A tale of two rivers

Today I thought I’d show you a slightly different aspect of Tavira. The Rio Séqua rises in the hills of the Serra de Caldeiráo and flows down into Tavira. For no very obvious reason when it reaches the bridge, Ponte Romana, it changes its name to become Rio Giláo.

The above photo was taken after heavy rain which brings the bright orange soil tumbling down with it. A road bridge carries the E125 over the river and around the city and a railway bridge does the same for trains.

Beyond the railway bridge the river flows beneath a low level blue bridge and into the heart of the city, where it meets Ponte Romana, with its hearts and love locks. Mysteriously becoming Rio Gilao, it then flows towards the former Military Bridge, completely renewed but not yet open.

The river starts to widen and flows on, beneath the high level road bridge. and out through the salt marshes, leaving the city behind.

In the normal course of things you can catch a ferry to follow the river on its journey to the sea, or you can walk the road beside it, through the salt pans and out to Quatro Aguas. I’m really missing being able to do this but, hopefully, after Easter.

Two rivers, six bridges and a ferry later you will find yourself on the Ilha, looking back at lovely Tavira. I always prefer to share the colour and beauty of this place, but sometimes I can be persuaded to see life in black and white. I think that the bridges make good subjects for this, with their strong lines and the deep shadows cast by the sun.

Terri at Second Wind Leisure Perspectives prompted me to share a black and white view of my world. I simply converted my images from colour. What do you think?

Jo’s Monday walk : a Durham footpath


Reflected beauty

Interesting reflections

Often I walk with company, and that’s very nice, but occasionally I get to do a bit of wandering on my own- just me and the camera.  Nobody tapping their toes impatiently while I explore all the angles- ‘what IS she looking at?’  You might know the feeling.  My husband travels quite a lot locally, visiting customers, and sometimes I go along ‘for the ride’.  Durham is a favourite place.

The River Wear twines itself through the city, towing me along behind it.  My sense of direction is abysmal but, with a river to hold on to, I stand a fighting chance.  A bright Autumnal day was just the excuse I needed for an unfettered wander.  I’ll let you look over my shoulder, shall I?

The river bank is a little overgrown in places

The river bank is a little overgrown in places

I’m starting off at Shincliffe Bridge, by “The Rose Tree” pub, on the A177 road, on the outskirts of Durham.  There’s a path either side of the bridge and I linger for a while, contemplating which direction to take.  I cross over the bridge and am lured by a footpath that I don’t know.  It follows the river so there’s a good chance I’ll end up in the centre of Durham.

I don’t get very far when I spot some wildflowers by the path.  The sun is strong for October so I spend some time trying to get a shot that I like.  I catch curious looks from the occasional jogger. Two ladies, strolling, confirm that I can cross over a bridge further along.  Subsidence and falling trees has closed some of the footpath off, but I already knew this.

Sycamore wings

Sycamore wings

This will have to do!

This will have to do!

After a while I come to the bridge which I must cross over.  Now I’m on more familiar territory. There’s a large modern sports facility here, used sometimes for football training by Hartlepool FC. (ssh, sensitive subject- no comments please!)

Approaching the bridge

Approaching the bridge

The treads are made of logs

The treads are made of logs

Looking back across the river

Looking back across the river

Safely over the bridge, the path follows the river on the other bank, through dappled leafy shade. Frequent splashes of oars can be heard as the local rowing teams spin and twirl in the water, to the harsh calls of the cox.  The odd, solitary oarsman glides past too.

I cross over a path which leads to the boat club (members only), and shortcut across a field strewn with the remnants of Autumn.  The wider expanse of river beckons.

Lingering Autumn

Lingering Autumn

The river widens at this point

The river widens at this point, heading towards Durham centre

The bandstand

The bandstand

I take a seat in the bandstand.  I have been carrying with me, since my visit to Nottingham, a postcard destined for Viveka in Sweden.  I exchanged addresses with this lovely lady some time ago, and now I receive ‘surprises’ in the post. (one of which was a Paris t-shirt in black and gold! I don’t know anyone more generous than Viveka)  I have always loved postcards and having one land on my doormat gladdens my heart. Now it’s my turn to reciprocate.  There’s a post office in town and what nicer place to sit and write?

On towards the centre and another bridge

Along the riverbank to yet another bridge!

Durham has such a pretty centre

Durham Castle, beautifully framed

The path follows the river to the bridge with the green railings, shown above. (Baths Bridge) I cross over, approaching the boat hire beneath Elvet Bridge.  This is a popular spot and, in Summer, paintings of the castle and many other Durham views adorn the nearby walls. You might want to pause here for something to eat, or a row on the river.  There are plenty of places to eat in Durham, catering to all tastes and wallets.

