hill walking

Jo’s Monday walk : Beyond the hill

Often when I’m walking, or we’re driving, I’ll have those ‘wonder where that goes?’ moments.  Sometimes I never find out.  A week or two ago the other half gave in to one of my impulses, and lived to regret it!  We were walking in the back lanes, here in the Algarve, not far from our home.  Close to the pretty Ermida de Nossa Senhora de Saude, that you saw last week, a rust brown dirt track leads up and over a hill.  Well… what are we waiting for?  I need to know where it goes.

I’ve discovered an affinity with clouds.  Not those solid grey things, that blanket out the sun and planes have to carve their way through, but the soft-edged wisps that drift into the distance.  I love to watch them float over a hill, or sail out to sea.  More interesting than seamless blue sky.

Something else that fascinates- the rock formations with their crumpled, lived-in faces and wrinkly frowns.  And often a thatch of green clinging to the tops.  Here and there the skeleton of a tree, once ravaged by fire, still clings to life.

The motorway interrupts the scenery for a few brief moments, empty as it often was, even before the virus, and I get my bearings.  The trail heads north to meet up with a few inland villages.  As always, there’s a ruin at the crest of the hill.

With a magnificent view to the distant sea.  The trail undulates gently, a carpet of wild flowers on either side.  Can you see the bee hives down below?  You would think that with all that nectar they’d be contented, happy creatures, but that was not the case.

Suddenly my husband gave a cry.  He’d been stung on the lip.  The creature was in angry mood and a few minutes later he’d been stung again, on the back of the head.  A dark cloud threatened our morning.

I was lucky.  I wasn’t the victim.  For a while we walked very cautiously, but then the beauty of the surrounds, and a sign pointing the way home, lifted my spirits.  A conical house, all alone, would make a perfect sanctuary.

Before long we were walking beneath the motorway and back down the Fonte Salgada road, into Tavira.  Kettle on for a well-earned cuppa.

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Time to share a few more walks.  Thanks to all of you for keeping them coming!

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I love it when I meet someone else who loves our great outdoors.  Meet Donna!

Huckaby Trail – Sedona

Janet has something rather delightful to share this week.  Well, two somethings, really!

Jo’s morning walk…bathing beauty

While Natalie shares the beauty of a very wise tree :

Life and Advice From a Tree

Blossom and peaceful scenes on Debbie’s home patch too :

Wandering around St. Albans

And you can always enjoy a good gallivant with Anabel :

Burnmouth to Eyemouth

Or a jaunt round Lancashire with Eunice :

Spring comes to the Jumbles

Even a smile or two with Drake :

The guardian dog is a bird

Cee has joined us again this week.  How did she know I love figs?

Jo’s Monday Walk – Arneson Garden in Canby, Oregon

Only for the more intrepid amongst you, but you’ll certainly enjoy looking over Kelly’s shoulder :

Revisiting Nepal, Part 4

And touring some of the world’s most beautiful artworks, with Cathy :

The Uffizi in Florence, Italy

It’s 18th May.  Another landmark in restoring life to ‘normal’.  Today restaurants are allowed to open, with 50% capacity and other restrictions that will make the dining out experience far less carefree than it once was.  There are no tourists so we must continue to try and support them.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  Meanwhile, have a good week and many thanks for your company.

 

Jo’s Monday walk : The Masmorra Trail

In total contrast to last week’s walk, I’m taking you up into the Algarve hills today.  Winding 43kms north of Tavira on a delicious roller coaster of a road, you will find the sleepy village of Cachopo.  We can stop there on the way back, but for now we’re following signs for Martim Longo.  High up, the scenery is beautiful, even though wearing its scorched autumn gown.

A left turn and you’re on barely surfaced roads that lead you, slowly, through three scarcely known villages to your ultimate destination, Mealha. Why so much effort, you might be wondering?  Dolmens, or standing stones are the answer.  I’m taking a step back in time to the 3rd millennia BC. But first, the village of Mealha, not without its own charms, including these witches’ hat buildings.

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These circular buildings, with a conical roof, are known as ‘palheiros’ and are designed to store hay for cattle.  Made of slate, the roofs are constructed of reeds from the river bed and ‘thatched’ with hay.   Up to 6 metres in diameter and 2.5 metres high, it is not unknown for them to have provided dwelling places in the past.  A little cramped, I think.

