Jo’s Monday walk

Jo’s Monday walk : Dizzying heights!

Did you wonder why we deserted lovely Lucca so early to catch a train?  And did you spot those Medici balls again?  Hard to miss them in this part of the world.  When we landed at Pisa airport I was immediately smitten with the soft light, over the backdrop of mountains that I somehow had not expected.  The sun was sliding down in the sky, bathing even the unromantic Ryanair flight in opalescence.  I knew that I could not come this near to one of the wonders of our world without taking at least a fleeting look.  So Lucca was left behind, and that man Garibaldi took centre stage.

I think that faded grandeur best describes Pisa, though it was obvious that modernity was making a comeback.  I found it a ‘gritty’ kind of place, on brief acquaintance, but I’m sure that there are many more treasures to discover.  It’s an easy walk from Pisa Centrale station, crossing over the River Arno and heading up medieval Borgo Stretto, with its straggle of cafes and shops.

Very soon I was back in the company of Giorgio Vasari.  As well as Palazzo Vecchio and the Vasari Corridor in Florence, he was responsible for Piazza dei Cavalieri, the magnificent  Knight’s Square in Pisa.  In front of Palazzo della Carovana stands his former master, Cosimo 1 de Medici.

Following Via Santa Maria, a familiar sight soon appears.  “Look!  It does!  It leans!’

And then, ‘Are you going up?’  It’s a quarter to 4 in the afternoon and there is no queue.  What am I waiting for?  Of course I’m going up!

It’s a bright blue day, but with a brisk, cold wind.  The marble steps inside the tower are well worn and there’s no hand rail.  As expected, the ‘lean’ has a slightly disorienting feeling, but there is plenty of time to negotiate them.  At the top the wind is blowing fiercely and I step into the space between the bells for a brief respite, 55 metres up in the air.

The views are wonderful and I notice, almost for the first time, the sturdy walls of the city.  Still, it’s a relief to be back in the stairwell, making my way cautiously down the steps.  ‘Did you wave?’ I ask.  No, he didn’t.  Apparently at that moment the chief of police had appeared in a shiny new Lamborghini in the piazza below, thrilling the crowd.  It’s Italy, after all!

Piazza dei Miracoli, the Square of Miracles, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which lives up to its reputation.  I wandered around the huge green (albeit with a slight ‘list’ in my step) and was grateful that this beautiful tribute to the maritime might of Pisa had survived.

The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and the Baptistry complete the miracle.  The doors alone, resplendent with Pisan history, are worthy of a visit.

Youngsters sprawled on the grass- it almost seemed sacrilege to me!  Out beyond the walls, life goes on.  I smile and shake my head at the traders, and head back along the outside of the walls, through Knight’s Square, for a tired return to the station.

What I could have done with a little more time, but that’s the story of my life!  This itinerary with Discover Tuscany would have been perfect.  They also have suggestions for 5 Days in Tuscany that might be of interest, Gilly and Jude.  You don’t need to drive to see most of it.

This completes my rambling in Italy, though there are many photos as yet unshared.  What a time I had!  As many of you will know, I’m in the Algarve when this hopefully appears.  My WiFi access is limited, and deliberately so, as it’s my ‘chill’ place.  I will attempt to keep up with you, but apologies in advance for anyone I miss.

I hope to return to walk with you on Monday, 10th April.  Many thanks for your company on Jo’s Monday walks.  Kettle on, it’s sharing time!

This man surely knows the way to my heart!  Many thanks, Drake :

Glimpses of Paris

Staying close to home, Eunice takes us on a fact finding mission in the West Pennines :

A walk up Winter Hill and some interesting facts

Anabel meets a very friendly chipmunk this week.  Maybe a touch too friendly!

Deer Mountain

Lady Lee extends her Philippines visit to the island of Sabtang :

Batanes Trip, Day 2 – Sabtang Tour

Still in Mexico, Jackie’s moved up the coast a little :

La Noria

Meet the Lucerne Lion this week, with Woolly :

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Couldn’t miss this one out!  Viveka is always so colourful and I love the donkey photo!

Walkabouts in Marrakech

Vertigo sufferers beware!  Becky’s ‘on top of the world’ :

Walking across the ‘tallest’ stone arch in the world

Just one more of those places I’d like to see for myself, Jaspa :

Sam’s Ses Challenge#13 Water 

So lovely to have Lisa around again, though her life is anything but smooth sailing!

