Jo’s Monday walk

Jo’s Monday walk : Paderne Medieval Fair

It seemed a strange time of year to have a Medieval Fair, and curiosity drew me to Paderne.  It’s another of those small Algarve villages that punches above its weight when it comes to the grand occasion.  It was a lovely day for a drive out into the countryside, so off we went, arriving unfashionably early.  Later we were glad that we had done, as parking became extremely fraught.  As it was, we had the streets almost to ourselves as we browsed the stalls, smiling and exclaiming at the range of goods.  Who to buy a hobby horse for, or maybe a many-legged puppet?

I was so busy looking that I scarcely noticed the beating of drums until the procession was almost upon me.  A curtsey may well have been in order, for I was swept contemptuously aside by an imperious lord.  Amends were made when a handsome knight stooped to kiss my hand, covering me with confusion.  Suitably embarrassed, I stepped back to watch the parade.

Drums beat and pipes skirled as they swayed towards me.  A lady with an enigmatic smile carried an unblinking owl, and another conjured with a crystal ball.  In a small square a stage had been set up, and here the entertainment began.  His Lordship welcomed the assembled crowd, many of whom were busy feasting at trestle tables.  The aroma of roasting meat filled the air, as dancing girls twirled voluptuously and masked drummers kept up the steady beat.  An accomplished violinist expertly filled any gaps.

The “village lasses” laughed and teased each other, flirting outrageously to the disgust of their “elders and betters”, who tried to shoo them away.

Next the turn of the pipe band, who blew up a storm before leading the procession off to another venue, by the church steps.  We followed, in search of refreshment, and were surprised to find camera crews setting up, and a young lady conducting interviews.  Time to move on.

The streets were colourfully attired, both for Christmas and the Fair, with traditional nuts, seeds and dried fruits stacked high on stalls.

In a quiet moment we slipped inside the church, where a simple crib scene had been set up in front of the altar.

A naive Presépio (Nativity scene) presided in a tiny hall opposite the church, and around the corner a donkey waited patiently in his stable.

There was little pause in the revelry and, wherever you lingered, you’d find your toes tapping to a constant rhythm.  No-one had been left out, with games and ‘medieval’ rides for the children and armed combat for their seniors.

Not forgetting the sinuously swaying lady with the veil.  All eyes were drawn to her swivelling hips and dainty feet, up on the stage.

Reluctantly we made our way out of the village for, soon after three in the afternoon, crowds were beginning to gather.  A main stage outside of the Medieval Fair provided boisterous entertainment with a more modern flavour.  I know which I preferred.

I’d like to add this post to Cathy’s beautiful Photography Invitation.  My intention was to capture the atmosphere of the fair in photos.

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No cake but we’ve over-indulged lately, wouldn’t you say?  And dried fruit must be a healthier option.  Many thanks to you all for wandering along with me.  Please find a little time to visit the good folk below.  And join me next time, here on Jo’s Monday walk?

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How about this for a brilliant idea?  Debbie knows I can only draw Stick Men  😦

An artistic walk in Milan

A distant deer is better than no deer, isn’t it, Janet?

Monday walk…waiting for sunrise

Street art!  Sandra wonders how you feel about it :

#Portugal Graffiti

Drake acknowledges that life isn’t always pretty :

Dark side of humanity

Take a step or two back in time with Anne :

Clevedon- A Broadchurch walk

Enjoy an unusually balmy January day with Irene :

A Chicago Adventure

Or an autumnal birthday jaunt, with Cathy :

Celebrating a birthday at Mary’s Rock

And lastly, a nice young man I’d like you to meet :

Trails to Trudge: Red Rock Canyon State Park

That’s it for another week.  Hope you enjoyed it.  Take care, and I’ll see you soon!

Jo’s Monday walk : Fuseta to Olháo

Something to always bear in mind when walking around our salt marshes is that they are tidal.  In a spirit of adventure, just after Christmas, I set out to explore the stretch between Fuseta and Olháo, entirely overlooking this fact.  In my defense, I was following the Algarve Cycle Trail and hadn’t envisioned that crossing water would be an issue.  On a glorious, sunny morning, I caught the train to Fuseta A (there are 2 stations in this small village, and the other one isn’t Fuseta B!)  A right turn will take you past the former fishermen’s houses and onto the coastal path.

