As January flickers to a close, I’m sharing an old favourite of mine. This candle holder comes out every Christmas, to sit atop the stable and bathe my nativity scene in Starlight. Thanks so much, Becky, for a month full of radiance.
It had to be done! The Military Bridge is finally being dismantled, so let’s give it one last moment in the Limelight. I’m sure Becky won’t mind.
Last week’s walk may have been a little long-winded, and I was chided over the lack of cake, so this one needs to be both short and sweet. The blossom is appearing everywhere and it’s a crime to be indoors. Come with me to Vaqueiros, in my Eastern Algarve.
Vaqueiros is another hill village situated on the 300km Via Algarviana, and a good starting point for two circular walks. I took you along on one of them a couple of years ago, so let’s go and see the other.
An information board indicates the way out of the village, on a gentle ascent. A tinkling of bells alerts me to the presence of goats, an elderly goatherd leaning, unconcerned, on a wall in the shade. And then, in a valley, a wonderful surprise. Clear, sparkling water, flowing freely. It’s been a long dry spell and recent, welcome rains have done their work.
The patterns in the rock crisscross like a giant game board, and I linger, thinking what a great place for a picnic and a paddle.
Our walk leader tells us we have a steady uphill climb for half an hour, and to keep our voices down when we pass the beehives. It’s probably too early in the year, but the last thing you need is a swarm of angry bees. Fortunately, nothing stirs as we tiptoe past.
Next we find ourselves the object of much curiosity. Sheep certainly seem to abide by the maxim ‘safety in numbers’. I couldn’t spot the shepherd but I’m sure there’s a stray goat or two in the pack.
The trail wends its way around and beneath a canopy of trees, mostly pine. We pass by a nicely shaded picnic table, knowing we are not too far from our café stop at journey’s end. And you know what that means!
In the small reservoir a bird flaps down to perch on the stump of a tree, and I try to zoom for a clearer photo. Not my forté.
Now I’m not really sure that you’ve earned cake, though we’ve certainly burned a few calories. Sorry! Somebody just couldn’t wait 😦
But at least one of them makes a delightful square for January Light. Just 5 days of Becky’s challenge to go!
So nice to have water in the rivers again, though I may not be saying that tomorrow when I have to cross one! Thank you all for your company, and please find a little time to visit each other. Join me any time, here on Jo’s Monday walk.
Just a warm-up from Natalie, but so pretty you might want to linger :
Amanda has found a happy new home by the sea to put a big smile on her face :
Contrary to popular belief, I don’t mind the odd invigorating walk, and I’m happy to join Jonno and Jo :
Speaking of windy, what better than the one and only Chicago? Thanks, Janet!
Slade, and a pink house that I remember, in Montmartre with Drake :
I’m not great at whistling, but I’d give this a go, Alice :
Denzil takes us gently wandering again in Belgium :
And how beautiful are these, from Irene?
Margaret takes me very close to ‘home’ with this one :
In fact, this was my very first Monday walk, and I can’t resist re-sharing 🙂 Almost 6 years ago!
I’m sure you’ll have heard of this place (the English version follows the Italian). Please stop by and say hello!
Cathy does a fabulous job here! Don’t miss her truly gorgeous photography :
It’s going to be a great year here for blossom. I hope you can enjoy it with me. Take care till next time!
Don’t you just love the light through those clouds? I was high above Sáo Bartholomeu de Messines, looking down on this small Algarve town. Once again I had the opportunity to go hiking on the Via Algarviana with Grupo Coral Ossonoba. You might remember the wonderful day we had together, ending with a concert in the church at Alte? This time the performance was to take place in a local cinema, but first we needed to walk and earn our substantial lunch.
We started with a stiff uphill ascent, surrounded by cork trees, over slabs of rock worn smooth with age. It was good to get the climb out of the way. Already the first of the narcissi were in delicate bloom.
Back down into the valley, we skirted the edge of town and followed a dusty trail, for a short while bordering the railway lines. It was something of a surprise to turn a corner and be confronted with stepping stones, surrounded by water. I admit, I am far more adept at dry river beds.
This was not the last of the hazards, for the river ran beneath the railway lines and a sign pointed confidently towards the water. No boat in sight, we had to scramble up the side of the embankment and cautiously cross the tracks to slither back down the far side. Where there’s a will, there’s a way? The trail led gently uphill, and we followed, wondering if it might be time to pause for refreshments. And we did, in the perfect spot!
A picture of neglect, but what a picturesque place for a picnic… the ruins of Santa Ana church, on the site of a former battleground. The poignancy of the pulpit and the faded altar, a compelling setting for a brief photo shoot.
From a height you could see the fullness of the river. The trail wound gently down to meet it, sunlight brightening our path with each step. The ruined church almost seemed to be restored by distance.
And then we reached my idea of the perfect day, walking by the river, wisps of cloud and purest blue reflected in the water.
Another poetic ruin observed us, silently, and we left the river behind, trading it for two starkly contrasting pools.
The deep ochre of the soil here always comes as a surprise, no matter how often I see it. And then we’re headed through meadows lightly dusted with lemon flowers and youthful olive trees, towards the town. A church looks down from the hilltop, and another beauty adorns the centre.
Ossonoba need to eat and get ready for the concert. Having followed them through the town, we are pointed in the direction of Café do Largo da Pontinha, where we are treated to a fine array of food. Platters of meat, cheese and bread, then black pasta with prawns and pork in fig sauce are heaped on the table, with fresh fruit and pastries to finish. No, you don’t want to see! It’s only a small place and they can’t fit you all in. The venue for the concert is an old cinema, just around the corner. Very different from the beautiful church at Alte, but the choir are happy to perform.
Spotlight on the choir! A strange venue, but the same beautiful sound. It’s a long way to walk for some January Light, but worth it. Which leaves me to round off with a bit of street art. I seem to find this in the most unlikely places.
Just another day in the Algarve. I hope you enjoyed sharing it with me?
More walks for you! I’m always glad of a bit of company on Jo’s Monday walk. Join me here any time.
I could hug Margaret this week! Look where she’s taken me!
Or you could slide into the action with Sandra :
It’s rather a gloomy outlook with Drake :
But I think he’d enjoy hanging out with Alice :
Snow in the Grand Canyon is always going to be special. Thanks, Terri :
Janet’s indoors, escaping the weather, but she has some lovely distractions :
I think Colline will tell you that she’s won the jackpot with her Winter holiday :
It’s a little late (or early 🙂 ) but I do love these Moorish (as in Yorkshire) colours :
And, by coincidence, Cathy is autumnal too!
Many thanks for your lovely presence! Wishing you all a great week ahead.
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!