Singapore and Beyond

And isn’t it wonderful to have chirpy friends?  Thanks so much, Paula!

How green is my home!

Many thanks to all who have shared, walked or just read.  Please take care till the next time!

Jo’s Monday walk : the walled city of Lucca

Shall I quote Henry James?  Lucca is a city “overflowing with everything that makes for ease, for plenty, for beauty”.  With a recommendation like that, how could I fail to try to squeeze it into our precious few days in Tuscany?

There was an ulterior motive , of course.  The city lies in a flat plain at the foot of the Apuan Alps, an hour or more’s train ride from our base in Florence.  I would have an opportunity to see a little of the Tuscan landscape, and the other half would get to rest the weary legs after the dizzying heights of Florence .  He would need this in preparation for the 4km walk around the city walls.  Not too far, is it?

No matter that you’ve seen photos, the reality is always a little different.  I knew that the city walls had been turned into a boulevard for that much-loved Italian pastime, passegiata, but still I didn’t comprehend the scale.  I found myself grinning as I strode across the grass towards the nearest bastion, one of eleven positioned around these 16th century walls.

Over a narrow moat, through a tunnel and up some steps, and there I was, looking down on Lucca.  A friendly lion gave me a silly smile, and I began to stroll.  Far in the distance, the snowcapped Alps.  Near at hand, elderly couples enjoying the gentle sunlight, cyclists whizzing by, toddlers tottering on 2 or 3 wheels or pushing dolls prams, and students sauntering off to lectures. All of life, it seemed to me.

Looking down from the walls provides views of the botanic gardens and wonderful snippets of the life of the Lucchesi.  A pedalo comes towards me, a dog perched haughtily in the basket up front.  I’m so busy smiling, I miss the shot!

At intervals I’ve glimpsed the bell tower of the Duomo di San Martino, the cathedral.  Time to descend, beneath nodding magnolia, and seek it out.

Construction of this striking cathedral began in 1063, the great apse and campanile remaining, still, from the original.  The nave and transepts were rebuilt in Gothic style in the 14th century, one of many reconstructions.  Entering, my eyes are immediately drawn to the ceiling.

I first learned the story of Ilaria del Carretto through a blogging friend, Ventisqueras.  Born in Pisa, and loving her native Tuscany with a passion, she impressed me with the magnificence of this tomb.  Wife of Paolo Guinigi, an influential politician, Ilaria died very early in childbirth. Jacopo della Quercia, of Siena, was commissioned to keep her beauty alive.

Leaving the cathedral, I go wandering in search of food and a place to sit awhile.  I’m heading in what I think is the direction of Piazza Antifeatro but before too long I’m lost in the maze of streets.  Lucca has her share of lovely squares and exceptional architecture.  Eventually I settle in Piazza San Michele, the site of a Roman forum, with San Michele in Foro towering over me.

I feel sure that Lucca has much more to offer to offer me, but my companion has had enough. Reluctantly I return to the station, dawdling where I can.  The exterior of Basilica di San Frediano, founded by an Irish bishop in the 6th century, invites.  The square in front of it, idle with newspaper readers and peaceful observers of life, a serious temptation.

I’ve barely scratched the surface of this charming city, whose wealth was founded on silk and lingerie.  I wanted to show you Torre Guinigi and climb to the roof garden, symbol of the rebirth of the city under the Guinigi family.  Instead I must ask you to read the links throughout the post for a much fuller picture of Lucca than I can give you here.  I hope you enjoyed it.

It’s been a busy week for me.  Three days on the Isle of Anglesey and a walk through Farndale’s daffodils seem to have eaten up most of it.  I’m sorry if I’ve fallen behind with my visits but very grateful for your continued support.  I’ll be playing catch up this week because next Sunday I’m off to the Algarve for 2 weeks.  I will continue to welcome walks but won’t be posting while I’m there.  Details as always are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Let’s put the kettle on now, and settle in for a good read!

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So much more than a walk, I really enjoyed Annika’s visit to Framingham.  I simply had to share this one :

‘Perfume of the Mountain Grass’

I love Debs to bits but I needed a big coat, scarf and gloves for this one!