Distracted as I am, taking photos of the pointed huts and wells, I leave navigation to my partner.  He’s usually reliable, but on this occasion it takes 3 false starts to escape the clutches of the village.  Despite knowing smiles and hand signs from the villagers, we find ourselves scaling walls, only to end up in a cabbage patch.  Not shown on the map!  We cross the ‘ribeirinha’, the river bed, and fortunately dry, in entirely the wrong place. Eventually we manage to get back on track, but never with any great conviction.  It’s a warm day and I am concerned to conserve our water rations.

Some of the confusion arises because there are 3 trails leading out of the village.  We are attempting to follow PR8, which we take to be the Masmorra Trail featured in our guide book.  Much of the route seems to be uphill, but the sky has cleared to that lovely blue again, with a nice cooling breeze.  More uncertainty as the trails cross over each other, but upwards seems to be the right choice.

Not quite in despair, we are very relieved to spot, in the distance, a pair of ruined windmills.  Thank heavens, we are still on course, and we know that the dolmens are close by.  True to form, I almost pass them by.

“They’ll only be tiny” said the voice of reason.  I hadn’t expected them to be huge, but I could quite easily have gone romping down the other side of the hill and missed them completely.  Fortunately, one of us is paying attention.  After all, how big does a burial chamber need to be?  Somewhat irreverently I hop down inside, in hot pursuit of a dozing lizard.  In seconds he is alert and shimmying off into a crevice.

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The Masmorra ‘anta’, or burial chamber, is 3.20 metres in diameter and comprised of 9 vertically positioned slabs.  The access would have been covered and was through a lower corridor, facing east and aligned to coincide with sunrise at the Summer Solstice.  The coverings have disappeared but the slab for the chamber would have been very large.  The ‘antas’ are always positioned on high ground, and often marking a territorial boundary.  They helped to dissuade unwelcome visitors with their magical, religious aura.

The route back to Mealha was short, downhill and very straightforward, which had us wondering if we mightn’t have been better to tackle it the other way around.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing.  You might like to compare my account with that of Becky, who was there last year.

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Did you realise that I was going to link this post to Paula?  It’s perfect for Traces of the Past, isn’t it?  Then we’ll have a swift look at Cachopo.  The intention was to have a leisurely lunch and rest our weary feet.  Palmeiras bar had the prettiest little vine covered garden, but no food.  Trying her very best, the lovely lady behind the counter produced a dish of fresh monkey nuts to accompany our wine.  Oh, well…

This walk is featured on page 104 in Walking Trails of the Algarve, should you decide to give it a go.  If not you might prefer a little wander in the back streets of Cachopo.  Now let’s get the kettle on, shall we?

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Another bumper selection of wonderful walks this week.  I know it takes time but do please find a moment to visit.  So much effort goes into these walks and I’m very appreciative.  If you’d like to join me, details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  All are welcome.

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I know nothing about Williamsburg, but Jackie’s soon going to put that right!

Day 3, Williamsburg VA

Violet Sky has a real treat in store this week.  Don’t miss this one!

Mums on parade

Jesh always has something a little different for you :

Nostalgic Walk

30 years of walking sounds fearful!  Only joking, Geoff :

30 years on…#walking

Making the most of this lovely Autumn with Little Miss Traveler :

An autumn stroll around Burley-inWharfedale 

And I have a lovely new contributor- welcome Woolly!

Jo’s-Monday-Walk

BiTi has more wonderful photos from Yosemite :

Yosemite National Park- between sunrise and sunset

And Jaspa trespasses on Jude territory.  Understandably, he seems to like it!

Wheal Coates UNESCO Tin Mine, Cornwall

Tish Farrell is one of the most emotive writers I know, so it was a real pleasure to share a drowsy afternoon with her :

All Gold On All Hallows’ Eve in Bishop’s Castle

I love the west coast of the Algarve and I know you’ll enjoy seeing it with Jules.  Please go and say hi!

Five days alone hiking the Fishermen’s Trail

Drake, meanwhile is in the very best of company, down on Mathew Street :

Let it be

I’m sure most of you know Andrew, but if you haven’t had the pleasure…

Greek Islands, Amorgos and a Walk Through History

Denzil has a few ideas for keeping the family entertained on your walks :

The Fun of Finding and Photographing Fungi 

Kathryn takes us on ramble no. 20, California style :

Ewoldsen Trail

And Tobias bestows a little sparkle and shine this Monday morning :

Golden Hour

I can’t imagine anybody less idle than my lovely friend Meg.  Here’s another treat from her :

An idle stroll 

Fabulous, aren’t they?  Thank you so much for your company, and I hope you all have a great week.