Jo’s Monday walk

Jo’s Monday walk : Sunny Seville, on a mission

Metropol Parassol

This is probably not the image that first comes to mind when someone mentions Seville, but it’s an image that grabbed my attention when I first saw it, back in 2011.  Metropol Parasol is familiarly known as Las Setas (the mushrooms) but it reminds me of a giant waffle.  Maybe I had breakfast on the brain, for the sun was just cresting the surrounding buildings as I walked all around the perimeter.  I settled myself at a convenient table in Grupo Sala to devour an avocado torrada, my eyes moving appreciatively from my plate to this surreal vision.

During mundane excavations in the Plaza de la Encarnación, Roman ruins were discovered.  Work came to a halt, but the finds can be seen in a museum beneath Metropol Parasol.  Sadly I did not manage to see these, nor to ascend to the walkway to look down upon the city.  I was much too early, and my wandering footsteps had far to roam that day.

A maze of calles weave Seville together, and at every second corner there appears an image of a saint, or a church.  I counted San Pedro and Santa Inés, Santa Catalina and San Andrés, San Nicholas and Santa Magdalena, San José and Santa Marta, all looking down on life with gravity.

Slow progress is made through these narrow streets.  The light and shade captivate, each alley and doorway cloaking in mystery the life within.  At a busy crossroads I hear the smart-stepping click of horses hooves, and am just in time to capture the smiling bride and groom.

Seville literally hums with life, an invitation to flamenco or a bodega awaiting everywhere in the heart of this city.  In Plaza de San Salvador the buzz of excitable Spanish conversation stops me in my tracks.  That and the sheer beauty of the square, glowing rosy pink in the sunlight.

But I have an appointment to keep, and must press on.  It’s Halloween and, forsooth, there’s a witch or two about.  It’s courtyards that entrance me, and the spellbinding rhythm of tapping feet.  A city of saints and sinners.

Ahead lies the prize.  The Giralda Tower, beckoning, from a distance.  Soon I am within touching distance, a little sad to see it swathed in scaffolding, but no matter.  I am here on a mission.

In a rooftop bar, overlooking the mighty cathedral, me and Sue (Words Visual) finally get to have that long conversation.

We watch the men at work on the scaffolding, and later there’s a passionate performance of flamenco.  An evening meal, with cake, of course!

You were worth every step of the journey, Sue.  Thank you so much for your lovely company.

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And thanks to everyone who’s walked with me this week.  It’s always a pleasure to walk with you.  Join me any time, here on Jo’s Monday walk.

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I was quite excited to see where Drake was taking me this week, because I’ve actually been there before :

Eight hundred year old icon

The challenge?  To make a power station look good in the rain.  Debbie’s up for it!

Not my usual south bank walk

When it rains, Jackie cooks or reads a book :

Morning Coffee

Meet Geanie, all the way from Utah!  I’m sure you’ll have fun together :

The Best Travel Destination Might be in Your Own Backyard

Irene always finds beauty close to home too :

Morning on the Marsh

I may be just a Stroller/sometimes Strider, but I love a little ambition in a walker.  Go Mel!

Camino Madrid 2020 – the nuts and bolts of walking in Spain

And Cathy, of course, with the challenge now behind her :

(Camino day 42) Sarria to Portomarín & ruminations (week 6)

Jude has been trying to tempt me with an English autumn.  Thanks for the memories, hon :

The Lanes in November

While Sandra was high up in Lisbon- great vantage points!

Miradouros in Lisbon, #Portugal

Finding a little magic in the Welsh hills, let’s finish with a lovely joyful walk with Becky :

Time travel in Wales

Next week I shall be continuing to walk through Seville.  Hope to see you then.  Meanwhile, take care.  Wishing you all a great week!

Jo’s Monday walk : Sáo Brás de Alportel, then and now

One Monday morning, earlier this year, I was wandering in the sleepy back streets of Sáo Brás de Alportel.  In a ruin mostly used for car parking I stopped to examine the remnants of old photos pasted onto the walls.   This is a town rich in tradition, where paper flowers are liberally used to decorate the streets at Easter time.  The scenes feature a quiet nearby street, the bombeiros or fire brigade, a local dance, and a lorry load of cork.  A museum in the town is dedicated to the cork industry, and piles of cork can often be seen drying in the surrounding hills.  The use of Monochrome can make a scene look ancient, but in Sáo Brás the past never seems very far away.