Wintry Central Park

Much warmer in Lady Lee’s homeland, the Philippines :

Batanes Day Trip 1

I read this one with great interest, as I was Anglesey bound.  Thanks, Eunice!

A walk round Parys Mountain

On the beach at Barnes?  Only with Geoff (and Dog!)

Barnes by the Sea #walking#london

So nice to see my part of the world through fresh eyes. Especially such observant ones as Jude’s :

An amble around Durham’s Cathedral

Where’s Woolly this week?  Why Lucerne, of course!

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Jackie is still hanging around Mazatlan, and it’s easy to see why!

Just Another Day…

Ever wanted to volunteer on a kibbutz?  This is a good year.  Do read Lisa’s post!

Pura Nature Reserve

Bringing back such wonderful memories of my time in Paris!  Thanks, Drake :

Home away from home

Miriam is a joy to be with, especially when she’s feeling light-hearted :

Whimsical Walkabout Wednesday

While Carol knows how to appreciate a good hill or two.  I seem to remember that from our meeting :

Up to the Top

Please give a big welcome to Cadyluck Leedy for her wonderfully original introduction to Cairo :

Jo’s Monday Walk : Me, You and Agatha Christie

And that’s it for another week!  Brilliant, aren’t they?  I may be scheduling a walk for next Monday, but it rather depends how the week goes.  I’ll keep you posted.  Meantime, take care of yourselves and enjoy your walking!

Jo’s Monday walk : A garden extravaganza

Where do you think we might be for today’s walk?  I can tell you that we have passed by the Pitti Palace and are standing on the threshold of the magnificent Boboli Gardens, in Florence.  For me, this was somewhere I was always going to go, even if it bounced with rain.

Of course, blue skies would be preferable and, on our first full day, after crossing Ponte Vecchio we beelined to the gardens, bathed in luxuriant azure.   Alas, it was a Monday, and the gardens were firmly closed.  Undaunted, we carried on up to Piazzale Michelangelo and the city walls for a feast of views.  Tweaking our plans a little, next day found us back at the palace gardens.  The skies were somewhat leaden, but there was always hope of better.  And there were grottos and sculpture to explore, while we waited for the sun’s appearance.

The gardens were designed for Eleonora di Toledo, wife of Cosimo 1 de Medici, and have been in existence since the 16th century.  Extremely lavish for gardens intended for the sole use of the Medici family, such was Cosimo’s power and prestige in those days. Highlights include an Amphitheatre, staggering in its scale.  Stone was excavated from the hillside for their Pitti Palace home, creating the perfect arena.  Neptune with his trident sits centre stage as you climb the steps. For most of our visit he had the company of a heron, out for a day’s sightseeing.

Isolotto, a pond surrounded by romantic greenery, is crowned by Giambologna’s fountain, ‘Ocean’, on the central island.  For a twist of modern, see the ‘face’ sculpture by Polish Igor Mitoraj.  The gardens reach a crescendo with the Grotta del Buontalenti, or ‘Grotta Grande’.

Sometimes your expectations can be too high.  Or maybe it was those heavy skies, and the quantity of steps.  This bank of the River Arno can certainly be a bit of a workout.  Nor is this the best time of year for gardens.  But, as sometimes happens, there was a surprise in store.  The garden ticket included admission to the Costume Museum.  Curiosity had me pull the door ajar.

And gasp!  That morning I had been at the Uffizi, and thought my eyes had had their fill of beauty.  This was totally unexpected.  The only museum in Italy dedicated entirely to fashion, it occupies several rooms in the Palazzina della Meridiana (the small palace of the sundial).  A private residence of the ruling families of Tuscany until 1946, the ornate ceilings had me spellbound.

The funeral garments of Eleonora di Toledo are dramatically displayed within the collection, but for me the decor outshone the content.  I couldn’t help but wonder at the rest of the Pitti Palace, seeing all this grandeur before me.

Stepping out into sunshine altered my perspective entirely.  It was time to head steadily uphill again, in search of a gate.  Did I tell you this walk would be strenuous?  I’d read that it was possible to slip from the expansive Boboli Gardens into the much more intimate space of Giardino Bardini.

