Photography

Jo’s Monday walk : Aveiro & surrounds

Art Deco Museum- copyright Mike Bradley

You can look forward to something too much, can’t you?  You could definitely say that about our couple of days in Aveiro, back in July.  The city almost made the itinerary on our Porto trip, a few years ago, but we opted for a day in Guimaraes instead.  Aveiro seemed to warrant more time than that.  I’d seen photos of the wonderfully painted barcos moliceiros that ride the canals, not to mention the candy striped houses at neighbouring Costa Nova.  Both irresistible, in prospect.

A birthday is always a good excuse for a jaunt.  It wasn’t mine, but that seldom stops me.  I was surprised that he chose to drive us there, but it did add flexibility to the plans.  And so we left the Algarve for the ‘cooler’ north.  Except that the dial on the car read 36C when we arrived.  Several degrees warmer than our sultry south.  More of a surprise was the motorway, that ran parallel with the canal, right into the city and onward in a rush to the coast.  Aveiro was much bigger than I had anticipated.  Time to stow the car in the hotel garage and take to the streets.  A canal boat with my name on it must be waiting out there.

No, not this one, but there actually was a lovely green boat, named Santa Joana.  A sign, if ever there was, though the only certainty was that a boat ride would be taken, on the morrow.  Wikipedia reveals that Santa Joana was, in fact, the daughter of King Afonso V, and spent her life in the convent in Aveiro.  Meanwhile, a walk around the canal network seemed highly desirable.

The city rose to prominence on the strength of its salt production, stemming back to Roman times, and seaweed harvest.  The moliço, or seaweed, was used as fertiliser before chemicals were developed for the purpose.  The flat-bottomed gondolas were used to transport it across the lagoon.  The silting up of the river in the 16th and 17th centuries hindered the trading of the seaport and led to the closure of the canals, and stagnation of the waters of the lagoon.  The network of canals we see today were artificially constructed and opened in 1808, bringing prosperity back with them.

Canal Central is a grand sight!  The graceful boats, with their highly accomplished crew of two- one steering and the other providing commentary and skipping nimbly onto the stern to signal manoeuvres- glide across the water in a serenade of colour and ceremony.  Out past the Rossio park towards Canal das Piramides, and the salt pans, then under the bridge onto Canal de Sáo Roque.  Old warehouses rub shoulders with modern developments here.  A sleek bit of turning, and some hand signals guide the vessels through the narrowest of openings.  Fascinating to watch how well they coordinate their efforts.  In high season 25/28 boats ply their carefully orchestrated trade.  Part way along Sáo Roque a new bridge was under construction.  A gravity- defying curve of metal suspended over the water, I lingered over the reflections.

Much of the architecture is very beautiful.  A combination of art deco and those so Portuguese azulejo tiles.  An atmospheric fish market and a plethora of restaurants, huddled in back streets.  A cathedral of contrasts- wonderful old chorister seats, in dark wood carved with African masks; an antique pipe organ and its shiny new counterpart.  Churches, of course.  Huge Dom Pedro park, with its golden yellow villas and Monet bridges.  Two things not to miss : The Art Deco Museum, beside Canal Central, and a confectionery called Ovos Moles.  Gooey marzipan in a soft, seashell sculpted case.  We sampled ours at a tiny café by the canal, A Barrista.

Back through the city to Canal do Cojo and a sleek extravaganza of shopping mall, topped with a garden roof terrace.  Time to sit in the sun and watch and wave, as the boats sweep beneath a bridge decked in ribbons.  Sadly I can’t show you.  Soon after our return from Aveiro I was having laptop difficulties.  In trying to assist, my husband accidentally deleted the vast majority of my photos from the trip.  To this day I have been unable to recover most of them.  I was devastated at the time, but I’ve used what I have, including some from my phone and a handful borrowed, and credited, from him.

I loved the canals, the camaraderie of the crews, and the old part of Aveiro, but it’s fair to say, nothing was quite as I expected.  If I hadn’t lost the photos I’d have regaled you with more posts.  I’ll simply say that the weather changed, and the plan to spend the birthday by the beach at Costa Nova wasn’t feasible.  A short visit on our homeward journey left us both underwhelmed.  The stripey houses facing the lagoon had sacrificed much of their charm to commercialism, and the beach was no match for the ones here, at home.