Until the council decided a change of image was needed.  New fountains on slick marble squares, and metal animal sculptures now grace the centre of town.  It’s surprising what a game changer this is.  The whole mood of the place is altered.

In the same way, replacing the colour in a photo with monochrome creates a change of mood.

It’s a gentle palette in Sáo Bras.  Washing adorns the wall as it must always have done.  Azulejo panels softly crown each doorway, predominately blue and white.  Modern art blends with old and crumbling buildings.  And in the countryside, bleached fields patiently await a turn in the season.

But it will take more than a few sculptures to separate Sáo Brás from its claim to antiquity.  You can follow a Roman road through the back streets of town.  And where better to savour that most traditional of Portuguese tarts?

My walk today isn’t at all what I intended, but I was having far too much fun on Saturday and left my camera and phone at a party.  I hadn’t downloaded my photos from last week’s adventure in Seville, so that will have to wait.  Not half so famous and a fraction of its size, but I think this little town in the Algarve hills has its own brand of charm.  I hope Patti will accept my contribution to the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge this week.

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Not too many shares this week, so please take the time to visit if you can.  Many thanks to all who participate.  Contributions are always welcome here on Jo’s Monday walk. Have a great week everybody!

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I love a leafy hollow in the woods.  Drake takes us speeding through :

Life beyond forestry

Natalie takes us through some very different woods to a beach :

Hiking the Tonquin Trail

Lots of leaves about this week.  Good to share a smile with Lady Lee :

The Weekly Smile for October

And linger a while with Irene :

Autumn on the Trail

A healthy splash of colour from Eunice this week :

Dublin street art

And a city I’d love to revisit.  West coast with Alice :

San Diego Waterfront- Seaport Village

How much do you know about Waterloo?  Denzil takes us through some of the history :

Walking the Battlefield of Waterloo

While Cathy is still on the Camino, but the end is in sight :

(Camino day 41) Triacastela to Sarria

Who doesn’t like to end on a high?  Thanks so much, Gilly  🙂

A glorious November day

I’m easing off this week after a slightly manic time.  Many thanks to all of you for following along and for your good wishes.

Jo’s Monday walk : Morgado do Quintáo

You might know, I spent time with my daughter last week.  Last year we managed to celebrate my birthday together, culminating in a rather lovely wine tour.  Happy to repeat the experience, if not the exact event, I searched for somewhere to wander through a vine or two.  Morgado do Quintáo, not far from Silves, provided the very place.

Following Google Maps, we thought we had the vineyard nicely pinned, but entry was not quite so simple.  Eventually we decided on some blue gates at the rear of the property, and a friendly voice over the intercom told us we were in the right place.  We followed a rough trail round to the farmhouse, and were delighted to find that we had company for the sampling.  An Irish couple and 2 young folk from Norway were waiting beneath the 2,000 year old olive tree.  Moments later our hostess joined us, and the tasting began.

We were sampling 3 wines, cultivated from ancient vines of Crato Branco and Negra Mole.  The vineyard was being brought to life, after years of neglect, with careful nurturing.  A wonderful spread of petiscos (nibbles) accompanied our wines, including bread, meats, local cheese, honey and delicious plum chutney.  The small businesses help each other out, more than happy to share their fine produce.  We chatted amongst ourselves, sharing our stories with each sip of wine, alongside the history of the grape.  An affectionate retriever made eyes at my daughter, when the owner wasn’t looking.  Just a morsel of meat? So hard to resist.

The wind was a little chill beneath the olive tree and I took myself off to play around with the flamingos bobbing on the pool, until it was time for the vineyard tour.  I love the russets of the vines at this time of year, the harvest safely stored.

It’s not a large enterprise, but they are hopeful that the business will grow.  If enthusiasm reaps rewards, they should do well.  The old farmhouse hides a wealth of antique machinery, and a wardrobe that seems to invite entry, for surely Narnia must be beyond those doors?

I gleefully acquired the last jar of plum chutney in the low key sales pitch afterwards.  Next year they will host their first wedding.  Already there is guest accommodation on site.  So easy to relax here with a good glass of wine.  I hope you enjoyed the experience.

Not too much walking this week, but I can always offer you great company.  As we drove off, the retriever lolloped alongside of us, his tail a golden plume in the setting sun.  I think we made a friend.

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Many thanks to all of you who stroll with me on a Monday, or any other day.  Feel free to join me here with a walk of your own, or simply enjoy the walks I share.  Details are over on my Jo’s Monday walk page.