Not quite so simple, but we did find the gate and emerged alongside Forte di Belvedere.  The lower part of the Giardino Bardini belonged to the Mozzi family back in the 13th century, when a wall with mosaic alcoves protected the garden from prevailing winds.  In the 18th century the estate was extended up the hill to the walls of the city and a Baroque staircase was added.  In 1913 art collector Stefano Bardini bought the hillside villa, extending and adding yet more changes.  Renovation began again in 2005 and the gardens are now open to the public.

It felt like a triumph to finally reach Giardino Bardini, perched high above the city.

The lower part of the garden is still in a poor state of repair, but there is a lovely old worldly feel to the place, suspended there in the clouds.  My main regret, not being a few weeks later to see the wisteria walk in all its glory.  I had to content myself with the views down over this lovely city.

The lower entrance brings you out on Via Bardi, close by the river, and your mission is complete.  I limped home, tired but happy.  I suggest that you take it at a slower pace and sit awhile.  There are many places to admire the beauty, including a cafe on the terrace at Giardino Bardini.

Jude, I think you might like this link.  Visit Florence is an excellent website which will give you all the details you need, including ticketing information.  Do note that the Palace and gardens are closed on the first and last Monday of each month.

Thanks, everyone for reading and participating in my walks.  It wouldn’t be the same without you.  Details of how to join in are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Do come along!  Let’s pop the kettle on now and settle in for a good read :

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Becky reminds me of just what I’m missing in the Algarve.  I’ll be back soon!

Exploring the hamlets of the Guadiana

I’ve been bombarded with walls lately!  But in a good way.  Thanks, Jude!

Lincoln Castle : Medieval Wall Walk

A flashback to a beautiful Autumn with Eunice :

An autumn walk round Bolton Abbey

And where would we be without him?  Cheers, Woolly!

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Nobody can meander quite like Jackie!

Mazatlan Meanderings

Rosemay has been garden wandering.  I think you’ll find she’s a wonderful companion :

Strolling round the Neuer Garten – Potsdam

Susan has many interesting walks in her home city, New York.  I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one :

A Winter Walk through Riverside Park

And I’m delighted to be joined again by Tobias, where there might be cake!

Strolling

That’s it for another week!  I seem to have tempted the sun out in my part of the world.  See you soon!

 

Jo’s Monday walk : Ponte Vecchio

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I’m going to be very gentle with you this week.  We’re going to stroll along the banks of the River Arno.  Can there be anybody who thinks of Florence and not immediately of the Ponte Vecchio?  It’s the iconic image, and I couldn’t wait to see it for myself.

A stone bridge has existed here, at the narrowest point of the entire Arno river, since 972.  In that time the bridge has twice been destroyed by flood, in 1177 and 1333.  The current bridge has been in place since 1345 and is a bit of a survivor.  It was the only one of the city’s bridges left standing when the Germans retreated in 1944, having bombed all of the others.  You shouldn’t be too disappointed to find that, up close, it has a slightly ramshackle appearance.  Hitler may have declined to destroy the bridge, but in 1966 nature did her very best to sweep it away.  The floods that year were catastrophic, damaging buildings and destroying artworks.  But the bridge held.

I’m starting my stroll at pretty, arched Ponte Santa Trinita, with it’s four statues. Here Via de Tornabuoni joins Lungoarno at the riverside.

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It’s a peaceful sight on this early Spring morning, but down on the river bank a team of workers are clearing debris.  This is not a river to turn your back on.  Heavy rain the previous day had caused it to rise.

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The deep shadows herald our very special bridge.  In 1593, Ferdinando de Medici commanded that the rather smelly butcher’s shops, used to discharging unwanted produce into the Arno, be replaced by sartorially more elegant jewellers.  And there they remain, to this day.

Above the jewellery shops, on the eastern side of the bridge, runs part of the Vasari Corridor. This amazing secret passageway was built in 1565 for Cosimo de Medici.  Connecting the Palazzo Vecchio with the Pitti Palace, about 1km away on the opposite side of the river, it assured privacy and protection in those times of intrigue.  During WWII the treasures of the Uffizi were stored in this corridor, for preservation.  Art resides there still. You can clearly see the grilled windows, over the shops, in the photo below.

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Crossing over the bridge to Oltrarno, literally the other side of the Arno, continue along the river bank.  It’s hard not to stop to look back.