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Time to smile, and share.  Many thanks to you all for reading, and for your welcome contributions.  Join me any time, here on Jo’s Monday walk.

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Let’s start out with Jude.  This is such a beautiful post.  Life is good, indeed :

A Bracing Beach Walk

I suspect the Christmas market will be brightening this place now, Drake :

Last days of November

Iceland doesn’t have the most reliable weather, but it is undeniably beautiful :

Enduring the Laugavegur Trail

Nor would Switzerland be a place to seek winter warmth, but Mercedes loves it :

The beautiful lakes of Flims

Someone else with a love for mountains is Nicole :

A Panoramic Hike along the Grand Balcon Nord to the Mer de Glace in Chamonix

160 slices of cake!  Even by my standards, that’s a lot, Jackie!

Cake Vendor

Alice likes cake too, but let’s start with a main course :

Fish Heads and Frames

How well do you know South London?  Anne is a good tour guide :

A walking tour of historic Southwark

While Anabel is ‘away with the fairies’ this week :

Going up Doon Hill

Mel has big plans for 2020!  How about you?

The Camino Less Travelled in Spain – Camino San Salvador

But Cathy is just one stop from her goal on this epic journey :

(Camino day 46) Arzúa to Pedrouzo

Taking us back though a shared European history, in his own inimitable style, it’s Andrew!

A Walk Through Corfu Town

Denzil too enjoys sharing stories.  Perhaps you saw the prequel to this :

A walk around Alden Biesen

Australia and Corfu couldn’t be more different, but they’re both islands, with lizards! Agree Carol?

Small Town, Big Walk

I’m always on the lookout for something different, and this is fabulous!

Sunday Walk Through Paltan Bazaar Dehradun

Next week I’ll take you to the university city of Coimbra.  It was a grey day, and I have just one single surviving photograph, plus a few of my husband’s, but it’s too interesting a place to ignore.  Hope to see you then.  Take care!

Jo’s Monday walk : Mesquita & the Fonte

Follow the N270 inland from Tavira and you come to an area of gentle undulations.  After Santa Catarina, look for a sign saying Mesquita, off to your left.  Park close by the restaurant Lagar da Mesquita, and you find yourself in a fairly easy walking environment, with a number of enticements.  I’m not talking cake just yet, so don’t go getting your hopes up.

Relatively easy to miss in the long grass, the Monte Negro well is a solid structure, of unknown origin but believed to be several centuries old.  On a blue sky day with crisp shadows, bright blooms nod and a dog barks at us, but still wags his tail.

A gentle incline takes you up the Ribeira do Bengado valley to a trig point blessed with two windmills.  Neither seem to be functional right now.

In the distance, the faintest shimmer of ocean glints in the sunlight.  Down in the valley, we walk beneath trailing branches, on a carpet of leaves and fallen acorns from the many oaks.  A cross stands, all alone, on a rough hewn wall.

The path emerges beside a cottage rich in bougainvillea.  Another dog inspects us, through closed gates, and decides we’re harmless.

Soon we come to the natural Fonte and a bit of fun.  Vigorous scrubbing demonstrates how it might have been done, ‘back in the day’, while a few turns of the handle easily produces water from the well.  Wash day in the sun!

Grapefruit dangle temptingly over a fence, and it’s time for the luxury of a coffee stop.

We’re on our way to the last of the features of this walk- the Geoponto, and the beautiful ornamental rock known as limestone breach.  Going far back in time, much of the Algarve was beneath the ocean.  Remnants of coral and fossilised animals from that era can still be found in the limestone, quartz and feldspar which make up the local geology.

A fascinating prospect, isn’t it?  The rock is now used in the building industry, and for decoration.   Across the fields the trail leads back to the road.  An empty rill passes another water wheel and soon the crossroads signed Lagar da Mesquita appear.

I hope you enjoyed our walk today.  Even if you only came for the cake.

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Time to share a few more walks.  Many thanks to my contributors and all of you who’re happy to walk along with us.  Join me next time here on Jo’s Monday walk.  And maybe bring a walk of your own?

