Photography

Six word Saturday

No doubt about it- shade needed!

A stroll around Loulé, enjoying the shade.  Into the 30s this weekend, so we’ll definitely need it.  Meanwhile Debbie has been having fun on Six Word Saturday.  And if you look closely I think I’ve made a few Weekend Reflections too?  Have a good one, and see you on Monday for a walk.

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Simple fare

Funny how different we are!  My husband loves these little pinwheels coated in white chocolate, or a Kitkat.  Me, I’m happy with a digestive.  I can dunk it, or eat it covered in crumbly cheese.  I really don’t mind.  The one immutable is coffee, when I first get out of bed.

Don’t you love the tiny Portuguese cups?  Ideal size for a bica, but seldom used in my home.  If we have a tradesman at the house I always hesitantly offer coffee.  Often the response is a rueful head shake.  Sometimes a polite request for water.  Leaving me in no doubt that my coffee making skills are far below par.  How do they know?  My reputation appears to have traveled.

The sturdy tray was decoupaged for me by my daughter, as a useful gift to carry my cuppa all the way up to the roof terrace.  I am a bit prone to get two thirds of the way up, a cup in one hand, plate in the other and a book or two under my arm, and trip….  Ribbon cascades of coffee down white walls… not a good look!

So what’s new in the Algarve right now?  Su started Teatime in the blogosphere to nourish and cheer us all up in gloomy times.  I’m happy to say that gradually the gloom is rolling back, here.  With caution.  Our restaurants and cafés have been open for a couple of weeks, and we are becoming more relaxed about meeting in small groups.  Masks are still mandatory in enclosed spaces.  And still no touching, though I find it hard not to lay a sympathetic hand on an arm.  Full blown hugs feel a long way off.  Cake isn’t really a consolation for that, but it’s all I can offer, for now.

Do help yourself!  I hope things are getting better in your part of the world?

Monday murals

Strolling through Faro the other day admiring the storks I came upon these two, and thought at once of my friend Sami’s Monday Murals.  For those of you wondering where I’ve hidden my Monday walks, I’m in laidback mode for the summer.  I will be doing a round up of walks next Monday.  Nothing too strenuous!  Take care till then.

Jo’s Monday walk : Beyond the River

‘Why Tavira?’ is a question I’m asked all the time when I talk about the place where I live.  Although I love the peace of the Algarve countryside, I could never willingly live in a little hillside cottage.  I would forever be gazing at the horizon, imagining the lap of the waves at my feet and the sound of the ocean in my ears.  Here in Tavira the river brings the sea to me, and it’s one of my greatest pleasures to board a ferry and ride out there to meet it.  This week the town ferry reopened.  There was no queue at the kiosk, nor in fact any other passengers aboard than me and my husband.  And a crew of five, some of whom were youngsters, learning the trade.  Prosperity will come again, and they need to be prepared.  For now, the instructions are to wear a mask on all forms of public transport, and so, bizarre though it felt on the open deck of a boat, we did.

We pulled out of the quayside, where the work of building a new bridge continues apace, and soon were chugging out through the marshes.  Lilac heather lines the riverbank, but my gaze was directed far beyond, counting the flamingos.  The day was full of billowing clouds, which could have explained the emptiness of the ferry.   After all these years, still I find the views from the landing stage compelling.

We followed the path across the Ilha towards the beach.  The main seafood restaurant was being industriously cleaned and rearranged, in readiness for hoped for customers.  The adjacent campsite is to remain closed this summer, and the object of our affections, The Sunshine Bar, had yet to open, but the recycled fish at O Xiri has a new lease of life.

With no particular objective in mind, we set off along the deserted beach, walking into a boisterous breeze.  As we paused to regain our breath, a tiny figure appeared on the horizon.  We watched as the quad bike drew near, and then passed us by.  The maritime police with a pleasant occupation.  Nothing but a few gulls to keep us company.  In vain I tried to capture them in flight.  Better to focus on the jewellery of the beach!

We had reached the area known as Terra Estreita.  Another ferry and a boardwalk connects this beach with Santa Luzia on the mainland.  Beach umbrellas in residence, but not a soul to be seen.  Just the tyre tracks of the young policeman.

Turn back, or carry on?  The legs were starting to feel a bit leaden in the soft sand, but we knew that the Beach Bar at Barril was open.  A fair incentive for another half hour or so’s walking.  Maybe even cake?

The clouds were starting to amass and the wind to bluster, but I was intrigued by the clumps of greenery and plants I had never before seen growing on this beach.  Nature rearranging herself in the absence of humans.  We had already noticed that the shoreline was different in places.  The action of wind and waves.  Soon I was in the mesmerising presence of the anchors at Barril.

I defy anyone to walk past without taking at least one or two photos of them.  Possibly after refreshments.  The sky was miraculously clearing again by the time we were ready to return, and the wind gentling us along from behind.  More found treasure!