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Across the river rises the delicate spire of Basilica di Santa Croce.  With just a short detour you could admire it’s magnificent facade.  Recross the river by graceful Ponte alle Grazie.  In the far distance, snow kissed mountains brush the sky.

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Via de Benci will take you directly to Piazza di Santa Croce.  In Savonarolo’s day, this was a place of execution, and violence is still enacted here in the 3rd week of June each year, when calcio storico takes place.  Roughly combining football and rugby, it is not for the faint hearted.  Headbutting, punching and choking are all allowed.

Basilica de Santa Croce is an altogether more peaceful place, where you will find the tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli, among others. The cloisters are renowned for their wonderful frescoes by Giotto.

Retrace your steps to the river, or choose to linger in the maze of streets that lead to the Uffizi. There are too many distractions by far.

Me, I’m drawn back to the spectacle of the bridge.  Spanning the river for all those years, it’s beaten gold resisting all the forces that nature can summon.  But powerless against the lovelocks.

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I hope you enjoyed my first venture into Florence by daylight.  Next week’s walk will be far more strenuous.  There are heights to scale!

In my absence the walks continued to tumble in.  Please take some time to read and enjoy them. Many thanks to all of you for your patience, and continued support.  Now, let’s get the kettle on! I’m sure I saw cake somewhere.

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I hope you’ll join me for more of alluring Florence next week.  Details of how to contribute a walk are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  I’d love to have your company.

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First up we have Eunice with a wonderfully unspoiled bit of Wales :

A discovery walk on the Llyn Peninsula

Closely followed by Jude, with more delicious shots of Lincoln and the cathedral :

Lincoln’s Minster Yard

And there’s also a stunner of a garden walk from my Queen of the Gardens :

Garden Portrait : Trebah in Winter (or A Walk to Alice’s Seat)

Woolly’s still travelling.  It’s like that game…’Where’s Woolly?’

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Jackie’s all ready to party, and when better than Carnaval?

Carnaval and more- Mazatlan, Mexico

What do you know about the Israeli countryside?  Why not let Lisa show you around?

Givat Barfilia

Becky had to get the waders out for this walk!  Well, clean socks and a towel, anyway.  Cute pigs, though!

A three river adventure in the Algarvian hills

And environmental changes are a constant concern on the Algarve’s beaches :

The sands of the Ria Formosa are forever changing

Drake brings a lovely soft palette to our world :

Less colourless

While Jaspa has us climbing a volcano!

The Views from Mount Vesuvius

Do join Nicole and her lovely family in the desert!  You have choices :

Hiking Saguaro National Park

Sabino Canyon : A Hike along the Phone Line Trail

I never can resist the Azores!  I’ll get there one day!  Please say hello to Uncover Travel :

Hike up Ponta dos Capelinhos, Faial 

Beautiful and individual images for you from Jesh :

A Morning Walk

Finally, I’m very familiar with the city walls at York, but not with these in Chester, so thank you, Carol!

Wall Walking

Another wonderful selection, you have to agree.  Wishing you all a good week, with lots of healthy walking.

 

Jo’s Monday walk : Spring at Crook Hall, Durham

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Stroll along the river bank with me, in the heart of Durham City, and let me take you to an idyllic garden.  I intended to visit a new exhibition at Durham Cathedral but, as luck would have it, it was closed that day.  I’m a firm believer in serendipity and, as the gentle sunshine warmed my cheeks, I suddenly knew where I wanted to go.

Crook Hall dates from 13th century and is a vision in golden ivy-clad stone.  It sits back a little from the footpath and the gently elevated position makes for majestic views over Durham. Crook is a Grade 1 listed Medieval hall with a rich and colourful history.  As all such places should, it has a resident ghost, ‘The White Lady’, and has been enjoyed by such luminaries as William Wordsworth and John Ruskin.  Today I’m going to focus on the garden rooms, described on the website as each having their own personality.

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It’s impossible to ignore the constant presence of the house.  It provides a benign backdrop, yet with an almost tangible air of mystery.

Close by the house, a secret garden has been in existence for more than 700 years.

Statuary is an integral part of the gardens.  Nymphs and maidens shake out their tresses, demurely lower their eyes, or gaze seductively out.  Monks perform solemn duties, urns cast playful shadows and a rather mischievous Puck plays his pan pipes, sheltered beneath a weathered tree.

