Photography

Jo’s Monday walk : Along the Guadiana

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cowden Japanese Garden and Castle Campbell

You can count on having fun with Debbie :

A whirl around Oktoberfest

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

Oktoberfest 2019

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

A day in Limerick

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

Inside, so much inside

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

Cafe del Teatre

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

Eurobodalla Beaches: Rosedale

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

Hiking in Porcupine Gorge National Park

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

(Camino day 38) Cacabelos to Trabadelo

Bye for now!  Take care till the next time.

Six word Saturday

They  will never hold the rain!

Not that there’s much need for them round here, but they do work well for Becky’s Lines and Squares.  She’s playing with Pooh Bear today, and Debbie’s riding around on a bus, in Six Words, of course.  Why not join them?  And have a great Saturday!

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Jo’s Monday walk : Ferragudo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Still wandering happily in Dublin, with Eunice :

Another day in Dublin – Part 2

Lady Lee takes one last look at Japan :

Dotonbori

What’s Jackie got for us this week?

Food stand

Oops, missed Joe last week!

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

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

Artbase Festival 2019 – Murals in Rural Ruins

Drake rarely abandons me :

Abandoned stories

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

16km hike around Orp-Jauche

While Cathy Caminos on :

(Camino day 37) Ponferrada to Cacabelos

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

Outback History

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

Six word Saturday

Lines, in any direction you like? 

I’m sure Becky will recognise these.  I usually take our visitors here, and this week was no exception.  Debbie always floats my boat, but especially on Saturdays.  Visit these two lovelies and get your weekend off to a great start!

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Rio Arade, A special place

Relaxed and comfortable at the helm of his small fishing vessel, Luis has found his special place in the world.  All of his working life, a fisherman, he was saddened at the sight of an elderly friend’s boat, abandoned by the water in Ferragudo, because he could no longer sail it.  With great reluctance the friend sold his boat to Luis, assured that it would be far better to see her proud on the water than slowly decaying.  She was lovingly restored and refurbished, so that Luis could sail her on these waters he so loves, and share with us his delight in this special place.

Many times I have crossed over the waters of the Arade estuary, either on the motorway or, more excitingly, over the gracefully arched bridge that spans it, low to the water.  When the tide is out bare mud flats stretch all around, but when the tide swells and surges up the river, it is pure joy to be carried along with it.

Leaving the harbour, Luis takes us across to the other side of the estuary and begins to share the history of the local fishing industry.  We look up at the baskets on the quay, where fisherman used to haul the catch by hand.  The chimneys dotted around the landscape are remnants of sardine factories long since abandoned.  We pass by Portimáo’s proud waterfront and head for a sequence of bridges.  Luis takes great care when sailing beneath them not to catch the lines of the fishermen above, and then we are racing across the water towards the next bridge.

I look upwards, excited to finally sail beneath this beauty.  And then we are beyond the bridges, gently bobbing on calm waters as we round a curve into open countryside.  Luis stills the boat beneath a rocky crag where wives used to gather, gazing seawards to pray for the safe return of their fishermen.  The spot was consecrated as a chapel in the rocks by a bishop.  In winter these waters are not so benevolent.

And then Luis gently steers the boat to where the waters divide, and we enter the channel which will take us to our destination, Silves.

Slowly we approach the city, former capital of the Algarve, and visible from afar across this flat stretch of countryside.  When the tide is out the water here is very low and it’s a paradise for birdlife.  We watch, spellbound, for heron, soaring off across the water and storks circling overhead.  One day we must return to hike the riverside trail.  For now we are hugely entertained by Luis and his knowledge and humour.  He waves gaily to passing craft, seeming to be on first name terms with all who sail here, from solar powered boat to the owners of a tiny marina/restaurant.

The clouds have gathered and I’m grateful for a brief respite from the sun as we glide towards Silves.  A shower was forecast, but we seem to have dodged it.  Two large Viking style boats are moored at the quay, leaving little space for Luis, but he good-naturedly nudges his boat alongside.

We step ashore with an hour and a half to stretch our legs.  Time enough for a stroll through the riverside park and across the river to look back on this magnificent, ancient city.  Coffee and cake, perhaps?

Back on board, we retrace our journey, pausing to examine a tidal mill and the caves beyond, and a former sardine factory, now a smart hotel.

The sun is low in the sky as we reach the bridges, again carefully avoiding fisher folk suspended above.  Luis explains that the arched bridge is designed to look like a fish, the eyes glowing brightly when floodlit at night.

Soon we are approaching Luis’ beloved home, riding high above the water.  I’ve grown to love this place too.  The beauty of this stretch of water, with its many moods and tidal changes speaks to me.  You can only sail this route when the tide is right, but there are other trips you can take with Ferragudo Boat Trips.

So, when Tina asked me to Pick a place, special to me, I had no hesitation.  Join me on Monday and we’ll do a walking tour of Ferragudo.

Jo’s Monday walk : Alvor & the Estuary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hiking Ulsanbawi Rock on Chuseok

And Lady Lee treats us to more of Japan :

Miyajima

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

Promenade from King’s Cross to Paddington

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

Rise and Shine

Drake shares countryside and city.  Take your choice :

Surrounded by nature

Attention-competition

While Eunice explores another well-known city :

A day in Dublin(1)

And Cathy stays on track, with castles in Spain :

(Camino day 36) El Acebo to Ponferrada

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