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Let’s start with a very special walk with my Australian friend, Miriam.  Please do read and share :

Light the Night

Janet is back from a break.  Guess where?

Monday walk… in a French forest (again)

There are some good-looking cities around, and Lady Lee has enjoyed many :

Dusseldorf

Candy shares a less well-known but beautiful city, too :

Parks, walls and squares in Leon

Can you have too much of a good thing?  Jackie has her own view :

Thankful Abundance

Meanwhile, Drake can always make something out of nothing.  It’s a skillset!

Haphazardly around the corner

If you want to walk in the Lake District, Tea Bee will be your willing guide :

Hike to Haystacks, Lake District, Cumbria

And if you’re thinking of doing the Camino, Cathy has very many experiences to share :

(Camino day 39) Trabadelo to O’Cebreiro 

(Camino day 40) O’Cebreiro to Triacastela

A man after my own heart, Andrew- not to mention his lovely wife :

Travels in Portugal, A Wild River and a Cliff Top Walk in Odeceixa

And what can I say about Meg- my perfect companion :

Walks around home : October (Part 1)

Or Margaret, busy squirreling away for the winter :

(Almost) all is safely gathered in….

There are some places that simply weave a spell.  Share one with Ann Christine :

Thursday Thoughts – Tbilisi, A Feast for the Eye

That’s all for another week.  I hope you have a good one.  P.S No cakes today!  They’re all here.

Jo’s Monday walk : Along the Guadiana

I’ve been acting tour guide for the past couple of weeks, so not a lot of time for serious walking, and it’s been too hot.  Still, I’d hate you to think I’m taking it easy.  The first of our Striders walks kicked off the season with a good stiff uphill, above the River Guadiana, to get the lungs working.  There was much puffing, panting and grumbling, but it was great to be back in this glorious scenery.  Catching up on the lives of our walking friends took some of the pain away, and soon we were looking back down again.

You’ll notice how dry it all looks.  It’s been a long summer and the reservoirs are low.  Almost every year the Algarve faces this problem and somehow the plants survive to burst forth in another glorious Spring.

There’s often a reward at the top of a hill, and so it was with this one.  I’m told it’s the oldest intact windmill in the Algarve.  I peered at it from every angle, even venturing cautiously inside this photographer’s dream.

I speculated on how it must have been on this hilltop the day the wind took the roof off, half expecting to see the witch’s red shoes peeping out from under the vivid rust.

There’s a pathos to the abandoned houses in these hills, wells and bread ovens on standby for better days.  Here and there a hint at occupancy, washing on the line and pomegranates ripe for picking.  Urns with a sense of humour.

A blaze of parched colour fills my vision, and then a gentle descent to the river.  No time to stop for food today.  Tour guide duties beckon.

But we do snatch a swift drink, with a lovely couple who are seldom far from an icecream.

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I hope you enjoyed our company this week.  I’m going to take a week off walking duties as my lovely daughter arrives soon and I need to give her full attention.  I’ll be back with a Jo’s Monday walk on 28th October.  Meanwhile I have some great shares for you.

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I love a lass who doesn’t let the weather put her off.  Thanks, Anabel!

Cowden Japanese Garden and Castle Campbell

You can count on having fun with Debbie :

A whirl around Oktoberfest

And funnily enough, Lady Lee was there this week too!

Oktoberfest 2019

While Eunice is in Limerick, and what a lovely place it looks!

A day in Limerick

But I’m afraid Drake has me wanting to escape!

Inside, so much inside

Some great street art, doors, windows, and food- of course!  It’s Jackie!

Cafe del Teatre

How closely do you look at your surrounds?  Meg doesn’t miss a detail :

Eurobodalla Beaches: Rosedale

And Suzanne is always aware of the beauty that surrounds her :

Hiking in Porcupine Gorge National Park

Let’s end with Cathy, smiling in the rain :

(Camino day 38) Cacabelos to Trabadelo

Bye for now!  Take care till the next time.

Jo’s Monday walk : Ferragudo

An artist could rarely want for inspiration in Ferragudo.  Nestled in the mouth of the River Arade, blinking sleepily across at booming Portimáo, the village almost restores your faith in the Algarve that was.  I had come for a very special boat trip, but first I need to set the scene.

