Furnazinhas

Jo’s Monday walk : Rock cistus and water

If there’s anything that fills me with delight, it’s the sight of a hillside covered with wild, rock cistus.  Back in January, I took you to Furnazinhas in the Algarve hills, and we walked south of there to the reservoir of Odeleite.  The cistus were just beginning to open, and I hoped that when I returned to do a second walk from the village they would be more advanced.  As we drove north from Castro Marim, cistus lined the road.

We left the village following the sign PR10 for Barrancos, though as Becky will tell you, nothing is guaranteed when following Portuguese trails.  We were forewarned that this might not be straightforward but, with a bit of perseverance, managed to find a way through the overgrown path to confront our first water crossing.  A wobble or two and I was across the stones, and feeling triumphant.

To be fair, we were lucky, because there has been just one solid, downpouring day in the last couple of months, so following the course of the Beco da Maria Galega was not as tricky as it might have been.  In fact, we were surprised at how green and fresh everything looked, with new growth everywhere.  We even spotted green lavender!  The rockbed was equally fascinating, as Becky describes.

I loved the variety of this walk.  As I followed the stream, a cottage with a small farmstead peeped through the trees.  Down at my feet, flowers cavorted nimbly in the grass and tiny pink stars winked up at me.  A frog played lazy hide and seek with the shade.

Rounding a bend, I heard the gentle chuckle of water.  A waterfall had formed in a deep cleft in the rocks, and I peered into its clear green depths.  On the stiller waters nearby, tiny white starlets floated.

We had Crocs and a towel with us but, as always happens when you come prepared, we had no need of them.  Although we did cross and recross the water any number of times, mostly a hop, skip or even just a stride was more than adequate.  Spring was all around us.

As we continued through the valley, two deeply-voiced birds startled us into silence as they called loudly to each other.  I’m no birder and didn’t recognise their cry at all, but my husband thought they might be corncrakes.  I happened to mention this on Hanna‘s blog, and she very kindly tried to help me identify the bird voices, as you’ll see in her Comments.

The trail was easy to follow, but a moment’s indecision arose around 7km.  Follow the road, or an interesting path that felt like you were on private property?  Hoping not to fall foul of any stray dogs, we chose the second.  Tiptoeing around what looked like newly tilled soil, I caught a flicker of pink and white in the long, damp grass.  Could they be early wild orchids?  The photos are, unfortunately, too blurred to tell.

A last flurry of cistus, thankfully no dogs, and we were back in the village where, once again, the cafe was closed.  But you’ve been a patient audience so I shall still reward you with cake.  It’s only right to celebrate your 1000th post, isn’t it?

Water is my element so I loved this walk.  I hope you did too.

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Lots to share again this week.  Thank you for your company.  It wouldn’t be half so much fun without you.  Please visit as many as you can, and join me here next time on Jo’s Monday walk?

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Lovely Debbie has spotted me a room with a great view this week, as she gallops around the world :

Ambling around Arachova

And Margaret has a nerve-tingling treat in store :

The foothills of the Sierra Nevada

You have to admire grit and determination, and the gurgle of water!  And Suzanne :

Hiking Mt Eliza Mine Loop

Janet finds some graves with a serene view :

Monday walk… a view to die for

And Alice goes looking for a piece of American Heritage :

Step into the Center of a Village dating back to 1135AD

While Susanne concentrates on a capital city :

A Capitol Tour of the Other Washington

I always enjoy a garden festival, don’t you?  Check this one out, with Sandra:

#Northwest Flower & Garden Festival (Post #2)

Heaven’s, Irene!  Will this lass ever be free of snow?

Reaching for the Goal

Drake must have chilly feet (but a warm heart  🙂  )

Streets of snow

And for any of you still missing ice and snow, Sartenada would love to take you walking in Finland :

Winter walk

How about a spot of sunny fishing with Jackie?

Pesca

Tea Bee mostly hikes in the English Lake District, but sometimes in warm, exotic places :

Visite du Jardin de Balata et la Route de la Trace, Martinique

Talking of exotic, how about this from Natalie?

Postcard from Guatemala City

Or better yet, stroll down Memory Lane with Susan :

Walking Otavalo, Ecuador

Cathy’s got us all looking up this week!

The Saint Louis Gateway Arch

It’s Carnaval week here in the Algarve and celebration is in the air.  I hope to bring a little singing and dancing your way.  Take care till then!

