Photography

Jo’s Monday walk : Chocolate time in Loulé

I’m feeling a bit naughty this week.  You’re always encouraging me to eat cake, so I thought I’d take you along with me to the annual, Algarve Chocolate Fair, in Loulé.  Any volunteers to help with the tasting?  I bet I can guess whose hand went up!

Pause for breath?  Please excuse the overload, but it was planned as a Valentine’s Day treat.  We’d better walk slowly now, while you nibble your chocolate.  (I did succumb to a very delicious dark chocolate bar, nibbed with crispy almonds, but I’m keeping that one to myself)

Loulé makes for very easy wandering, unless you happen to time it for Carnaval.  The main street was already being festooned with garlands, in readiness for the event in two weeks time.  We’ve been on numerous occasions, and my husband loves the political satire and the sparingly clothed dancing girls.  Me, not so much!  But it’s good fun and the youngsters love to get dressed up and join in.

I’m more interested in the beautiful, tiny church, tucked around the corner from the castle, Ermida de Nossa Senhora de Conceição.  The kind lady inside happily points out the main features of the azulejos, telling the story of Mary and Joseph and their special baby.  Just within the doorway, remnants of the town walls gaze dimly upwards, through a clear glass panel.

Downhill, past the castle and around silent Igreja Matriz, a small park looks out onto battered rooftops, and across town to the futuristic dome of Nossa Senhora da Piedade.  An elderly chap gazes quietly into space from his bench, while above a small boy gleefully climbs an ancient olive.

We’ve loitered in Loulé often before.  A gate through the old town wall leads out to a busy back street, rumbling with traffic.  Beside the gateway scowls an ancient pump, the surrounding streets an enigma of beautiful tilework, graffiti and skilled craftsmanship.  Ceramics and cork shops flourish and, from an open doorway, the sound of mallet tapping brass rings out.  I stop to admire a gleaming, burnished lampshade.

I was a little disappointed to find that no art was on display in the former Convento de Santo Antonio.   Hopefully restoration will continue and a further exhibition be set up for summer.  One last port of call.  I rarely visit Loulé without ascending to the heights, but this time we drove up the hill to Nossa Senhora da Piedade.  I hope to be there to see her carried from her sanctuary this Easter.

It’s a strange church, but I was quite taken with my last image- a reflection of the Sanctuarium on the window of the House of Candles.

The walks keep rolling in, so thanks to all who’ve contributed, and to those of you who take the time to read them.  Join me, whenever you can, here on Jo’s Monday walk.  I try to keep it lighthearted!

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Did you think we’d lost Meg?  Can’t keep a good woman down!  Showcasing a hodge podge of Australian architecture, in her own inimitable style :

Warwick heritage walk

‘My’ bit of the Coast to Coast walk, with Geoff and his Dad.  Great memories, beautifully written :

Walking With The Wind At My Back: Part Five #coasttocoast #walking

Natalie continues her adventures in Central America :

Boat trip on Lake Atitlan and Santiago Village

Pure delight for the eyes, this one from Susan :

Winter Walk Around Bodnant Garden in Wales

A quick zap of colour from Jackie this week :

Monday Mural

‘Sunshine, food and medicine for the soul’.  Irresistible, don’t you think?

Flower of the Day – Hellebores

A casual day out, enjoying the warmth, with Alice :

Skidaway Island Nature Trail

Irene is determined to make me shiver!

A Snowy Walk

While Elaine has captured the most beautiful dragonfly shot, despite very murky weather :

A dragonfly and a fish out of water

Architecturally beautiful, and sunny!  Debbie’s post couldn’t be more different :

Wandering in Vilafranca

Ever been to Queens, New York City?  Let Lisa show you around :

Jo’s Monday Walk

Iceland is on most people’s wish list, isn’t it?  You might know Drake had made it!

Reykjavik, up north

The Algarve, not so much, but it certainly suits me and Becky :

A meander through Faro

Carol shares a wonderfully atmospheric snippet of Toronto’s history :

Sensing the Past

While Jude revives a memory or two of her own, in Ludlow :

A Ludlow Walkabout

And Eunice takes us back through Bolton’s history, in 3 parts.  Know about the elephant connection?

