, and savour my last few hours in the city.

I was warned that ‘Saturday service’ on transport would be different, but I was lucky and bus 178 sped me into town.  Rattling over Most Jozefa Pilsudskiego, I spotted my bridge with the intriguing sculptures in the distance and hopped off.  Walking back on ul. Krakowska, I noticed a plaque commemorating Jan Pawel Drugie, Pope John Paul II.  I hesitated there on the pavement, thoughts of Dad suddenly filling my head.  Pushing open the heavy wooden door, I slipped inside the church to light a candle.  Without him, I never would have been here in Kraków.

Out again, into warm and hazy sunshine, it was on with my quest.  Pausing to look at the map on the bridge Jozefa Pilsudskiego, I was more taken with details of how the city once looked than in absorbing my whereabouts.  A common fault of mine.  I have a hopeless track record on following maps.  Fortunately I’m much better at finding beautiful bridges.

This one, ‘Between the water and the sky’, had called to me since first I saw it.  I was mesmerised.  You do, however, have to beware of cyclists.

I got ‘honked’ at as I daydreamed beneath the sculptures.  Apparently it’s supposed to have a ‘cyclists only’ path.  I’m not the only one to have been captivated.  The ubiquitous love locks have made an assault on the bridge, but nothing can detract from it.  Kładka Ojca Bernatka, or the Father Bernatek Footbridge, was opened in September, 2010, on the site of a former road bridge dismantled in 1925.  The 130 metre structure, designed by Andrzej Getter, has no supports and is suspended upon an arch.  The wonderful acrobatic sculptures are the work of Jerzy Kędziora.  The districts of Kazimierz and Podgórze are linked once more, which will benefit the latter.

Tearing my attention from the bridge, it was time to investigate the corten steel clad building, which turned out to be the former power station in Podgórze.  Now an exhibition space and cafe, as it was 10.45am and opening time not till 11.00, I decided to push on and explore the area.

It’s a bit ramshackle in places, but turning onto Rynek Podgórskie I looked across a huge space at a striking church.  Sw. Jozefa w Krakowie Podgórzu had a delightful surprise awaiting me.  But first, a peep inside.  Dressed all in finery, as befits a wedding.  I dared not linger.

But outside, behind the church, an invitation to a wonderful garden.  Mounting the steps I looked down upon a grotto and out across the rooftops.  A young couple, similarly entranced, were taking detailed photos, so I bided my time.  As I descended a sprinkler played across the flowerbeds, a mist of water catching me out.  You can see the droplets, if you look closely.

A smile still on my face, it was time to retrace my steps across the bridge.  Naturally I couldn’t resist a few more shots.  I needed a coffee, but the big old wooden barge ‘Barka’ was closed, and smart ‘Augusta’ was busy with a conference.  That left me one other option.  A smaller boat with a comfy seat on deck, and a view.  Two guys in a blow-up dinghy drifted by and waved.  I smiled and waved back.

Wondering about cake?  I was good on this occasion, but with a venue for later in mind.  First I had a walk along the riverbank.  Music was drifting across the river from the big stage at Termy Krakowskie, a nicely relaxed vibe, as my son would say.  He’d love it.

Boat hire was quiet, but Wawel Castle looked Saturday busy.  Any ideas where I’m heading?  Hotel Pod Wawelem has a roof top restaurant, as the name indicates, directly below the castle.  No doubt about it- cake with a view!

Fully satisfied, the trip wouldn’t be complete without paying my respects to Wawel.  Even on a busy Saturday, the place is sublime.

‘Home’ one last time.  Just one more Reminiscences from Poland to come and that will be my trip complete.  Already it feels distant.

I hope you enjoyed sharing Kraków with me.  Time to put that kettle on for this week’s walks.  Many thanks, everyone!  Join me here at any time on Jo’s Monday walk.  You’ll always be welcome.

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One of Debbie’s loves is street art.  She was richly rewarded in Madrid :

This is a Square

Drake has been captivating me with a series of photos of the island of Gozo :

When bath rocks

An enigmatic title from Jackie this week :

Snakes and Lattes

Lady Lee sets the world on fire, but don’t worry- it’s quite safe!

Summer solstice bonfire

Gunta shares more of the beautiful, natural world on her doorstep :

A stroll through the meadow

Share some ‘lolling kangaroos’ with Pauline.  She’ll be delighted if you do :

Australia’s iconic creatures

Or hoof it from snow to ‘shy rays of brightness’ with Susan :

Walking a rainforest trail in Olympic National Park

A heart stopping moment, just looking at one of Cathy’s photos.  Don’t miss it!

Ottos’s Trail & The Devils Kitchen Trail at Colorado National Monument

And if you have time to spare you could join Indra on Prince Edward Island :

PIE (PEI) in the Ocean

That’s it for another week.  Can you believe, we have a drop of rain here in the north east?  I’d forgotten what it’s like.  Have a good one!