Out in the bay the former coastguard station looks on without comment.  It’s a calm and peaceful scene, many people having not yet returned from the  holiday.  Birds wander, pecking and poking in the shallows, completely undisturbed when the occasional cyclist passes by.  The railway line also follows the coast, with minimal impact.  The colours of the heather are a lovely contrast in this sometimes dowdy landscape.

As often happens, a signpost throws confusion into the calm, either direction appearing to lead to Olháo.  The longer of the two, though interesting, doubles back on itself, but not before I have spotted the nesting storks, a rather endearing frog and a hoopoe.

Now it may seem a little early, but the sun is very warm and a decision is needed.  The perfect place to make it presents itself, a small restaurant, ‘O Farol’.  Does anyone mind a cake stop?  His and hers, of course!  Mine is the almond tart.

Decision made, we head in the general direction of the coast, hoping to be able to continue around the bay to Praia dos Cavacos.  And as luck would have it, we’re able to tiptoe around the edge of the sand and reach a boardwalk that looks quite new.  The surrounding buildings are unconventional, and ornamented with some rather wonderful artwork.

We are never out of touch with the quiet salt pans, which breathe life into this landscape.  You may have thought it all going swimmingly (bad choice of words  🙂  ) but a slight hiccup is just around the corner.

The railway track, which has followed us so patiently, decides to leap a gully full of water.  We shake our heads.  It’s too big a leap for human legs.  A family of cyclists approach from the direction of Olháo.  When they passed this way earlier the tide was out.  Bravely they hoist their cycles and cross the precarious track.  The alternative for us is a very long walk, so we grimace and hasten across the gap.  My heart is thudding.  If a train should suddenly appear… but minutes later we are in the heart of the nature reserve known as Quinta de Marim.

The plan was to skirt this park, and stay close to the campsite at Olháo.  But it’s simply a relief to be across the water.

The tidal mill is a beautiful sight at high tide.  It has not been operational since 1970, but the equipment still looks ready for action. I clamber up to the roof and look out across the water, to the low-lying barrier island, Armona.

The sun is low in the sky as we finally reach Olháo.  The contemporary theatre, itself a converted mill, stands in sharp contrast to the crumbling facades of neighbouring buildings.  Oblivious, the birds cavort on a high wire above.  Soon all trace of Christmas will be gone.

For us, it’s time to catch a train home.  If you should happen to repeat this walk, be very aware of the tide times.  And meanwhile, many thanks for accompanying me on the adventure that is the new year.

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Not too many walks to read as you get back into a routine.  Join me any time here on Jo’s Monday walk.  The welcome is always the same.

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Janet has enormous fun in a museum!

WNDRful walk

And we all know that Jackie never lets the side down :

Christmas Fare

No place like home, but Drake is happy to hang his hat in a number of places :

Not that boring

While Sandra takes me back to one of the most beautiful places I have ever been :

#Jerónimos Monastery – Lisbon, #Portugal

Irene shares the beauty of a beach in winter :

Winter Day on the Dunes

And Indra, the lush landscape of :

Ng Tung Chai Waterfalls-Hong Kong

In stark contrast, Karen takes us to Australia, where heat is a killer.  Do please donate something, if you can :

A parched walk in the Blue Mountains

Candy combines a history lesson with a great walk.  I had no idea!

The Roman Walls of Lugo

And Cathy takes us back to a very beautiful mosque :

Casablanca: Back to Hassan II, a walk along the Corniche, & Quartier des Habous 

Happy New Year to anyone I’ve missed.  Onwards and upwards!

Jo’s Monday walk : Benafim to Alte

I’m back in the Algarve for my last walk of the year.  Santa’s been, and I couldn’t ask for more.  It’s been an amazing year!  I’m taking you back into those hills that I love, to a tiny village called Benafim.  We are joining a group of choir singers for one of my nicest ever walking experiences.

