Algarve

Jo’s Monday walk : Loving Lagos

It’s not often that I venture to the western end of the Algarve but, when I do, the city of Lagos is a particular favourite of mine. I knew that my daughter loved it too, from a fleeting visit about 10 years ago.  What better excuse did I need for a bit of footloose and fancy free?

The old side of town is a warren of twisting and turning switchback streets, with fleeting glimpses of interest as you whizz around a harepin bend.  Lisa commented that she was glad not to be in the driving seat, but we put our faith in my valiant other half, and eventually we found parking, way up beyond the castle walls.  I had not realised that they were so extensive.  Following our noses led us to an interesting wall or two of graffiti.

Truth be known, these days some of Lagos is a little bit tacky with touristy shops and restaurants- a victim of its own success and having some of the Algarve’s most inviting beaches.  But I can overlook a street or two that resembles Albufeira because this is a very engaging place.  It has history and beautiful churches, and it has character in spades, if you go looking.

Peeping between the narrow streets, the spires of several churches catch the eye.  I knew Santo Antonio by reputation, but was a little disappointed not to be able to share the astounding architecture and elaborately gilded wood with you.  Photographs were forbidden, but I did manage to find a link.  On the main square, Santa Maria was much less elaborate, but still beautiful.

Lagos has a history stretching back over 2000 years.  Originally a Celtic settlement, it was colonised by the Romans (as Lacobriga), valuable to them for its fine harbour.  When the Moors arrived in the 8th century, they added fortifications of castle and walls, and established trading with North Africa.  Henry the Navigator made Lagos the centre of Portuguese maritime explorations in the 15th century, the caravels venturing further and further south along the west coast of Africa, hoping to find a route to India.  In 1434 Gil Eanes succeeded in rounding the cape but sadly, within 10 years, the slave trade was established.  Lagos has the dubious distinction of having Europe’s first slave market.  Prince Henry received one fifth of the selling price of each slave, helping him to fund further expeditions.

With the death of Henry, Lagos continued to receive shipments of goods and slaves but its role was gradually eclipsed by the rising star of Lisbon.  A string of forts was constructed along the coast to defend from pirates and neighbouring Spain.  Among them, Ponta da Bandeira Fort, which sits so picturesquely on the headland.  From 1576 to 1755, Lagos was capital of the Algarve, but the earthquake of 1755 destroyed much of the old town.  Some of the castle walls remain but many of the current buildings date from 17th century.

Knowing my tendency to linger by the sea, I was allowed only the merest glimpse of the fort before being whisked away to lunch.  The lure of white sangria just about did the trick.  Over lunch we discussed ‘where next’ and Lisa made it a mission to find for me the landmark ‘green building’ which appears in many images of Lagos.  We were, of course, permitted to dawdle by the odd shop.  Ingenious use is being made of cork these days- everything from tiny purses to sandals, with jewellery and even clever fans.  Eye catching balustrades and tumbles of flowers were duly noted.

Lisa was following Google maps (isn’t technology a wonderful thing?) in a haphazard sort of way.  There were simply too many distractions.  Crossing Praça Gil Eanes I could see just a snippet of Ribeira Bensafrim, the river that pours out into the ocean.  We climbed gently and found ourselves in a square looking at a very colourful building, which proved to be the living science centre. ( Centro Ciência Viva de Lagos)

A restaurant terrace looked out onto the marina and busy river.  No sign of the desired ‘green building’ but, as we retraced our steps downhill, there it was in all its glory.  How had we missed it?  ‘Azulejos e postais‘- Tiles and postcards, as it is now known, on Praça de Luis Camoes.

Close up the tiles were very beautiful, and the owner was delighted to discuss the restoration of his building.  Mission accomplished, it remained to find our way back uphill to where we left the car.  I hope you loved Lagos too, and enjoyed our ramble together.

I’m back in the UK now, so hopefully ‘normal’ service will resume, but I may be a while catching up.  Thanks so much for your loyalty, and for staying with me.  Once again I have a bumper bundle of walks to share, so do please find time to visit these lovely folk.  And if you’d like to share a walk with me, just follow the logo.  Many thanks!