The golden lady follows me with her eyes, and what of the lady reclining, neglected, on the bare earth?  She must have a story to tell. Ornate chairs and benches invite me to linger, admiring the pure white snowdrops.  Beyond the lake, fiery witch hazel brands the limpid blue sky.

I drift from ‘room to room’, each leading to the next, yet independent and sufficient in itself.  A mighty lion bench, breathing fire, gives me pause.

Through a gate, precisely trimmed hedges in the newest of these still evolving gardens, etched with remnants of winter shadows.

Leaving the house behind, I wander down towards the rusty maze, bereft of leaves this early in the year.  Did you glimpse the koala, dangling in the tree?  And yet another selfie!  One more surprise awaits- a softly slumbering giant!

And then I’m back at the entrance and The Garden Gate Cafe. (open all day, separately from the Hall, but there are Tea Rooms inside the Hall too) The Sparkling Afternoon Tea looked very inviting but my lift had arrived and so I’ll have to disappoint you yet again.  No cake!  How come you missed this place, Jude?  It would have been a natural for the Garden Challenge.

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Down at the river bank, this scene awaits, but if you turn and walk back towards the cathedral you might just be able to catch the exhibition, Open Treasure.  And if not, Durham Cathedral is always beautiful.

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Lots of walks to share this week and I hope you can spare time to visit as many as you can. Especially as I won’t be posting a walk next week.  I will, I hope, be skip, hop and jumping (or walking) in Florence.  I don’t want to schedule a walk in my absence because it’s too hard to catch up again afterwards.  So I hope you’ll forgive me if I hang on to any walks you share till the following week?  Details are all on my Jo’s Monday walk page.

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Eddy was close in my footsteps last week, but his were even cooler!

Do you want owt fromt’ shops?

There’s nothing nicer than a gentle stroll with Jude.  Treat yourself!

Historic Uphill Lincoln

Anabel ventured further up the coast from me, in some delightful villages :

Fife Coastal Path

Another coastal path for you, but Eunice is over on the other coast :

Anglesey Coastal Path- the White Arch and Tyger’s memorial

Two for the price of one from Eunice this week!

A long canal walk

Imagine my surprise on seeing Ana’s post!  Right on my very own doorstep :

Strolling along the River Wear in Durham

Quite a leap of the imagination from Durham to Buenos Aires, Ana :

Beloved Argentinian characters at Paseo de la Historieta

Jackie’s having fun down Mexico way- lovely bougainvillea!

A Mexican walk

I do love Woolly’s perspective on life!

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Lady Lee is completely at home in the Philippines :

What’s in Bohol?

And Liesbet is pretty good at balancing a budget!

Laguna Beach, CA- On a Shoestring

Amy’s back, and she’s chosen to ride, but who can blame her?

An Elephant Ride

I love Yvette’s take on life, but brrrh, those Falls look chilly!

Walk with Jo in Niagara, NY (doors and windows) 

Drake is always irrepressible.  Got to love him!

Warm feet and cold nose

Isn’t it always walking weather?  Well mostly, when you’re with Susan :

Walking, Weather or Not

And Carol has a most appropriate question :

When is a Walk not a Walk?

Rounding off with a highly informative walk from Denzil.  He’s doing a grand job promoting Belgium :

Walking from Tervuren to Bertem

And Cathy, beavering away in the States, but still found time to walk with me :

Philadelphia : the south mural arts walk 

Remember- no Monday walk next week!  But I’ll try to find you some cake in Florence.  Stay safe till the next time!

 

Jo’s Monday walk : A walk through a Pub!

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If there’s anything that really annoys me it’s leaving home in clear blue skies to drive to the Yorkshire Dales and encounter grey, dampness.  But if you’re in search of a waterfall then you can’t really begrudge a little rain.  And to visit Hardraw Force you have to pass through a pub, so you might say there are compensations.

I don’t know the village of Hawes at all but it is surrounded by magnificent, sweeping countryside, though visibility was poor on this particular day. 850 feet above sea level, it claims to be England’s highest, and has been home to a market since 1307.  Go on a Tuesday if you’re a market fan. The name Hawes means ‘a pass between mountains’, in this case endearingly-named Buttertubs and Fleet Moss.

