Eastern Algarve

You bet your life we are!

‘Monday is washing day, Tuesday’s soup, Wednesday’s roast beef, Thursday is shepherd’s pie, Friday’s fish, Saturday is pay day, Sunday is church, Is everybody happy?’ …. Your turn! ‘ You bet your life we are!’ 🙂 🙂

A mingling of Algarve washing, with a splash of happy yellow. Are you joining Andrew at Monday Washing Lines? You’ll have to peg neatly!

Jo’s Monday walk : Talking to the trees

Funny how an idea can spark from an innocent remark. ‘Have you done a walk featuring the personalities of trees?’ asked Frank, on my last walk. ‘Well, no-o…but?’ Frank likes walking on beaches, but his interests range far and wide. I like walking on beaches too, but they’re denied to me at present. So the idea of taking a twirl with a tree or two was born.

I talk to the trees, but they don’t listen to me

I talk to the stars, but they never hear me…

They surround me. Olive trees, ancient and new. Oranges and lemons, side by side, their fruit a dangling temptation. Figs and pomegranates are bare branches now, but their turn will come. This is the time of the almonds, bitter with dark pink blossoms, sweet, much paler. Both delicate.

I choose a path between fields lush with Bermuda buttercups. Over a stone wall, a new plantation of water-guzzling avocados. A flitter and a fluttering as a lime and lemon butterfly dances past, alighting for a few precious moments. I hope for the wings to still to display their full beauty. Bubbles of vibrant mimosa echo the lemon.

And then, the definitive old gnarled tree trunk. A home for bugs, birds and even small rodents. The perfect hiding place for acorns. With a peephole or two for that watchful eye. So full of character!

So many forms, and all part of my world right now. The boundaries are meaningless to you, but a beautiful straitjacket for me. I hope you enjoyed A glimpse of my world as it is at the moment. Thanks to Sheetal. A myriad of sights to gladden the heart.

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As does sharing your walks. Find time for a browse?

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Margaret did make me smile with this! You see, anyone can go for a walk… anywhere!

Virtual dog goes on a virtual walk

When it comes to smoke and mirrors, Drake has it all beautifully covered :

Cheating morning

Dressed winterly

Winter down hill

So nice to have a bit of poetry to accompany a walk. Thanks, Mari!

A Walk for Edward Thomas

Cadyluck has a very sad story to relate, but it makes a fascinating walk :

Jo’s Monday walk : Southampton, UK

Feel the heat, Down Under with Carol! Anyone for a paddle? Don’t miss the dragonflies and butterflies in the second post!

Down by the Water

Getting Back to Nature

Going back to virtual walks, I can’t think of anyone I’d rather walk with. Margaret, come and join Annika? You’ll love the location.

Duality of Walks

Some time this year we’ll be free to walk where we choose, I hope. Lucy has some great suggestions :

Five fantastic walking holidays in the UK

And Marie shares some wild Irish beauty :

Out and about in Ireland’s Heartland- Cavan Burren Park

Tying in nicely with my walk this week… a peaceful interlude with Lynn :

Local Walks: A Lake and a Forest in the uiet season

Nudging forward into 2021. One step at a time. Take care of yourselves, and join me next time on Jo’s Monday walk!

Monday Mural

A mural for our times. I’d gone for a stroll by the water in neighbouring Cabanas when this curly headed cherub caught my eye. The following day there was an outbreak of Covid-19 and it became a place to avoid. Fortunately numbers seem to be decreasing locally and we have hopes of a return to normal life.

Monday Mural

Jo’s Monday walk : lanes and salt marshes

I’m afraid it’s smack down to earth again with today’s walk. No more high flying in Barcelona, but it was fun while it lasted. I’m having to be much more prosaic, because we are again under restrictions here in the Algarve. Depressing, isn’t it, but I’m determined not to wear a long face. The sky here is mostly blue, the fields are wave upon wave of nodding golden oxalis, and the almond trees are hastening from bud to blossom.

The beaches, with their wide open expanses, are once more closed, which makes me sad and seems to make little sense. But there are compensations. Even after all these years I can still find a strip of unexplored territory, if I try hard enough. And that always makes me smile. The freedom of stepping out into an almost unknown world is purely joyful. A narrow path, between stone walls, has me looking out on a scene I know, but how different it feels from the other side of the field. The oxalis colonise every possible crevice in the wall, and where they don’t intrude another invader creeps in.