The landscape is beautiful, with Rocha de Pena looming quietly in the background.  We meet our small group, mostly Portuguese, with uncertain smiles- an opportunity to practise the language- and set off through the village.  One of the group is carrying a toddler on his back, and an elderly gent relies heavily on his stick, so we know the pace will not be fast.  There are a couple of Scandinavians, who chat easily with us in fluent English.

Christmas is just around the corner and we observe the signs of celebration in the village.  It’s not a long walk, just 6.2km to the next village, Alte, but the gradient is steep in places.  Our guide is well aware of the limitations of the party, and stops at intervals to point out plants of interest.  Medicinal herbs and remedies, and one that was used in these hills before soap was widely available.  It’s warm, but with plenty of cloud cover.  There’s little shade up here in the heights.  We are following a short stretch of the Via Algarviana, which reaches end to end, the length of the Algarve.  We puzzle over some symbols on a rock- a message we don’t understand.

At the outset, we were asked if we would like a meal after the walk.  We are walking with some members of a choral group called Ossónoba.  Afterwards they will perform in the church in Alte, and we will be ‘very welcome’ to join them.  It seems like too good an opportunity to miss.

All are working up a healthy appetite when finally the rugged path levels, and we gaze down into a valley.  Alte is not far away, and it’s all downhill from here.  In the village, the sight of Singer sewing machines doubling as picnic tables makes me smile.

A hint of Autumn?  Yet it feels more like Spring.  We have been wondering how we will get back to Benafim, but this problem is easily solved.  A minivan takes the drivers back to collect our cars and bring them to Alte.  The rest of us proceed to the hotel, squeezing into the minivan with the excitedly chattering, choir members.  An elegant table awaits.

High on a hill, above the village, Hotel Alte is obviously used to hosting parties.  As we wait, a coach pulls into the car park and disgorges the rest of the choir, smartly attired in black and white.  Our walking friends  disappear off to the toilets, emerging transformed.  The choir are 40 strong!  Three of them sit at our table, and proceed to talk about their life, while we dine, very well indeed.  Meal over, we are treated to a rousing number, to stretch those vocal chords, before they all pile back onto the coach.  The best voice?  Our richly baritoned, minivan driver!

Is it any wonder that I love this village?  Still to come is the Christmas concert.  I had never been inside the church, so yet another treat in store.  The choir sings its heart out, in several languages; first surrounding us in the body of the church, and then from the gallery above.

Just down the road, Baltazar cocks an ear in his stable, and we drive contentedly home into the sunset.

Grupo Coral Ossónoba travel around Portugal (and occasionally abroad) performing.  Our walk together was a collaboration to promote the Via Algarviana.  Needless to say, we hope to take part in another, in the New Year.  We had a wonderful time.

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I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, but even more than that, I hope that the year to come is kind to us.  And maybe you’ll join me in another Jo’s Monday walk?  You’ll be more than welcome.

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I’m sure Jackie ate her share of festive food, aren’t you?

Holiday Cheer

Natalie started the holidays with a list.  Check out how she did!

Checking Off my Holiday Fun List

I’m always happy to admire this nation’s Capital, so thanks, Sandra :

Sidewalks and Tile – #Portugal

There’s nowhere Nicole would rather be than in the mountains :

Unforgettable Hikes along the Tour de Mont Blanc : Hike from Col des Montets to Lac Blanc

And such a nice atmosphere on the streets, with Drake :

Last Saturday street mood

Not much deters Becky when she feels like a walk :

We got nothing except seaweed

Margaret and Zoe were more than happy, just playing with bubbles :

Winter Walking on the South Bank

And not squidging in mud!

A Sunday walk, Accompanied by Thirteen Dogs

Let’s end with something a little more exotic, from Cathy :

Rick’s Café & a walking tour of Central Casablanca

Happy New Year to you all!  I shan’t be writing a review of the year, but I expect I’ll look back, as well as forward.  Thanks for your company!

Jo’s Monday walk : Christmas in Tavira

I know you don’t have much time for walking this week, but I thought you might like a little stroll with me?  Tavira is looking very pretty on an evening.  Come and see the lights!  We needn’t walk far.

