Jo’s Monday walk : Carvoeiro Boxes

In complete contrast to Saturday’s post, I’m sun-dazzled in Carvoeiro today.  Not my favourite place in the Algarve but, after the enormous success of my Street Art in Silves, I made it a mission to visit Carvoeiro for more of the same.  Most of its charm fled with the influx of tourism, but in winter months you might still catch a glimmer.  Just don’t attempt it in high summer!

You can forgive a lot with street art like this, can’t you?  I wandered through the centre, beaming at each new find.

Do you have a favourite yet?  I confess a weakness for the frog.  A handsome prince if ever I saw one.

The background can enhance or distract, the musculature of Ronaldo seeming a little out of place beside that delicate chimney.  But he’s everywhere in Portugal. Sometimes it’s good to see things in context, like this box outside the mosaic shop.  And the lovely azulejo panel of the bay.

Just a morsel of cake.  Not my preferred choice but very nice.  However disparaging I may be about Carvoeiro, there’s a place just along the coast that never fails to delight me, even though commercialism has done its worst.  The awe I felt when I first saw Algar Seco remains.

Fashioned by the raw power of the sea, the convoluted shapes and whorls cast a spell.  A gentle whoosh, or a blast and a roar!  The ocean always keeps you on your toes.  You can follow the boardwalk along the cliff top to take in the views, or descend to peer through the lattice of holes.

The painted electricity boxes were there too.  I hope you enjoyed them.

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I’ve tried to catch up with as many of you as I can.  Please give me a nudge if I’ve missed you.  It’s meltingly hot in the Algarve right now, so I’m glad of those cooler weeks in the UK.  Many thanks for your company and contributions.  Feel free to join me next time here on Jo’s Monday walk.

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Debbie captures the action on the streets of Edinburgh.  What a venue!

Foray into the Fringe

A North Korean history lesson and a stroll by the shore with Albert :

Jipsam Revolutionary Site

A glass of wine or two, and a trilogy, with Drake :

On the top

Down by the corner

Comfort zone

Beautiful gardens to wander in, with Sandra :

Butchart Gardens, Victoria, BC, Canada

While Irene enjoys a quiet life :

Morning of Peacefulness

Take a Closer Look

And Beatrice shares the natural beauty of Austria, courtesy of Ulli :

Alpine Flora and Fauna in Montafon Valley, Austria

This one from Eunice seems very appropriate this week (and note it’s a sequel)

More of Blackburn’s street art

And Cathy is still walking the Camino, one step at a time :

(Camino day 30) Arcahueja to León

(Camino day 31) Léon to Valverde de la Virgen

I couldn’t resist this walk in Paris.  Please say hello to Yoshimi :

Paris Promenade plantée Coulée verte

Rosemay visits one of my favourite places in Yorkshire :

A Spring Walk round Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal

And how could you not enjoy a port or two, in Becky’s convivial company?

Discovering Vila Nova de Gaia

But if none of that pleases you, take a trip with Sheetal.  You won’t regret it!

To Rome, with love 

Hope you’re having a wonderful Bank Holiday in the UK, and wishing you all a great week ahead.  I’m still battling gently with the new phone, but I had some great news yesterday.  My son proposed to his lovely lady, on holiday in Barcelona, and she said ‘si’.  🙂

Six word Saturday

The day we went to Otley!

Didn’t we have a lovely time…

What a trip!  I’m back from the UK now, adjusting to Algarve temperatures.  My riverside walk in Otley was a total washout, but I couldn’t stop laughing.  It coincided with a day when ‘rain stopped play’ at Headingley, and folk were queuing at bus stops dressed as sharks or Batman, or whatever else took their fancy.  Totally bonkers!  We spent a jolly couple of hours in the pub, and dripped home.

I had a new camera and, as you may have observed, forgot to remove the date from the shots so it is indelibly printed on my mind.  Another, even wetter day, was spent in a pub in Knaresborough, again in excellent company.  The British fighting spirit!  On my last day my phone died.  Was it the weather?  I am attempting to familiarise myself with a new one…. slowly!