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I do like quirky, don’t you?  An odd little piece of Cornwall, on Jude’s doorstep :

Hayle: Penpol Terrace Walk

Just let it happen, with Drake.  It could lead anywhere :

Unplanned bike ride

I know somebody who loves apple pie, Alice.  Especially with custard!

Historic Town Famous for Apple Pie

Speaking of which, let’s see what Jackie’s got this week :

High Tea

Natalie’s staying indoors, but surrounded by beautiful flowers :

7 Tidbits about Chrysanthemums

Janet’s indoors too but her interests are rather different :

Monday walk….but not too far

While Mama Cormier shows us around her neighbourhood :

My Monday walk on Tuesday

And for those of you who like snow with your spectacular scenery :

A Quick Jaunt to Moab, Utah

Or you can carry on the Camino, with Cathy :

(Camino day 45) Melide to Arzúa

It’s December and I’m sure a lot of you are leading busy lives.  Please don’t stress too much!  It won’t make Christmas any better.

Six word Saturday

I like a bit of contrast!

If you saw the dazzling blue of last week’s Six Word Saturday you’ll know what I mean.

I loved capturing the swirling mists and contorted shapes, but gradually it cleared to blue. I thought of Cathy and her Photography Invitation  but I never forget Six Word Saturday.  Start counting down with Debbie?  Happy Saturday!

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Jo’s Monday walk : Back to Serenity (Monte Velho)

I thought long and hard over whether I ought to include this walk, but I loved it.  Full of warmth and companionship, it was in celebration of a very special lady.  Roberta Smith was always Bobbie to me, and she was there right from the very beginning of my Algarve walking days.  A very determined lady, she had overcome a near fatal aneurism to get back to walking in the hills she loved.  Always she was spurred on by the promise of the one gin and tonic she allowed herself each week.  Simple pleasures for a lady who needed to be frugal.

Always kind to others, in the end life wasn’t kind to her.  Months short of her 65th birthday, and of drawing the pension she had so looked forward to, cancer abruptly claimed Bobbie.  We, her walking friends, were in shock.  It has taken close to a year for us to make this walk, in celebration of our time with her.  On a day of blue skies and softly drifting clouds, many of us said our goodbyes.

I’ve never struggled to know what Bobbie saw in these hills.  From the first time I ventured up here, I was under their spell.  The patterns that trail from valley to summit and down again, as the clouds gently jostle for position.  The trees, in silhouette on the horizon, gnarled and torn, up close.  The isolation of distant dwellings, and the ruins, sorrowful remnants of life.  The blues and violet shades that come with evening.  I love them all.

It is the time of year for medronho, the berries ripening with gold and scarlet temptation.  Recently I was offered them with a dessert, but more often they are distilled to a fiery beverage.  To keep out those winter chills.  The wind can be cold up here.

Finally, at the summit, a ceremony was performed.  One of our group had carried her ashes.  Another filled a glass with the G & T she loved.  Another had photos of when we were last all together.  We had no idea, then…

We continued through desperately arid land, streams dry as dust, but life clinging on determinedly, as it must.  Afterwards we convened at a restaurant in the hills that we often use.  Those who had been unable to walk joined us there, to celebrate Bobbie’s life, and to raise a toast.

Life is short.  Some are luckier than others.  But all of us must find a path.  I hope that Bobbie and her many friends will not mind me sharing hers.

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There are many walks and lives to share here this week.  Please find a little time to visit each other.  See you next time, on Jo’s Monday walk.

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Patience is rewarded, oh, so beautifully, for Jude :

Waiting for a sunny day

While Alice finds beauty of a very different kind :

The Elephant on the Desert

Feast your eyes on this lot!  Sandy plays gourmet in Lisbon :

Food and Restaurants -# Portugal

Someone else who doesn’t have an aversion to food- you can always eat well with Jackie :

Hot Chocolate

Some beautiful finds in the woods, with Janet :

Monday walk…in memoriam

While Natalie shows us Autumn in all its splendour :

Agawa Canyon: From Rail to Trail

A follow-up to Denzil’s recent Foresters’ Memorial post :

The 2-Memorial Sonian Forest Walk

And to Ann Christine’s walk through stunning Old Tbilisi :

Thursday Thoughts – A Last Walk – Until next time, Aleksandr!

