Algarve

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.

Just a few lines, to close…

I thought I’d put together a celebration of Algarve lines before Becky calls time on the Lines and Squares challenge this month.  I found the above in a craft shop in Alte and was half-tempted to take it home.  And I love the faded mosaic patterns on the stone tables beside Fonte Pequena.

Not strictly Algarve lines, because we nipped across the border.  Fred was very taken with this tiny door in a wall in the sleepy, Spanish village of Sanlucar de Guadiana.  He couldn’t get in though.  Maybe some of Alice’s cake?  ‘Eat me!’

Back on this side of the border, I can never wander in Santa Luzia without finding something my camera likes.

And finally, a little razzamatazz in Loulé on market day.  Overkill, or what?  I’m traveling today but will try and keep up with you.  Meanwhile, for Becky, it’s a rosy End of the Line.  Many thanks to our wonderful hostess for keeping us distracted throughout October.

Jo’s Monday walk : Morgado do Quintáo

You might know, I spent time with my daughter last week.  Last year we managed to celebrate my birthday together, culminating in a rather lovely wine tour.  Happy to repeat the experience, if not the exact event, I searched for somewhere to wander through a vine or two.  Morgado do Quintáo, not far from Silves, provided the very place.

Following Google Maps, we thought we had the vineyard nicely pinned, but entry was not quite so simple.  Eventually we decided on some blue gates at the rear of the property, and a friendly voice over the intercom told us we were in the right place.  We followed a rough trail round to the farmhouse, and were delighted to find that we had company for the sampling.  An Irish couple and 2 young folk from Norway were waiting beneath the 2,000 year old olive tree.  Moments later our hostess joined us, and the tasting began.

We were sampling 3 wines, cultivated from ancient vines of Crato Branco and Negra Mole.  The vineyard was being brought to life, after years of neglect, with careful nurturing.  A wonderful spread of petiscos (nibbles) accompanied our wines, including bread, meats, local cheese, honey and delicious plum chutney.  The small businesses help each other out, more than happy to share their fine produce.  We chatted amongst ourselves, sharing our stories with each sip of wine, alongside the history of the grape.  An affectionate retriever made eyes at my daughter, when the owner wasn’t looking.  Just a morsel of meat? So hard to resist.

The wind was a little chill beneath the olive tree and I took myself off to play around with the flamingos bobbing on the pool, until it was time for the vineyard tour.  I love the russets of the vines at this time of year, the harvest safely stored.

It’s not a large enterprise, but they are hopeful that the business will grow.  If enthusiasm reaps rewards, they should do well.  The old farmhouse hides a wealth of antique machinery, and a wardrobe that seems to invite entry, for surely Narnia must be beyond those doors?

I gleefully acquired the last jar of plum chutney in the low key sales pitch afterwards.  Next year they will host their first wedding.  Already there is guest accommodation on site.  So easy to relax here with a good glass of wine.  I hope you enjoyed the experience.

Not too much walking this week, but I can always offer you great company.  As we drove off, the retriever lolloped alongside of us, his tail a golden plume in the setting sun.  I think we made a friend.

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Many thanks to all of you who stroll with me on a Monday, or any other day.  Feel free to join me here with a walk of your own, or simply enjoy the walks I share.  Details are over on my Jo’s Monday walk page.

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Let’s start with a very special walk with my Australian friend, Miriam.  Please do read and share :

Light the Night

Janet is back from a break.  Guess where?

Monday walk… in a French forest (again)

There are some good-looking cities around, and Lady Lee has enjoyed many :

Dusseldorf

Candy shares a less well-known but beautiful city, too :

Parks, walls and squares in Leon

Can you have too much of a good thing?  Jackie has her own view :

Thankful Abundance

Meanwhile, Drake can always make something out of nothing.  It’s a skillset!

Haphazardly around the corner

If you want to walk in the Lake District, Tea Bee will be your willing guide :

Hike to Haystacks, Lake District, Cumbria

And if you’re thinking of doing the Camino, Cathy has very many experiences to share :

(Camino day 39) Trabadelo to O’Cebreiro 

(Camino day 40) O’Cebreiro to Triacastela

A man after my own heart, Andrew- not to mention his lovely wife :

Travels in Portugal, A Wild River and a Cliff Top Walk in Odeceixa

And what can I say about Meg- my perfect companion :

Walks around home : October (Part 1)

Or Margaret, busy squirreling away for the winter :

(Almost) all is safely gathered in….

There are some places that simply weave a spell.  Share one with Ann Christine :

Thursday Thoughts – Tbilisi, A Feast for the Eye

That’s all for another week.  I hope you have a good one.  P.S No cakes today!  They’re all here.

Six word Saturday

They  will never hold the rain!

Not that there’s much need for them round here, but they do work well for Becky’s Lines and Squares.  She’s playing with Pooh Bear today, and Debbie’s riding around on a bus, in Six Words, of course.  Why not join them?  And have a great Saturday!

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Jo’s Monday walk : Ferragudo

An artist could rarely want for inspiration in Ferragudo.  Nestled in the mouth of the River Arade, blinking sleepily across at booming Portimáo, the village almost restores your faith in the Algarve that was.  I had come for a very special boat trip, but first I need to set the scene.

A more painterly sky I have never seen, gossamer white clouds drifting lazily out to sea.  As you wander into town, it’s hard to avoid the evidence of artists at work.  The fisherfolk cast their nets, fore and aft, and count their catch.

A tidy tangle of lobster pots adorn the quayside, as lobster pots ought.  Cobbled and petal carpeted streets creep upwards from the bombeiros, the fire brigade rarely essential in such a watery realm.

A castle on a beach!  Who’d have thought it?  A romantic image juxtaposed with modern marina on the far shore.  Newly laid stone walls, protecting the villas of today with remnants of yesterday.

Slow steps leading upwards to the church and a sublime outlook.  Narrow alleys to follow, back down to shore and sea.

Lying in wait on the harbourside, more industry.  A little gossip.  A snooze.  A shy maiden.

Azulejos tell life as it was, and never will be again, but life goes steadily on here in Ferragudo.  Gently, thoughtfully, without haste.

Back on the quayside all is calm, but fisherfolk are always busy.

The sun sets as they scull homewards, one last gaze sweeping the bay, ensuring all is well.

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I hope you enjoyed sharing Ferragudo and the Arade estuary with me.  I do believe it’s a special place.  And now it’s time to share some of your walks.  Many thanks for keeping me company here on Jo’s Monday walk

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Still wandering happily in Dublin, with Eunice :

Another day in Dublin – Part 2

Lady Lee takes one last look at Japan :

Dotonbori

What’s Jackie got for us this week?

Food stand

Oops, missed Joe last week!

Jo’s Monday Walk – I call it the Super Walk

Street art is best when it makes you think, like this from Ulli :

Artbase Festival 2019 – Murals in Rural Ruins

Drake rarely abandons me :

Abandoned stories

And I try to keep track of Denzil, whenever I can :

16km hike around Orp-Jauche

While Cathy Caminos on :

(Camino day 37) Ponferrada to Cacabelos

And Carol explores a little of Western Australia.  Pop in for scones, why don’t you?

Outback History

That’s it from me for now.  Life continues to be hectic, in a good way.  More visitors arrived last night so we’ll be exploring the Algarve together.  I’ll catch up with you all when I can.  Stay well and be happy!