Ponte Romana and the riverside are strewn with blue lights.  The Military Bridge is finally being dismantled, after 29 years as a ‘temporary’ structure.  That’s how things are around here.  Things take time!  But the end result is usually worth it.

It does leave a question mark over this New Year’s Eve firework display.  In recent years the fireworks have been launched from the Military Bridge.  Maybe they will use a barge on the river.

The fountain wasn’t here when we first came to Tavira.  We’ve seen a few changes.  In the austerity years the Christmas trees were simple wooden structures.  Now we sparkle and shine, and things are looking up.

Round the corner, couples pose in a shining star.  Last year we had a giant bauble, which now takes pride of place in Faro marina.

In the run up to Christmas there have been carol concerts, both in the old Mercado and in many of the churches.

Much needed rain arrived, putting a bit of a dampener on scurrying shoppers, and delaying our visit to the bombeiros Nativity scene.  Three days later, blue skies inevitably returned and the town was bathed in warm sunshine once more.

I shall be sad to leave, but I’m off to England today, to share a few Christmas hugs.  You’ll scarcely miss me before I’m back, on Thursday.  I hope that, wherever you are in the world, you get your share of hugs this festive season.  Wishing you joy always (and cake!)

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Not many shares this week, but all are very welcome.  Join me soon, on Jo’s Monday walk.

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Debbie always astounds me with her photography.  This one is a beauty- please don’t miss it!

A wander through Christmas at Kew

The sky can be endlessly fascinating.  Come cloud-gazing with Janet :

Sunset walk

Some places still look beautiful dripping wet!  Drake never minds the weather :

Beyond the rain

Emma showcases her beautiful artwork, in lovely Donegal :

The Burtonport Old Railway Walk, Ireland

While Eunice pursues her love of street art, in Dublin :

A day out in Dublin

Cathy regretfully completes her pilgrimage :

A day in Santiago de Compostela

And Hikeminded shares some beautiful images from Germany :

Odenwald: Engelberg Monastery and Miltenberg

Lastly, spare a thought for Australia.  What a nightmare this Winter has been for so many!

Hills of Sand

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Jo’s Monday walk : Cultured in Coimbra

Central to the University of Coimbra lies a vast square, looking down from which you have the city at your feet.  To reach it you have a steady climb, up through winding streets.  On a fine day, a magnificent view will be your reward.  Sadly, our skies were grey and misted with a fine drizzle, but we were celebrating a birthday and determined to enjoy it.  A 45 minute train ride had brought us here, from Aveiro, out on the coast.

In Roman times Coimbra was known as Aeminium.  An aqueduct and traces of mosaic discovered in this area date back 2,000 years.  The first Muslim occupation of the Iberian peninsula took place between 711 and 715, and Coimbra surrendered in 714.  Many of the street names survive from that period, and the alcáçova, or fortified palace, where the governor of the city lived, formed the basis of the Royal Palace of the first kings of Portugal.  During this time the high part of town was walled and fortified.  Coimbra was reconquered by the Christians permanently in 1064, becoming the capital of the first Portuguese dynasty, in the ever complicated history of this country, in 1131.  It remained so until 1255, when the seat of power was transferred to Lisbon.

It was almost by chance that we came upon the Sé, or Old Cathedral, in Largo da Sé Velha.  Built in the Romanesque style, on the site of a temple dedicated to Santa Maria, from the outside the cathedral resembles a small fortress.  Steep steps lead to the main portal, beyond which a hush descends.  My eyes alighted on huge seashells, the like of which I had never seen.  Labels proclaim them Tridacma shells, from the Indian Ocean.  The alcoves on either side of the nave feature compelling spotlit portraits, while the walls gleam with 16th century edged Múdejar tiles from Seville.

The Gothic cloister, begun around 1218, is the oldest in Portugal.  Unintentionally it’s a green space for small children at play.  Leaving the cathedral, it’s an upwards slog to the University complex.  Robed nuns paid us scant attention, going  about their business within the solid walls.

If I knew anything at all about Coimbra it was that the University was beautiful, and had been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2013.  Founded in Lisbon by King Dinis, in 1290, it alternated between the two cities till it was definitively established in Coimbra in 1537.  It is one of the oldest in Europe, and was the only one in the Portuguese-speaking world until 1911.  The life of the city revolves around the state-run university.

