Eastern Algarve

Jo’s Monday walk : Christmas in Tavira

I know you don’t have much time for walking this week, but I thought you might like a little stroll with me?  Tavira is looking very pretty on an evening.  Come and see the lights!  We needn’t walk far.

Ponte Romana and the riverside are strewn with blue lights.  The Military Bridge is finally being dismantled, after 29 years as a ‘temporary’ structure.  That’s how things are around here.  Things take time!  But the end result is usually worth it.

It does leave a question mark over this New Year’s Eve firework display.  In recent years the fireworks have been launched from the Military Bridge.  Maybe they will use a barge on the river.

The fountain wasn’t here when we first came to Tavira.  We’ve seen a few changes.  In the austerity years the Christmas trees were simple wooden structures.  Now we sparkle and shine, and things are looking up.

Round the corner, couples pose in a shining star.  Last year we had a giant bauble, which now takes pride of place in Faro marina.

In the run up to Christmas there have been carol concerts, both in the old Mercado and in many of the churches.

Much needed rain arrived, putting a bit of a dampener on scurrying shoppers, and delaying our visit to the bombeiros Nativity scene.  Three days later, blue skies inevitably returned and the town was bathed in warm sunshine once more.

I shall be sad to leave, but I’m off to England today, to share a few Christmas hugs.  You’ll scarcely miss me before I’m back, on Thursday.  I hope that, wherever you are in the world, you get your share of hugs this festive season.  Wishing you joy always (and cake!)

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Not many shares this week, but all are very welcome.  Join me soon, on Jo’s Monday walk.

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Debbie always astounds me with her photography.  This one is a beauty- please don’t miss it!

A wander through Christmas at Kew

The sky can be endlessly fascinating.  Come cloud-gazing with Janet :

Sunset walk

Some places still look beautiful dripping wet!  Drake never minds the weather :

Beyond the rain

Emma showcases her beautiful artwork, in lovely Donegal :

The Burtonport Old Railway Walk, Ireland

While Eunice pursues her love of street art, in Dublin :

A day out in Dublin

Cathy regretfully completes her pilgrimage :

A day in Santiago de Compostela

And Hikeminded shares some beautiful images from Germany :

Odenwald: Engelberg Monastery and Miltenberg

Lastly, spare a thought for Australia.  What a nightmare this Winter has been for so many!

Hills of Sand

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Six word Saturday

Hey donkey!  Where is the baby?

Remember the pigs last week?  Well, they had a few friends.  A rather worried cow… some strange sheep… a disinterested llama…

A donkey or two, of course, and some rather curious camels… Even a farmer, and his faithful friend…

The baby?  I didn’t see one, but there was someone to entertain the kids…

And a good time was had by all!  I’m so glad the galleries are back to normal.  Don’t you love Odeleite?  Merry Christmas!

One last Six Word Saturday before the big day.  See you Monday!

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Castro Marim : Proud to be ‘on display’

The only kind of ‘snow’ I’m fond of- a bed of salt crystals, making a backdrop for the Presépio do Sal, in Castro Marim.  Every year, throughout Portugal, Nativity scenes take pride of place in towns and villages.  In this small Algarve village, more than 7 tons of locally produced salt form the basis of the scene.  This has been an exceptional year for salt production, and the Nativity is a wonderful tribute to the salt pans and their workers.

At weekends there are story times for children and music concerts.  You have until 6th January to visit if you are in the area.  I’m happy to add this post to Amy’s Lens-Artists theme, On Display, this week, with wishes to all for a Christmas full of joy.

Six word Saturday

This little piggy went to market…

Did any of them stay home?

Last weekend there was a Christmas fair in Odeleite, with an assortment of camels, donkeys, sheep, a cow and a dog- some real, some not!  I intended to show them all in gallery form.  Anyone else having issues with WP galleries?  Or anything else, for that matter?  I think some might be, over at Six Word Saturday.   Have a good weekend!

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Jo’s Monday walk : Mesquita & the Fonte

Follow the N270 inland from Tavira and you come to an area of gentle undulations.  After Santa Catarina, look for a sign saying Mesquita, off to your left.  Park close by the restaurant Lagar da Mesquita, and you find yourself in a fairly easy walking environment, with a number of enticements.  I’m not talking cake just yet, so don’t go getting your hopes up.

Relatively easy to miss in the long grass, the Monte Negro well is a solid structure, of unknown origin but believed to be several centuries old.  On a blue sky day with crisp shadows, bright blooms nod and a dog barks at us, but still wags his tail.

A gentle incline takes you up the Ribeira do Bengado valley to a trig point blessed with two windmills.  Neither seem to be functional right now.

In the distance, the faintest shimmer of ocean glints in the sunlight.  Down in the valley, we walk beneath trailing branches, on a carpet of leaves and fallen acorns from the many oaks.  A cross stands, all alone, on a rough hewn wall.

The path emerges beside a cottage rich in bougainvillea.  Another dog inspects us, through closed gates, and decides we’re harmless.

Soon we come to the natural Fonte and a bit of fun.  Vigorous scrubbing demonstrates how it might have been done, ‘back in the day’, while a few turns of the handle easily produces water from the well.  Wash day in the sun!

Grapefruit dangle temptingly over a fence, and it’s time for the luxury of a coffee stop.

We’re on our way to the last of the features of this walk- the Geoponto, and the beautiful ornamental rock known as limestone breach.  Going far back in time, much of the Algarve was beneath the ocean.  Remnants of coral and fossilised animals from that era can still be found in the limestone, quartz and feldspar which make up the local geology.

A fascinating prospect, isn’t it?  The rock is now used in the building industry, and for decoration.   Across the fields the trail leads back to the road.  An empty rill passes another water wheel and soon the crossroads signed Lagar da Mesquita appear.

I hope you enjoyed our walk today.  Even if you only came for the cake.

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Time to share a few more walks.  Many thanks to my contributors and all of you who’re happy to walk along with us.  Join me next time here on Jo’s Monday walk.  And maybe bring a walk of your own?

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I do like quirky, don’t you?  An odd little piece of Cornwall, on Jude’s doorstep :

Hayle: Penpol Terrace Walk

Just let it happen, with Drake.  It could lead anywhere :

Unplanned bike ride

I know somebody who loves apple pie, Alice.  Especially with custard!

Historic Town Famous for Apple Pie

Speaking of which, let’s see what Jackie’s got this week :

High Tea

Natalie’s staying indoors, but surrounded by beautiful flowers :

7 Tidbits about Chrysanthemums

Janet’s indoors too but her interests are rather different :

Monday walk….but not too far

While Mama Cormier shows us around her neighbourhood :

My Monday walk on Tuesday

And for those of you who like snow with your spectacular scenery :

A Quick Jaunt to Moab, Utah

Or you can carry on the Camino, with Cathy :

(Camino day 45) Melide to Arzúa

It’s December and I’m sure a lot of you are leading busy lives.  Please don’t stress too much!  It won’t make Christmas any better.