I love the boat names

I pause to admire all the boat names

Especially Shirley

Especially Shirley!

I’m going to continue into the centre, to post my card.  Before I go, I’d better give you instructions on how to get back to the start point, hadn’t I?

Climb the steps up onto Elvet Bridge and cross over it.  Turn right onto New Elvet, passing the Royal County Hotel, and continue uphill to Hallgarth St. Following Hallgarth will bring you to a roundabout with a junction signed A177.  About 15 minute’s walk in this direction will bring you back to Shincliffe Bridge, where I began.  I hope you enjoyed our wander.

walking logo

Next Monday I will be in the Algarve, but I intend to schedule a walk, just so you don’t forget me. I can’t guarantee that I will be able to respond to your comments, as this will necessitate a visit to an internet cafe.  Not something I often do, but Anazu does have a connection.  Please just link to my post as usual, if you have a walk to share. My Jo’s Monday walk page will give you the details, and I will respond to you as soon as I possibly can.  Meantime, let’s put that kettle on and settle in for some more great reads.

I don’t receive many walks from South Sulawesi!  Many thanks for this treat, and welcome Noe  :

Walking around Tinabo Island

Jerusalem and Cardinal seem to go together.  This is very beautiful night photography  :


Combine good company with superb night time shots in Bologna, with Paula  :

Music and lights of Bologna

There are lots of things that Drake knows.  How to entertain has always been one of them  :

Knowing its Autumn

Fall in Canada!  Wouldn’t you love to share it with Colline?  :

Familiar Streets

Climbing hills and hopping over stiles in Dorset.  Can this really be Jude?  :

Pilsdon Pen

More beautiful Autumn colour and a little shared knowledge, from Violet Sky  :

A tree walk

Close up and personal with Milkweed Bugs?  I don’t like bugs much, but I do love Amy’s company

Milkweed Bug walk

And finally, stop off at the market on the way to the beach with Pauline.  You may need a sunhat!

A walk along beautiful Burleigh Beach

I hope you enjoy these walks as much as I did.  Many thanks to all my lovely contributors. Happy walking!  See you soon.


Jo’s Monday walk : to Infinity and beyond!

Just a hint of blue sky through the Infinity Bridge

Just a hint of blue sky through the Infinity Bridge

One of the hardest things about my Monday walks is deciding where to take you next.  I have easy access to both coast and countryside where I live in the north east of England.  Add in a healthy dose of curiosity and restlessness and the sky’s the limit!

Last week’s visit to the Glass Centre is a hard act to follow, but I’m going to take you a little way south of me today, to the River Tees. The lovely curves of the Infinity Bridge have added grace and beauty to another quite industrial part of my world.  This weekend the Stockton Riverside Festival was taking place.  I hope a deluge or two didn’t dampen the enthusiasm for the music.

Our start point will be the parking lot behind the White Water Centre.  We’ve walked around the Tees Barrage before but this time we’ll be heading towards Stockton-on-Tees.

The White Water Centre and cafe

The White Water Centre, and cafe

There are usually canoes taking to the water

There are usually canoes taking to the water.  Tees Barrage is in the distance

Walk towards the Infinity Bridge

Walk towards the Infinity Bridge

And underneath!  Don't worry- we'll come back to it.

And underneath! Don’t worry- we’ll come back to it.

It’s a popular cycle track too, so you’ll need to be alert.  Some cyclists sound their bell in warning, but more often they just loom up.  You don’t want to drop your camera!

Stockton is an Anglo-Saxon name, the ending ‘ton’ meaning farm or homestead.  There is little in the way of agriculture to be seen on this stretch of the River Tees.  The town used to have a thriving outdoor market where fresh produce was readily and cheaply available.   The life and character that this brought has sadly vanished.

Stockton’s main claim to fame is tied to the advent of steam travel in 1822.  The first rail of George Stephenson’s Stockton and Darlington Railway was laid locally, on Bridge Rd.  Stephenson drove Locomotion no.1 himself on its first journey, on 27th September 1825.  In recent years the riverside has been developed to make a focal point for the town.

George Stephenson's Locomotion

A tribute to George Stephenson’s Locomotion no.1

The riverside and Teesside Millenium Bridge

The riverside and Teesquay Millenium Footbridge

Have you spotted something beyond the bridge?  Something with tall masts?  My main reason for walking this way, and one of my favourite things.  Wait just a moment.

First we need to pass beneath the bridge

First we need to pass beneath the bridge

And here we have it!