We purchased a composite ticket for the Palace and the Joanine Library.  The latter had to be viewed on a specific time slot so we headed first to St. Michael’s Chapel, where we gaped upwards at the painted, arched ceiling and astounding baroque organ.  Just time for a coffee before descending the Minerva stairs to patiently await our turn.

Finally we were shepherded into cool chambers with dense walls and arched ceilings, not quite sure at what tomes we were looking.  This was just a preliminary.  The gasps came later.  With over 200,000 books, mostly in Latin and pre-18th century, the Joanine Library (named for King Joáo V) is recognised as the most sumptuous university library ever made.  The 72 shelves, arranged over 2 floors in 3 rooms, are minutely decorated with Chinese motives.  I had thought the library in Trinity College, Dublin amazing, but this one defied description.  Nor were we allowed to take photos, conservation being necessarily important.  The books have an unusual ally- a colony of bats who entertain themselves at night by feasting on wayward insects.  This was one of those occasions when I was glad I’d purchased a full colour souvenir brochure.  As I explained last week, I’ve lost all except one of my photos from this visit to Coimbra.  I’ve used my husband’s photos throughout this post, but I managed to find a video to give you a brief glimpse inside the library.  It barely does it justice.

Still awed at what we’d seen, we continued around the Palace and out onto the balcony for misty views down to the river.  During the Middle Ages Coimbra was divided into an upper city, where the clergy and aristocracy lived, and a lower city for merchants, artisans and labourers, down beside the River Mondego.  Since 1772, the Botanical Garden has wrapped a green cloak around the skirts of the city, combining the beauty of nature with education and research.

A cobbled path leads from the rear of the gardens down to the riverside, where fountains play majestically across the water, reminding me of Geneva.  A footbridge spans the river, and playing fields line its banks.  We crossed to the far shore to look back at the city, before returning to the station.  Take a more comprehensive look at Coimbra, with Julie Dawn Fox.  She lives not far away, and has many suggestions for walking throughout Portugal, too.  And incidentally, if you can’t face the climb, there is a bus that will take you up to the University grounds.

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Not so many walks this week.  People are busy with Christmas preparations.  I hope to have another Jo’s Monday walk next week but I’ll understand if you can’t join me.  Even though I promise to bring cake!

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Janet made me smile with this title and I’ve been singing it ever since!

Monday walk…like an Egyptian

Drake always makes me smile!  You will love this burst of heat and colour :

Genuine authenticity

Much more subtle colour from Georgina, tempting me across the border into Spain :

Autumn Walks in the Sierra Aracena

A nice bit of variety, and some daily exercise, with Yvette :

Photos from Daily Walks (2020 Countdown 13 of 31)

And a truly beautiful bit of night photography from Becky :

Christmas at the Botanics

While Cathy finally completes her journey :

(Camino day 47) Pedrouzo to Santiago

Wishing you all a great week!  We have a rainy forecast here so there will be some delighted skipping in puddles.

 

Jo’s Monday walk : Aveiro & surrounds

Art Deco Museum- copyright Mike Bradley

You can look forward to something too much, can’t you?  You could definitely say that about our couple of days in Aveiro, back in July.  The city almost made the itinerary on our Porto trip, a few years ago, but we opted for a day in Guimaraes instead.  Aveiro seemed to warrant more time than that.  I’d seen photos of the wonderfully painted barcos moliceiros that ride the canals, not to mention the candy striped houses at neighbouring Costa Nova.  Both irresistible, in prospect.

A birthday is always a good excuse for a jaunt.  It wasn’t mine, but that seldom stops me.  I was surprised that he chose to drive us there, but it did add flexibility to the plans.  And so we left the Algarve for the ‘cooler’ north.  Except that the dial on the car read 36C when we arrived.  Several degrees warmer than our sultry south.  More of a surprise was the motorway, that ran parallel with the canal, right into the city and onward in a rush to the coast.  Aveiro was much bigger than I had anticipated.  Time to stow the car in the hotel garage and take to the streets.  A canal boat with my name on it must be waiting out there.