It wasn’t all rain and we had some wonderful times, but I have far exceeded my Six Words.  Lots of stories to tell.  I’ll be back on Monday.  Have a great weekend and make the most of your heatwave! (in Britain)

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And to conclude….

A lovely place to end!  We had the odd misgiving when we arrived in Vila Franca do Campo, but we were completely wrong.

Such a wonderful renovation, retaining character and atmosphere, and with smiling, helpful staff.  Convento de Sáo Francisco was a real find.

I even found a niche to watch the final of the French Open tennis at Roland Garros, while a certain other enjoyed one last lounge beside a hotel pool.  All’s well that ends well?  Rafa certainly thought so!  And as we sashayed out to our final evening meal, would you credit it but a band struck up in the distance?  Just one more procession, albeit a very low key affair, which rather suited our mood.

And the sun finally set on an epic Azores adventure.  I have so enjoyed sharing it with you.

So sorry to have confused everybody!  I intended to schedule Vila Franca do Campo, my Monday walk, for today, but I got over-excited and posted it late on Saturday.  My links to everyone’s walks are over there so please do check back for any you’ve missed.  I doubt I’ll post again before the weekend.  Have a great week!

 

Jo’s Monday walk : Vila Franca do Campo

So!  The dilemma!  Our last night, close to the airport for an early start, or a beguiling monastery, not too far away?  When we rang the bell pull at dusk, and the narrow grill rolled slowly back, we could have been forgiven for wondering if we’d made the right choice.  A small door in the hefty green one was swung creakily back to admit us.  Were we spending the night in a cell?

Vila Franca do Campo was full of surprises.  On our bed, at Convento de Sáo Francisco, a glossy magazine, open at a feature… are you familiar with Bom Jesus at Braga, on mainland Portugal?  The image was something similar, but on a smaller scale.  Definitely an expedition for the morning.

On a bright blue day, yet another amiable taxi driver arrived to wind us up, and up, and up the hillside to Senhora da Paz. (and he would collect us at six for the airport, the following morning, still smiling  🙂  )  Breakfast of island cheeses, boiled eggs, fresh pineapple and wonderful local bread and honey had set us up for the day.  Nothing to do but start at the top, and amble slowly, back down the hillside.

The views down upon Vila Franca do Campo, with its offshore islet, were simply beautiful, the subtle stripes of the ocean stretching to infinity.  The azulejo panels tell the story of Our Lady of Peace, whose image was discovered nearby, in a simple grotto.

Reluctantly I tore myself away to begin the descent.  Mingled with the ever present hydrangeas, starry bursts of delicate agapanthus.

Did you notice the islet, on the horizon?  I didn’t manage to get there in the short time we had, but the ferries leaving the marina seemed popular.  But I’m jumping ahead of myself.  We wound our way down a tree-lined avenue until we were back in the town.  The houses had interesting adornments to delay our progress, and one garden was full of ripening bananas.  Most noticeable, though, were the coloured hoops across the streets.  A festival of some kind was set to happen, connected to the Senhora, I could only surmise.

Eventually the twists and turns brought us to a central square, and thirst led us from there to the marina.  A hot and lively place from which to observe the business of boats.  Something I’m able to do for hours!

A seawall led out around the marina, protecting it from an ocean mild as milk on this particular day.  We stopped to watch some youngsters bringing home their tiny craft, the instructor bellowing at them intimidatingly.  I was glad that I was ashore.

So many fascinating jobs to be done.  But not everybody loves boats, and it was time to follow the shoreline and head back up to our monastery/hotel.  Evidence here that someone loves cars too!

Through a very attractive square, whose church door was temptingly open.  And past the prettiest bandstand ever!

I think this may be a good place to leave this walk, though I hear anguished cries of ‘what about the cake?’  You can have too much of a good thing?

