Jo’s Monday walk

Jo’s Monday walk : Over the border

I’m keeping it short this week, rather like my trip to Spain.  In fact, this is a visit I wasn’t planning to share, but sometimes, despite my best intentions, the camera starts clicking of it’s own volition.  Before you know it, I’ve got another Monday walk!

I’ve mentioned several times that on Sundays I generally take part in Todos a Caminhar (Let’s all walk!).  A health initiative, organised by the local council, the walks take part across the Algarve and, once a year, extend across the Guadiana to Ayamonte parish, on the Spanish border.  Last year we went along, on a romp through salt marshes very similar to those in our Algarve.  You might wonder about the point of this.  On my part it was mostly curiosity.  I wanted to see if it differed from the Algarve walks, and I always enjoy walking in new territory.  No such excuse this year, but some friends wanted to go, so we volunteered to give them a lift.

As we neared the sports centre, venue for the walk last year, we remarked on the absence of cars.  Last year they had lined the road.  Worse still, when we parked up in Punta del Moral, the streets were empty.  Puzzled, we listened for the sound of music or some sign of activity.  Slowly it was dawning on us that we might be in the wrong place.  Fortunately a number of others had made the same mistake, including a coachload of prospective walkers.  When they radioed for help, and were obviously redirected, we scurried back to our car and followed.  The venue was not as advertised, but in the nearby resort, Isla Canela.  We arrived just in time to join the throng, and head off through the starting gate.

I assumed we would be heading across the salt marshes on roughly the same trajectory as last year, but no!  We stayed on the footpath, and followed the road back in the direction from which we’d arrived.  A bit of a disappointment, but it did mean a closer look at the Torre Canela.  One of 40 towers, commissioned by Felipe II in the 1500s for the defence of the Andalucian coast, it was reluctantly paid for by a fishing tax on the local community.  The tower is special in that it contains a well at its centre, but the site is closed on Sundays.

Next we were directed around the back of the resort, closed and tired-looking in its winter garb, out to the lengthy promenade.  The almost deserted beach doesn’t have sands as golden as those that surround me in the Algarve, but the palm trees and lace curtains of white broom create a fragrant backdrop.  So beautiful, it’s just one more sign that Spring is rolling along in my part of the world.

Eventually we arrive back in the immaculate marina, the focal point of this rather soulless resort.  Building work continues so there must be a market, but I was happy to cross the water to the real Spain, no less attractive for being a little shabby round the edges.

We chose a restaurant by the waterside to look back on Isla Canela.  Faced with a menu in Spanish we became surprisingly fluent in Portuguese, but the waitress was kind.  And we can ask for dessert in many languages!

We thought the roses a rather romantic touch.  And my triple chocolate mousse was delicious.

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I’m still in a state of wibble regarding future scheduling, but there will be another Jo’s Monday walk next week.  Thank you so much for all your kind thoughts.  It’s not easy to stop when we have so much fun together.  You are great company!

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All’s right in Amanda’s world!

Walking with Kangaroos and Galahs

Isn’t this a lovely name?  We could all do with a bit of this, Alice :

Thankful Square

I was so relieved when I found it was the geese Janet was talking about!

Jo’s Monday Walk…morning light and taking a bath

Just when I’m starting to think warmth, Irene has me shivering again :

Rescue on the Ice

Food and art- 2 subjects dear to Jackie’s heart :

Breaky

Eunice loves street art, too.  Her lovely dog has just died, so please visit.  She might enjoy the company :

Bolton’s street art

If anyone has a spirit of adventure, it’s Mel, but she’s also an appreciator of art :

Art Outside – Getting Out Amongst Walcha’s Sculptures

Drake has a sense of adventure too, and an eye for an interesting shot :

Color hunting

While Cathy takes an intimate look at Italy’s capital :

Rome: Continuing the “heart of Rome” walk past the Spanish Steps & the Trevi Fountain

And Natalie gets up close and personal with a waterfall :

Hiking to Devil’s Cauldron Waterfall

Let’s finish with Jude.  Who wouldn’t want an amble with her?  I’ll get there myself one day!

Hayle: Copperhouse Trail

Have a great week everybody!  This last one has flown.

Jo’s Monday walk : Corte Pequena

At this time of year I’m seriously enamoured of almond blossom.  Singly they are like small girls, spreading their skirts in a graceful curtsy.  On a laden bough, they are the chorus line in Swan Lake, fluttering together in delicate motion.  Like the dying swan, their days are numbered, for already they’ve been in bloom for a month.