Visiting the museum (1) – Elephants & Egypt

Finally, Cathy shares a garden that Jude would just love to be let loose in!  And I’d love to join her :

A stroll around Moab

Worn out, again?  Must be all that chocolate.  It was good fun though, wasn’t it?  Have a great week and see you next time!

Six word Saturday

Is it ok to spoon here?

Spoonbills seem to love this patch of the Algarve, rich in algae as it is.  I do too, and the interesting Shadows it creates.

Some of us have seen better days!  This is my 300th Six word Saturday.  Maybe time to retire gracefully?

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Jo’s Monday walk : Punta del Moral

I can get a bit obsessive sometimes, so when it was suggested to me that the area around Punta del Moral, in Huelva province, has more than its share of beautiful, white bridal broom right now… well, nothing for it but another trip to Spain!  By one of those strange quirks of fate, Todos a Caminhar were holding an event there this Sunday, which gave me just the excuse I needed.

I’ve introduced you to Todos a Caminhar before.  It’s an initiative to keep people healthy by getting them out walking.  Each Sunday at 10 they meet at a different venue, and on this particular weekend it was a coordinated effort with the council in Ayamonte, across the Guadiana in Spain.  Coachloads converged on Punta del Moral from around the Algarve, and the locals came too.  There are always a few characters at these things, and the gentleman with the strange horn amused himself, and the crowd, with a spinning top and a hoop.

There was a great feeling of camaraderie, free drinks and even a small cake- don’t tell!  People lined up in semi-organised fashion after a bit of a warm up and, with a minimum of jostling, we were away.  Soon the crowd thinned out as people found their own walking pace.  There were 3 different walk lengths, from 4.7 to 10.5km, to cater for all abilities.

It’s a very watery world, out there on the salt flats.  A lazy amalgam of river and sea.  Much of the heather looks like scrub with the tide out, especially at this time of year.  In summer it glows a beautiful lilac, but it’s too hot then to walk in this open terrain.  The river wanders wilfully, twisting and turning, often sluggish as the tide nudges in and, just occasionally, gushing and frothing with enthusiasm.

Our path takes us close to Ayamonte, clearly visible across the channel, and then turns its back to head for the ocean.  A lone fisherman searches for shellfish to eke out the diet while, beyond him, the fancy resort of Isla Canela fills the horizon with empty apartments.

In the opposite direction, the lighthouse at Isla Cristina commands attention, blinking in bright sunlight.  Around we go again, pausing only to glug a little water, and admire a cluster of cistus, who seem to be a long way from home.

The broom are not so prevalent here, but thronged the road in welcome as we approached, and are there to nod goodbye.  Before we left I persuaded the other half to take a final look at Isla Canela.  We once considered buying there, but are very glad we didn’t.

For a boat lover like me, the marina is a magnet, but there’s no heart to the place.  I’m consoled by a single, shocking pink Livingstone daisy- old friends of mine.  And, on the very edge of the resort, stop briefly by Ermita de Nuestra Senhora de Carmen.  I’d narrowly missed opening time- 11.30-1.30 on Sundays, but if I’m ever around on 16th July, I might get to see Our Lady carried to the estuary.

After all that walking, you wouldn’t begrudge a little something sweet, would you?  And packed full of healthy fruit!

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Spoilt for choice again this week!  There’s a bumper bundle of walks- please do visit as many as you can.  And feel free to join me here on Jo’s Monday walk with one of your own.  I’ll try and make you welcome.

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Debs didn’t have enough energy to haul us right up the hill.  I would never suggest she should eat more cake!

Burials in Old Calton Cemetery

Janet seems to be feeling a touch prickly :

Monday walk…This yard looks sharp!

Not an easy one to spell, but this looks like a beautiful place, Natalie!

Day Trip to Chichicastenango

Fishy stories with Jackie  🙂

Noche El Pescador

If I was looking for an idyllic place to live, I could well be tempted by Alice :

Wilson Village

I seem to be traveling backwards with Carol!

Welcome to 1867

And Geoff revives some of my memories, as well as his own :

Walking With The Wind At My Back : Part Four

I normally expect Karen to take me walking in Australia, but this one fooled me!

Stratford Walk 1: the lake

Gunta takes us down among the Redwoods- a stunning sequence!

A walk among giants

Irene assures me that the deer and squirrels are coping well :

Left Behind in the Snow

But I couldn’t stop shivering when I read this one!  🙂

Place – Walking the Flip Side

Glad to see things are improving down Lisa’s way!

