Algarve

Not so peaceful… Moncarapacho

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Last day of Carnival 2020 and Moncarapacho was making the most of it.  My Dad loved a party!  It would have been his birthday today and I’m smiling as I think of him, tapping his stick and nodding his head to the music.

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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Six word Saturday

Entranced by the light, or daydreaming? 

A young man, sitting on the deck, listening to his music.  Dare I hazard ‘dreamlight’?  The last week of Becky’s January Light and imaginations are running riot.  In Six Words, naturally.  Have a great weekend!

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Jo’s Monday walk : Paderne Medieval Fair

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.

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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?

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How about this for a brilliant idea?  Debbie knows I can only draw Stick Men  😦

An artistic walk in Milan

A distant deer is better than no deer, isn’t it, Janet?

Monday walk…waiting for sunrise

Street art!  Sandra wonders how you feel about it :

#Portugal Graffiti

Drake acknowledges that life isn’t always pretty :

Dark side of humanity

Take a step or two back in time with Anne :

Clevedon- A Broadchurch walk

Enjoy an unusually balmy January day with Irene :

A Chicago Adventure

Or an autumnal birthday jaunt, with Cathy :

Celebrating a birthday at Mary’s Rock

And lastly, a nice young man I’d like you to meet :

Trails to Trudge: Red Rock Canyon State Park

That’s it for another week.  Hope you enjoyed it.  Take care, and I’ll see you soon!

Living the dream… a year on!

Who’d have thought the 70th year of my life would turn out like this?  I sat on the roof terrace with my daughter recently, and we talked our way back through time.  Her memories are so much more vivid than mine.  I was just happy to have her sitting beside me, sharing the view of sky, sea and salt marsh that brings me so much pleasure.

Living the dream… 6 months on had me on the verge of an adventure that makes me smile whenever I think about it.  The Azores, a true love affair that reunited me with clouds and refreshing rain.  That made me want to dance in the puddles like a child.  On my return to the Algarve, more doubts set in.  Was I really suited to this energy sapping heat?  I like to live my life at pace, keeping age at bay you might say.  I was assured that this was a cool summer, by Algarve standards, but still it was a relief to return to the UK for most of August.  A delight too, to share time with my family, made more precious by their distance from my new life.  However hard I try to bridge the gap, with texts and phone calls and Skype, there is no substitute for a hug.

Back in the Algarve, both me and my husband were a little down and disorientated.  Though my son’s beaming smile when he announced his engagement was a moment to savour.  We tried to find ourselves again.  The continuing heat necessitated almost daily trips to the beach, me desperate for a breeze, him happy to laze with the waves lapping his toes.  I had ‘discovered’ croquet and a new circle of friends, while he joined a tennis club.  We were a little at odds and grumpy with each other, uncertain who to blame for the fading dream.  I planned a couple of trips on the water, always guaranteed to make me happy.  September drifted past, and gradually mutual friends returned from their summer sojourn.  The life we had loved was about to resume… but first, a frenzied October.

We had issued numerous invitations to family and friends on our UK departure.  All had given us space to settle in, but October proved to be the tipping point.  We welcomed a succession of guests, all of whom seemed to be as dazzled by our Algarve home as we had been.  Michael donned his chauffeur cap and I assumed my role as planner and tour guide.  All of it very enjoyable, for they were an appreciative audience, and lovely people.  At the same time, we were enrolling for a new term of Portuguese lessons (oh dear!) and trying to maintain our social life.  I didn’t feel well and slept poorly.  But the warmth of responses around me couldn’t be ignored.  People were so kind and caring.  How could I not respond?

A kaleidoscope of events since then!  Walks aplenty, two meetups with lovely blogging friends (in the same week!), entertaining at home (which always makes me nervous, but I needn’t have worried), birthday celebrations, a fantastic light show in Faro.  Do I still have regrets?  Of course!  I wish facility with the language came a little easier.  Overheard snippets of conversation that you can’t understand are no fun at all.  I’m still trying.  The big loss, of course, is the ability to zip down the road to family.  I’m not alone in that.  But I can honestly say, a year down the line, that this place feels like home, and continues to put a smile on my face.  You can’t ask for more, can you?  Even for a restless soul.