The first place you would think to look for a captivating mural is a sleepy Algarvean village in Portugal, isn’t it? No- me neither! But it was one of the highlights of a recent walk in Ribeira de Algibre. Situated north west of Loule and not far from the village of Boliqueime, this is walk no. 17 in Julie Statham’s book, “Let’s Walk Algarve”.
The chief criteria for this walk was that it was level, and not too long, the other half having sustained a limp. I could, of course, have left him with his feet up, reading a book, but he insisted on being gallant. There’d be ample time to read later. Out past the quarry we went, left through the village of Parragil, then left again. We parked, as instructed in the book, just past the bridge, and slap bang next to the most amazing wall.
The owner of Vila Dias must have an artistic nature, and a sense of humour. Reluctantly I turned my back on it to follow the trail, just before the bridge. We are in an area of olive groves and vineyards, with lofty bamboo screening off the narrow river.
The path twists and turns, revealing shallow riverbed on one side and regimented rows of vines on the other. I pounce with glee on a small clump of white flowers- early narcissi, cushioned in luxuriant green, and guarded by ancient olives. 1000 years of age is not uncommon for these gnarled beauties, weatherbent by the sharp winds.
The soil is it’s usual, rich red and deep puddles occasionally surprise. Neither of us can remember any rain. All is still and calm when, out of nowhere, the carefree sound of pop music on a radio. We exchange smiles and hum along, peering to see where the sound is coming from. Around each bend we gaze expectantly, but there is no sign of the music maker, and gradually the sound fades into the distance.
One of the advantages of this walk is that it is split into two halves, circles that begin and end in the village. Each takes only about 45 minutes, and there is a cafe where you might linger before starting the second half. Except that, of course, Cafe Ribeira is closed. Perhaps later in the year? Not a soul is stirring, though a horse gives us a good long look.
I consult the other half, who has limped gamely along. We might as well do the other half, he says, and so we do. The path leads behind a house, on the other side of the road, and the book directs us to look for an abandoned mill.
The trail continues, partly by the river and then into more woodland. Deep in a thicket of olives we spot a herd of goats and I try to edge nearer without giving the alarm. Not entirely successful, but I manage a couple of shots.
All is tranquillity. We are passed, twice, by the same cyclist, obviously doing his morning rounds. In the vineyards we see 3 or 4 people working, clearing and burning dead branches. It’s a wonderful, pastoral scene.
As we approach the river again, suddenly the sound of the transistor radio fills the air. We gaze all around expectantly, but still, no-one is to be seen. A shy picnicker, perhaps? Smiling we return to the village. The sun has changed position and I’m drawn again into the world of the mural.
Even the bus shelter was pretty! That’s it for another week. I hope you enjoyed walking with me. Let’s get the kettle on and enjoy that cuppa now. And for you sympathetic souls, let me reassure you that ‘the limp’ was much better next day.
Thanks everybody, for keeping me company again, and for your generous support and contributions. Anyone can join in with a walk of their own, long or short. Details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page. You’ll be more than welcome.
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Fancy another challenge yourself? Jaspa has all the details :
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Have a great week! Here in the UK there’s just a chance that Spring is in the air. Wherever you are, try to get out and enjoy it.