And here we have it!

Isn't she a beauty?

Isn’t she a beauty?

Here's a small clue

Here’s a small clue

I love these tall masted beauties!

I love these tall masted beauties!

James Cook was a local lad and is widely feted in this part of the world.  HM Bark Endeavour took him on the first of three voyages of discovery in the Pacific Ocean.  He sailed thousands of miles of largely uncharted waters, mapping New Zealand, Australia and Hawaii for the British Navy.  He died in Hawaii in 1779, leaving behind a huge legacy of scientific and geographical knowledge.

HMS Bark Endeavour has the company of some smaller craft

HMS Bark Endeavour has the company of some smaller craft

And a whole load of swans!

And a whole load of swans!

So hard to resist boat shots!

So hard to resist boat shots!

Not so sure about the mural

There’s a mural disguising the multi-storey car park

But now it's time to cross over the bridge

But now it’s time to cross over the Millenium bridge

Looking back at the boats and Thornaby railway bridge

Looking back- the Princess river cruiser and Thornaby railway bridge

Those clouds are still lurking!

While the clouds lurk overhead!

We’re heading back towards the Infinity Bridge.  On the far shore of the Tees there are numerous office complexes and we thread our way through them, passing poorly maintained canals.

Under bridges and over bridges

Under bridges and over bridges

And here we are again

Till we burst into the light again!

You could play with the angles all day

You could play with the angles all day

But look behind you.  A storm's a-brewing!

But look behind you. A storm’s a-brewing!

One last look to the heavens

One last look to the heavens

And it's time to quickly cross!

And it’s time to quickly cross!

You know your way back from here, don’t you, and it’s not far.  Maybe a coffee in the White Water Centre, or there’s a pub along at the Tees Barrage.  The easiest access is undoubtedly by car, but you could do the walk from Stockton, which is well served by buses and trains.

I’m not going to be walking with you next week.  I hope to be on a different riverbank- the Seine. I could schedule a walk but I prefer not to.  The joy in my Monday feature comes from sharing, and responding to your lovely comments, and I won’t have time to do that in Paris.  Feel free to explore a little without me, but report back, won’t you?

Two more things before I go.  I noticed that my friend Marianne, from East of Malaga, is featuring Bridges in her CBBH challenge this month.  We’ve been friends for the longest time but I seldom have time to visit.  I’m hoping she won’t mind if I include a link to my walk this week.  It certainly features bridges, doesn’t it?  A condition of the CBBH challenge is to introduce 2 of your friends to Marianne.  I will certainly do that with my links below.

Speaking of friends, and I’ve made so many of you on here, I know that I will be walking in the footsteps of Christine at least some of the time next week.  I couldn’t go without one last tribute.


walking logo

I hope you’ll find some time to visit my lovely walking friends now.  Put that kettle on!

Jude has found me a mill and a lovely public garden in Gatehouse of Fleet   :

The Gatehouse of Fleet

The Travel Bunny, Suzanne, has gelato on her mind.  It must be the weather!  :

Pisa- Much more than a Leaning Tower

Drake found some long haired cattle to walk with us this week.  He always has fun!  :

On the West  (not the Wild West!)

It will be very tempting to sit down on Amy’s walk this week, but you might need a cushion  :

Spanish tiles

That’s it for now!  See you in two weeks time.  Happy walking!

Six word Saturday


I came, I saw, I photo’d!

Some with wonderful graffiti

The Commonwealth Games- what an event that will be!

Elephants, fishing?

Two elephants- fishing?

One stealthy cat!

One stealthy cat!

And my 'wonder wall'

And my amazing ‘wonder wall’

If you’ve seen any of my posts in the week, you’ll know that I was ‘bowled over’ by Glasgow.  I’ve had a terrific response to all the posts so I’d just like to say thank you to all who visited and enjoyed Glasgow with me.  The wall art was amazing, but that was just a small part of it.

Seonaid of Breath of Green Air shared this link with me yesterday.  It explains a little about the wall art and gives me yet another reason to go back.  I missed the panda, and my Wonder Wall is illuminated at night!

I still have one more delight to share with you, next week.  Here I am, up among the rooftops.

It's a little 'Gaudi', don't you think?

It’s a little ‘Gaudi’, don’t you think?

A small hint at where we'll be going

A small clue.  Anyone know where it is?

No, not the Glasgow School of Art

No- not the Glasgow School of Art

But I did have a quick peek in there

Though I did have a quick peek in there- not long enough!

I have to finish with the riverside.  Undisputably damp though I was, still I was very happy to get my first sighting of the River Clyde.  Grey skies and all!

