Six word Saturday

Isn’t it all about the mood?

I was asked this week if I never go anywhere that I don’t like.  I’m usually pretty upbeat on my travels and can almost always find something beautiful to share.  But not everywhere has the same appeal, and disappointments do arise.

A dramatic poster picture of Carrasqueira at sunset promised much.  Built on stilts, over the mud flats of the Sado estuary, the fishing village enables access to their boats for the fisherfolk.  But in the bright light of day, with the tide out and a sludge of malodorous ooze, I found it hard to love.  I don’t think my camera felt the same way, do you?

Happy weekend, and don’t forget to play Six Word Saturday!

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Jo’s Monday walk : Santiago do Cacém

‘Where shall we go for our anniversary, hon?’  Greeted with the usual shrug and ‘anywhere you want’.  After 31 years I know he doesn’t mean this literally, and current circumstances are such that even I hesitated to suggest anywhere too exciting.  Chicago, Japan and the Isles of Scilly passed fleetingly through my mind, before I settled on a more practical choice, the Alentejo.  Not too far, in driving terms, from our Algarve home, and much of it, for us, still uncharted territory.

The Troia peninsula, just south of Setúbal, holds great appeal, but it’s high summer and the beach hotels are expensive and likely too busy.  So, pointing my nose in that general direction, I settled on slightly obscure but potentially interesting, Santiago do Cacém.  A castle and a church, perched high on a hill.  What could be better….?  Yes, that was the spouse’s reaction when he saw the height of the hill in question.  But we started slowly, chancing upon the TI, beautifully located in gardens, and with an adjoining café.

I freely admit that I had little idea of what else there might be to see, but the gentleman in the TI was very helpful.  We had already passed signs for the Roman ruins of Miróbriga, on the outskirts of town. Time to start a gentle ascent to the castle.  There’s nothing I like better than a meander through quirky streets of crumbling houses, shored up by their smart neighbours, and with a smattering of compelling street art.

A towering pink fire station, dangling laundry, a neglected church with chorus of cherubs and Manueline doorway, a square with pelourinho (or pillory) and magnificently rusted door handles.  Not a bad haul for a couple of streets.  And the tiny courtyard with the shrine to a beloved pet.

So many distractions, I had scarcely noticed the gradient of our climb but finally we reached the Castelo de Santiago do Cacém, built by the Moors.

Originally the castle had 10 square towers and semi-cylindrical turrets, externally defended by a barbican, some of which have survived.  The ancient church of Santiago is integrated into the south east wall.  I had forgotten that the castle, abandoned in the 1700s, had become the town’s cemetery in the 19th century.  Glancing through the archway I saw the tombs and hesitated, not wanting to be disrespectful.  The palace and gardens of the Condes de Avillez adjoin the castle, and for a while I wandered in their atmospheric shade.

Then realisation dawned, and we entered the grounds of the ruined castle.

Rarely have I been in a more serene and lovely place.  I wandered among the tombstones, marveling at the details, and then climbed to the castle walls.  A solitary caretaker was busy removing and tidying, and gave us a cheery wave.

Reluctantly I made my way back through the stone archway, but there was another treat to come.  The door to the Santiago Church was ajar, and I stepped quietly inside.  A lovely young woman beamed at me and gestured that I should come in and enjoy the beautiful surrounds.

The gilded wood carvings told of hours of craftsmanship.  We exchanged smiles again, behind our masks, complicit in our appreciation.  Heading downhill, there was still a colourful surprise in store.  An art gallery, maybe?  I wasn’t sure.

I hope you enjoyed today’s wander.  We had the best view from a hotel room that I can remember in quite some time, and we made it to the top of the hill.  Next week I’ll take you to Miróbriga and the Roman ruins.

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Thanks again everyone, for the appreciation and for keeping me company on my rambles.  Not too many walks to share this week, so please find time to visit.  And if you have a walk you’d like to share, feel free!

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Gentle humour and a beautiful landscape, with a flurry of facts.  Thank you, Margaret!

In Search of a Druid or a Trout – Revisited

Do you know Lisa?  These photos are simply stunning!

Sunsets after work

It looks like life goes on as normal on Lîle de Ré, and very lovely it looks, too.  Thanks, Drake!