The olive trees twist and twine, holding each other up. Yawning holes gape in their trunks, a readymade home for small creatures. I’m astonished to spy a bright pink cistus struggling out through the green. Surely it’s too early! But a heart-shaped hole in the rock makes me smile.

But there is no doubt that Spring is here. An asphodel nods in the breeze. Wisps of cloud drift across the sky, and suddenly a shaft of light illuminates the heavens. A moment of glory, and I gaze, transfixed! The almond blossom flutters shyly and a bird pauses, high on its perch.

A change of scene now for, across a road, the salt marshes stretch, away to the sea. The nearest I can get to the forbidden beaches. And so I wander between the channels of salt water, observing the process which will produce Flor do Sal, the area’s precious salt commodity.

A system of gates and pumps move the water from one channel to the next, in an age old method, culminating in the height of summer with salt crystals. Turning away, I head for home, not yet visible in the distance.

This is my reality now. A far cry from bright lights and big city, but beautiful in its own right. And I’m holding hands across the world with many in the same situation. We’ll get through this together.

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It’s funny! Some weeks it just rains walks… or potential walks! If I’ve missed anybody out, I apologise in advance. Just give me a nudge! I now seem to be operating on a fortnightly basis, but I’ve no idea where I’m going next. Planning, hey? Join me on Jo’s Monday walk.

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How spectacular is this, from Sue and Dave? Tempted? Well….. not really! You know I love the sun :

Grotto Canyon Ice Walk : Winter Hiking Wonder

Certainly gentler scenery, but still beautiful with Anabel :

Fife Coastal Path: Cambo and Tentsmuir

Fife Coastal Path: Lower Largo to Earlsferry

Another coastal walk from Jonno and Jo, well wrapped up!

Herne Bay to Reculver Walk

Boston, a city I’d love to see! And an Ice Sculpture trail. Pop over and say hello?

Last Day of 2020, Afoot in Boston Harbor

Still in the States, I found this rather beautiful. I’m a compulsive water follower :

Croton Gorge County Park

You can always find beauty, if you look. And always in Lynn’s company :

Local Walks: A TWO-FER

And Cadyluck Leedy has a kwestion for you! The answer’s easy!

Why Would You Want to Go to a Botanical Garden in Gothenburg, Sweden?

While Drake makes his own music with the natural world :

January Symphony

Casual hills

Join Margaret for a bit of fun, in and out of the woods :

Sun getting up? Or sunset? The Answer

And have you met Emma? She has some beautiful self catering accommodation :

Jack & Jill and Chattri Memorial South Downs 8.5M/13.6KM Circular

Easy walking in sunshine sound good? Alice is your woman!

Leisure Loop

And something a little different from Rupali :

The Shapes of Emotions

While we’re having some fun, can you spot Teresa in these photographs?

Where are you Going?

Kelly warns you not to get lost in this market. It’s very easily done!

Bangkok Walk

Ending with a beautiful flourish of winter white from our Snow King and Queen :

Slow snow walk

Thursday Thoughts

That’s it for now! Hope you enjoyed it. I should be back with a walk in 2 weeks, come rain, come shine! Take good care in the meantime.

Jo’s Monday walk : A back street tour of Tavira

Tavira’s new bridge

A change of pace today. I’ve managed to complete a circular walk around Calçadinha de Sáo Brás de Alportel , and also around the waterfall in my Christmas themed Loulé walk, in the last few weeks but restrictions have arrived. Having kept our head above water throughout most of the pandemic, numbers in Portugal rocketed after Christmas. So, for now, I’m back to local walks. It’s not a serious hardship. I took off one morning with a spring in my step, to check out a few nooks and crannies.

Gardens within the town are mostly of the patio variety, a simple courtyard with pots of colour. Here and there a bougainvillea creeps up a wall and a chair is strategically placed. Most often in the shade.

Not everywhere is beautifully maintained. Tavira has its share of unloved and tumbledown. Cracks abound. But for every sad ruin there is a carefully nurtured home. And some of the doors are exquisite.

