Fonte de Benemola

Jo’s Monday walk : Dramatic skies over Querença

I’m taking you back to Fonte Filipe and the peace of the countryside this week.  This time we will head towards Querença, a small but lovely village, high in the Algarve hills.  I know it best for the Sausage Festival in January, and nearby Fonte de Benemola, a lovely oasis of green.  This was a warm day of beautiful skies, and good company.  We started out in shade and headed up through the trees, relishing the simple joy of being alive.

Almond blossom has dwindled and the nuts are on their way, but in these rolling Algarve seasons there’s always something to admire.

If you’re not fond of rust hued farm equipment, maybe a tumble down cottage or two will catch your eye?  It’s a great place to indulge your ‘house in the country’ fantasies.  With a few, stubborn roses clinging to a weathered wall, and perhaps a shady bench.

There are signs and markings to keep you on track, though dilly dawdling as I often do, it’s easy to get left behind.  Usually we’ll have a back marker, or good shepherd, tasked with keeping the flock together.

Today I’m transfixed by the cloud patterns overhead.  Just lately there have been very few of these loiterers, tracing patterns in the blue.  Gnarled trees snag my attention too.  It’s no wonder I so often get left behind.

Passing through a tiny hamlet, I’m further distracted by the harvesting of carobs.  The farm hand is only too happy to pause in his labours to smile and give a thumbs up.  We’re not far from Querença now.

At the heart of the village lies a magnificent square, the church looming over it protectively.  It’s a fine spot for a coffee, but the leaning pines suggest that you might sometimes need to huddle indoors.  It’s high and exposed here, the chapel nestled quietly, further down the hill.

Just past the chapel, if you keep your eyes peeled, you’ll find a little turn off signed Beco dos Faiscas.  This leads down a lovely old cobbled path, beneath shady trees.  Just around a bend, something that looks like a small seat- what my mother would have called a ‘cracket’- to sit a spell.

A well maintained flagged path leads through the valley.  Beside some rushes, an abandoned mill wheel hints at former occupation.  A ‘for sale’ sign adorns an ornately topped post, and then the mill house appears, behind a hedge of extravagant crimson.

All too soon the walk is over, and you’re back at Fonte Filipe, no doubt wondering what’s to eat.  Can I tempt you with the ‘arroz doce’?

There are other choices, of course, but we’ll save them for another day.  Hope you enjoyed the walk!

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Just a word of warning!  I won’t be posting Jo’s Monday walk next week, but I’ll share any walks that arrive in the meantime the following week.  Meanwhile, please do read and enjoy these.

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Cheryl’s Skywalk takes walking to a whole new level.  You’ll love it!

A Walk Among the Clouds in Qingjing Farm

Something much gentler, and with a beautiful back story, from Suzanne :

The Waikareao Estuary Walk & Korero

Did you visit Delphi, with Debbie?  It looks phenomenal!

More dawdling in Delphi

Citrus Avenue!  How sweet does that sound?  Share it with Alice :

Citrus Avenue

Not everyone is so lucky with the weather, as Jackie will tell you!

Muy Buena Pizza

But it’s all relative.  It’s good to be happy with what you have :

Photo Challenges- South Jersey Spring has Sprung

A little grey in Denmark too, but there’s no place like home, is there, Drake?

Colors coming soon

She asks some daft questions, but Jude takes wonderful photographs.  Can you tell, the lady loves plants? :

Can you ever have too many Camellias?

Paris Focus: Jardin des Plantes

Share a little romance with Carol?

The Kissing Bridge

And follow ‘light spun with gold’ across northern Spain, with Cathy :

(Camino day 10) Torres del Rio to Logrono

Becky’s beaten me to it with this one!  I never thought I’d get to walk on water, but I did!

An unusual walk into Spain

I hope to post my take on the Smuggler’s Festival later this week, but I won’t be walking with you next Monday.  My son and partner are arriving soon, with a lively 6 year old, and I suspect I’ll have my hands full.  I’ll be back with a walk in 2 weeks time.  Take care till then!

