Capital, in a small way : Ponta Delgada

Ponta Delgada isn’t especially grand, as capital cities go.  In fact, my initial impression was that it was rather shabby.  But it is the gateway to an archipelago that captured my imagination long ago.  The Azores for me were the fulfilment of a dream.

Sitting in mid-Atlantic, this group of 9 volcanic islands seemed to me a world apart, and yet so much of their architecture felt familiar.  They are, after all, Portuguese islands.  Ponta Delgada, situated on the largest island, Sáo Miguel, is their administrative capital.  Funnily enough (history is a strange thing) the religious capital of the islands is Angra on Terceira, and the legislative process operates from Horta on Faial.

It was pure coincidence that we arrived on the island in the midst of their greatest religious festival, in May.  Ponta Delgada is the traditional centre of Festa de Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres, and the Campo de Sáo Francisco and surrounding streets were decked in all their finery.

The Convent of Nossa Senhora da Esperanca is extraordinary both inside and out, especially by night when the whole square radiates light.  From its origins as a small fishing village to the cosmopolitan city that it now is, Ponta Delgada retains something of the charm of these magical islands.

It takes a special person to induce me to delve into my archives.  Viveka is making a guest appearance hostessing Lens-Artists Photo Challenge this week.  Few people are more well-traveled than my lovely and generous friend, but I don’t think she has been to this particular Capital.  Thanks for taking me back, darlin’.  I enjoyed every second!

 

Can you see the patterns?

Life is full of them, don’t you think?  Patterns of behaviour and visual patterns.  Dramatic pause to count the patterns in the shot above.  Jude has a new photographic challenge this year, all about improving your photography.  The lady has lots of tips and some wonderful examples, so get yourself over there and admire.  But have a quick peak at my gallery first.

2020 Photo Challenge #5

Jo’s Monday walk : A sally through the salt marshes

Grey is not my favourite colour for sky, but sometimes there are compensations. (not cake- too soon for that!)  A friend had suggested a sally through the salt marshes, and I’m always seduced by the fusion of sky and sea.  I hadn’t reckoned on a grey day, but it was warm, so, no excuse!

The light on the water here is special on all but the glummest of days.  Passing by the fisherman’s huts there’s always a cat or two, trying to appear disinterested in today’s catch.  Down in the salt pans, birds wade, flap their wings, and glide across the still waters.

A pomegranate tree clings to the last of its fruit, and the reeds rustle and sway, bleached beige by the sun.  Small hillocks of salt gleam, white, against the sullen sky.  A mysterious pink has appeared in the salt pans, not reflected from the dense clouds overhead.

The light is changing and, looking to the hills, I realise that the clouds are beginning, ever so slowly, to roll back.  The water darkens, inexplicably, to a rich magenta and I watch, transfixed, as grey gives way to blue.

I’m rounding the marshes to reach Fuseta for lunch.  If I’m lucky the sky should be clear by the time I get there.

It’s almost unreal, the transformation in the skies as I head towards the sea, and I can only be a grateful witness.

I wander along the quayside, peering at the tiny fish milling around the boats.  If they were bigger I’d think they were pushing their luck, but it’ll be a while before they make anyone a decent supper.  Well, perhaps a ship’s cat?

Which brings us, of course, to the inevitable subject.  Does anyone have space for cake?  Someone’s been eating mine, again!

Not such a grey day, after all.  Replete, we sat in the sunshine, gazing out across the bay.

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Not so many walks this week.  Huge thanks to my regular contributors. Please visit each other, if you can, and don’t forget to get out there walking off all those cakes! Join me any time, here on Jo’s Monday walk.  You know you’ll always be welcome.

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What’s a little rain when you’re with a lovely friend?  Welcome back, Gilly!

A winter visit to ROSEMOOR

It’s a whole different world in Ecuador!  Join Natalie in her explorations :

Papallacta Hot Springs: A Delightful Stay

Or Drake, with his alternative view of Paris :

Insists on being alive

New Orleans!  Now that’s a place I’d love to visit :

Monday Murals : First Day in New Orleans

Never been to Berlin!  And Autumn seems long ago and far away now  🙂

Berlin Day Hike: Last Days of Autumn around Gamensee

With a much more thoughtful attitude to walking than mine, I’m sure many of you know Frank :

On a Beach Walk: #71 (Homeostasis)

He’s leaving the blogging world soon, so you might want to say goodbye.  And then, hello to Kammie!

Steps

Life is beautiful in Irene’s world :

Old San Juan

Let’s finish with Cathy, surrounded by the exotic on a…

A whirlwind tour of Fez, Morocco

Those clouds dumped a fair bit of rain, and I ended up wading on a couple of my walks.  Back to glorious blue this weekend, and set fair for summer.  See you soon!  Take care till then.

 

Six word Saturday

Shall we keep the light burning?

I could as well have said ‘are you all still seeing squares?’ but I suspect those might be Becky’s Six Words.  I’d like to keep that lovely glow we’ve created, wouldn’t you?  It’s up to us!  Let’s start today.  Happy Saturday!

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Jo’s Monday walk : Vaqueiros in Spring

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!

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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.

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Just a warm-up from Natalie, but so pretty you might want to linger :

Hiking to Peguche Waterfall

Amanda has found a happy new home by the sea to put a big smile on her face :

Sunday Morning Beach Walk

Contrary to popular belief, I don’t mind the odd invigorating walk, and I’m happy to join Jonno and Jo :

Wild and Windy Walk at Heddon Valley

Speaking of windy, what better than the one and only Chicago?  Thanks, Janet!

Jo’s Monday Walk… the Windy City

Slade, and a pink house that I remember, in Montmartre with Drake :

Kind of rocking culture

I’m not great at whistling, but I’d give this a go, Alice :

Echo Square- Savannah

Denzil takes us gently wandering again in Belgium :

Sclaigneaux 2k(for kids) and 10k walks

And how beautiful are these, from Irene?

Glimpses of Dawn

Living Desert Garden

Margaret takes me very close to ‘home’ with this one :

Highlights of a Bird-free Bird Reserve

In fact, this was my very first Monday walk, and I can’t resist re-sharing  🙂  Almost 6 years ago!

Jo’s Monday walk : Greatham Creek

I’m sure you’ll have heard of this place (the English version follows the Italian).  Please stop by and say hello!

Alberobello:tutto il fascino dell’orientalismo pugliese

Cathy does a fabulous job here!  Don’t miss her truly gorgeous photography :

Morocco: the blue-washed Chefchaouen

It’s going to be a great year here for blossom.  I hope you can enjoy it with me.  Take care till next time!