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I’m still in the UK till late Wednesday.  So much has happened since we were in the Azores!  I’m in transit to Nottingham tomorrow, and as some of you may realise, I’ve just hit Publish rather than Preview!  So you have a Jo’s Monday walk on a Saturday.  Whatever next?  I hope you’ll excuse me.  There will be a brief follow up on Monday.

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Meanwhile, Cathy has been trekking, and trekking, on her spiritual journey :

(Camino day 27) San Nicolás del Real Camino to Bercianos del Real Camino

(Camino day 28) Bercianos del Real Camino to Reliegos & ruminations (week 4)

And Sandra has been enjoying the great outdoors :

Flowers, Berries and More

Naches Peak Loop/Tipsoo Lake, Mount Rainier National Park

I always enjoy a step back in time.  Thanks, Irene :

Sense of Nostalgia

Meet Elina from Finland!  She has some wonderful sights to show you :

Rainbow Mountain

And guess what?  Drake’s….

Back in town

And he has full permission to walk on a day that’s not Monday  🙂

Village with red touch

While Rupali, after a break, is…

Back on track

And Ulli takes us on a majestic tour of the Austrian Alps :

The route is the final destination in Austria

Funnily enough, Suzanne, the Travelbunny, just featured a spectacular walk in Austria that I’d love to do :

Tiefenbachklamm – Discovering Austria’s Wild Side

And Debbie takes us to ever more exotic and interesting places.  I can’t keep up!

Bender Fortress

I’m sure she’d enjoy some of the street art in Cheryl’s walk, too :

The Highest Café of Jaman Mural Village

Another newcomer to the walks- please give a warm welcome to Nandini :

A Walk on Golconda Fort

And in case you’ve forgotten Nadine, something that made me feel very restless :

15 Photos that will make you fall in love with the Camino del Norte

And I almost missed Margaret, but here she is!

Country Mouse visits the Big City

It’s great that you’ve all continued to walk with me.  Comments were closed for a while, but I guess I’m back in business now.  I’ve loved my family time in the UK but I think it will be good to be home again.

Six word Saturday

Got the blues, in the night!

My last July Squares before I disappear for a few weeks. I’m linking this to a walk in Capelas, which will explain more.  Thank you Becky and Debbie for hours of fun.  Have a great weekend!

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Capelas, Sáo Miguel- not quite a Monday walk

Sáo Miguel is quite a large island.  Needing a base from which to complete the walk around the rim of the volcano at Sete Cidades, I opted for the small village of Capelas, on the northwest coast.  Knowing nothing about it, once we’d checked into a lovely bungalow in the grounds of the Solar do Conde, it was time to explore.

A left turn took us towards the village, a walk of about 15 minutes.  A right turn led to a beautiful coastal path, according to our helpful hotel receptionist.  Village first, though the road was narrow and largely unpaved.

A sign suggested the name of Capelas comes from caves dug into the rocks by the often boisterous sea, the caves resembling chapels.  The art of the bandstand seems to be alive and well here in the Azores.  We saw some beauties.  The tile panels are equally beautiful throughout Portugal.

Certainly, the cliffs were high, and the sea a little boisterous.  Nor did the tiny port look an easy place to dock.  The square outside the church seemed a pleasant place to sit and watch village life, the locals lazing away a warm afternoon.  The church was still open so I popped inside.

We ambled back to the hotel, where a pool awaited.  Rather a nice one, too, but I couldn’t sit still for very long.  What about that right turn?  Leaving the other half to idle a while, I picked up the camera and sauntered off again.

Sure enough, the coastal path led far away into the distance.  I didn’t have much time before supper, but I can never resist the whoosh of waves.

As I approached the bathing area the clouds were beginning to gather again.  It seemed like a good time to turn for that evening’s ‘home’.

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Jo’s Monday walk is going to be missing for 3 weeks or more while I’m in the UK, so I’ve decided to include the walks I’ve already accumulated this week, here.  It’s hard to keep track of them otherwise.  Feel free to keep them coming.  I have one last lovely place in the Azores to share with you.  I’ll post it when I can, but have no idea when that might be.