Walking in Blue Skies in February

And Margaret has completely shrugged off the snow, and found a robin :

A winter walk: footprints, snowy sheep- and just one robin

While Sandra had me peering out of the window in delight!

#Snow Days #Saturday Snapshot & Monday Walk

No such problems in ‘la belle France’, with Tobias :

Chateau La Coste

I love the rugged tree roots in this one!  Come and paddle with Amanda!

Monday walk – Boreen Point Foreshore

I’m really lucky this week, because Becky has completed the other half of my Furnazhinas walk for me.  Thanks, darlin  🙂

A glorious walk through Geologic Time

And Cathy is sharing more of her Camino experience.  Another one not to miss, but do beware of the bulls!

(Camino: day 5) a rest day in Pamplona

That’s it for another week.  Hope it’s a good one!  Take care of yourselves, and I’ll see you next time.  No Spain, but maybe chocolate?

Jo’s Monday walk : Remember Culatra?

Some weeks I have no idea where to take you.  After all, there are only so many hills I can drag you up and down in search of cake, aren’t there?  So, I thought we’d take it fairly easy this week and hop on a boat.  Always my default setting.  You might recognise the marina at  Olhão, above.

With 20 minutes of smooth calm sailing, you just about have time to say goodbye to the mainland before you’re approaching Culatra, one of the Algarve’s barrier islands.  You can leap off at the first stop, or continue along the shoreline towards the lean white lighthouse at Farol.  There’s a small village at either end of the island and, after a meander through the cluster of villas and shacks, you can slip off your shoes for a paddle.

It looks like somebody’s been shipwrecked here!  Still, with a ferry every couple of hours, rescue is pretty certain.  It’s a long swim to Fuzeta!

Paddling done it’s time to cross over the boardwalk and pootle about with boats.  I’ll not spend time lingering among the narrow alleyways, charming though they are.  If you remember, we had a good look around last time I brought you here.  A lot of work is going on, laying new paths on the island, so maybe change is afoot.  Hopefully nothing too drastic!

It doesn’t always pay to nose around.  I almost fell foul of this little creature.  He was sitting innocently beside a boat, when I unwittingly invaded his territory.  Leaping and snarling, he made quite sure that I wasn’t up to no good.  I beat a hasty retreat, making what I hoped were soothing noises.

The seagulls were completely indifferent but a couple of small boys playing football were highly amused.  I raised a cheer when I lobbed their ball back to them, over a fence.  Kids here lead a simple life.  In warmer weather they become water babies, diving off the pier again and again, to the cheers of their mates, and swimming like gleeful fish.

On board again, we chug back across the water.  Entertainment is provided by some fellow passengers feeding the gulls, which swoop and perform aerobatics to snatch the bread.  In no time we’re ashore and strolling along the quayside, seeking refreshment.

We find it down an inviting passageway.  Such a nice reward for a minimum of effort.  Healthy, too?  I hope you enjoyed sharing.

More great walks this week.  Do find time to read them, please.  You might make some new friends.  And if you can, join me next week on Jo’s Monday walk?  You know I like a bit of company.

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Cathy honoured me with a link to her Camino walk last week, but I missed it.  Please don’t!

(Camino: day 4) Zubiri to Pamplona

And sometimes she takes me places I’ve never even heard of!  Who says blogging isn’t educational?

Great Sand Dunes National Park

I’m always in awe of her photography, and jealous of the places she’s been.  Thanks so much, Debs!

Victoria Harbour walk

You can share anything on my walks… and Drake often does!  🙂

Equipment

Denzil is right on my wavelength.  A peaceful riverside walk with a castle or two  :

Walking around Westerlo: river, castles and an abbey!

When she’s not eating, she’s shopping!  Always good fun with Jackie :

Market Fresh

All the way to Guatemala next, with Natalie :

Postcard from Antigua, Guatemala

Lisa’s taking us on one of her favourite walks, by the Hudson river :

Jo’s Monday Walk

A short walk with a stroller sometimes suits Alice :

The Welcome Station City

While Irene cheers us with ice blue (and a warm coat and scarf!) :

Sunshine and Blue Skies

Snow can look so pretty, but I’m keeping a safe distance!  🙂  Thanks, Eunice :

A snowy walk to Smithills Hall

Ending with Susan, and some fascinating memories of her time in the Peace Corps, and a very different world  :

Walking Bogota, Colombia

Have a great week, everybody!  Me?  I have another week of walking, t’ai chi, stuttering along in Portuguese and hopefully more lovely sunrises.