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Everybody should see this place once in their lifetime, so thanks, Lady Lee :

Santorini

While nobody does spectacular better than Debbie :

Slow and exposed walk along the Thames

Drake treated me to the warm glow of Autumn in a place that I love :

Colorful Autumn

And Elaine took me to her pretty home patch, too :

Early November walk by the canal

While Jill took me to a place that I’ve long wanted to visit :

Come explore Cadiz with me

And Cadyluck Leedy took me to an area that I don’t know at all!

Jo’s Monday Walk : Dinan, France

Liesbet has some spectacular photos, taken between house sits :

Southern Utah’s National Parks

And Violet takes me waterfalling

Inglis Falls

I did think Silly Back Lane an odd place name, but then I looked again.  Cheers, Jude!

Siblyback Lake

But then Woolly made me sad all over again :

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk43_Gibraltar-Bunker

There’s something so distinctive about French windows and shutters.  And about Tobias; style :

Beynac, Part One

Beynac, Part Two

I’m really enjoying  Carol’s ‘close to home’ series, with their wonderful details.  Just look at these trees!

BYO Birdseed

Becky’s cheating a little bit with this one :

Glass, iron and steel at Kew

But on Friday morning I was sitting right here, waiting for the ferry to the Ilha.  Sunny memories :

A short stroll at Quatro Aguas

I have a gazillion photos to sort, including those from Lumiere in Durham last night.  Amazing stuff!  It’s forecast a damp week so it looks like I’ll have time to spare.  Whatever you get up to, I hope it’s a good week for you.  Take care!

 

 

 

Jo’s Monday walk : Martinhal to Baleeira

Embracing the sea again this week, I’m in the far west of the Algarve, just before you reach the mighty cliffs of Sagres.  This somewhat lunar landscape is not at all what I’m accustomed to. (Is it just me or does the rock below bear a passing resemblance to a Storm Trooper?)

Yes, I thought so!  His smile’s a bit crooked and evil.  It’s a beautiful bay, reached from a turn off on the N125, signposted Praia do Martinhal.  A smart looking resort overlooks the beach, but nestled below is an agreeably casual restaurant.  Portuguese families have brought the children to Sunday lunch, and are chattering away like magpies.  

A small girl sits on the sand while Dad tussles with a kite, strongwilled in the offshore breeze.  Two fit-looking youngsters carry paddleboards down to the water’s edge, launch them smoothly and paddle away.  Out in the bay windsurfers zip to and fro, with varying degrees of accomplishment.  I simply watch.  The only activity I’m any good at is walking.

The other half has found a comfortable spot, sheltered from the wind, and I’m off round the headland to see what I can find.  A generous sweep of beach ends in more rocks, with a tempting path mounting to the cliff top.

I’m picking my way fairly carefully when I hear music and laughter.  A cautious peep over the cliff edge reveals a group of young folk setting up a barbecue on a slab of rock.  Someone has been very busy with a brush and a pot or two of paint.

Across the bay the towering cliffs of Sagres loom closer, and below them the fishing port of Baleeira.  There’s a small strip of beach at Baleeira which is also walkable from Sagres town.  A stiff breeze keeps the windsurfers scudding swiftly.  I look back to check how far I’ve come.  Not too far but it’s time to return and collect the husband.

Now, where did I leave him?

It’s not a long walk but, if you like to feel the breeze in your hair and you’re not afraid of heights, you might enjoy it.  This was a small part of my birthday celebrations and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I should be back to ‘normal’ next week.  I apologise if my visits to you are spasmodic.  I’m struggling with a poor Internet connection and I intend to enjoy the last few days of my Algarve time with my daughter.  Time together is very precious.  Meantime I have some great walks to share, so thank you everybody.