Forwards and backwards

Perle de l’Atlantique

Hooked on

Maybe even more serene and beautiful, Ulli shows us :

Sunny Stechlin – On the Trails of Theodor Fontane

Anabel is always hot on the trail, unless it’s raining, of course :

East Dunbartonshire: Trails + Tales

Susan is taking very mindful steps these days :

Walking small

While Rupali takes a hike, under the sun :

Weekend 102: Hiking again

Another week gone.  Halfway through an Algarve summer, where I sometimes feel the need to escape the heat.  Santiago do Cacém was rather a lovely place to do it.  Have a good week and see you next time!

Jo’s Monday walk : Castelo Velho de Alcoutim

Discarded hilltop ruins are ten a penny in Portugal.  Truth be told, I had no idea that this one even existed.  Numerous times I’ve been to Alcoutim and admired the castle, sitting solidly on its hill, protecting the town and looking out over the Guadiana River.  Little did I know that there was a predecessor, whose ruins I could still see.  Castelo Velho de Alcoutim came as a complete surprise to me.

What else does one do on a Sunday morning with the temperature climbing towards the 30s?  ”Just a short walk” was how he sold it to me.  A pleasant drive up to Alcoutim, with its lovely views across the river, and a mere 4km stroll.  No mention was made of a castle on a hill.

So we walked out of town, following signs for the PR3.  Already it was hot and I loitered whenever I came upon a scrap of shade.  Rounding a corner, a hill rose in front of me and, perched on the top, the aforementioned ruins.  I hesitate to say that I was surly, but I was!  I’m as fond of ruins as the next person, but a cooler day for them might have been nice.  Uphill was no pleasure at all, especially when the views were left behind.  While the river was in sight there was the distraction of whoops and cheers from the zipline, which stretches over from Spain.

As I grumbled to myself, Michael paused and indicated a short uphill scramble.  It didn’t look like a promising access to me but, as we hesitated, a car drew up on the stony path and a young woman stepped out.  Our timing was good, for she had come to unlock the gate, promptly at 11.00am.  Apparently the old castle is regarded as unsafe if the wind is strong.  There was almost no trace of a breeze that morning, and after walking all around the site to ensure that we were safe, she left us to explore.

It did feel a little precarious in places, but the views were superb.  It would certainly have been a good place from which to keep a lookout on Spain.  Built in the 8th-9th century, this castle was once an important Islamic military structure.  Exactly why it was abandoned in the 11th century is not known, but the younger castle was constructed in the 13th century, a kilometre away, within the town of Alcoutim.  It stands proud to this day.

As so often, the way back down was much more easily achieved.  I’m not sure that all of the zipliners felt the same way.  I was very happy to have my head back in the shade, and a magnificent view stretching before me.

I can’t remember cake, but maybe there was?  You’ll have to imagine your own.

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A few more walks to share this week.  Many thanks to all of you.  Please enjoy!

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Liesbet was happy to hit the road again, with a beautiful  destination :

Getaway to the White Mountains

Fancy counting butterflies with Sharon?  Hopefully there’s still time!

Salthill Quarry Nature Reserve

I love a seaport, and these are perfect examples from Drake :

Walk back time

The sunny side

Life at the beach isn’t always peaceful, as Alice can tell you :

Tropical Storm Isaias Passes By

Been a while since I shared one of Jude’s.  This is a beauty :

Summer on the Hill

Just time to slip in a little culture from Ulli :

Gothic Lady of Naumburg

Temperatures have seldom dipped much below 30C since we did this walk a few weeks ago.  Not walking weather, I’m sure you’ll agree.  I’m taking myself off for an anniversary jaunt into the Alentejo this week (correction- he’s taking me!).  It may, or may not be cooler.  Have a good week, whatever your weather!

Jo’s Monday walk : From Bay to Beautiful Bay

You’ll be happy to know that I was properly shod for this little expedition.  Relatively speaking, of course!  But then, I wasn’t going to The end of the world.  It’s amazing how far you can actually see, round this wonderful coastline.  The cliffs seem to roll on and on.  Here I’m standing, in the fresh wind I’d been longing for, looking down on Praia do Tonel.  Ahead lies the Sagres promontory.  Behind me, a modest little pottery shop.

The commanding fortress looks out to sea in all directions.  Built in the time of Prince Henry the Navigator, its most distinctive feature is the compass rose, a giant pebble compass, 43 metres in diameter.  Within the fortress, Nossa Senhora de Graca dates from 1579, replacing the original chapel built for Henry in 1459.  He spent much of his later life here, dying in 1460.

