Being here makes my heart happy
I’m sure you can see why. Access to the beaches in Portugal has been restored, with a few restrictions. Happiness beckons! Enjoy your Saturday, and don’t forget to share Six Words with Debbie.
I’m sure you can see why. Access to the beaches in Portugal has been restored, with a few restrictions. Happiness beckons! Enjoy your Saturday, and don’t forget to share Six Words with Debbie.
If there’s one place in the Algarve that always works its magic on me, it’s Cacela Velha. I’ve taken you there before on my walks (remember Mind that hole!?) but today we’re taking the boat ride from Fabrica. In all my Algarve years I’d yet to see the ferry across to the beach operating, but a reference to it in Spanish ‘Conde Nast’ left me determined. Described as ‘one of the best 15 beaches in the world’, I’ll leave you to judge for yourself. How many beaches can there be in such a location?
But I’m getting ahead of myself, as usual. Taking a Cacela Velha turn off from the E125, you will first come to a sign pointing to Fabrica. This will bring you to a tiny harbour with a couple of very laidback bars and a restaurant. Out of season it’s a place for fishermen and locals, but on the last day of my holiday in September it was almost bustling. The tide was out and flipflops or bare feet were the best way to squidge across to the boat.
We scoot out to meet the sea, the boatman deftly following preordained paths through the water. Running aground would be all too easy.
You have two choices for disembarking- the first stop is opposite to Fabrica. The second, further along the sand bar, is opposite Cacela Velha. Let’s get out at the first, then we can have a bit of a beach comb before catching the boat back from the second stop.
The sky was very hazy and the sea a milky blue as I wandered with my camera. What makes this beach special, though, is the view back across the lagoon to the fortress on the headland. There’s an almost mystical quality, to my mind, in being out there on the lagoon. The tide was low enough to plodge across to the shore, but the sea creeps in stealthily here and you can be caught out.
I carry on beach combing as the tide flows gently back. Joyful cries and laughter reach me from the family on the sandbar. The Portuguese families revel in their beautiful surroundings. And I do, too.
I should explain that this beach stretches all the way back to Tavira. You can reach it by catching the ferry from Cabanas, and the beach will be much busier nearer to that resort. A very long beach walk would eventually bring you to this spot. In the winter months that or swimming across would be the only way to get here. Or a boat taxi, of course.
In the opposite direction, the beach rolls all the way to Spain, but first you have to cross over a channel. A boat is a very useful thing to own in this part of the world. Speaking of which, here comes the ferry.
The end of our walk? Well, first we might have a snack at one of the beach bars. Then I’m going to show you the view from Cacela Velha over to ‘our’ beach, just to give you a sense of place. It’s only a half hour walk along the road to Cacela Velha or, if the tide’s not too high, you can walk the strip of beach that hugs the cliff. You’d then have to climb the steps to the village.
Thanks for humoring me with this boat ride and saunter along the sands. My earlier walk gives you a land-based version, if you’re not a lover of boats. In either case, the views won’t disappoint. In the world’s top 15? I think there’d be strong competition. But I enjoyed it very much, and I hope you did too.
Thank you very much for all your support, and lovely comments. I have a fine time walking with you every week. If you’d like to join me, details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page or just a click on the logo above. Next comes the good bit. Put the kettle on and get ready for a good read!
Humble apologies are due! I forgot to include this walk last week, so please rush over there first :
Totally opposite in every way- beach shots to die for with Anabel!
You can walk, or take the train. Either way, you’re bound to love the views!
Amy’s world is beautiful! Have you noticed?
I’ve heard so many good things about Berlin. Let’s take a look, shall we?
A trip back in time with Drake this week? Any trip with Drake is good!
And now for something completely different. Many thanks, Elena!
You wouldn’t get this level of activity on a UK beach ever, I don’t think! Lazy, aren’t we, Pauline?
Ruth has a totally fascinating tour for us this week. One not to miss :
The highlight of Geoff’s post for me is Wimbledon Park tube station. A blast from my youth!
Jude always shares beautiful walks but she has really blown me away with this contribution!
If you really want to test your fitness levels, this could be the place :
Once in a while I find something a bit different. For the foodies among you- say ‘hi’ to Ishita :
Talking about unusual, thanks for these ‘wild’ animals in the city, Becky!
I haven’t had a stroll with my friend Esther for a while. Sing along, won’t you?
The title of this next post could really have described mine, but they couldn’t be more different!
And you can always rely on Gilly to find the beauty in life :
Or maybe a stroll in sunny Munich will suit? Thanks, Rosemay!
Lastly, Denzil does his very best to give us a smile on a grey day :
Lots this week, aren’t there? I do hope you can find the time to visit, and many thanks to all of you for keeping me such good company. I have one more Algarve walk in reserve, but next week I’m going to hurl myself into an English Autumn, before it passes me by. I’d love for you to join me. Have a great week, won’t you?