I’m heading for Hardraw but, on Town Head, a sign for Gayle’s Mill strikes a chord with me.  In 2004 it was a finalist on the BBC TV ‘Restoration’ programme.  It was but a short diversion to take a look.

Unfortunately this was as close as I could get.  Gayle Mill is a working saw mill, and can only be visited by guided tour.  Even the craft shop was closed.  The Wensleydale Creamery Visitor Centre, a highly popular venue, is nearby and I gave it a wistful look.  I do love a good bit of cheese.

Water flows through the village and is harnessed by the mill, which dates from 1784.  In the 1900s it pioneered electricity generation and brought light to the valley.  Just then the sky was darkening rapidly and it seemed like a good time to move on.

You could retrace your steps down Gayle Lane, but a pretty little footpath offers an alternative route back to Town Foot.  And sheep!

Hardraw Force is clearly signed from the crossroads, so it was best foot forwards into a chilly breeze.  I told myself it was holding off the rain.

There’s often a wind off the water, isn’t there?  I turned left into the field and trod carefully till I reached the flagstones.

It’s not far till you pass through a gate and the pub is right there, in front of you.

The sign says ‘innkeeper and waterfall provider’.  That’s quite a claim, isn’t it?  At £2.50 a person, is it a little mercenary?  Let’s see if it delivers.

One of the best sounds for me is rushing water.  Rounding the corner from the Green Dragon Inn, I can already hear the tumult of the falls. England’s highest single drop waterfall sits in a great bowl of limestone, shale and sandstone.

Incredible to think that the process that produced this landscape began some 340 million years ago.  Alternating layers were laid down in the warm seas of those times, and through the rise and fall of the land and some glacial activity the Karst scenery developed.  At the back of the waterfall it’s possible to see the individual layers.

Did you wave back?  I did!  And then I crossed over the bridge and followed the path back along the opposite bank.  It was really busy in the Green Dragon Inn, so I didn’t linger, though it did look characterful.  I was surprised at how many people had ventured out on such a grey day, and can only surmise that this will be a seriously busy place in summer.  But the waterfall will be much diminished.

I just about made it back before the rain hit.  The waterfall will be thundering for a few days yet.

Hawes lies along the A684 from Leyburn in the Yorkshire Dales.  The map on this link will give you a few clues.  Time to get the kettle on!

Thanks everybody for kindly accompanying me each week, come hail come shine (but hopefully no snow!).  It’s always a pleasure to have you along. I have some more great contributions this week. Please spare a little time to go visit, especially if they’re new to you.  Details, as usual, are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  I’d love you to join me with a walk of your own.

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Lady Lee is always a few steps ahead of me!  Have you been to Dresden?

Dresden- Jo’s Monday walk

Jude has a delightful saunter in search of cake this week :

Sleaford Historic Riverside Walk

I prefer sunshine, but Shazza’s found something interesting even on a cloudy day :

Rydal Hall Sculpture Trail

I don’t think I’d do much walking in Amsterdam.  I’d hop a boat, like Woolly :

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Jackie and glitz go together, don’t you think?

More Vegas Opulence

In pure contrast, I never saw snow look more beautiful!  Thanks so much, Drake!

Colourful snow

This week we have a Wild Daffodil joining us.  Sound like fun?  Do go and say hello!

Gate

Becky has laid on a lovely sunset for her wander round Olhao, because…

Everyone loves a sunset

And if you’ve never seen Lisbon before, Paula’s photo is a magnificent place to start :

Follow My Shadow

If you glory in wild and wonderful scenery, you will love this, from Jessica :

5.30 a.m 

And Inese shows us drama in Ireland, rain, shine and rainbow!

Magic road to the Mahon Falls

That’s it for another week.  It’s been a grey one here but I’m sure Spring is on its way.  Enjoy your life, won’t you, whatever the weather?

Jo’s Monday walk : Legends of Marim

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I’m turning the tables on Becky this morning and putting my own slant on one of her walks. Exploring the delightful Legends Way will supply all the details you need, so I can quite simply enjoy myself.

The Algarve abounds in legends.  In Olhão they have been brought to life in sculpture.  The stories are a little naive, but no less lovable for that. Alina and Abdala, above, are star-crossed lovers in the traditional sense, and I love the way that her hair flows around him.