Finally the lighthouse at the river mouth came into view.  It’s not a bad life being a beach attendant right now.

Almost ready to board, but I can’t leave you without a bit of biscuit cake, can I?  A treat, because it’s been a sobering week, in many ways.

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Janet led the way, last week, in being too upset to walk.  Many of us knew just how she felt :

Today I can’t walk

But Margaret will cheer you up :

A Tale of Three Birds: Chapter Two- The Curlew

And Anabel has beautiful rock formations in Berwickshire :

Cove to Siccar Point

Trees, sky, tiny flowers… just a few of the things in Susan’s new world :

Walking around a lockdown

Drake demonstrates how beautiful green can be :

Most of all greenish

While Rita celebrates the blossom trees in Toronto :

Feeling high at High Park

Doesn’t matter what day it is, Rupali can find beauty :

Wordless Wednesday Walk 3

And Sheetal can get excited about Florence :

Date with David

Irene contents herself with the simple things in life :

Along the Trail

I’ve never hiked Dartmouth… but I’d like to.  Please meet Zara!

Dartmoor Hiking Trails: Princetown to Fox Tor

So far I’ve been documenting and diarying my life here in the Algarve, in this exceptional period.  I think you can see, it’s a beautiful place.  I don’t intend to stick to a schedule from now on, so if you share a walk with me I’ll be delighted, but I can’t be sure when I’ll share it here.  Wishing you all a peaceful and healthy transition to a better world.  It’s ours to make the best of, isn’t it?  Stay safe!  And eat cake?

Six word Saturday

They choose the most majestic homes!

There were more storks than people in Faro the other day.  I looked hard for babies but it wasn’t easy to tell with all the bobbing heads.  Today Debbie is seeing triple on Six Word Saturday.  Why not join her?  Have a nice day!

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Jo’s Monday walk : Barragem de Beliche

A lingering rock cistus highlights the banks of the reservoir.  A couple of weeks ago I ventured up to Beliche, in part to check the water levels, but also because it’s a largely uninhabited area.  Or so I thought!  The car parking area alongside the dam surprised me.  Leathers and helmet clad bikers were thronging the space.  But they kept to themselves, and we duly distanced ourselves too.  As they pulled away we got a thumbs up and a cheery wave.  Life has to move forward, but you can choose your own pace.

Around here, you can imagine, it’s pretty slow.  April and early May saw a lot of rainfall.  A Godsend, because the reservoirs were dangerously low.  And also because the Portuguese really don’t like the rain, and were very happy to stay home and avoid it.  Fique em casa!  Stay at home.  Job done!

There were no tourists, so nobody to get upset but a handful of disgruntled expats who’ve chosen to live here.  Blue skies are theirs by right, aren’t they?  And eventually were restored, the timing being almost perfect, as beaches and beautiful countryside again became available.  With enormous gratitude for what we have, and not a little trepidation, we set out.

If anything could dispel doubt, it was the sparkling blue waters of the Beliche dam.  Such a relief to see water levels being restored, for summers here can be long and hot.  Bypassing the fearsome machinery, we climbed the hill to gaze back down at the dam.

I freely admit, not the most exciting walk we have ever undertaken, but just then it felt like giant steps into the unknown.  I delighted in the freshness of the air, and the soft sprinkling of lemon and lilac flowers dusting the hillside.

A cloud passed overhead, just as I was pausing to admire another solitary cistus.  And then drifted away to join its brothers, dreaming in the sky.

This circular walk is a little more than 6kms, sufficient in the mounting heat, and before long we were below the IC27, which runs north towards the Alentejo.  There are a couple of farms in the valley, and a donkey, who gave me rather a disdainful look.

Experience has taught me to be more wary of beehives!  And their aggressive inhabitants.

The map indicated a river flowing towards the dam, but it must long since have dried up.  The telltale reminder, an overgrown measure of depth, was just visible through the shrubs.  A gentle climb brought us back to the car park.  I’d love to share the lemon drizzle cake made by one of my companions, to celebrate our first visit since the onset of the virus.  But I devoured 2 pieces, and never even gave it a thought!  Next time…

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However, I’m more than willing to share some great walks.  Here we go!

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Always good to meet another Algarve blogger, and Tracy is also a published authoress :

Montes Mourinhos – Pera circular

Wouldn’t you just love to meet Sheetal here?  I know I would!