Licking and licking,
With a greedy salted tongue.
Restrained by the tide
I’m not sure quite where this wistful post came from. It started life as a tribute to Lazy Poet’s Thursday Haiku and somehow morphed. Just me, rambling on Algarve beaches. But this week, Gilly has the most beautiful Tanka. Do go and see.
I don’t know what it is about castles and beaches but they seem to me a very pleasing combination. And the one above, in the Alentejo, isn’t the only one I found. But we have to start somewhere so today I thought I’d take you over the Algarve border, and on up the western coastline of Portugal. I have been to this area before but never so far as Vila Nova de Milfontes.
Situated at the mouth of the River Mira, the presence of the castle tells you that it was not always so peaceful here. Forte de São Clemente still has a drawbridge. Dating back to 1485, the town had a key defensive role to play, and the wide estuary provided a safe harbour. Today it’s not pirates we have to fear so much as tourists. The town is part of the Southwest Alentejo and Costa Vicentina national park, which stretches all the way down the coast and into the Algarve. As such it enjoys a good measure of protection, and development is largely low rise.
Not for nothing is this known as the windy coast, and in my short visit it was highly apparent that this could be a cool spot. (the wind sometimes whistled in the corners of my hotel) But I also experienced some lovely sunshine, so let’s take a wander through the town.
There’s a tiny square, Praça da Barbacã, very atmospheric at night, which looks down on the ferry point. A rather strange sculpture has pride of place. It pays tribute to the role played locally in aviation between Portugal and Macau in the Far East.
This is the nicest part of town, as you wander gently uphill through a mix of older houses and new. There’s a small, simple church and a few gift shops. What appears to be a tiny cafe turns out to be a 3 storey Tardis, serving food to half the town, myself included! I meander along, past ochre and immaculate blue and white, letting my eye drift, as it does.
But wait! There are surprises in store.
I thought that there must be some kind of scarecrow festival going on, but this was the only evidence I found. Just one ‘spooky’ street, with an interesting shop or two for delving.
Pausing, I look down to the right and catch a glimpse of water. Like a magnet, I’m drawn.
Looking back you can see the road bridge spanning the River Mira which brings you into town, but ahead the estuary opens out. Locals race against the tide to winkle out errant shellfish. Beneath my feet, a shelf of lavishly coloured rock.
A group of backpackers sit in the shade. I wonder where they’re off to next. It feels like a transient place, and I know that there are beaches aplenty, just waiting.
I hope you enjoyed our morning amble. That fresh sea air always does me a power of good. The resort has probably stayed so peaceful because it’s quite a distance from the nearest airport, Lisbon, and you would probably need to drive there.
Time to share some walks. Got the kettle on?
Some of these folks have had a long wait to be included this week, so apologies if you’ve already been there. Please do visit them if you haven’t. If you’d like to join in, details can be found on my Jo’s Monday walk page. Just click on the logo. You’ll be very welcome.
Let’s start the ball rolling with Bratislava. Wouldn’t I love to accompany Debbie there? This is SO pretty!
Blue skies in the Shetlands for Anabel. Lucky, or what?
Car boot sale anyone? Actually Violet’s calling it a Farmer’s Market :
Random but very enjoyable rambles with Jackie and Frida Kahlo :
Fairmont Banff Springs! Sadly this luxury is not for me, but just look at Amy’s photos!
Drake pays a wonderful tribute to ‘strong women’ :
And, in my absence, he took a little walk with the Beatles!
While Jaspa takes us strolling ‘down South America way’ :
Jill takes us for a fun wander (and I think there’s street art too)
What do Errol Flynn and Hobart have in common? Find out with Ruth!
Fascination and excitement from the Southern hemisphere! You’ll find it with Laia :
And please welcome another ‘fit person’ to my walks. You may have difficulty keeping up!
Jude has excelled herself in my absence, with 3 new walks! The most recent one unfortunately ended with a limp.
A painful memory or two here from Jude- suffering for her art!
Unfortunately I won’t be walk leading next Monday as I’ll still be recovering from a Polish wedding. I’m only gone a few days and hope to be back on track after that. Seriously! Meantime you might like to keep an eye on those lovely lasses at Monday Escapes. Take care, and enjoy your walking!
What a fortnight, but what to select to show you what I’ve been up to? In brief, of course. More by luck than planning, the Mediterranean Diet Fair took place whilst I was in Tavira, which accounts for those little white tents and the variety of goodies within. It marked the end of an extremely hot Summer, in which the evenings were soothed by riverside entertainment.
The days were spent mostly wandering beaches. I discovered a new obsession with buoys. And I continued my exploration along the west coast of Portugal, up into the beautiful Alentejo.