Tish seems to have found her very own path to paradise :

On the Path to Harakopio ~ Peroulia Dreaming 13

As strange titles go, I give full credit to Ellen for this one :

Going for a Crazy Cabbagetown Walk in Atlanta, Georgia- Pt 1

And Cathy’s is a bit of a tongue teaser too :

Budapest : The Great Synagogue & a stroll down Vaci Utca in Belvaros

Mari’s walk is a little more sombre, but no less beautiful :

A Walk on the Ramparts of Ypres

And Woolly commemorates the Australian deceased from World War II :

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk42_Windmill-Site

Roll up!  Roll up!  Step right this way to see Violet’s pink elephant :

A circus treat

I share some wonderful memories of Lucca with Jesh (and Gilly!)

TIME- Where did it go?

You can usually rely on Jackie for a…

Flourish!

I don’t have any grandkids to play with like Sandra, but I did borrow one recently :

Walk

Indra is sharing spectacular scenery in this week’s walk :

Bay of Fundy…. Magic on the Rocks

Kathrin loves to hike in the mountains.  This one sounds like a song!

Hike up Mount Umunhum

My lovely friend, Pauline, has been rambling in the Australian outback.  You’ll love her findings!

Kings Canyon, time to sketch…

And here’s some artwork from Susan that I know she’ll love too :

Hunting a City-wide Art Installation : Ai Weiwei’s Good Fences Make Good Neighbours

Have a great week everyone, and I’ll be back in England next weekend.  Once again, apologies if I miss anyone.

 

 

 

Jo’s Monday walk : Culatra- an easy amble

I’m going to be a bit lazy for my first walk back with you.  After all, I’m still in the Algarve, nominally on holiday, but in fact testing out a new lifestyle to see if it suits me.  Many of you won’t be surprised to find that it does.  I have taken you to Ilha da Culatra before, but my Stroller friends were going there recently and I just had to tag along.  I’m sure you’ll see the attraction.

Culatra is an island of fisherfolk, but it doesn’t spurn the attention of tourists or beach worshippers who make the effort to cross over from the mainland.  I regularly promote Enjoy the Algarve, a monthly online magazine full of fascinating events and details.  Culatra features briefly this month and I thought you might like to see a little more.

Embarkation from Olhão is an easy affair.  Ida e volta will get you a return ticket.  We chose to disembark at Farol, the second port of call on this long, barrier island, guarded by a strut of a lighthouse with a red cap.

Weaving between a few cottages and a restaurant, almost immediately you reach the beach.

I couldn’t decide quite what the waves were jumping so playfully over, but they held me captive so that I had to scoot to catch up with the others.  Of course, you can linger at the beach for as long as you like, but the walkers are single-minded folk and food was a top priority.  A boardwalk turns inland, leading back to the village of Culatra, the first port of call.

To escape the heat of the sun there are several restaurants.  As usual I was more interested in my surroundings than food, so I grabbed a quick bite and set off again with my camera.

It’s a very basic lifestyle.  Sand and sea rule and necessities have to be shipped from the shore.  As I’m writing this a thunderstorm is rattling overhead and I know that the islands are in the frontline for inclement weather.  Hard to imagine on a day like this, but I’ve heard this ocean roar.

There’s an element of scruffiness that doesn’t suit everybody.  No manicured greens to tee off on here.  But I was highly amused to find, right by the water’s edge, a miniature football pitch.  Evidence of another Portuguese passion!

And then it’s time to make for the ferry, wending back past ochre houses, idle bikes and always a twist or two of flowers.

The still calm waters of Olhão await, Becky.  No changes yet!

I hope you’ve enjoyed being back in the Algarve with me.  I still have another week or so to go.  My daughter joins me on Sunday so I expect to be quite distracted but I’ll try to post another walk next week, and keep up with comments on this one.  Take good care till then!

Please find time to check out these walks, if you haven’t already done so.  Many thanks to all of you for your loyalty and support, even while I’ve been absent.  Special thanks to Meg and to Jude for lovely birthday surprises for me.

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I am a huge admirer of this lady’s work, so thank you very much for joining me, Debbie :

Street art galore

Another lady who always produces beautiful work.  Take yourself strolling with Susan :

A Saturday Stroll at Wave Hill

A Leisurely Sunday Stroll through Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery

I wonder what Jackie might have cooked up this week?