Jo’s Monday walk : Furnazhinas to Odeleite Dam

I’ve been wanting to go back to Furnazhinas ever since I discovered this lovely village last year.  It sits up in the hills, at the eastern end of the Via Algarviana, a 300km inland walk which crosses the whole of the Algarve.  The good news for me is that there are 2 much shorter walks which pass through the village, and on a gloriously sunny January day we decided to sample one.  It was an easy choice.  PR9 leads south of the village, signed Mina e Albufeira (not the popular one!) in the direction of the dam at Odeleite.  It promised views over the water, and I was sold!

Scarcely were we out of the village when we encountered solid looking stepping stones, beside an ancient well.  Not a trace of water- so far this has been a dry winter.  The path started out on schist, the rockbed of much of the Algarvian hills.  I was enchanted with the vibrant green grass, growing over and around the boulders, and dotted with a myriad daisies.  An old stone wall accompanied us much of the way, till we crossed a road and left it behind.  The blossoms were nodding, everywhere.  We tiptoed past a row of beehives, anxious not to disturb the inhabitants.

As we crested a hill, I caught my first glimpse of the dam.  Just a snippet of blue in the distance, but it put a spring in my step.  As we descended, the blue changed from heart shape to an azure oval, softly lapping a small island.

Amongst all that blue, suddenly a flash of white caught my eye.  I could hardly believe it!  My first cistus of the year.  Incredibly early!  And then, a few metres away, a second.  They are the most beautiful plants, and soon the hills will be full of them.

I turned full circle to look at the dam, almost surrounding me at shore level.   A lone boat sat, it’s nose in the water.  I wondered if I might set it adrift, and glide smoothly into the silence, holding my breath as I counted the ripples.

Even on this arid shoreline the daisies were flourishing, and I was astounded to find, nestling in shade, a clump or two of wild lavender.  The bugs must have been busy, because next day I had a wonderfully itchy large red lump.  Serves me right for messing with nature!

Reluctantly I set off back along the trail, pausing again to admire the cistus.  It was mostly uphill going back so I was amused to note the inappropriate footwear dangling from a tree.  The blossom spurred me on and eventually we were back to the road.

The direction?  Inevitably up, to the trig point, where late afternoon sun bathed the surrounding hills.  Our target, Furnazhinas, there below.

All downhill, we returned to the sleepy village.  7.8km in total according to the sign, but it had taken us a good couple of hours.   Next time we’d walk north.  As we returned to the car, a couple of old lads in the fields paused in their work to smile and wave at us.  And a donkey brayed scornfully.  Perhaps he knew something we didn’t?  No cake!  But lots of lovely walks to share…

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Shall we get the cold stuff out of the way first?  Lisa is joining us this week :

Baby It’s Cold Outside

Crunch through the fields with Margaret :

Ragtag Saturday : Frosted fields

A full-on attack on the ski-slopes with Drake!

Snow but not slow mood

Irene can almost compete, with -4F  😦  but oh, so beautiful!

In the Music Garden

The damp stuff can still be beautiful, as Xenia shows :

A Walk in Rosehall Forest

Geoff labours on, but he’s in good company and the scenery is superb :

Walking With The Wind At My Back : Part Three

Speaking of beauty, I’ve really enjoyed hopping around the Hebrides with Anabel :

Hebridean Hop 20: Craigston, Cleit and Eoligarry

Life is always colourful (and filling!) with Jackie :

Fast Food

Sandra is joining us, all the way from Texas.  Please say ‘hello!’

Ruston Way, #Tacoma #Saturday Snapshot

Alice takes us back in time, past troubled times to serenity :

Historical Site on St. Helena Island

While Indra proves that life can be more than a beach :

GOA – Is not all beach

And Rupali captures high drama in the city :

Dramatic cityscapes of Hong Kong

And talking of cities, don’t miss my lovely friend Carol’s take on Toronto!

Hello Toronto!

That’s your reading matter for another week.  Come walking next time?  You’ll be very welcome here at Jo’s Monday walk.  See you soon!

Jo’s Monday walk : Furnazinhas

This isn’t a walk so much as an amble into the sunny Portuguese countryside, but with the potential for a great deal more.  Furnazinhas is a small village, sometimes used for an overnight stay, at the eastern end of the Via Algarviana.  The whole walk runs from Alcoutim on the River Guadiana, the border with Spain, all the way to Cabo S. Vicente on the west coast.  You can break it down into stages, whilst taking in some of the Algarve’s most picturesque scenery.  Furnazinhas is a tranquil and lovely place to stay.  There’s a sense that time has passed the place right by.