The variety of colours confuses me.  I was told recently that the paler blossoms are sweet almonds and the darker ones are bitter but I haven’t been able to verify this.  I’m happy just to admire.  In any case, I digress, and it’s time to get started on our walk.  You will have gathered that I’m back in the Algarve hills, this time our start point a small village, Corte Pequena, with its own orange grove.

On a Saturday morning all was peaceful, far removed from the bustle of the city.  A small terrier took it upon himself to defend his territory, but soon realised we were harmless enough and gave up.  We didn’t have to walk far to find blossom.

Nor the wild clover that blooms everywhere in the Algarve at this time of year.  It’s widely regarded as a pest, but so pretty!  We followed the gentle gradient of the hills, climbing to a vantage point overlooking the dam at Odeleite.  In the distance a herd of goats graze.

Despite recent rains the water levels are still quite low.  Strangulated trees lean into the valley, some twisted by nature while others were burnt out some years ago.  Bamboo follows a narrow stream through the valley bed, but we find a good point to cross, with just a stride or two and a held hand.  Sometimes it can require a good plodge.

Soon we have come full circle and the village is spread out before us.  As we descend a young dog decides that we will make good company.  He gambols playfully alongside us, setting off a chorus of warnings from his wiser elders.  Perhaps they are aware that sheep wander loose here.

For a moment we think that we are going to be playing Pied Piper to the flock, followed by an irate shepherd.  But fortunately sheep have a short attention span and we are less interesting than the juicy grazing.  I suspect you know the feeling.

That has to be one of the tastiest almond tarts I’ve ever eaten.  The mural and wonderful metal sculptures were at the start of the Amendoeira (Almond Blossom) Trail, at nearby Alta Mora.

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I’ve been walking with you weekly (or weakly!) for 6 years next month, and I’m thinking I should call time on our perambulations.  Or cut back to a monthly, or fortnightly, event.  I’m just as restless as ever, but I’m resident in Portugal now and many of my wanderings are local.  I don’t want to bore you all, and I might like to try something different.  I expect there’d still be occasional cake.

Meantime, thank you for your support and your wonderful company.  Here are this week’s walks.

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If only Janet could walk in a straight line!

Monday walk… weaving around

Alice lives in a very beautiful place, and is happy to share :

A Symbol of Hospitality- Pineapple Fountain

A gentle look at life from Drake this week :

Winterly mood

It’s ages since I went along to the other end of the Algarve.  This is a lovely walk!

Randonnée / Hike from Armacáo de Pera to Praia de Marinha

Reminding us that Valentine’s Day is almost here, Natalie takes…

A Walk Among the Roses

While Cathy looks at local and Civil War history in Virginia, US :

Cedar Creek & Belle Grove National Historical Park

And Rosemay checks out a little family history in north London :

Off the Tourist Trail in London – A Stroll round Islington

Wishing you a great week!  Hopefully the storms have passed.

 

Jo’s Monday walk : A sally through the salt marshes

Grey is not my favourite colour for sky, but sometimes there are compensations. (not cake- too soon for that!)  A friend had suggested a sally through the salt marshes, and I’m always seduced by the fusion of sky and sea.  I hadn’t reckoned on a grey day, but it was warm, so, no excuse!

The light on the water here is special on all but the glummest of days.  Passing by the fisherman’s huts there’s always a cat or two, trying to appear disinterested in today’s catch.  Down in the salt pans, birds wade, flap their wings, and glide across the still waters.

A pomegranate tree clings to the last of its fruit, and the reeds rustle and sway, bleached beige by the sun.  Small hillocks of salt gleam, white, against the sullen sky.  A mysterious pink has appeared in the salt pans, not reflected from the dense clouds overhead.

The light is changing and, looking to the hills, I realise that the clouds are beginning, ever so slowly, to roll back.  The water darkens, inexplicably, to a rich magenta and I watch, transfixed, as grey gives way to blue.

I’m rounding the marshes to reach Fuseta for lunch.  If I’m lucky the sky should be clear by the time I get there.

It’s almost unreal, the transformation in the skies as I head towards the sea, and I can only be a grateful witness.

I wander along the quayside, peering at the tiny fish milling around the boats.  If they were bigger I’d think they were pushing their luck, but it’ll be a while before they make anyone a decent supper.  Well, perhaps a ship’s cat?

Which brings us, of course, to the inevitable subject.  Does anyone have space for cake?  Someone’s been eating mine, again!