No, not this one, but there actually was a lovely green boat, named Santa Joana.  A sign, if ever there was, though the only certainty was that a boat ride would be taken, on the morrow.  Wikipedia reveals that Santa Joana was, in fact, the daughter of King Afonso V, and spent her life in the convent in Aveiro.  Meanwhile, a walk around the canal network seemed highly desirable.

The city rose to prominence on the strength of its salt production, stemming back to Roman times, and seaweed harvest.  The moliço, or seaweed, was used as fertiliser before chemicals were developed for the purpose.  The flat-bottomed gondolas were used to transport it across the lagoon.  The silting up of the river in the 16th and 17th centuries hindered the trading of the seaport and led to the closure of the canals, and stagnation of the waters of the lagoon.  The network of canals we see today were artificially constructed and opened in 1808, bringing prosperity back with them.

Canal Central is a grand sight!  The graceful boats, with their highly accomplished crew of two- one steering and the other providing commentary and skipping nimbly onto the stern to signal manoeuvres- glide across the water in a serenade of colour and ceremony.  Out past the Rossio park towards Canal das Piramides, and the salt pans, then under the bridge onto Canal de Sáo Roque.  Old warehouses rub shoulders with modern developments here.  A sleek bit of turning, and some hand signals guide the vessels through the narrowest of openings.  Fascinating to watch how well they coordinate their efforts.  In high season 25/28 boats ply their carefully orchestrated trade.  Part way along Sáo Roque a new bridge was under construction.  A gravity- defying curve of metal suspended over the water, I lingered over the reflections.

Much of the architecture is very beautiful.  A combination of art deco and those so Portuguese azulejo tiles.  An atmospheric fish market and a plethora of restaurants, huddled in back streets.  A cathedral of contrasts- wonderful old chorister seats, in dark wood carved with African masks; an antique pipe organ and its shiny new counterpart.  Churches, of course.  Huge Dom Pedro park, with its golden yellow villas and Monet bridges.  Two things not to miss : The Art Deco Museum, beside Canal Central, and a confectionery called Ovos Moles.  Gooey marzipan in a soft, seashell sculpted case.  We sampled ours at a tiny café by the canal, A Barrista.

Back through the city to Canal do Cojo and a sleek extravaganza of shopping mall, topped with a garden roof terrace.  Time to sit in the sun and watch and wave, as the boats sweep beneath a bridge decked in ribbons.  Sadly I can’t show you.  Soon after our return from Aveiro I was having laptop difficulties.  In trying to assist, my husband accidentally deleted the vast majority of my photos from the trip.  To this day I have been unable to recover most of them.  I was devastated at the time, but I’ve used what I have, including some from my phone and a handful borrowed, and credited, from him.

I loved the canals, the camaraderie of the crews, and the old part of Aveiro, but it’s fair to say, nothing was quite as I expected.  If I hadn’t lost the photos I’d have regaled you with more posts.  I’ll simply say that the weather changed, and the plan to spend the birthday by the beach at Costa Nova wasn’t feasible.  A short visit on our homeward journey left us both underwhelmed.  The stripey houses facing the lagoon had sacrificed much of their charm to commercialism, and the beach was no match for the ones here, at home.

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Time to smile, and share.  Many thanks to you all for reading, and for your welcome contributions.  Join me any time, here on Jo’s Monday walk.

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Let’s start out with Jude.  This is such a beautiful post.  Life is good, indeed :

A Bracing Beach Walk

I suspect the Christmas market will be brightening this place now, Drake :

Last days of November

Iceland doesn’t have the most reliable weather, but it is undeniably beautiful :

Enduring the Laugavegur Trail

Nor would Switzerland be a place to seek winter warmth, but Mercedes loves it :

The beautiful lakes of Flims

Someone else with a love for mountains is Nicole :

A Panoramic Hike along the Grand Balcon Nord to the Mer de Glace in Chamonix

160 slices of cake!  Even by my standards, that’s a lot, Jackie!