Have you been walking with that lovely man Ernst lately?  And Gisella, too :

A mountain hike in the Appenzeller Alps (Switzerland)

Or that other lovely man, who sometimes likes life a…

Little bit dangerous

And talking of gentlemen, have you seen this post from Debbie?

A very short walk with a Superstar

It’s a little cool for me in Irene’s part of the world.  Or do I mean, ‘a lot’?

Frosty Morning Walk

A Winter Fantasyland

And Karen can hardly see her hand in front of her face!

A soggy walk in the Blue Mountains

I don’t know much about this part of the world, but I wouldn’t mind keeping Athena company :

Hiking the Columbia Gorge

And I had hoped to join Cathy on her journey, but it wasn’t to be :

(Camino day 44) Lestedo to Melide

I did, however, make it to the Azores, and I will return.  If these photos don’t entice you…

Hiking the Azores: The Mystery behind the Mistérios Negros

That’s all for another week.  I’m feeling quite emotional.  It must be the time of year.  Thank you so much, all of you who’ve followed the Living the dream journey with me.  Stay well, be kind to each other, and enjoy your week!

Six word Saturday

New winter timetable for Tavira ferry

Normally the town ferry to Tavira Island stops in late September.  This year it has continued, with a stop off at Quatro Aguas, replacing the smaller ferry from there.  A winter’s day, with water like a millpond.  Since these were taken on Wednesday, we’ve had 2 rainy days, but it’s back to blue this morning.  I can happily waste my time here, Debbie.  Happy Saturday!

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Living the dream… a year on!

Who’d have thought the 70th year of my life would turn out like this?  I sat on the roof terrace with my daughter recently, and we talked our way back through time.  Her memories are so much more vivid than mine.  I was just happy to have her sitting beside me, sharing the view of sky, sea and salt marsh that brings me so much pleasure.

Living the dream… 6 months on had me on the verge of an adventure that makes me smile whenever I think about it.  The Azores, a true love affair that reunited me with clouds and refreshing rain.  That made me want to dance in the puddles like a child.  On my return to the Algarve, more doubts set in.  Was I really suited to this energy sapping heat?  I like to live my life at pace, keeping age at bay you might say.  I was assured that this was a cool summer, by Algarve standards, but still it was a relief to return to the UK for most of August.  A delight too, to share time with my family, made more precious by their distance from my new life.  However hard I try to bridge the gap, with texts and phone calls and Skype, there is no substitute for a hug.

Back in the Algarve, both me and my husband were a little down and disorientated.  Though my son’s beaming smile when he announced his engagement was a moment to savour.  We tried to find ourselves again.  The continuing heat necessitated almost daily trips to the beach, me desperate for a breeze, him happy to laze with the waves lapping his toes.  I had ‘discovered’ croquet and a new circle of friends, while he joined a tennis club.  We were a little at odds and grumpy with each other, uncertain who to blame for the fading dream.  I planned a couple of trips on the water, always guaranteed to make me happy.  September drifted past, and gradually mutual friends returned from their summer sojourn.  The life we had loved was about to resume… but first, a frenzied October.

We had issued numerous invitations to family and friends on our UK departure.  All had given us space to settle in, but October proved to be the tipping point.  We welcomed a succession of guests, all of whom seemed to be as dazzled by our Algarve home as we had been.  Michael donned his chauffeur cap and I assumed my role as planner and tour guide.  All of it very enjoyable, for they were an appreciative audience, and lovely people.  At the same time, we were enrolling for a new term of Portuguese lessons (oh dear!) and trying to maintain our social life.  I didn’t feel well and slept poorly.  But the warmth of responses around me couldn’t be ignored.  People were so kind and caring.  How could I not respond?

A kaleidoscope of events since then!  Walks aplenty, two meetups with lovely blogging friends (in the same week!), entertaining at home (which always makes me nervous, but I needn’t have worried), birthday celebrations, a fantastic light show in Faro.  Do I still have regrets?  Of course!  I wish facility with the language came a little easier.  Overheard snippets of conversation that you can’t understand are no fun at all.  I’m still trying.  The big loss, of course, is the ability to zip down the road to family.  I’m not alone in that.  But I can honestly say, a year down the line, that this place feels like home, and continues to put a smile on my face.  You can’t ask for more, can you?  Even for a restless soul.