Amendoeira Trail

Jo’s Monday walk : Corte Pequena

At this time of year I’m seriously enamoured of almond blossom.  Singly they are like small girls, spreading their skirts in a graceful curtsy.  On a laden bough, they are the chorus line in Swan Lake, fluttering together in delicate motion.  Like the dying swan, their days are numbered, for already they’ve been in bloom for a month.

The variety of colours confuses me.  I was told recently that the paler blossoms are sweet almonds and the darker ones are bitter but I haven’t been able to verify this.  I’m happy just to admire.  In any case, I digress, and it’s time to get started on our walk.  You will have gathered that I’m back in the Algarve hills, this time our start point a small village, Corte Pequena, with its own orange grove.

On a Saturday morning all was peaceful, far removed from the bustle of the city.  A small terrier took it upon himself to defend his territory, but soon realised we were harmless enough and gave up.  We didn’t have to walk far to find blossom.

Nor the wild clover that blooms everywhere in the Algarve at this time of year.  It’s widely regarded as a pest, but so pretty!  We followed the gentle gradient of the hills, climbing to a vantage point overlooking the dam at Odeleite.  In the distance a herd of goats graze.

Despite recent rains the water levels are still quite low.  Strangulated trees lean into the valley, some twisted by nature while others were burnt out some years ago.  Bamboo follows a narrow stream through the valley bed, but we find a good point to cross, with just a stride or two and a held hand.  Sometimes it can require a good plodge.

Soon we have come full circle and the village is spread out before us.  As we descend a young dog decides that we will make good company.  He gambols playfully alongside us, setting off a chorus of warnings from his wiser elders.  Perhaps they are aware that sheep wander loose here.

For a moment we think that we are going to be playing Pied Piper to the flock, followed by an irate shepherd.  But fortunately sheep have a short attention span and we are less interesting than the juicy grazing.  I suspect you know the feeling.

That has to be one of the tastiest almond tarts I’ve ever eaten.  The mural and wonderful metal sculptures were at the start of the Amendoeira (Almond Blossom) Trail, at nearby Alta Mora.

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I’ve been walking with you weekly (or weakly!) for 6 years next month, and I’m thinking I should call time on our perambulations.  Or cut back to a monthly, or fortnightly, event.  I’m just as restless as ever, but I’m resident in Portugal now and many of my wanderings are local.  I don’t want to bore you all, and I might like to try something different.  I expect there’d still be occasional cake.

Meantime, thank you for your support and your wonderful company.  Here are this week’s walks.

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If only Janet could walk in a straight line!

Monday walk… weaving around

Alice lives in a very beautiful place, and is happy to share :

A Symbol of Hospitality- Pineapple Fountain

A gentle look at life from Drake this week :

Winterly mood

It’s ages since I went along to the other end of the Algarve.  This is a lovely walk!

Randonnée / Hike from Armacáo de Pera to Praia de Marinha

Reminding us that Valentine’s Day is almost here, Natalie takes…

A Walk Among the Roses

While Cathy looks at local and Civil War history in Virginia, US :

Cedar Creek & Belle Grove National Historical Park

And Rosemay checks out a little family history in north London :

Off the Tourist Trail in London – A Stroll round Islington

Wishing you a great week!  Hopefully the storms have passed.

 

Jo’s Monday walk : Amendoeira (Almond) Trail

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True sign of Spring, and a sight to gladden the heart- almond blossom.  This is what the Algarve in February means to me, though the sky may not always be so blue. (but that’s next week’s walk)  Again I’m taking you up into the hills, and you’ll need a map to follow. Our start point is the village of Cruz de Alta Mora, inland from the River Guadiana.  The road dips and sways through unheard of villages.  There are occasional bus stops along the way, but nary a person waiting.  Does this look like an inviting place to start a walk?

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I rather thought so.  The sign pointed towards the village of Soalheira, and a trail led off through the welcoming carpet of false yellowhead.

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You might have noticed a tendency I have to find walks with hills in them?  The walking guide I was using gives an indication of the ‘ups and downs’, and I always look to see how strenuous it might become. (but then often do the walk anyway, if it’s not too long)  In this case the steepest incline comes right at the end of the walk.  One of the signboards in the village of Alta Mora described the trail as the way of the cabra Algarvia– the Algarvean Goat- so I shouldn’t have been at all surprised to come upon a pen full of them.