It’s a small village and, arriving by car, we passed swiftly through it, then parked alongside the narrow roadside and walked back in.  It was one of those days that wasn’t going to plan.  I had tried and failed to join an exercise class in Tavira that morning, and plans to join Becky and Robert for lunch had fallen through.  The sun was shining brightly, so I tucked my pet lip away, and we headed for the hills.  My husband was convinced that the village would be a disappointment too, so I was wearing flip flops and intending to go to the beach afterwards.  For once, he was totally wrong.

Some places just speak to you immediately, don’t they?  As we strolled into the village, absorbing the silence, this sleepy little place was already getting under our skin.  Almost our first sighting was the signpost pointing out the PR10.  A stone slabbed lane led off through the village towards the hills beyond.  The realisation dawned that I needed my hiking boots to do this place justice.  Or at the very least, trainers.

We stopped to examine a map, and realised that we could have had two choices.  The PR9 was a circular 7.7km route, with a variety of ups and downs, while PR10 was a linear and flatter 7.8km, and a part of the Via Algarviana.  Unable to sensibly follow either, I determined to explore as much as I could of the village.  An elderly gentleman, seeing our interest, seemed happy to chat.  Before much longer he was leading us across the road, to his father’s former stables.

What a lovely surprise!  First he showed us the house where he and his wife live, when they don’t have guests for the Summer.  Then he unlocked the door of the smaller house opposite.  Steps lead down into a beautiful dining room, with a bedroom sleeping 4 above.  The old stone walls and ceilings of wood and bamboo give the place wonderful character, while spanking new bathrooms wouldn’t be out of place in a glossy magazine.  A small kitchen sits at the rear of the property, with barbecue looking onto an expanse of garden.  It had so much charm, I couldn’t stop smiling.

He explained that he’d worked in Faro until his retirement, but now he liked the peace and quiet of the countryside.  Who could blame him?  He said with a smile that he could always pop back to the city if he needed a bit more ‘life’.  Meanwhile Casa do Lavrador, the conversion of his Dad’s place, seemed to provide him with contentment and a living.

Having walked as far as I could through the village, I crossed over to explore the back streets of the opposite side.  An old lad, on a disability scooter, looked rather incongruous as he performed circuits, nodding at us as he passed.  A couple, deep in conversation on a doorstep, looked up, but scarcely paused to draw breath.  I was starting to feel hungry.  In the garden of a house set back from the street, a couple of gents were busy tucking in.  I could see no sign to indicate a restaurant, but it might well have been.

Like most Portuguese villages, there were signs of abandonment.  The young have to leave home to find work, and not everyone wants to return.  Terraces of crops and trees lined the fields behind the village.  Somebody had been hard at work.

I expect you’ve guessed that I’ll be going back, equipped with water and some proper shoes.  We may even rent the cottage and relish the peaceful life for a few days.  If that’s something you’d like to do, Casa do Lavrador is a Turismo Rural, and the phone number is +351 281 495 748.

The Via Algarviana stretches for 300km across the Algarve.  The website includes details of the trail, places to stay and a very seductive video.

Something to think about for the future?  I hope you’ll join me next time.

Many thanks to all you lovely people who follow me, and especially if you’ve shared a walk.  Please find time to read and share.  You can put the kettle on first, if you like.  I’ll wait.

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Join Drake in the desert?  He always makes such excellent company :

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Or simply gaze at the still, calm water with Irene :

Mirror Reflections

Emma has a good grumble in Mumbles.  Justified, I think :

Walking the Gower Coast; Limeslade and Langland Bays

What has Marsha been up to lately, you might be asking yourself?

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Treat yourself to the sweet scent of rosemary and lavender.  Becky had a wonderful Easter Sunday :

The ‘carpet strollers’ of São Brás de Alportel

A blockbuster of a share next, from Denzil :

The ‘In Bruges’ movie walking tour

No Jude this week, but Victoria does a stirling job on the Cornish coast :

4 Stunning Walks on the North Coast of Cornwall

Let’s finish with a flourish (and an icecream) and go hunting Eastern Water Dragons and penguins, with Karen :

Spit Bridge to Manly Wharf

That’s it for another week.  I think I’ll be back to sharing an English walk next Monday.  My Jo’s Monday walk page will tell you how to join in.  Please do!