Not such a grey day, after all.  Replete, we sat in the sunshine, gazing out across the bay.

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Not so many walks this week.  Huge thanks to my regular contributors. Please visit each other, if you can, and don’t forget to get out there walking off all those cakes! Join me any time, here on Jo’s Monday walk.  You know you’ll always be welcome.

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What’s a little rain when you’re with a lovely friend?  Welcome back, Gilly!

A winter visit to ROSEMOOR

It’s a whole different world in Ecuador!  Join Natalie in her explorations :

Papallacta Hot Springs: A Delightful Stay

Or Drake, with his alternative view of Paris :

Insists on being alive

New Orleans!  Now that’s a place I’d love to visit :

Monday Murals : First Day in New Orleans

Never been to Berlin!  And Autumn seems long ago and far away now  🙂

Berlin Day Hike: Last Days of Autumn around Gamensee

With a much more thoughtful attitude to walking than mine, I’m sure many of you know Frank :

On a Beach Walk: #71 (Homeostasis)

He’s leaving the blogging world soon, so you might want to say goodbye.  And then, hello to Kammie!

Steps

Life is beautiful in Irene’s world :

Old San Juan

Let’s finish with Cathy, surrounded by the exotic on a…

A whirlwind tour of Fez, Morocco

Those clouds dumped a fair bit of rain, and I ended up wading on a couple of my walks.  Back to glorious blue this weekend, and set fair for summer.  See you soon!  Take care till then.

 

Jo’s Monday walk : Vaqueiros in Spring

Last week’s walk may have been a little long-winded, and I was chided over the lack of cake, so this one needs to be both short and sweet.  The blossom is appearing everywhere and it’s a crime to be indoors.  Come with me to Vaqueiros, in my Eastern Algarve.

Vaqueiros is another hill village situated on the 300km Via Algarviana, and a good starting point for two circular walks.  I took you along on one of them a couple of years ago, so let’s go and see the other.

An information board indicates the way out of the village, on a gentle ascent.  A tinkling of bells alerts me to the presence of goats, an elderly goatherd leaning, unconcerned, on a wall in the shade.  And then, in a valley, a wonderful surprise.  Clear, sparkling water, flowing freely.  It’s been a long dry spell and recent, welcome rains have done their work.

The patterns in the rock crisscross like a giant game board, and I linger, thinking what a great place for a picnic and a paddle.

Our walk leader tells us we have a steady uphill climb for half an hour, and to keep our voices down when we pass the beehives.  It’s probably too early in the year, but the last thing you need is a swarm of angry bees.  Fortunately, nothing stirs as we tiptoe past.

Next we find ourselves the object of much curiosity.  Sheep certainly seem to abide by the maxim ‘safety in numbers’.  I couldn’t spot the shepherd but I’m sure there’s a stray goat or two in the pack.

The trail wends its way around and beneath a canopy of trees, mostly pine.  We pass by a nicely shaded picnic table, knowing we are not too far from our café stop at journey’s end.  And you know what that means!

In the small reservoir a bird flaps down to perch on the stump of a tree, and I try to zoom for a clearer photo.  Not my forté.

Now I’m not really sure that you’ve earned cake, though we’ve certainly burned a few calories.  Sorry!  Somebody just couldn’t wait  😦

But at least one of them makes a delightful square for January Light.  Just 5 days of Becky’s challenge to go!

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So nice to have water in the rivers again, though I may not be saying that tomorrow when I have to cross one!  Thank you all for your company, and please find a little time to visit each other.  Join me any time, here on Jo’s Monday walk.

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Just a warm-up from Natalie, but so pretty you might want to linger :

Hiking to Peguche Waterfall

Amanda has found a happy new home by the sea to put a big smile on her face :

Sunday Morning Beach Walk

Contrary to popular belief, I don’t mind the odd invigorating walk, and I’m happy to join Jonno and Jo :

Wild and Windy Walk at Heddon Valley

Speaking of windy, what better than the one and only Chicago?  Thanks, Janet!

Jo’s Monday Walk… the Windy City

Slade, and a pink house that I remember, in Montmartre with Drake :

Kind of rocking culture

I’m not great at whistling, but I’d give this a go, Alice :

Echo Square- Savannah

Denzil takes us gently wandering again in Belgium :

Sclaigneaux 2k(for kids) and 10k walks

And how beautiful are these, from Irene?

