Photography

Jo’s Monday walk : Almodôvar, and the red shoes

It can get very flower laden around here at this time of year, so today I’m going to take you on a stroll around Almodôvar, a little known village in the Alentejo.  Why?  Well, just because I can, and also because I was intrigued by these red shoes.  Seriously, don’t you ever want to go somewhere just to see what’s there?  I do it all the time.

It’s not the easiest place to get to, and after an hour and a half of rocking and rolling along switchback country roads, car sickness was beginning to threaten.  I knew that, once over the border from the Algarve, the land would begin to flatten out.  Still, it was a relief to step out of the car.  An elderly lady was pegging out her washing and regarded me with some curiosity. Visitors from out of town are obviously a rarity.

It’s an ordinary enough place, the likes of which you will find throughout Portugal.  The charm lies in wandering the quiet streets, simply observing life.  It was just before Easter and preparations were underway in Igreja Matriz de Santo Ildefonso, the imposing 16th century church which dominates the main square.

A map on a nearby wall points out places of interest in the village.  Just what’s needed!   Number 2 is the clock tower, or Torre do Relogio.  In the 8th century, Almodôvar (literally ‘place in the round’) was rebuilt by the Muslims, with a surrounding wall.  No trace of this exists today.  A clock tower, served by an outside staircase, would typically have been part of the ramparts from the 17th century.  The clock was housed in the right tower of Santo Ildefonso, but was removed in 1889 when the parish church was struck by lightning.

As so often in Portugal, the smartly modern sits alongside the shabby and forlorn.  A pedestrianised shopping street comes as something of a surprise, but I am no longer surprised by wall art.  Meet poet Fernando Pessoa, and friends!

Still loosely following the map I headed along Rua do Convento, the convent of Our Lady of Conception inviting me closer.

What to make of this?  I hunted high and low for an explanation of this fanfare of an art installation.  Why red shoes, I was at a loss to know.  No clues inside either, but the interior was a show stopper. All that glitters…

I did solve the mystery, though.  Close by the convent there’s a 6 metre high sculpture of a cobbler on a roundabout.   Marked ‘Aureliano, 2001’, in researching it I discovered that Almodôvar had a history of shoe making.  Between the years of 1940 and 1970 there were around 200 manual shoe makers working in the town, and selling their wares at fairs throughout the county.  This sculpture, made by Aureliano Aguiar of Coimbra, from cogs and recovered bits of metal, is in their honour.

I strolled back to the sleepy little square with a fountain, and found a cafe opposite the museum. In the shade of the trees, sensible villagers idled to pass the time of day.  This place would be like a furnace in full summer.  I was melting in March.  So when I was offered a half litre bottle of vinho verde (they didn’t sell it by the glass) there was nothing to do but sit and watch the world go by.  Of course, I needed a substantial amount of food.

Back in the car, we rolled down the N2 towards the coast, passing the village of Ameixal with its Thursday morning roadside market.  The stalls were all but empty.  A venue for another day?  I had been thrilled by the wild irises, dusting the kerbside, on our way north.  Worth a last quick leap!

And that was Almodôvar.  I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.  I do like a wander.  Sorry about the lack of cake again.  I was too full after that enormous toastie.  Speaking of which, it must be time to put the kettle on.

Cuppa to hand, it’s time for this week’s wonderful shares.  Thank you all for your company and the great support I receive on here.  If you’d like to join in at any time, details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  You’ll be made very welcome.

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Look where Lexi’s landed!  Doesn’t it look fine?  You just might be surprised :

Happy in Houston- Part 1

I love a sing-a-long, and where better than the charms of Paris? (and Drake) :

Unforgettable

From one magical city to another! So lucky to have Debbie show us the heights :

Views from Montjuic

There’s always something to be thankful for in the company of Lady Lee :

52 Weeks of Thankfulness- Week 43

Geoff’s lessons on life, ably assisted by Dog :

Brecon Beacons- a lesson in green living

Jackie’s not quite so exuberant this week, but then, look at the weather!