A more painterly sky I have never seen, gossamer white clouds drifting lazily out to sea.  As you wander into town, it’s hard to avoid the evidence of artists at work.  The fisherfolk cast their nets, fore and aft, and count their catch.

A tidy tangle of lobster pots adorn the quayside, as lobster pots ought.  Cobbled and petal carpeted streets creep upwards from the bombeiros, the fire brigade rarely essential in such a watery realm.

A castle on a beach!  Who’d have thought it?  A romantic image juxtaposed with modern marina on the far shore.  Newly laid stone walls, protecting the villas of today with remnants of yesterday.

Slow steps leading upwards to the church and a sublime outlook.  Narrow alleys to follow, back down to shore and sea.

Lying in wait on the harbourside, more industry.  A little gossip.  A snooze.  A shy maiden.

Azulejos tell life as it was, and never will be again, but life goes steadily on here in Ferragudo.  Gently, thoughtfully, without haste.

Back on the quayside all is calm, but fisherfolk are always busy.

The sun sets as they scull homewards, one last gaze sweeping the bay, ensuring all is well.

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I hope you enjoyed sharing Ferragudo and the Arade estuary with me.  I do believe it’s a special place.  And now it’s time to share some of your walks.  Many thanks for keeping me company here on Jo’s Monday walk

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Still wandering happily in Dublin, with Eunice :

Another day in Dublin – Part 2

Lady Lee takes one last look at Japan :

Dotonbori

What’s Jackie got for us this week?

Food stand

Oops, missed Joe last week!

Jo’s Monday Walk – I call it the Super Walk

Street art is best when it makes you think, like this from Ulli :

Artbase Festival 2019 – Murals in Rural Ruins

Drake rarely abandons me :

Abandoned stories

And I try to keep track of Denzil, whenever I can :

16km hike around Orp-Jauche

While Cathy Caminos on :

(Camino day 37) Ponferrada to Cacabelos

And Carol explores a little of Western Australia.  Pop in for scones, why don’t you?

Outback History

That’s it from me for now.  Life continues to be hectic, in a good way.  More visitors arrived last night so we’ll be exploring the Algarve together.  I’ll catch up with you all when I can.  Stay well and be happy!

Jo’s Monday walk : Alvor & the Estuary

In the 15 years that I’ve been coming to the Algarve, Alvor has grown and grown.  Given its situation, tucked into an estuary on the far side of busy Portimáo, and with lovely Lagos at the curve of the bay, it was inevitable.  It’s one of those fishing villages I used to love to nosey around.  One of the huge attractions of recent years has been the addition of a boardwalk, which takes you far out into the estuary.  So, I’m delving back into my summer memories, to give you a lovely simple stroll this week.

It didn’t start quite that way for me, because I was joining the end of season rally with Todos a Caminhar, along with a couple of hundred others.  Off we all romped, through the village, to the bemusement of quiet Sunday morning folk.  Up and around the back of the ever expanding hotels and apartments, until I stopped for a breather and to admire the cliff top view.

People were just beginning to awaken to a lazy breakfast by the pool as I descended to the boardwalk.  Save for young families and those determined to get a good spot on the beach, as near to the sea as possible.

It’s a good place to walk off breakfast, and if you continue along the coast you will earn your reward.  I just managed to catch some last blooms.

An ideal subject for Becky’s October Squares?  I hope you have your lines ready for tomorrow, but don’t forget to square them!

You can loop back towards the village from several points along the boardwalk, casting envious looks across the water.  Not everyone can afford a mansion, but anyone can eat cake!  Someone I know insists that pavlova contributes to his ‘5 a day’.  Who’s arguing?

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Short and sweet this week!  I have company from England for the next few weeks, but I still have things I want to share, so I’ll do my best to continue.  Give me a nudge if I miss you?  Here, or over at Jo’s Monday walk.

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A walk I simply had to include!  Cheryl shows us how very beautiful is Korea (you need a head for heights) :

Hiking Ulsanbawi Rock on Chuseok

And Lady Lee treats us to more of Japan :

Miyajima

While Debbie takes me to familiar and much-loved territory :

Promenade from King’s Cross to Paddington

Jackie continues her pursuit of food, drink and a little art :

Rise and Shine

Drake shares countryside and city.  Take your choice :

Surrounded by nature

Attention-competition

While Eunice explores another well-known city :

A day in Dublin(1)

And Cathy stays on track, with castles in Spain :

(Camino day 36) El Acebo to Ponferrada

Bye for now!  Take care of each other till the next time.