This is one of my favourite shots from the riverside

This is one of my favourite shots- the sun almost came out!

And I like the reflections on this one

And I like the reflections in this one

But when it comes to reflections ....

But when it comes to reflections ….

I hope you’ve enjoyed reflecting with me.  This time last week my adventure was just beginning.

How about you- what have you done in the week?  You can share it here on Six word Saturday. Cate at Show My Face is a great hostess.   The links and header will show you how it works.



Do you pin?

One of Girona's many bridges

Crossing a bridge in Girona, Spain

Ramblas de Mar in Barcelona

Ramblas de Mar in Barcelona

London's Waterloo Bridge from the ferry terminal

London’s Waterloo Bridge from the ferry terminal

Most Tumski in Wroclaw, Poland

Most Tumski in Wroclaw, Poland

Iconic Tyne Bridge viewed from the Millenium "Eye"

Iconic Tyne Bridge, viewed from the Millennium “Eye”

I joined Pinterest soon after it started, but I’m pleased to report I never really caught the bug.  Life is simply too short.  But I do receive weekly updates and from time to time find myself ensnared. Especially when it concerns one of my favourite subjects- bridges.

Go Euro- Berlin

I’ve never visited the city of Berlin, but this random fact caught my attention.  Can it possibly be true?  Loving bridges as I do, the city has now moved significantly up my wish list.  Just how long it would take me to count them, I don’t know.  But I’d be game to find out.  Wouldn’t you?

GoEuro promise rail, coach and air in just one search.

A bridge too far?

Well, it is, isn't it?

Well, it’s long, isn’t it?

I had no idea that it would be so long!  But then, I’d only ever seen it from the sky as I flew over the Algarve.  I knew it to be a part of the swish resort of Quinta do Lago.  Not my usual stamping ground, but curiosity impelled me to take a closer look.

Parking alongside a selection of resplendent villas at Vale do Garrao, I descended some steps and followed the path around the salt marsh in the direction of the sea.

Vale do Garrao in the distance

The villas at Vale do Garrao

Sure enough, there was the beach

Sure enough, there was the beach

Not too many people to share it with!

Not too many people to share it with on a January day

I plonked myself down for 10 minutes, to enjoy the gentle warmth and the glinting sea.  Then it was time to head off along the beach, in search of the bridge.

And there it was!

And there it was, bridging the gap across the lagoon.

In the far distance, Praia de Faro

In the far distance, Praia de Faro

A burst of colour awaits at Quinta do Lago

And on the shoreline, a riot of colour

While the bridge stretched all the way back to the beach

The bridge stretches all the way back to the beach

This is Quinta do Lago

But now we’re in elegant Quinta do Lago

From the map it looked as though there was a footpath to where the car was parked.  Otherwise it would be a long walk back along the beach.   Following the path, I was surprised to discover a large saltwater lake, with pedal boats tied up for the Winter.

The lake and the country club

The lake and the country club

Back in the land of unaffordable housing

Back in the land of unaffordable housing

But the flora and fauna are free

But the flora and fauna are free

And the bird life in the marshes

And the bird life in the marshes

The colours melting into one another

The colours of nature, sublime!

It just goes to show that you don’t need a pot of money to enjoy the Algarve.  The beauty is all around you and it’s free.  The walk took just a couple of hours and the sun was beginning to dip as I returned.

Flying home, I didn’t see the foot bridge, but I did get a hazy shot of the road bridge out to Praia de Faro.  It was a little cloudy, so not too sad to leave!

The road across the Ria Formosa to Praia de Faro

The road across the Ria Formosa to Praia de Faro

And from another angle

And from another angle

From a bridge, to a barrage.

A completely different bridge

The bridge at the Whitewater Rafting Centre

If you saw my entry for the Weekly Photo Challenge this week, you might just have wondered what you would find if you crossed over that bridge. Come with me, and I’ll satisfy your curiosity.

You may remember that we started with this remarkable bridge

You may remember , I started with this remarkable bridge

The Infinity Bridge was constructed across the River Tees, at a cost of £15 million, and opened on 14th May 2009.  It was part of a massive regeneration project linking the river banks and providing a very pleasant environment for walking and cycling.  Full details are in the enclosed Wikipedia link, but a rather special feature is the sensory lighting system, which illuminates the bridge at night.  I have yet to play with this!

Footpaths stretch along both banks, leading in one direction to the town of Stockton.  The opposite direction leads to the Tees Barrage and eventually out to sea.  It can be quite an interesting bit of shoreline.  The Tees Barrage is used to control the flow of the river and to prevent flooding.  The waters beyond the barrage are permanently held at the level of an average high tide.   The Barrage, which opened on 22nd April, 1995, has a design life of 120 years!  It also incorporates a white water course,  a real crowd pleaser if an event coincides with a sunny day.