Day 2- So Cal, Monterey

It’s not every day that I’d go walking around a complex, but Sedona surely makes a stunning backdrop.  Thanks, Marsha!

Resort Walk Reveals 15 Top Things to Love

Woolly wins it for excitement this week.  Up, up and away!

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk16-Hot-Air2

Amy goes hunting for wildflowers in Texas, and finds boots and saddles!

Texas Hill Country

But Dawn is more than happy with her finds :

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge : Surprised and Delighted 

I went looking for wood sprites or elves with Denzil, in Belgium :

The Valley of the Hoegne

And then I really struck lucky when Gilly found me a baby dragon!

A Forest walk

And finally, what did Carol find at the top of a hill?

Unrivalled Views

My English walk today has been rained off!  And it’s not even a Bank Holiday.  That’s next Monday, isn’t it?  See you then!

Six word Saturday

Putting on a show, at Harrogate

All my old favourites, and some new folks too, all in impeccable condition.  That’s what I expect of a flower show, and Harrogate delivered.

And more than that, a fashion show.  The floral art had a sewing theme.  Simply stunning, don’t you think?

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There was so much more, but that’s quite enough for a Six Word Saturday.  I think it might do to celebrate Earth Day too.  Have a beautiful weekend, and look after your patch of earth!

A glass menagerie

What can I tell you?

Whisper it very softly

Watch her like a hawk!

She doesn’t mean any harm

Don’t cry fish!  It’s not so bad.

I always find fascination in the National Glass Centre at Sunderland.  Sometimes I can find Juxtaposition too.  But today I wanted something to please my Lazy Poet friend, Gilly.  She’s been sad lately.

Jo’s Monday walk : Around Salir

You knew I’d end up back in the Algarve hills eventually, didn’t you?  I love to travel the scenic route up the N2 to Barranco do Velho.  When you look back down, the vivid blue of the sea has faded to a smokey distant haze.  This is cork territory and the ancient holm oaks enfold you as you turn off towards Salir, on the N124, in the foothills of the serra.

It’s a small village, notable for its loftily perched water tower, but one that is often bypassed in favour of prettier Alte or the mighty Rocha da Pena.

I didn’t have to worry too much about my route as I was following a walk leader.  What I did have to worry about was keeping up with the ‘Striders’. Not so easy to focus on the beauty all around whilst keeping half an eye on the walkers.  Blink, and they’d gone!  From the sports stadium at the back of the village we were quickly out onto a country lane, with views across to the Rocha, standing proud in the distance.

Oops!  Don’t miss that sign!  The trail leads steeply uphill (the Striders do seem to love hills!) to the left of the house.  Calla lilies caught my eye, and another of those precious water tanks, so vital for the hot summers.

There’s not a lot to tell about Salir.  It’s a sleepy place, with a benign 16th century church and a few castle ruins from the 12th century, keeping watch over the surrounding fields.  The softly curving Serra de Caldeirao forms a lovely backdrop.

It’s a lovely time of year.  The colours sing out, begging you to capture them.  So what, if I get left behind!

It would be well worthwhile, because look what I found, growing in the long, damp grass.  Wild orchids!  They are so exciting!

A quick scurry to catch up, but there are a couple of signposts.  This walk crosses the Via Algarviana, which spans the Algarve from Alcoutim in the east right across to Sagres in the west.  All around, the cistus are cheering me on, their crushed paper faces turned to the sun.

On this walk we’d been asked to bring a picnic, a bit of a disappointment to those of us who relish the usual restaurant stop at the end.  A couple of stone benches by a fonte made a good resting place, then we were striding off again.

I often remark to people that the Algarve is full of surprises.  Passing the cemetery at Palmeiros and an oddly colourful wall, we crossed over a bridge and made a right turn down a narrow country lane.  Expect the unexpected!

A battered drum kit in the garden told the unlikely tale.  The rest of the walk seemed almost anticlimactic after that, as we meandered back towards Salir.  The pace of the walk slowed after lunch, allowing more opportunity to chat.  Another water wheel or two and we were back where we started.