Did you spot the ruined windmill on the top of the hill?  Or the ginger cat in that sparse grass? ( you can click on the photo to make it easier)  I was headed upwards, but initially it wasn’t too steep.  If you wanted the view from the top, that comes at a cost…

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And then it’s far behind you, and you can see the next village ahead.  Looking back at my photos I can see I got a little carried away on this walk, but it was quite hard not to.  Aside from the blossom, I am enamoured of the wild cistus.  I find this countryside almost impossible not to love.

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After Caldeirao, the trail idles through the greenest of valleys, then rises somewhat surprisingly to a tarmac road.  There, nestled in the landscape and unmentioned in the guide, a tiny cafe awaits.  This is the point at which all thoughts of walking might well disappear out of the window.  Or, more appropriately, off the enticing balcony.  Laundry dangles over the valley below.  The scene is only despoiled by a cacophony of compounded dogs.  A puppy in the cafe garden twitches its nose at visitors, while Mum snoozes determinedly in the sun.

I know that many of you will be disappointed at the non-appearance of cake.  I will humbly make amends in my next walk.  For now, I need to head on to the idyllic, though partially abandoned, villages of Funchosa em Cima and de Baixo. (upper and lower)

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It’s a steep climb back out of the valley and then roll down into the next, Ribeira do Beliche.  I spot a donkey in a courtyard, his back firmly turned to me.  I edge closer, but pause when my husband reminds me they do a wicked back kick.  A shot under cover of planters will have to do!

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There are river crossings to be made.  A few uneven stones straddle the water, and I end up with one wet foot.  No matter- it’s a warm day. Crouched by the side of the water, I spot some tiny delicate orchids.  Funny how similar they are to some I’ve seen on the cliffs at home.  Alas, my shots are horribly blurred, so I’ll simply tell you that next week I have a different orchid, which I found very exciting.

I cross the stream a second time, a little more successfully, and then begins that last, long slog up the hill, which leads, eventually, back to our start point.   Not for the feint hearted!  You don’t want to watch me, so I’ll end with a delicacy of blossom.  Is it ever possible to have too much?

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Phew!  I have to say I’m rather tired after all that, and just have the energy to point you towards Walking Trails in the Algarve, where this walk appears, right near the end, at p. 144.   Full details of how to get there are given in the guide.  And now, the kettle on, I think! 

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Thank you all for your tolerance while I was away.  I tried to keep up as best I could, but managed to miss a few of you.  Amends made here, I hope. Once again I have some wonderful contributions.  If you possibly can, please find the time to read them.  And maybe even join me on a walk next week?  Shorter, I promise!  Details on Jo’s Monday walk page or the logo above.

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Drake’s timing was simply wonderful!

Hit the road

Tobias always makes such good use of his ‘props’  :

Walk on Beach

Debbie just can’t resist a shot or two on the way to work!  Or anywhere, really…

Misty Walk Along the Thames

Fancy making your own Tequila?  You just need blue agave plants!  Cheers, Jackie!

Monday Walk : Tequila, Mexico

Amy takes us back to visit the exotic Ringling home.  What a beauty!

Monday Walk : Ca’ d’Zan

The national parks in the States look larger than life, don’t they?  I’d love to visit!

Arches National Park, Utah

Somewhere else I wouldn’t mind to try- Hawaii!  Have a wander with Carol :

A Walk Along Front Street

Waking to snow is not my idea of fun, but in the Rockies you’d expect it, and Anabel looks pleased :

Canadian Rockies : Num-ti-jah Lodge

My daughter spent her birthday and 3rd wedding anniversary in Edinburgh, and fully endorses Smidge’s recommendations :

Edinburgh ‘must do’ : Edinburgh Castle

Gilly would like my goats, wouldn’t she?  Her dogs might not be so keen :

Walking the Goat to the Bowling Green

And Jill just scraped in, in the early hours of this morning.  I haven’t even had time to read it yet, but I will!

Biking the shores of Inle

I woke to snow this morning, looking oh, so pretty, outside my window.  I haven’t had time to ‘enjoy’ it yet, but hopefully?  Once again, my thanks to all.  For those of you I saw on Saturday, Vincent and Flavia were fabulous!  Have a great week, and see you soon.