We’ve climbed to the oldest part of town now. The ancient water tower conceals a Camera Obscura within. A good way to observe the town in its entirety, it stands shoulder to shoulder with the Santa Maria church. Once both were enclosed by the town walls, whose remnants provide beautiful views across the salt marshes and out to sea.

A gentle descent, through a choice of back streets, will bring you to the Praca da Republica, the main square, overlooking the river. It’s unnaturally quiet here at the minute, used as I am to a friendly buzz of people sharing coffee, cake and life stories. I walk on through the riverside gardens, where even the terrapins in the bandstand pool seem to be avoiding me. The new bridge hasn’t yet had its unveiling but looks ready for action.

Fishing boats ride at anchor, the days’ catch waiting for takers. I approach the flyover, with its sweeping views. The river meanders out to meet the Ilha and I stop to watch the storks performing aerobatics. There are a couple in the nest and it’s fascinating to watch them glide through the air. I turn away discreetly when the noisy courtship begins.

It’s not a bad place to be marooned, is it? Hopefully the restrictions will be short-lived as numbers in the Algarve are already declining. We’ll beat this thing yet! And in the meantime, the bakers are still open. Naughty cake, anyone?

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A few shares this week, some of them looking very cold! I wish you could share the sunshine. Do visit, if you can! It’s nice to have a bit of company in these lonely times. Join me on Jo’s Monday walk whenever you like.

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Walk slowly to appreciate Inese’s wild Irish scenery! It’s in 2 parts :

Crotty’s Lake 1

Crotty’s Lake II

If you’ve never walked with Madhu you have a real treat in store :

Brussels – Exploring History Through Architecture

And just to remind us it’s Winter! Thanks, Rupali :

Weekend 113: A walk in fresh snow

Weekend 114: Winter settles in

Everyone knows the Canadians love snow, don’t they, Lynn?

Please come out & play

I love a coastal walk, but I do prefer blue skies, Anabel. I’m sure you do too :

Fife Coastal Path: Cellardyke to St. Monan’s

Fife Coastal Path: Cellardyke to Crail

Drake plays with nature and the wintery light :

Cool walk

Eunice has a love of street art. This is her latest collection :

Manchester street art 2020

For me, boats do it! Follow me to Norway with Cadyluck. It’s a bit cool though :

Haugesund, Norway: On the Waterfront

I’ll be back in a couple of weeks. Up north Spring is coming. It’s already here! Take care of each other, and keep walking!

Jo’s Monday walk : Porto Carvalhoso

Some of you have already met Medronho, the Strawberry Tree. It lines the Algarve hillside at this time of year, when early mornings and evenings can have a nip in the air. I’m sure that many a nip of the firewater distilled from the Medronho fruit has been imbibed here in these hills, to ward off the winter chills.

It was on just such a morning that I clambered up the steep hill above the village of Porto Carvalhoso, with a few like-minded friends. I didn’t notice anyone with a hip flask but coloured water bottles are the perfect disguise. Many of the cork oaks had been stripped, vulnerable in their nakedness.

Up and over the hill we went. After the initial scramble the trail leveled out and there was time to enjoy our surrounds. A striking, stone house had good views down the valley, while the tumbledown next door was clearly marked with the initials that denote the boundary of someone’s property. We were following a route on an App called Wikiloc, from which we’ve had mixed results. Anyone who subscribes can add a walk, so if they get a little lost and have to retrace their steps… well, you usually end up doing the same.

On this particular occasion we were gazing down the valley trying to fathom which way next. The route appeared to drop down a slippery slope, with no obvious way to descend. Fortunately a brave volunteer decided to test it out and, reassured, we followed on. The trods were completely overgrown. Happily no twisted ankles resulted, and soon the path became visible again. A rich tapestry of soft greens and beige surrounded us. In the distance a small cluster of houses invited. On our approach the sound of sawing filled the air, a sizeable logpile for the winter nights.

A stream runs through the bottom of the valley, the mill race watching in silence as the water gurgles. We wonder if there will be a water crossing, but thankfully not this time. It’s getting deep after recent rains. Instead we start the gentle climb back to the village, where our car awaits.