Jo’s Monday walk : Querenca to Fonte de Benemola

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Another of the Algarve’s sleepy villages, Querenca was looking idyllic on the last day of my October holiday.  Our walking group were meeting at the cafe on the left of the photo above.  It’s quite a drive up into the hills and a ‘bica’ of coffee is always appreciated before we start walking.

Surrounded by rolling hills and leafy green scenery, Querenca breathes pure tranquillity. Excepting when the Festa das Chouricas takes place, at the end of January, and the waft of spicy sausage rouses the locals.  In honour of St. Luis, the patron saint of animals, the celebrations give thanks for the pigs, bred locally, that feed the villagers throughout the year.  I rather fancy trying chouriço à bombeiro, where the sausage is doused in brandy and set alight. Bombeiros are fire fighters, in case you wondered.  Time to set forth.

We leave the village square in a downhill direction, over lovingly worn cobbles.  I’m too busy admiring the scenery to realise that the return route could well be steeply uphill. There are 13.7 kilometres to cover first.  I’ve walked to Fonte de Benemola in the past, but this route is unfamiliar.

Portuguese street names do sometimes seen inordinately long.  And did you notice that cat, giving me such a baleful look?

Continuing downhill we find the beginning of the trail to the Fonte, or spring.  A lush green valley leads beneath lofty cliffs, the arid red of the Algarve soil revealed in the fissures.  It reminds me greatly of my trip to Rocha da Pena, but today the weather is impeccable.

img_4322The trail winds along dustily, and becomes quite rock strewn in places.  In Spring these nooks and crannies will be dressed in the finery of rock roses and lavender, with the promise of wild orchids.  This late in the year colour is harder to find.

When finally I reach the Fonte, the bamboo and rushes are bleached almost colourless.  A soft shushing noise betrays the presence of the water, a sign ‘olho’ pointing hopefully.  A young couple are balanced on the rocks, trying to capture on camera the bubble of water as it rises and swirls in an ‘eye’.  I carry on, knowing that I’ve seen it in far less parched surroundings.

These natural springs prevail throughout Portugal’s hills.  This is ‘the eye’ in Springtime.

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As we follow signs back to the village I wonder if the cheery basket maker is still there, with his whistles and bird imitators.  I had purchased a wicker bowl last time, feeling sorry for him as he sat alone in the woods.  It serves as a slightly wonky erstwhile fruit bowl. Many new arrivals are enjoying the unseasonally hot weather, and I feel sure that he will be enjoying good trade in his shady dell.

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Remember that climb back into the village?  I confess I had forgotten all about it.  It took a while before I was puffing and panting back into the village square.  There just has to be a reward, don’t you think?

Much later I discovered a video of the Fonte that I thought you might like to see.

There are a number of routes around the natural springs.  Walking Trails of the Algarve pages 76 and 80 will give you shorter variations on this walk, or you can simply follow the signboards.  This video will give you a glimpse of the basket maker.  Please ignore the advertising.  I hope you’ve got the kettle on, ready to join my walkers from your armchair?

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Thanks so much, everybody, for your kind contributions to my walks.  I wasn’t at all sure where to lead you this week but in the end I opted for sunshine, as Winter wraps itself around us here in the UK.  I hope you enjoyed it.  If you’d like to contribute anytime the details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Just click on the logo above.

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I do like a tinker in a museum and a browse round a market.  Geoff can tell you a story or two as well :

From Paddington to Page#walking#london

Woolly likes a little stroll, with not too much effort and some classy cars :

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Car-Show

But sometimes he gets a little further :

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Geelong-Foreshore

Jackie’s by the York River, in Yorktown.  Virginia, of course!

Day 6- Yorktown

Nothing like a good fumble around the Albert Docks with Drake.  He’s in his element!

Come and get it

Does anyone know what Pargeting is?  Jude does, and I really love it :

Love Lavenham

Becky’s counting to 6 this week, but there are lots more than that!

There are pomegranates in the tree

While Carol’s fossil hunting and has found loads!

Buried Treasure

Or you could join Kathrin for a delicious trip to the beach :

A day at Solana Beach

How do you follow the legend that is Badfish?  Why, with devotion, of course :

ONE FINE DAY in BRATISLAVA : Part III

That’s it for now.  I think I’ll be walking in the UK again next week.  Feel free to join me but, more importantly, take care till then.