That’s the first of my recent Algarve walks completed.  I hope you enjoyed it.  Let’s put the kettle on now and see where everyone else has been.

Thanks so much everybody, for your company and kind comments each week.  I love walking with you.  If you’d like to share a walk, the details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  If not, just sit back and enjoy!

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I do like to introduce someone new on my walks, especially when the scenery is this good.  Meet Chandi  :

The Pathway of the Gods- Italy’s Most Stunning Hike

Versailles seems a long time ago to me, but Drake has brought it all back!

More glimpses of Paris

Lady Lee has been cavorting in water parks with the family :

Our Subic experience

Opulence personified from Jackie this week!

Hearst Castle

Richard has a crack at climbing the highest cliff in Cornwall :

Cracking Crackington Haven

While my Sunshine friend is making the most of the blossom in our capital :

London- A Walk in thePark 

And please, don’t anyone accuse Woolly of being full of hot air!

Jo’s-Monday-Walk2017-Wk15-Hot-Air

If it’s not broken, don’t fix it!  Or, in Paula’s case, take a wonderful shot…

Unbroken

Can you imagine being smothered in cherry blossom?  Cathy can!  She’s in Tokyo at sakura time :

Cherry blossoms in the rain at Shinjuku Gyoen

Denzil has begun a new undertaking which proves, yet again, that Belgium has quite a lot to offer :

GR121, Stage 1: Wavre to La Roche

Does this look familiar to you?  Yes- me too!

Walking in Florence

I even accept wordless walks!  Especially when shared with my lovely friend, Meg :

Wordless walks : Jemisons Beach and headland

Finally, some great hills for rolling your paste eggs down, with Kathryn :

My weekly ramble

Wonderful, aren’t they?  It’s been a bit cool and damp in my part of the UK this weekend, but then, it was a Bank Holiday.  I hope you’ve had a good Easter celebration, and maybe a bit of walking?

Six word Saturday

You can’t beat a good castle!

No, you haven’t done something funny to the screen!  This is Beaumaris Castle, in black and white.  I rather like it, but then, I liked the original too. I’m a bit vain like that!  It’s just that I desperately wanted to join in Paula’s Black and White Sunday, Traces of the Past and I’m running out of time.

So I’ve combined it with Debbie’s Six Word Saturday.  I’m sure Debs won’t mind.  She knows I can’t count.  Just as Paula knows I can’t resist a little bit of colour.  Doesn’t the castle have a stunning outlook?  The geology of Anglesey is fascinating too.

Enjoy your Easter weekend!

LLanbadrig- Church of St. Patrick

A place to turn up your coat collar and watch the sun’s rays lengthen the shadows, St. Patrick’s Church at Llanbadrig sits on a lonely headland. Dating back to AD440, it’s one of the oldest sites on Anglesey.  The Welsh name Llanbadrig means ‘Church of St. Patrick’.  Legend has it that Patrick was shipwrecked on Ynys Badrig, found refuge in a cave and water in a nearby well and later founded the church to give thanks to God.

I love that feeling of remoteness and serenity, and there’s something wonderful and unfathomable about the Welsh language too.  I suspect that it will appeal to my friend Paula, who is patiently Waiting over at Thursday’s Special.

What was I waiting for?  Why, the church to open in May, of course.

Wishing you all a blessed Easter.  Fuller details and a peak inside the church can be found at Anglesey-Hidden-Gems.

Jo’s Monday walk : A Spring jaunt on Anglesey

After the sophistication of Italy, where can I offer you next?  Still a little disoriented, with my head full of Algarve ramblings, I’m going to opt for the simple life and a lovely little stone cottage in the Welsh village of Cemaes, far flung on the island of Anglesey.