Then there was the excitement that was the Medieval Fair at Castro Marim, with both castelo and mighty fortress an arena for combat, and an array of stalls and distractions. Plus an evening of sand sculptures at FIESA.
I even managed to combine Morning Glory for Gilly with a hint of metal bench for Jude! Yes, it was a fine holiday, and there are many tales to tell. Gilly is going to the Algarve soon herself, and Jude always extends a warm welcome, so pop in and say ‘hi’ to them both.
I have to decide where to take you walking on Monday, and then I have a wedding in Poland, so I’ll miss Six word Saturday again next week. I hope you’ve all had a great Summer, and if you’d like to share it with Cate I’m sure she’d be pleased. See you soon!
I’m well aware that I haven’t taken you to the Algarve for a while. Don’t worry! The photos are there, in a folder. A little laid back time on the beach would be lovely, wouldn’t it?
Today is just a glimpse. I seem to have caught the Bench bug, and it’s all thanks to my friend, Jude. May is her month for benches at the beach. With just one day of May to go, I thought I should post these. Jude will be happy as a sand boy, because right now she’s playing on Cornish beaches. Do pay her a visit. Maybe you have a bench for next month’s challenge?
This morning I have a little sunshine, too. Got to make the most of it, before Sunday whisks it away! Wishing you a happy weekend, and please don’t forget to share your six words with Cate.
Back to the beach this week! Well, we are in the Algarve, aren’t we? It would be rude not to.
Falesia Beach is quite central to the Algarve and runs from Vilamoura, with its huge array of yachts, to Olhos d’Agua, a smaller resort on the run up to Albufeira. It won’t really require me to say much, as the photos pretty much speak for themselves. I should warn you though that if you intend to do much of the clifftop you will require the agility of a mountain goat. But we can worry about that part later, or simply stay on the beach.
There is ample parking at the western end of Vilamoura, beyond the enormous marina. At the eastern end of the resort, hotels back on to the shoreline, but to the west the red cliffs begin a steady ascent. A bridge carries you from the car park across a canal and onto the boardwalk. From here you can see for miles.
From time to time a couple of people will appear up there, peer down and then disappear from sight. I’m quite keen to follow some of the cliff top trail, but I know that it is a little rugged in places. (I once attempted part of it in flipflops- not a good idea!)
You might have been wondering about the beach? I’m sorry! I do tend to get engrossed in the patterns on the cliff face.
Often the blue skies are deceptive but this particular Winter’s day in the Algarve was balmy. Before climbing up the cliff, I sat for a while, just absorbing the sun’s rays.
Directly from the beach a flight of not very steep steps led up to a hotel complex, nestled among pines. From here it was easy to head back towards Vilamoura, along the cliff top.
You may remember my saying that the cliffs were fit only for goats. There are some stretches that are fairly level and you can choose to descend to the beach if the going gets too rough. A couple of flights of steps lead down.
And then it’s safely back to earth. I hope you agree it was worth a little bit of climbing for those views. And when you get back to Vilamoura there are plenty of places to eat and relax.
I’d love it if you could join me with a walk of your own. It can be long, short, or in between- I really don’t mind. For details just click on my logo, or go to my Jo’s Monday walk page. It’s time to say a big thank you to my contributors again this week. Let’s put the kettle on, sit back and enjoy!
The last of Jude’s Australian walks. Oh NO!
A trip to the loo, with Esther? And a poem to make you smile :
A tour of Old Montreal, for history and culture lovers. Thanks, Ana!
Or an eating frenzy in Vegas with drums and Boba tea?
These salt fields look very like those in the Algarve, but Kampot is totally different :
Back to Suffolk with Geoff now. Hope you don’t mind a drop of rain?
A little damp on the streets of Strasbourg too, but we can take the trolley!
And finally, Pauline (and Jack) take us to a pretty rural village :
You can’t beat that for variety, can you? So glad you could join me. I hope you have a happy week and some great walks. You might need to wrap up warm!
You might wonder what a random bunch of Algarve kids are doing in my Six word Saturday. Lovely Colline in Toronto was kind enough to link a Halloween walk to my Monday walks feature. When I said I’d seen some small ‘trick or treaters’ whilst out walking in the Algarve, Colline, who is a teacher, said that she’d love to see them. I thought that you might too.
Truthfully, it’s not been much of a week. I’ve sniffled and snuffled my way through it, looking out of the window hopefully for blue skies, of which there have been few. To be fair, we are clinging on to random bursts of Autumn colour, which I witnessed yesterday at t’ai chi, after a day of miserable rain. The sun burst forth at teatime, just in time to set, and this morning a soupy grey fog is pushing up against the windowsill. Soon I shall determinedly make my way out into it. I’m tired of being cooped up.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. I finally managed to activate my new smartphone last night and am looking forward to playing with Instagram (don’t hold your breath!). Maybe my old friend will be waiting for me on that shoreline, refreshed from it’s swim. Time will tell!