Dinner in Trastevere, Rome

Indra shares her memories of the natural beauty of Canada :

Summer of 2019: Waterton, Canada

While Janet improves my vocabulary, amidst the natural surroundings of Arizona :

The Riparian Preserve

Sharon is surrounded by some beautiful countryside too :

Caton Riverside Walk

And Susanne is simply happy to be outdoors again :

Back for a Walk at Coulon Park

An easy, unhurried style of life, with Drake :

Some even forget the mobile

And a poignant and personal post from Alice :

One Last Song

A poetic lady I know as ‘Heart to Heart’ (Dil se Dil tak… )  Such a lovely name for a blog, Rita :

The woods are lovely dark and deep…

There must be a history to this village name, Jonno?  Always smiling, these two!

Our Favourite Devon Walk to Heanton Punchardon

You can admire a little beauty with Rupali any time :

Wordless Wednesday Walk 2

While Anabel knows the way to my heart.  Via a drystone roundhouse is especially good :

Edin’s Hall Broch

Calling Becky, Debbie, Sue and Margaret- Ulli has found us some more goats!

Hidden Gem Downtown

That’s it for this week!  I’m going to put the brakes on for a little while.  It’s getting too hot to walk on a regular basis, though I did another 6kms yesterday to check out the larger dam at Odeleite.  Not looking too bad at present, but there’s a long way to go.  Take care all, and I’ll see you soon.

Six Word Saturday

A eulogy to rack and ruin

Vila Real de Santo António has the most magnificent location, at the mouth of the River Guadiana, and directly across the border from Spain.  Sadly, scenes like this are still commonplace, even on the waterfront, but there’s a lot of hammering and renewal going on.  Hopefully one day the town will realise its true potential.  Meantime, let’s play Six Word Saturday.  Have a great weekend!

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Backlit Tavira


I’m not very good at following Jude’s directives, but as I wandered back into town from an evening stroll up the river, I had to pause to admire the sun’s fading light.  I love the way it radiates across the sky.  So peaceful!  Join in at 2020 Photo Challenge #21.

Jo’s Monday walk : Praia de Barril

Such a familiar sight, and one that I love, especially when the heather is in bloom here at Barril.  The salt marshes can be a wallow of mud and scurrying crabs, but catch it right, with the tide in, and it’s very beautiful.  The temperatures have been steadily rising this week, and with them the temptation to visit the beach.  We parked at our usual spot, looking out to the bridge, and the Ilha beyond.

The path over the causeway is narrow, and has been closed while emergency measures were in place, but the time has not been wasted.  New signboards describe the antics of the bocas cava-terra, or Fiddler crabs, and the wading birds that happily fish these waters.

Track maintenance has taken place too, sand being always anxious to reclaim its rights, and the engines and carriages have been given a shiny new coat of paint.  A 15 to 20 minute stroll brings you to the beach, Praia de Barril, on Tavira Island.

A fringe of green weed decorates part of the shoreline, and in the distance a heat haze.  We turn to walk in the opposite direction, aware of other footsteps in the sand, but not a soul in sight.  The haze persists on yonder horizon too.

The strangest thing!  As we walk, the haze expands to meet us, and before too long we are shrouded in a fine, damp mist.  Turning back, we can’t help but chuckle that it’s just like the sea fret on the north east coast of England.  Only once before has this happened to us here.  I can remember the eerie feeling as we sat on the beach, engulfed in a sunny fog.  Then, as now, it had rolled away again within half an hour or so.

The graveyard anchors clung on, unimpressed.  I’m sure they must have seen much worse in their many years.  The beach bar was newly reopened and we stopped for a drink and chat to the young waiter, who had had no work or income for 2 months.  He shrugged and smiled, glad to be working again, even if custom was poor.  ‘We have to try!’  And in bright sunlight we started back.

The engines, in various stages of undress, made me smile.  Hopefully they will be pulling full coaches again, before the summer is over.

Back over the bridge and homeward bound, where I can offer you a choice of something sweet, or savoury if you prefer.  And shade!

Now and again I like to spoil you.  🙂  The heat has reached a crescendo around 30C this weekend, and an evening stroll by the water is a luxury.

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Let’s see what my walkers around the world are up to.  Many thanks to all of you for continuing to share.  Your company is always appreciated.

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Start at ‘Ye Olde Fighting Cocks’, with Debbie :

Wandering around St. Albans again

Janet appears to have found an oasis in the desert :

Monday walk…at the olive mill

But Rupali doesn’t need words :

Wordless Wednesday Walk

And Drake is all at sea!

Foreigners missing

Natalie doesn’t have any problem with getting out among the Spring flowers :

Life with Moments of Beauty

And I didn’t mind a few grey skies in Berwickshire, with Anabel :

Duns Law

Mel takes us silver mining in the Outback :

Walking through history in Broken Hill

While Denzil takes us on a longish walk from a pretty Belgian town :

Walk from Diest to Loksbergen (and back)

Ending with Cathy, in one of the loveliest cities I know :

A first glimpse into the glory of Florence

Next week we’ll go and look at a reservoir, to see how well they’re faring.  I hope you’ll come along.  Meantime, enjoy your week!