Glimpses of Dawn

Living Desert Garden

Margaret takes me very close to ‘home’ with this one :

Highlights of a Bird-free Bird Reserve

In fact, this was my very first Monday walk, and I can’t resist re-sharing  🙂  Almost 6 years ago!

Jo’s Monday walk : Greatham Creek

I’m sure you’ll have heard of this place (the English version follows the Italian).  Please stop by and say hello!

Alberobello:tutto il fascino dell’orientalismo pugliese

Cathy does a fabulous job here!  Don’t miss her truly gorgeous photography :

Morocco: the blue-washed Chefchaouen

It’s going to be a great year here for blossom.  I hope you can enjoy it with me.  Take care till next time!

Jo’s Monday walk : Sáo Bartholomeu de Messines

Don’t you just love the light through those clouds?  I was high above Sáo Bartholomeu de Messines, looking down on this small Algarve town.  Once again I had the opportunity to go hiking on the Via Algarviana with Grupo Coral Ossonoba.  You might remember the wonderful day we had together, ending with a concert in the church at Alte?  This time the performance was to take place in a local cinema, but first we needed to walk and earn our substantial lunch.

We started with a stiff uphill ascent, surrounded by cork trees, over slabs of rock worn smooth with age.  It was good to get the climb out of the way.  Already the first of the narcissi were in delicate bloom.

Back down into the valley, we skirted the edge of town and followed a dusty trail, for a short while bordering the railway lines.  It was something of a surprise to turn a corner and be confronted with stepping stones, surrounded by water.  I admit, I am far more adept at dry river beds.

This was not the last of the hazards, for the river ran beneath the railway lines and a sign pointed confidently towards the water.  No boat in sight, we had to scramble up the side of the embankment and cautiously cross the tracks to slither back down the far side.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way?  The trail led gently uphill, and we followed, wondering if it might be time to pause for refreshments.  And we did, in the perfect spot!

A picture of neglect, but what a picturesque place for a picnic… the ruins of Santa Ana church, on the site of a former battleground.  The poignancy of the pulpit and the faded altar, a compelling setting for a brief photo shoot.

From a height you could see the fullness of the river.  The trail wound gently down to meet it, sunlight brightening our path with each step.  The ruined church almost seemed to be restored by distance.

And then we reached my idea of the perfect day, walking by the river, wisps of cloud and purest blue reflected in the water.

Another poetic ruin observed us, silently, and we left the river behind, trading it for two starkly contrasting pools.

The deep ochre of the soil here always comes as a surprise, no matter how often I see it.  And then we’re headed through meadows lightly dusted with lemon flowers and youthful olive trees, towards the town.  A church looks down from the hilltop, and another beauty adorns the centre.

Ossonoba need to eat and get ready for the concert.  Having followed them through the town, we are pointed in the direction of Café do Largo da Pontinha, where we are treated to a fine array of food.  Platters of meat, cheese and bread, then black pasta with prawns and pork in fig sauce are heaped on the table, with fresh fruit and pastries to finish.  No, you don’t want to see!  It’s only a small place and they can’t fit you all in.  The venue for the concert is an old cinema, just around the corner.  Very different from the beautiful church at Alte, but the choir are happy to perform.

Spotlight on the choir!  A strange venue, but the same beautiful sound.  It’s a long way to walk for some January Light, but worth it.  Which leaves me to round off with a bit of street art.  I seem to find this in the most unlikely places.

Just another day in the Algarve.  I hope you enjoyed sharing it with me?

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More walks for you!  I’m always glad of a bit of company on Jo’s Monday walk.  Join me here any time.

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I could hug Margaret this week!  Look where she’s taken me!

Wandering round Cádiz

Or you could slide into the action with Sandra :

#Hiking – Tacoma’s Ruston Way

It’s rather a gloomy outlook with Drake :

Abandoned of colors

But I think he’d enjoy hanging out with Alice :

Riding the Waves on a Bulldozer

Snow in the Grand Canyon is always going to be special.  Thanks, Terri :

Winter Road Trip Preview: Walking in the Desert Light

Janet’s indoors, escaping the weather, but she has some lovely distractions :

Let me spin you a yarn

I think Colline will tell you that she’s won the jackpot with her Winter holiday :

A Walk on the Beach

It’s a little late (or early  🙂  )  but I do love these Moorish (as in Yorkshire) colours :

Autumn colours on a crisp November morning

And, by coincidence, Cathy is autumnal too!

Ushering in November at Meadowlark

Many thanks for your lovely presence!  Wishing you all a great week ahead.

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!