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I started my wanderings (with Becky, I might add, but more of that later) at the beginning of Caminho das Lendas, or Legend’s Way.  I paid due attention to the maps but, inevitably, then followed my nose.  The little chap above was one of my favourites.  So poised and graceful in the way that young boys have, with a ball at their feet.

Beware who you invite into your game though.  He might just bewitch and spirit you away!  It’s such a ‘lived in’ looking place, Olhão!  The ravages of time have certainly got to some of it but you could be kind and describe it as full of character.

I really don’t much care for the Boy with Big Black Eyes, so I couldn’t resist having a little fun with him.  I thought I looked my best all wobbly, but he doesn’t look very amused, does he? Distinctly bad-tempered, in fact!

The next character struck me as rather sorrowful, but who wouldn’t be, if swallowed by a whale? The wonder of it is that Arraul survived!  But I’m glad that he did as he allegedly created the sand barriers that protect the Algarve to this day.

There’s one other character you ought to meet, but I was feeling rather wilful and the boats moored in the marina were demanding my attention.

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Bom Sucesso, the caravel that sailed the Atlantic to Brazil, always draws my admiration.  I usually meet Becky close by here, her husband Robert having cast a discerning eye over the day’s catch in the fish market.  Both are lovers of fish and they had a treat in store for me.  I’d been hearing about Vai e Volta and was keen to try out this ‘all you can eat’ fish restaurant.

For just 10 euros, the fish kept on arriving!  I sampled salmon, sea bass, sardines, and tuna among others.  It all depends what the boats bring in that day.  In addition there was delicious cornbread, salad, potatoes and a tasty dip.  What more can you want?  Simply amazing for the price!  And don’t forget to ask for the sweet menu, especially if you like carobs and figs.  I would show you, but I was so full that I was sharing mine with the other half.  I daren’t stop to take the photo, else it disappeared!  I’ve given you the link to their Facebook page to help you find your way there.  Not everybody is lucky enough to go with Becky!

I almost forgot to mention Floripes, a voluptuous lady in white who was stranded far from her Moorish home.

That’s it for legends, and back to boats!  I never can resist them for very long.

The sun was starting to set and it was time to leave.  In writing this I had cause to look back at O is for Olhão and remember what a very interesting maritime history this Eastern Algarve town has.  It’s well worth a visit.

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Legend of Marim

Lovers entwined in metal

Lost to the river

Feeling quite poetic.  Must be time to put that kettle on and read a few posts!

Thank you so much for keeping me company on my rambles.  It is very much appreciated.  I’d love you to join me with a walk of your own and it’s very easy to do so.  Details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Please find some time to visit these walks.  You won’t regret it!

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I’m always thrilled when a great photographer joins my walks!  Thank you, Tobias!

Dunes

That bit of blue makes all the difference, and it’s beautiful where Eunice lives :

A walk up to Crow Castle

Lady Lee keeps on coming up with places on my list of dream destinations :

Ten Things in Sicily

A friendly chat in Dollar and a money mushroom.  That’s what I call value, Anabel :

Dollar Glen

What’s that about diamonds and best friends?  Sadly, Woolly can’t afford these!

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Jackie doesn’t think money matters in Vegas.  It costs nothing to look, after all!

Trippin’ the Light Fantastic

On the other hand, safaris don’t come cheap.  But just look at what Geoff got for his money!

A Time in Africa- Part two

It’s always an artistic look at life with Jesh :

WHICH WAY?

People will keep showing me fabulous places I’ve never been!  Thanks, BiTi  🙂

A visit to Beziers

Part of Hanna’s personal history, I loved this walk with her :

Vikings, The Sea Stallion from Glendalough and Roskilde Cathedral

My friend Drake knows a thing or two about Vikings, past and present :

Misty back to the past

I always like to share pretty places, and Rosemay seldom lets me down :

Strolling Round the streets of Potsdam

Splendid isolation with Paula, another very special photographer :

Walk into Solitude

And just in case you didn’t follow the link earlier on, here’s lovely Becky!

On the other side of the river

I think I’ll be back to grey skies and an English walk next week.  You’ve been warned!  Have yourselves a great week.