The sea sucks greedily at the cliffs, battering its way in on the calmest of days.  It’s a place to be in awe of nature, yet fishermen cast their rods with the nonchalance of familiarity, from the most precarious nooks and crannies in the rock face.

From the solid entrance to the fortress, Rua da Fortaleza gradually dwindles into Sagres, the cobbles culminating in a timeless square, the heart of the community.  My visit coincides with an easing of restrictions related to lockdown and Covid-19.  Caution is in the air and people are sparse, yet there’s a peace and calm to this sun-soaked spot.  It’s not hard to linger here, sheltered from the wind, and indulge and daydream a little.

Reluctantly I move on.  Curving round the cliff tops, views sweep down to Praia da Mareta and across the bay.  The sun is gaining strength as I follow the road past an old school, converted to a café, and a straggle of surf shops, eating establishments and a tiny post office.  The signs are leading me to Praia da Baleeira and the old port.

From here the lookout is to distant Praia do Martinhal.  The bay is protected by the four islets lined up on the horizon.  It’s a bustling port area, temporarily becalmed.  The small cove has tempted just a few to frolic on the sands.

I’m pleasantly tired now, and climb back up the steep cliff, passing the pretty tasca with the incomparable view, to a more modest eatery, where the locals happily pass the time of day.  I try to catch a few scraps of gossip while gazing out across the bay.

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I hope you enjoyed a wander across Sagres.  Even in high summer it’s a place where you need a warm jacket early morning, and certainly when the mist creeps in on an evening.  I’d love to see it with the sea raging and storming those cliffs.  For now I’m content to share a few walks.  Many thanks to all of you who keep them coming.

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Carol has shared some truly spectacular scenery from Australia :

Rain in the Rainforest

Cloud Shapes

A Walk in the Forest

While Marion treads carefully on limestone pavement in Yorkshire :

Malham Cove

And speaking of limestone, Drake introduces us to a rather special one :

Some answers blow in the wind

While, just across the water, we are…

Surrounded by horizons

An early start and a bit of a climb certainly didn’t daunt Albert :

Jerrabomberra Mountain Reserve-Summit Walk

Nor is there any reason to stay at home with local views like this!

A Walk in the Woods – or beating those stay-cation blues!

Walking doesn’t have to be restricted to Mondays.  Whatever suits you, Colline  🙂

A Sunday Stroll

Rupali enjoys taking us out for the day and exploring her beautiful world :

Weekend 101 -Hiking

Finding sanctuary in nature

While Susan finds delight in the simplest of pleasures :

Walking the urban forest

Natalie always manages to keep herself busy, no matter where :

Summer Week 4 :Trillium Park

It’s a long while since I’ve been to Morecambe Bay, and I’m happy to do it in Eunice’s company :

Morecambe promenade – south to north

How about this for a grand finale?  A fabulous post from Sheetal :

The Ultimate Guide to Florence

Rather a lot of shares this week.  Please visit where you can, and apologies for anyone I’ve missed.  I’m temporarily becalmed myself, after a wonderful family visit.  Take care all, and have a good week.

Six word Saturday

Looking out to a brighter horizon!

It has to get better, doesn’t it?  The alternative is unthinkable.  For me, the immediate future is wonderful.  My long held wish to see my son again is about to come true.  If things go to plan, he will be here tomorrow evening.  It’ll come as no surprise that I won’t be walking with you on Monday?  🙂  Hopefully, the following week.  Meanwhile, keep squaring those Perspectives and enjoy your Six Word Saturday!

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Jo’s Monday walk : The end of the world

What would you expect to find at the End of the World?  Certainly not a gift shop selling exceptional marine sculptures!  But I was very taken with ‘Nemo’ and his friends, even though I’d come all this way to admire a lighthouse and gaze out in the direction of the Americas.  Cabo de Sáo Vicente lies at the south westernmost tip of Portugal, and indeed of Europe, just 6 km around the coast from Sagres.  It’s a spectacular location, the cliffs rising almost vertically from the Atlantic to a height of 75 metres.

Peer hard at the clifftops and you might observe some tiny humans, just to give you some idea of scale.  Not being especially nimble of foot, I usually remain behind the camera on these occasions.  Opening time is at 10.00 and fortunately this seems to coincide with the time at which the sea fog starts to roll back, revealing the stacks in all their beauty.