Jo’s Monday walk : Frolics at the Fair

Back in the Algarve, the round of Summer festivals was still in full swing on my return.  Even though I’ve been many times before, the Medieval Fair at Castro Marim is quite irresistible.  The village, with its mighty twin castles, comes alive to a skirl of pipes and rhythmic, marching feet.  Every conceivable vantage point is occupied for the parade- some of them quite precarious.  I was one of the hypnotised audience.

But first, a wander through the streets and stalls to see what’s new.  I don’t seem to be able to escape colourful electricity boxes these days.  In Castro Marim the eyes follow you everywhere.  It’s just a little disconcerting.

But once you’ve paid your couple of euros admission to the festival you can leave them behind.  I disdained a cardboard crown.  It didn’t offer the same protection from the fierce rays of the sun as my wide-brimmed hat.  I did foolishly buy earthenware mugs to sup from.  What to do with them when your hands are full?  Balance them on a wall, and hope.  A lesson learned for next time- don’t buy, or bring a bigger bag!

Of course, there are plenty of craft stalls and you might just spot that purchase you really need.  Or you can sit awhile, under a canopy, and absorb the sounds and smells and watch folk drift by.  Someone is sure to offer you a bite to eat, and distractions are plentiful.

It feels like the whole village joins in, from the smallest girls, proudly paraded by parents, to mature gents and their ladies, delighted to don costumes and smile graciously at the watching crowds.  Promptly at 3, banners and band turn the corner and the entertainment begins.

Interaction with the crowd is part of the fun, and stilt walkers stride menacingly around, while tumblers joke and totter through the streets, two of them frolicking with a large green ball.  There is a menagerie of animals, from carefully controlled hawks to an endearing goose girl, from goats tugging at their leash to grouchy camels.  You can’t help but be drawn in by the atmosphere.

But let’s tear ourselves away for a while!  The parade will continue on and up around the castle, pausing for a little showmanship, and to rest the legs from the wearying cobbles.  Many entertainments later there will be a banquet within the castle walls, but for now I’m needing a quiet place.

I did mention that there are two castles at Castro Marim.  The fortress of Sáo Sebastiáo is rarely open to the public, and broods over the town in silence.  A former stronghold of the Knights Templar, it is used for demonstrations of combat during the festival, in a very low key way.  The ruins are treacherous underfoot in places, and a steep climb up from the village, and this tends to keep the crowds away.  If you’re looking for a breathing space, coupled with wonderful views, this is the one.  Just take it slowly.

High on the walls you have views of the salt pans and, far beyond, to neighbouring Spain, across the River Guadiana.  You can well imagine how all conquering it must have felt, looking down on your enemies from here.

Did you notice the pile of saIt in front of the bridge?  It’s harvest time for the salt in summer, and everywhere mounds have been raked into the sun to dry. Castro Marim uses this asset uniquely in the winter.  A beautiful nativity scene graces the village hall, the bed of salt crystals on which it lies looking for all the world like snow.

You can spend as much, or as little, time as you want at the Medieval Fair, and of course there are cake stalls.  I’m not going to indulge you this week, but the fair runs for 4 days in late August, and I can highly recommend being there, if you can.

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Time to introduce a few more walks.  Many thanks to my regular contributors, and to those of you who’re just passing by.  Join me any time here on Jo’s Monday walk.  I’ll try to make you welcome.

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I do love a good cascade, especially in Debbie’s company :

A lakeside locomotion in Chisinau

Alice takes us to a windswept beach :

Georgia’s Peach of a Beach

A free walking tour, with Mel, that I know you’re going to love :

A Winter Wander in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney

Lady Lee shares another gem from her tour of Japan :

Sensó-ji and Meiji Jingu

And you know there’s always time for food at Jackie’s place :

Street Food

I can rely on Drake for humour and good company, in some of the most beautiful settings :

Old but still with attitude

But you will seldom see a more beautiful walk on here than this share from Ann-Christine :

Thursday Thoughts – Centre of the Earth

It never ceases to amaze me, the beauty on our doorsteps.  I’ve borrowed this, Lynn.  Hope you don’t mind?

Local Walks: Tofoni at Larrabee

I end, as so often, counting the footsteps with Cathy :

(Camino day 35) Rabanal del Camino to El Acebo & ruminations (week 5)

That’s it for another week.  Hope things are good in your part of the world.  Take care till next time.