I had hoped to take you along the shoreline from Beaumaris, with the smoky blue of Snowdonia as a backdrop.  Thanks to the antics of a lovable but very skittish Border collie, that notion had to be abandoned.  Cars made her nervous, as did the scrunch of pebbles and the swoosh of waves.  It was high tide and hard to avoid any of these, as we walked by the roadside.  What was needed was a gentle expanse of rolling country.  The soft lap of the sea would be a welcome addition.  Moelfre seemed to have all that we needed.

A pretty little harbour offered a walk around the bay, and sweetly undulating coastline.  Golden gorse tipped the bushes and lambs frolicked in the fields.  Almost idyllic!  Islay’s instincts to give chase had to be curbed, of course.  Pools and dimples in the shoreline just begged to be explored.

A small cove invited too, but those nasty pebbles were ever present.  Islay tiptoed across to dip a paw.  Not to be thwarted, we pressed on.

Steady, Islay!  They’re just playing.  Beyond a well kept caravan park, the masts of a cluster of yachts urged me on.  And sure enough, there was a reward waiting.  The perfect place for a spot of dog training!

Delighted with my small success, I had an eye on a further headland.  A little up-ing and down-ing brought us to this.  At last the tide had turned.

In the cottage in Cemaes, the owner had thoughtfully provided a range of books on walking and the geology of the area.  Lynne was interested in a particular rock formation and, as Islay romped giddily to and fro, I thought I might have spotted it across the bay.

But my dog loving friends were wreathed in smiles at the unbridled joy of their pet.  Time to quit while you’re ahead!  The walk was intended to be circular, turning inland, but we opted to return along the coast.  The views were lovely, and reminiscent in places of my familiar Yorkshire cliffs.

I have to admit to a little indecent haste on the return trip.  It was now well past 3 o’clock and we hadn’t eaten since breakfast.  Back in Moelfre I had spotted highly promising Ann’s Pantry. We did stop to ponder over some wild flowers, and I made a half-hearted attempt to get to grips with the Welsh language.  What a mistake!  We arrived to be advised that they had stopped serving meals at 3pm.  The menu looked so tempting and we had the perfect garden setting, but lunch would just have to be cake.

I was impressed with my first visit to Anglesey.  With 130 miles of Coastal Path even someone as restless as me could be happy.  You can download my circular walk, from Moelfre to Pentraeth, on the Anglesey website.  Tish Farrell has written some beautiful, and informative, posts on the island.

It’s good to be back walking with you again, though I have to admit I dithered a lot before selecting this week’s walk.  Thanks to all of you who kept the walks rolling in my absence.  It is much appreciated.  No breaks planned in the immediate future so I’ll be delighted if you have a walk to share. And if not, I’ll just enjoy your company anyway.  Details are on my Jo’s Monday walks page.  Time for a cuppa and a good read!

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Nice to find a new friend.  Small Step Closer reminds me of good times in Southern Poland :

Mount St. Ursula (Slovenia) – Urslja Gora

From new friends to old, but young at heart- thanks Drake!

A little bit wild

Masquerade in the streets

And talking of old friends, there’s a certain lady at Potato Point :

A daybreak walk by Coila Lake

Meanwhile, Lady Lee is still very much at home in the Philippines :

Batanes Trip, Day 3 – Batan Southern Tour

Woolly is another gentleman who often makes me smile :

Jo’s-Monday-Walk2017-Wk13-Lucerne3-Mt.-Rigi

Jo’s-Monday-Walk2017-Wk14-Salzburg-1

And what can you say about Jackie in La-La Land?

Day1 So Cal- La-La Land

Hmm… Cornwall… now who do I know in that part of the world?

Meander around Mevagissey harbour

Much closer to home, Becky reminds me why I love the Algarve so :

What a difference a few weeks makes

While Susan shares the natural beauty of her native California :

Walking with the Spring Bloom

And funnily enough, Kathryn does the same!

Wildflower Hike

Eunice rounds me off with some wonderfully English moorland :

A walk in two parts and some more local history

Hope that Spring is being kind to you or, if you’re Down Under, that Autumn does the same. Happy walking and see you soon!