I remember this day as a light-hearted one. Part of a glorious weekend. Time with friends is precious. For now, they are my family. Porto Carvalhoso is a tiny village, just off the N270 which runs north from Tavira.

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I had to share a walk today, because a backlog of shares is building up. Please find some time to visit the following walks. You might well find a friend. And maybe join me next time, here on Jo’s Monday walk? You’ll be very welcome.

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Isn’t Autumn beautiful? Meg’s happy to share :

Autumn Scenery

And the photos in this one are stunning! Thanks, Denzil and Herman :

The Millennium Tower and La Fange de l’Abime

Natalie managed Walktober. One of these days I’ll get there!

Fun Ride/My Walktober

Eunice enjoyed a pretty part of the Yorkshire Dales :

Kirby Lonsdale – exploring somewhere new

And if you should one day be in need of a periwig, Marion knows just the place!

A walk around Abergavenny

Meanwhile, Margaret asks a very fair kwestion :

What’s the point of walking?

I’m always affected by the way Drake sees the world :

Unaffected, the affected way

Lack of noise

How about a gentle stroll with Albert?

Shoreline Walk – Return via Western Foreshores

Or a little soft mist, with Rupali :

Weekend 110: A walk in the mist

I never can resist a waterfall, and Aiva is the perfect guide :

A fantastic walk of the weekend : Exploring Ireland’s Highest Waterfall

Why not take a visual stroll with Flavia?

Vico Equense – Ceramics (Part 1)

While Carol takes us Skywalking in Queensland :

I Spy

And Kelly gets even higher in beautiful Bali!

Atop Gunung Agung

This week I will have been a resident of the Algarve for two years. I expected to write an update on Living the Dream, but right now I’m feeling sad. Hopefully I’ll give myself a shake and ‘crack on’!

A house for Jude

Often enough we go wandering in the hills. Sometimes we follow a trail. Sometimes one of us has trod that way before. One of us is looking for a home with a beautiful view. It might be modern, or a more traditional Portuguese style. But we all stop, look and offer an opinion. It matters not, of course, for the house is seldom on the market and, if it were, would be way beyond our budget. But it’s a harmless pursuit.

We start in the village. A rather ramshackle window is firmly shuttered, inviting no buyers. An uphill cobbled track leads to a country lane, and the most exquisitely gnarled olive tree trunk. I stop to admire.

A feature of this part of the world, great boulders are stacked one upon another. They interlock, braced against the sky. Has some idle giant been playing at jigsaws, then strode off into the clouds? The textures absorb the sunlight.

The land opens out, with a scattering of almond trees. How beautiful will they look in spring, laden with armfuls of white blossom? A narrow lane leads to a quirky little bungalow. Perhaps I could live here, but it’s much too far from shore.

The views are far reaching and lovely, and I can picture the smoke-coloured evening hills. Still, the valley can never surpass the sea for me.

But maybe for Jude? I’d better ask her!

2020 Photo Challenge #46

A birthday treat

I’m going to be a little bit naughty today. You see, Su’s invited me to a tea party and, as usual, I’m totally unprepared. So what I thought I’d do is share with you my birthday treat last Thursday. Raspberry cheesecake with a chocolate base, anybody?

Let me set the scene. Heavy rain is threatened and a warning in place for electrical storms. I know I’m lucky to be able to go out to celebrate the day, but I did have such plans. A nice little spot overlooking a dam. Serene and beautiful. Sunset on the water, and a sunrise full of misty promise. But when the rain drifts in, visibility nil. Go to plan B. A restaurant I’ve been curious about for some time. Cha Cha Cha, in Olháo.

Initially we think, hop a train. A leisurely afternoon with fine wine. But the storm threatens and we jump in the car. Into a head wind on the waterfront. Will we make it before the storm hits?

Barely just! We have the place almost to ourselves. Heavy wooden doors bolt us in. A tiny outlook to a bougainvillea clad wall. Swiftly and firmly closed and the plum velvet curtains swished shut. The sound of drumming rain and the growls of thunder prowling the rooftops. We don’t mind. Secure and warm. And there’s cake! An atypical Algarve birthday, in an atypical year.

Now come on over to Su’s place for sumptuous food and a bit of a gossip.

Virtual afternoon tea, November 2020