Are you finding it hard not to be drawn in? Hmm, me too! 🙂 January Light.
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.
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?
How about this for a brilliant idea? Debbie knows I can only draw Stick Men 😦
A distant deer is better than no deer, isn’t it, Janet?
Street art! Sandra wonders how you feel about it :
Drake acknowledges that life isn’t always pretty :
Take a step or two back in time with Anne :
Enjoy an unusually balmy January day with Irene :
Or an autumnal birthday jaunt, with Cathy :
And lastly, a nice young man I’d like you to meet :
That’s it for another week. Hope you enjoyed it. Take care, and I’ll see you soon!
Well , who can resist that smile? He’s obviously enjoying January Light!
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.
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.
Janet has enormous fun in a museum!
And we all know that Jackie never lets the side down :
No place like home, but Drake is happy to hang his hat in a number of places :
While Sandra takes me back to one of the most beautiful places I have ever been :
Irene shares the beauty of a beach in winter :
And Indra, the lush landscape of :
In stark contrast, Karen takes us to Australia, where heat is a killer. Do please donate something, if you can :
Candy combines a history lesson with a great walk. I had no idea!
And Cathy takes us back to a very beautiful mosque :
Happy New Year to anyone I’ve missed. Onwards and upwards!