Jo’s Monday walk : Same river, different city

You might remember, a few weeks ago, I had the bubbly and delicious company of Gilly on the banks of the River Wisła (Vistula) in Warsaw.  Fast forward a mere 5 days and there I was, beside that same river but many miles further south, in Poland’s second city, Kraków.  A mighty river, this one, it begins its journey on the Baltic Coast and flows south for 1,022 kilometres (635 miles).  How I got there is another story, but my mission today is simply to take you for a wander and, as luck would have it, a boat ride.

Earlier that morning I’d been in Kraków’s green and leafy suburbs, assisting with toddlers aged 3 and 18 months on an outing to the park.  Wilting in the heat, the little family had been glad to return home.  A cooling drink, then I hopped a bus into a city that never fails to delight me.

With no particular aim in mind, as I approached the river it was almost automatic to jump off.  If cooling breezes were to be found anywhere in Kraków, this would be the place.  Truth be told, I didn’t get very far before the notion of a glass of wine and an icecream became very appealing indeed.  What could be finer than sitting on the deck of a restaurant boat, facing lovely Na Skalce (the Church on the Rock)?  The steady hum of traffic crossing Most Grunwaldzki became a soothing murmur.  Hooray!  Here comes the paddle steamer, big wheels churning.  And a burst of speedboat cleaves the water in front of Wawel Castle.

I couldn’t sit there enjoying myself all day.  Time to cross over the river.  But scarcely was I on the other side than temptation struck again.  No, not cake!  The first time I ever came to Kraków I walked my husband’s legs off.  He was more than happy to agree to a boat ride, just to sit down.  Unfortunately on that occasion the ride was accompanied by a light drizzle, whereas this was the perfect day to be afloat.  One of those lovely little wooden boats was about to leave the jetty.  It was meant to be, and 30zł (about £6) for an hour wasn’t going to break the bank.

The boat sailed in one direction along the river, as far as the Salwator Church, then returned to the jetty.  This half hour trip cost 15zł, but if you stayed on board it then sailed in the opposite direction, passing Na Skalce and a sequence of bridges before returning to the jetty.  This second leg I found fascinating as the area was less familiar to me.  An idea was germinating that I might return the following day to explore on foot.

Trams and trains passed overhead, but it was the bridge Kładka Ojca Bernatka that particularly captured my imagination, and I resolved to come back for a closer look at the figures suspended over the river.  A building with an industrial chimney and appearing to be clad in corten steel also caught my eye.  On the river bank, the footpath stretches grandly into the distance, stylish riverboat restaurants just calling out to be visited.

Disembarking, I look wistfully up at Wawel Castle.  No time today.  I am being summoned to ‘obiad’, late afternoon lunch with my Polish family.  Walking back to the bus stop I mingle with school trips, and the riverside coach park bustling with vendors.  Billboards shout holiday destinations, demanding my attention, but who would willingly leave this fair city?

Come with me next week and we’ll explore the world beyond that beautiful bridge.  Meanwhile there are many stories to tell.  Thanks for bearing with me as I flit from here to there.  I’m grounded now, for a little while, and looking forward to my English summer.  I hope you’ve got the kettle on as there are some wonderful walks to share.  I’ll go easy on the cake as I over-indulged at an Open Garden event yesterday.

From high in the Alps to the lovely capital of Malta, with my good friend Drake :

Last morning in the Alps

Little pearl in the sun

You can always rely on Debbie to make life colourful and interesting :

Industry and art come together in Seoul

And for Susan to write beautifully, whatever the weather :

Walking Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park

32 years together!  Lady Lee shares a special celebration :

Many thanks!

Share an extravaganza of food with Jackie, and then…

Coffee to go

Jesh takes a look at life, always in her own unique way :

Background Jumps

While Jaspa takes us back in history for a closer look at these ruins :

The Step Pyramid of Djoser – Part of the Saqqara Necropolis, Egypt

Persistence rewarded for Eunice and ruins of an entirely different nature at the end of her walk :

Part 2 – Llanlleiana, Porth Wen, and a long walk

Emma treats us to one of Wales’ great beauty spots, lovely paintings, and even a hang glider ride!

Gower Coastal Walk : Rhossili Bay

Who IS that mysterious lady on the beach?  Walking with Meg always makes me smile :

Eurobodalla beaches : around Tuross

It’s a while since Jude took a walk.  She’s usually too busy in the garden.  Wild orchids and butterflies, a lovely reward :

A Walk to the Lighthouse

Another orchid, I think, from my lovely Gilly, enfolded in lushness with a dramatic dragonfly :

Walking to the mill

And in complete contrast, Cathy finds spellbinding beauty in the desert :

Upper Ute Canyon & the Coke Ovens Trail at Colorado National Monument

A magnificent collection and many thanks to one and all.  Join me any time on Jo’s Monday walk and I’ll try to make you welcome.  The sun is still shining here in the north east and it’s time I rejoined my English walking group.  Wishing you all a lovely week!