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State of the art, and a few gymnastics with Janet, to get us started :

Monday walk… out and about in Sheridan

Not a walk so much as a ride with Sue, but you’ve gotta love her :

Azorean ruin

The irrepressible Jackie offers up…

Two Scoops

I mostly saw it in the rain, but Natalie had much better luck :

Day Trip to Salzburg, Austria

Boats, oysters, marshlands… Alice has it all!

Pin Point

Tiptoe through a chateau, with Drake?

Art in the countryside

A city gate, and a little history from Ulli :

A Promenade through old Beeskow, Germany

Terri admits she’s a little obsessed with fitness, but you have to admire her dedication :

No Excuses Fitness : Exercising with a Cast

How’s about this for a bridge, on many levels?  Thanks, Carol!

Over, Under and Back Again

Sweltering heat seems to have been universal lately.  Enjoy a cooling Algarve stroll with Becky :

Down by the river

Thanks for your company, and your patience.  Have a great Summer, or ‘roll on Spring!’ depending where you are in the world.  See you soon!

Terra Nostra Garden Hotel, Furnas

Backtracking just a little, our base for the first 2 nights on Sáo Miguel island was the luxurious Terra Nostra Garden Hotel.  Normally location and somewhere small and friendly, or old and quirky, are what I look for in a hotel.  The selling point for this one was its highly acclaimed lush tropical gardens with a thermal spa at their centre, in the small village of Furnas.  ‘A very pretty village’, we were assured by our young taxi driver, who still lived there, with his mum.

It was late when we checked in and I was quite happy with my comfy bed, but was horrified to wake next morning to the sound of steady rain.  Glum faces tucked away, we tucked into a very grand breakfast indeed.  ‘It’s brightening up a bit?’  Hopeful words, but by the time we’d donned macs and gone out to explore it was torrential.  The thermal pool was getting fuller by the second.  ‘Well, we can still go in there…?’ met with a disapproving look from the other half.  So, we slipped and slithered around the uneven, mossy paths, dodging puddles and treacherous tree roots.  Rain dripping off your nose, and hood, doesn’t make for the best photos, and my camera was starting to be decidedly unhappy.  Still, we were surrounded by such beauty.  And it was lovely weather for the little ducklings.

We’re not Spa people, and nothing was further from my mind than sitting in the hotel all day.  Furnas had to have a cake shop, didn’t it?  It certainly didn’t lack for water.  The mill wheel was positively racing along!

Well, some folk are gluttons for punishment so, after squeezing ourselves into a cosy tearoom and, armed with a map, we set off to find Lagoa das Furnas.  Intermittent rain accompanied us on a road with hairpin bends, but when you could pause and look at the scenery it promised to be beautiful.  The levadas to catch the run off from the hills are a hint at how much rain the area gets. (thoughtfully, inside the hotel lifts, a 3 day weather forecast is posted, if only I’d been paying attention)  Not easy to read a map on a breezy lakeshore.

It was 2 or 3 kilometres to the lake from the village and, just as we were wondering about our sanity, it appeared quite suddenly around a corner.  A translucent, green beauty.  Wisps of smoke on the far shore caught our eye- the fumaroles.  Geothermal activity makes it possible to cook a Portuguese stew in the heat from the volcano in this part of the island.  Of course, we wanted a closer look, and before you know it we’d agreed to complete the walk around the lake.

The man in blue led the way intrepidly.  Some of the trees were swimming and at times it felt like we might have to.

But gradually the skies began to brighten, as we passed the woefully decrepit Ermida de Nossa Senhora das Vitórias.  Overhead we were unable to identify a beautiful yellow bloom, but then the shore was lined again with the blues and creams I found everywhere on these islands.

It didn’t all end in tears.  The forecast in the lift was perfectly correct, and the following morning the thermal pool looked magical with a haze of steam drifting in the sunlight.  Another unforgettable memory from the Azores.