Home cookin’

There’s nothing like good company on a walk.  Tobias has a style all his own, and I love it :

Perigueux

Les Jardins d’Eau

Candy takes me to parts of Brittany I didn’t even know existed :

Pilgrim Route and Chapels

There’s much more to Birmingham than meets the eye, and you can rely on Becky to find it :

Dragons, Rags and Shiny Things

What’s Woolly been up to?  Keeping very busy!

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk39_Le-Hamel_Australian-Memorial

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk40_Le-Hamel_Australian-Memorial-2

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk41_Tank-Monument

Carol explores her own backyard, but Australia’s a big country :

Staying Up, Looking Out

I do love a garden, and Cadyluck Leedy has a really fine one to share :

Jo’s Monday Walk : Sandhills Horticultural Gardens

And a place I’ve always wanted to visit :

Jo’s Monday Walk : Mont Saint Michel, France

Why not try it Marsha’s way?  The scenery is beautiful, even if the company is grumpy :

Why We Didn’t Take the Train to the Grand Canyon from Sedona

How to Get Someone Out of a Grouchy Mood Even if you’re at the Grand Canyon

I wouldn’t have expected to miss fog, but Jude’s walk on misty Bodmin is hauntingly lovely :

The Cheesewring

And finally, Kaz gladdens the heart with a gazillion, glorious jacaranda!

Jacarandas of Woolloomooloo 

Much love to you all from my sunny Algarve home.  See you soon!

 

Jo’s Monday walk : Illuminating Lagoa

If you’re a regular visitor to the Algarve, chances are that you will have bypassed Lagoa numerous times.  Sitting just off the busy E125 road, it’s not somewhere that you would necessarily make a beeline for.  So my husband looked at me askance when I asked if we might visit the town for Mercado de Culturas… A Luz das Velas – the ‘market of cultures… by candlelight’.  I had never heard of the festival before, but it was apparently in its 4th year.  This year’s theme, Rota de Seda -Silk Road, sounded inviting to me.

After a lazy beach day, we headed along on a sultry Sunday, for the last evening of this 4 day event, not entirely sure what to expect. Looking for parking, our first encounter was a bit of a surprise.  Strong sunshine created deep shadows, even at 8 in the evening.

A small park with a war memorial leads to an imposing church.  Few people are about and you begin to wonder if you are in the right place.

And then, turning a corner, the atmosphere changes discernibly and we have the first hint that something special might be about to happen.  Rose coloured paving with white spots cannot disguise the fact that the area is shabby.  On a raised platform there is a display of bonsai.

And, close by, the first of the unlit candle arrangements, laid out on boards on the floor, in a Chinese theme.

It wouldn’t start to get dark for another hour, so plenty of time to explore the narrow streets, and have a bite to eat.  We wandered into the impressive Convento de São José, founded around 1710 by Carmelite nuns, who fostered and educated abandoned girls.  There are beautiful cloisters and the surrounding rooms have been turned into a museum and exhibition space.

Street stalls offered an array of tempting food and artisans worked quietly beside their wares.  A clattering of drums announced the arrival of two Chinese dragons, who cavorted and rolled winsomely at the feet of the laughing onlookers.

As dusk gathered there was a frisson of excitement.  The first of the 12,000 candles were being lit.  It would take quite some time, and a whole lot of effort, till all were burning brightly together.

Following the trail of candles, we come to a large square, with restaurants and a church whose interior glowed invitingly.  Stepping inside to admire the white wood panelled ceiling and the medieval painting behind the altar, we are met with a ‘brother’.  His face lights up as he tells us the history of his church, Igreja da Misericórdia, and the processions that celebrate Easter.  We reassure him that we have a church of the same name in Tavira, and have enjoyed those same processions, and we part good friends.  

The lights flicker on, ahead of us and behind.  Watchful candle lighters step forward to replace guttered candles and the whole world glows.