Going back to places isn’t always such a good idea, but in this instance it definitely paid off. It must be 10 years since I first set foot in Carvoeiro. The location, possessively hugging a small cove, fishing boats pulled up on shore for safety, was always idyllic. Unfortunately too many people had discovered its charms. Parking was something of a nightmare, and the overall impression was definitely ‘tacky’.
I’m not one to give up on a place so easily, and I felt I owed it a second chance. As it happened, it provided the perfect location for my November birthday. Crowds weren’t an issue and some of the parking problems appeared to have been solved. The ‘tacky’ aspect is still there, but the spectacular scenery of the surrounding coast is justifiably a magnet. ‘High end’ villas and smart restaurants have moved in. Best of all, a beautiful new boardwalk has been installed along the cliff top east of town, making a walk to Algar Seco pure exhilaration.
Magnificent, isn’t it? I was totally unprepared for the sight, but so often it seems to me that the Algarve ‘gets it right’. The cliff tops are subject to erosion and the boardwalk helps to protect them from the curious, while enabling safe and easy access to their dramatic beauty.
Algar Seco is the name given to a rock formation carved into the cliffs by erosion and the action of the waves. Steps lead down into a natural amphitheatre, where the fit and sure-footed can view at close quarters how the sea seductively sculpts the shore.
I am not known for my affinity with goats, and wearing smart sandals was perhaps a mistake. A squidgy yellow puddle wasn’t exactly what they were designed for, but they survived. Wet wipes are a wonderful invention, aren’t they?
Now let’s follow the boardwalk towards Carvoeiro. It isn’t very far and the views will keep you enthralled. There are benches set in at intervals if you want to simply sit and feast your eyes. Looking back you have the beach of Marinha, with Benagil’s tiny cove beyond. Ahead , an extravaganza of coast! Soon you arrive at Capela da Nossa Senhora da Encarnacao’s so pretty chapel.
Beyond this, the road starts to dip into the cove which is Praia da Carvoeiro. The sea wall is planted with hardy flowers but the chances are you won’t be able to take your eyes off the bay.
Invariably there will be a couple of boats, drawn up well away from the clutches of the sea. And a burst of colour in the houses at shoreline.
But you know that what will always lure me on is the thrash of the waves on the shore. I cannot wait to get close! Just a quick paddle!
After a play on the beach (yes, the wet bum incident, but the camera was safe!) and a few more shell shots, I opted to climb Rua da Paraiso. I just had to see what ‘Paradise Beach’ offered. The views down into the bay are equally lovely and you can complete a circuit which brings you back into the centre. There are only two main streets, side by side, leading to the beach (and away, if you’re a driver). Algar Seco is clearly signed, along the coast road and within the town, if you have left your car at the eastern end, as we did.
Thank you all for your patience. I’ve struggled mightily this weekend but, in the week ahead, hope to get ‘back on track’. As always I have some wonderful shares for you, so let’s get that kettle on and go armchair walking!
First we’re off to Otatara Beach in New Zealand, with Jill :
Then flying straight on to the States and the Hudson River :
A truly delightful Halloween walk next, with Colline. I found some little ‘trick or treaters’ in the Algarve too. Must show you sometime!
Lamb burger anybody? Then you can walk it off, with Yvette :
Lovely Noe showed me another little piece of village life in South Sulawesi. Don’t miss it!
Tobias is here from Hamburg! A place I know little of, and am enjoying through his eyes :
Of course, there’d be no Monday walk without Drake! He always manages to stir nostalgia in me :
And when there’s a walk from Tish Farrell, you know you’re in for a treat :
If Pauline ever invites you for a walk in her garden, say ‘yes’ immediately. It’s fabulous! :
Nurturing and looking after swans sounds like a grand job, doesn’t it? Sherri is at a swannery this week :
No Jude, you might have noticed? She has her hands full of grandson in Australia. Happy days! I owe so many thanks to my contributors. You have made my Mondays very special. I hope I haven’t missed anybody this week? Happy walking!
For many weeks I’ve been meaning to join Kan on her lovely series Joy is… This week she charmed me with her preparations for Diwali. I knew it was time to share with her what joy is for me. I know that she likes the simple things in life, and I hope that she loves beaches. This is my local one- the simple life for me.
Please do visit her at Kan Walk Will Travel. It’s a beautiful and joyous place. And looking back at this post, I think it might well qualify for Paula’s Thursday’s Special, in which she visits Lake Czorsztyn in Poland. I’ve been there so I know that it’s pretty special.