Jo’s Monday walk : Furnazhinas to Odeleite Dam

I’ve been wanting to go back to Furnazhinas ever since I discovered this lovely village last year.  It sits up in the hills, at the eastern end of the Via Algarviana, a 300km inland walk which crosses the whole of the Algarve.  The good news for me is that there are 2 much shorter walks which pass through the village, and on a gloriously sunny January day we decided to sample one.  It was an easy choice.  PR9 leads south of the village, signed Mina e Albufeira (not the popular one!) in the direction of the dam at Odeleite.  It promised views over the water, and I was sold!

Scarcely were we out of the village when we encountered solid looking stepping stones, beside an ancient well.  Not a trace of water- so far this has been a dry winter.  The path started out on schist, the rockbed of much of the Algarvian hills.  I was enchanted with the vibrant green grass, growing over and around the boulders, and dotted with a myriad daisies.  An old stone wall accompanied us much of the way, till we crossed a road and left it behind.  The blossoms were nodding, everywhere.  We tiptoed past a row of beehives, anxious not to disturb the inhabitants.

As we crested a hill, I caught my first glimpse of the dam.  Just a snippet of blue in the distance, but it put a spring in my step.  As we descended, the blue changed from heart shape to an azure oval, softly lapping a small island.

Amongst all that blue, suddenly a flash of white caught my eye.  I could hardly believe it!  My first cistus of the year.  Incredibly early!  And then, a few metres away, a second.  They are the most beautiful plants, and soon the hills will be full of them.

I turned full circle to look at the dam, almost surrounding me at shore level.   A lone boat sat, it’s nose in the water.  I wondered if I might set it adrift, and glide smoothly into the silence, holding my breath as I counted the ripples.

Even on this arid shoreline the daisies were flourishing, and I was astounded to find, nestling in shade, a clump or two of wild lavender.  The bugs must have been busy, because next day I had a wonderfully itchy large red lump.  Serves me right for messing with nature!

Reluctantly I set off back along the trail, pausing again to admire the cistus.  It was mostly uphill going back so I was amused to note the inappropriate footwear dangling from a tree.  The blossom spurred me on and eventually we were back to the road.

The direction?  Inevitably up, to the trig point, where late afternoon sun bathed the surrounding hills.  Our target, Furnazhinas, there below.

All downhill, we returned to the sleepy village.  7.8km in total according to the sign, but it had taken us a good couple of hours.   Next time we’d walk north.  As we returned to the car, a couple of old lads in the fields paused in their work to smile and wave at us.  And a donkey brayed scornfully.  Perhaps he knew something we didn’t?  No cake!  But lots of lovely walks to share…

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Shall we get the cold stuff out of the way first?  Lisa is joining us this week :

Baby It’s Cold Outside

Crunch through the fields with Margaret :

Ragtag Saturday : Frosted fields

A full-on attack on the ski-slopes with Drake!

Snow but not slow mood

Irene can almost compete, with -4F  😦  but oh, so beautiful!

In the Music Garden

The damp stuff can still be beautiful, as Xenia shows :

A Walk in Rosehall Forest

Geoff labours on, but he’s in good company and the scenery is superb :

Walking With The Wind At My Back : Part Three

Speaking of beauty, I’ve really enjoyed hopping around the Hebrides with Anabel :

Hebridean Hop 20: Craigston, Cleit and Eoligarry

Life is always colourful (and filling!) with Jackie :

Fast Food

Sandra is joining us, all the way from Texas.  Please say ‘hello!’

Ruston Way, #Tacoma #Saturday Snapshot

Alice takes us back in time, past troubled times to serenity :

Historical Site on St. Helena Island

While Indra proves that life can be more than a beach :

GOA – Is not all beach

And Rupali captures high drama in the city :

Dramatic cityscapes of Hong Kong

And talking of cities, don’t miss my lovely friend Carol’s take on Toronto!

Hello Toronto!

That’s your reading matter for another week.  Come walking next time?  You’ll be very welcome here at Jo’s Monday walk.  See you soon!