Music ripples in the air and, as it grows darker, a Persian dancer twines her body in graceful poses and the night casts its spell.  A small crowd are gathered in the doorway of a chapel, lit in a rosy hue.  Serenely a lady plucks the strings of a lute.

I know that the merriment will continue till long after midnight on this warm evening, and find it hard to tear myself away.  But we have a long journey home ahead, and I am thankful to have witnessed this wonderful celebration of light.  I hope you enjoyed it too.  Perhaps, if you should be in the Algarve next July, it’s one to look out for.

Thank you for your patience and support, especially those of you who have posted walks for me. I returned home late on Thursday and am still trying to find my UK groove.  Time to put the kettle on and enjoy some great company.  If you’d like to join me any time, details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.

Are you a fan of trees?  Let Geoff poetically show you one or two :

The Book of Trees#dulwich#trees#villagelife#poetry

Canada Day was a big one this year.  This is how Jackie (and the big duck) celebrated :

Let’s Celebrate!

Toast Master

Miriam has enjoyed every step of her Aussie adventure :

Stepping into a Magical Outback

Summer Solstice is always a bit special, isn’t it? Share a bonfire with Lady Lee :

Summer Solstice

I’m almost ashamed of myself not to have walked this.  Debbie has (and Becky too!) :

Water on High

Woolly continues his visits to the sadness of the war graves :

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk27_Serre-Rd_No-2_Cemetery

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk27_Serre Rd_No-2 Cemetery-Pt2

Lisa cheered me up with a return to her roots, and some cliff tops, not too very far from me :

Hull – Part II

And Jude’s usually cheerful (though occasionally grumpy).  A bit more of Queen Mum’s old place?

Garden Portrait: Glamis Castle Italian Garden

It wouldn’t be a Monday walk without Drake, would it?  Two more for you this week!

Surrounded by architecture

Under the arches

And speaking of architecture, look where Indra’s been!

Travelscapes -Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick

While, even further away, my lovely Meg dabbles her toes :

Wordless walk : Shelly Beach

And in the stunning scenery of the Banf National Park, there’s another adventure with Sheri :

Hiking Wind Ridge

Tobias always comes up with something a little different :

Documenting locations

I thought Amanda was taking her dog for a walk.  Wrong again!

Walking on Straddie with Maddie

And who better to give you a tip or two than our intrepid Sue?

10 Tips Before Hiking Table Mountain, Capetown

Welcome back to Denzil, with some practical advice on walking in Belgium :

GR121 Stage 2 : La Roche (Brabant) to Nivelles

And to Susan, with her lyrical West Coast writing :

Walking Harmony Headlands

I know there are loads.  That’s what happens when I take a break.  Please find time to visit, especially anybody you don’t already know.  I’m off to enjoy that rare commodity in the north east- a sunny day!  Take care till next time.

 

Six word Saturday

The life of a floral display

In Summer there are countless celebrations across the Algarve, but it’s always a delight to arrive and find the streets decked with paper flowers. Last Friday in Tavira all was splendour, but after the weekend came the slow process of deflowering.  What better way to share than a Collage?

It’s Saturday and yet again Debbie has six words to make you smile.  Do go and join in! And have a great weekend!

Restless by name, restless by nature

Restless?  Who me?  You could say that.  I don’t know quite when or where it all began, nor do I know when it will end, but I hope to enjoy it while I can.  It’s not as though I don’t have beautiful places to wander to.

It’s sometimes a blessing and sometimes a curse.  How is it that some people never have the urge to roam? (my husband being one of them)  I only have to see a boat moored up to be champing at the bit.  Take me with you!

Debbie set the theme Restless on her One Word Sunday challenge this week.  How could I possibly not join in?

 

Six word Saturday

Light fades on another lovely memory.

It’s more than 6 weeks since I got back from Tavira, in my lovely Algarve.  Time to round up a few of those photos I never got around to sharing, and move on.   A new roof top bar provides a great overview of this beautiful place.

Up on the castle walls

Until next time…

Don’t forget to share your six words on Debbie’s little bit of fun, and have a great weekend.  I’ll be back on Monday with a very English walk.