As you round the bay approaching the lighthouse, your eye is snagged by the Fortaleza de Beliche.  I never can resist a good fortress, and as we were a little early for the lighthouse it made sense to go there first, though not quite sure what we’d find.

More enticing views, and a rugged path down the cliff, but my right flipflop chose this moment to part company with its sole.  Obviously a warning!  Running repairs meant that I could at least slow shuffle as far as the lighthouse.  Still, a 16th century fortress, once under attack by Sir Francis Drake, no less, was a welcome addition to my walk.  Access to the chapel is no longer possible as the site was closed due to erosion in the 1990s.  Seabirds glide around the cliffs and dolphins frolic in the water below.  Here, nature reigns supreme.

The promontory of Cape St. Vincent (Cabo de Sáo Vicente) was regarded as sacred ground as far back as neolithic times.  The Ancient Greeks dedicated a temple here to Heracles, and of course, the Romans were here too.  Naval battles aplenty were fought offshore, but it’s easy to imagine this tranquil place as having magical qualities.  The setting sun hissing into the ocean was once thought to mark the edge of the known world.

The present lighthouse is 24 metres high and was built in 1846 over the ruins of a 16th century Franciscan convent.  It guards one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, and is among the most powerful lighthouses in Europe.  Much later we could see it from our hotel in Sagres, as dusk fell.  But it’s time for a much needed coffee stop, a little more artwork and some great entertainment, watching people clamber onto the giant chair for a photo opportunity.  And yes, the coffee and pastries were extortionate, but they were awfully nice.

When we left there was a whole array of takeaway coffee and burger vans setting up in the parking space outside.  Understandable, but, as there was no admission charge on the lighthouse, I didn’t begrudge spending a little in the coffee shop.  If they’d sold flipflops in the gift shop I’d have bought those too.  My one disappointment was not to be able to ascend the lighthouse.

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Sagres was an interesting experience and I loved the sea breezes, but I’m keeping posts minimal for now.  Many thanks for your continued support.  Life remains hot, and busy.  Apologies if I’ve missed anybody from the following round up.  Enjoy!

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Let Drake take you on a voyage of discovery :

Another day in paradise

When waiting turn idyllic

Slow walk

Carol shares the beauty of her native Australia :

A Walk to Remember

Up, Down, Up

And Rupali always shares the gift of love :

Weekend 99: To heal

Midsummer seems so long ago, but you’ll enjoy this offering from Ulli :

Prehistoric Midsummer at Woodhenge

Who doesn’t love poppies?  Margaret’s an early riser :

It’s Worth Going Walking Quite Early…

Janet’s away on holiday, but she left this treasure before departing :

Monday walk… castle walk

And it’s a while since Sandra wrote this.  The blackberries may be ripe now!

Same place, different week

Eunice walks most weekends, in a lovely area, so if you visit her you’ll be spoiled for choice :

Heysham – a walk in three parts

Brinscall to White Coppice walk

I don’t know if you know Aiva, but she does some fabulous walks in Ireland :

A fantastic Walk of the Weekend : the Killaspugbrone Loop Walk in Sligo

And finally, out and about again, Cathy takes us on an irresistible tour of street art :

A mural walk in Washington on a hot July day

Wherever you are, I hope that life is treating you kindly.  It certainly has its ups and downs.

 

Six word Saturday

If he could see the future?

This is a special place for me.  I love the outlook from this simple café, across the River Guadiana to Spain.  But more than that, it’s a place where I have a clear and vivid memory of my Dad, standing beside the soldier and smiling back at me.  I have to wonder what he would make of our world today.  From a perspective before Covid-19.

For a lighter mood, pop over to Debbie’s for a bit of Saturday shopping.  Have a good weekend!  I’ll be back with a round-up of walks on Monday.

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Six word Saturday

At the mercy of the tide

Such a fragile ecosystem!   The tide rushes in and out each day, reshaping the shoreline with every sweep.   It’s a watery Perspective that I love.  Not all square, nor strictly Six Words, but incredibly beautiful.  Have a good weekend!

P.S. No Monday walk again.  Someone has a birthday and we will be in the Western Algarve.  Back soon!

P.P.S.  If you are viewing this on a phone or tablet the colours are too harsh.  Imagine them a little softer.

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