Cake Vendor

Alice likes cake too, but let’s start with a main course :

Fish Heads and Frames

How well do you know South London?  Anne is a good tour guide :

A walking tour of historic Southwark

While Anabel is ‘away with the fairies’ this week :

Going up Doon Hill

Mel has big plans for 2020!  How about you?

The Camino Less Travelled in Spain – Camino San Salvador

But Cathy is just one stop from her goal on this epic journey :

(Camino day 46) Arzúa to Pedrouzo

Taking us back though a shared European history, in his own inimitable style, it’s Andrew!

A Walk Through Corfu Town

Denzil too enjoys sharing stories.  Perhaps you saw the prequel to this :

A walk around Alden Biesen

Australia and Corfu couldn’t be more different, but they’re both islands, with lizards! Agree Carol?

Small Town, Big Walk

I’m always on the lookout for something different, and this is fabulous!

Sunday Walk Through Paltan Bazaar Dehradun

Next week I’ll take you to the university city of Coimbra.  It was a grey day, and I have just one single surviving photograph, plus a few of my husband’s, but it’s too interesting a place to ignore.  Hope to see you then.  Take care!

Jo’s Monday walk : Mesquita & the Fonte

Follow the N270 inland from Tavira and you come to an area of gentle undulations.  After Santa Catarina, look for a sign saying Mesquita, off to your left.  Park close by the restaurant Lagar da Mesquita, and you find yourself in a fairly easy walking environment, with a number of enticements.  I’m not talking cake just yet, so don’t go getting your hopes up.

Relatively easy to miss in the long grass, the Monte Negro well is a solid structure, of unknown origin but believed to be several centuries old.  On a blue sky day with crisp shadows, bright blooms nod and a dog barks at us, but still wags his tail.

A gentle incline takes you up the Ribeira do Bengado valley to a trig point blessed with two windmills.  Neither seem to be functional right now.

In the distance, the faintest shimmer of ocean glints in the sunlight.  Down in the valley, we walk beneath trailing branches, on a carpet of leaves and fallen acorns from the many oaks.  A cross stands, all alone, on a rough hewn wall.

The path emerges beside a cottage rich in bougainvillea.  Another dog inspects us, through closed gates, and decides we’re harmless.

Soon we come to the natural Fonte and a bit of fun.  Vigorous scrubbing demonstrates how it might have been done, ‘back in the day’, while a few turns of the handle easily produces water from the well.  Wash day in the sun!

Grapefruit dangle temptingly over a fence, and it’s time for the luxury of a coffee stop.

We’re on our way to the last of the features of this walk- the Geoponto, and the beautiful ornamental rock known as limestone breach.  Going far back in time, much of the Algarve was beneath the ocean.  Remnants of coral and fossilised animals from that era can still be found in the limestone, quartz and feldspar which make up the local geology.

A fascinating prospect, isn’t it?  The rock is now used in the building industry, and for decoration.   Across the fields the trail leads back to the road.  An empty rill passes another water wheel and soon the crossroads signed Lagar da Mesquita appear.

I hope you enjoyed our walk today.  Even if you only came for the cake.

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Time to share a few more walks.  Many thanks to my contributors and all of you who’re happy to walk along with us.  Join me next time here on Jo’s Monday walk.  And maybe bring a walk of your own?

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I do like quirky, don’t you?  An odd little piece of Cornwall, on Jude’s doorstep :

Hayle: Penpol Terrace Walk

Just let it happen, with Drake.  It could lead anywhere :

Unplanned bike ride

I know somebody who loves apple pie, Alice.  Especially with custard!

Historic Town Famous for Apple Pie

Speaking of which, let’s see what Jackie’s got this week :

High Tea

Natalie’s staying indoors, but surrounded by beautiful flowers :

7 Tidbits about Chrysanthemums

Janet’s indoors too but her interests are rather different :

Monday walk….but not too far

While Mama Cormier shows us around her neighbourhood :

My Monday walk on Tuesday

And for those of you who like snow with your spectacular scenery :

A Quick Jaunt to Moab, Utah

Or you can carry on the Camino, with Cathy :

(Camino day 45) Melide to Arzúa

It’s December and I’m sure a lot of you are leading busy lives.  Please don’t stress too much!  It won’t make Christmas any better.