And looking back from the Barrage, what can you see?

The Infiniity Bridge, of course

The Infinity Bridge, on the skyline, of course

Just look at that blue sky!

And just look at that blue sky!

Today all is calm on the White Water course

Today all is calm on the White Water course

Not a ripple disturbs the water.

Barely a ripple disturbs the water

But sometimes the Fire Brigade provide a little sport

But sometimes the Fire Brigade provide a little sport!

If nothing is happening on the white water, you can often find entertainment from the antics of the seals in the River Tees.  They seem as interested in the Barrage as are humans.  There is also a small nature trail, for a close up on the wildlife.  It can be a breezy spot though, so don’t forget to wear your warm jacket.  I did!

Six word Saturday


Did I tell you about Girona?

Striking, isn't it?

Striking, isn’t it?

My day trip from Barcelona.  There’s a story or two to tell, but as I only have six words, it’ll have to be pictorial.  Just click on the gallery.

Girona in a nutshell.  I wanted to come here in May for the flower festival, but it was more peaceful in November, and a wonderful escape from the city.

Beautiful, isn't it?

Beautiful, isn’t it?

I’m playing Six word Saturday, thanks to Cate at Show My Face.  Click on the links or the header and you can play too.  Happy weekend!


Black and White weekly photo challenge : Bridges

A romantic view of Durham

A romantic view of Durham

Durham is a city of many bridges.  The River Wear threads its way backwards and forwards between the historic houses, and it’s quite hard NOT to take a photo of a bridge or two.

Here we have two bridges for the price of one.  Agree?

Here we have two bridges for the price of one. Agree?

County Durham is known as the Land of the Prince Bishops and gets a small mention in the Wikipedia link.  The “Prince Bishop” river cruiser has been tootling up and down a short stretch of this river for as long as I can remember.

Under the road bridge, looking back at the Cathedral.

Under the road bridge, looking back at “Prince Bishop” and the Cathedral.

I rarely visit Durham without strolling along the riverside path.  The bustle of the Market Square and always busy Cathedral seem a world away.

This is the classic view, seen on numerous postcards.

This is the classic view, seen on numerous postcards.

The river has paths on both banks for some of its passage through the city, so you can meander like the river, and choose which bridge you want to cross.

Milburngate Bridge with castle and cathedral above.

Milburngate Bridge with castle and cathedral above.

Some years the weir is filled to the brim.  Sadly, this year, erosion has affected the riverbanks in a few places.  Part of our constant battle with nature.

There are always rowing boats tethered by Framwellgate Bridge.

There are always rowing boats tethered by Framwellgate Bridge.

Durham has a famous university, and for much of the year students can be seen sculling rapidly along the water’s surface.  In June the regatta gives them the chance to show off their skills, and it’s a fun day out.

I’m normally very much a Summer person, but there is one event that takes place in Durham every second November that I hate to miss.  During “Lumiere” many of the bridges are spectacularly lit.  You can see this in full colour in my recent post Water under the bridge, but for this challenge I have to stick with black and white.

Trying to find the best vantage point to take the shot.

Trying to find the best vantage point to take the shot.

How about this one?

How about this one?

So that’s my take on Sonel’s Black and White photo challenge this week.  I hope you enjoyed wandering the riverbanks of Durham with me.  Let’s do it in colour another time, shall we?

I’m off to check out the other entries to the challenge.  Sonel has given us quite a wide brief.  The main stipulation is that we work with black and white only- no shades, which means my sepia friend is not allowed.  The button below will take you to the home page of the challenge.


Bridging the Gap

Some posts just kind of lure you in!  You could do a Challenge post every day of the week and two on Sundays, if you had the time.  Mostly I look, admire, make a mental note, blink twice and the next Challenge is there before me.  Somehow I’ve completed all my chores with time to spare this weekend, and without further ado, I present Bridges, at the kind invitation of Ailsa at Where’s My Backpack.

The wonderful thing about bridges for me is that often they span my favourite element, water.  I love to lean over a bridge and gaze into the depths.  Sometimes they even create beautiful reflections as a bonus- two for the price of one.  Putting them side by side has taken longer than I expected, but now that I have, I’m taken with the contrast between my surly northern skies and the gentler images of Southern Europe.

Click on a photo to see them in gallery form.

Thanks, Ailsa.  I’ve enjoyed my Sunday leisure time.  Come bridge spotting with me over at Ailsa’s?