Jo’s Monday walk

Jo’s Monday walk : A walk for Sue

‘Hello! You look interesting’.

Hard not to smile at such a nosy sheep. All his friends were busy devouring the lush green stuff. He wasn’t exactly skinny so he must have eaten his share and was feeling conversational. Me, I didn’t have anything better to do. I’d left the house feeling just a bit grumpy. Walking the same lanes over and again, albeit in a different sequence, really didn’t suit. But then I began to look around me.

Blossom in the trees, rich wonderful hues, with sunlight filtering through them. Sky, the merriest shade of blue. Grass as green as you’ll ever see, the first poppies just beginning to nod. A time to go hunting in the shade for tiny, compelling wild orchids, the birds all a-twitter as I make my discoveries. And I know how very lucky I am.

For there is a lady who my heart goes out to. Her time on this earth has been brutally curtailed, and yet she faces each day with warmth, grace and humour. Sue Vincent is an extraordinary lady. Each morning I tiptoe into my Reader to check that there is another post, for her days are surely numbered. A writer with great charisma and insight, she has taken me on many beautiful journeys in the short time I have known her. I have found myself tramping across moorland, touching with awe the standing stones that entrance her, and poking around in quiet village churches. I don’t even know if she’s been to my lovely Algarve, but I feel compelled to share, in her honour, some of the beauty that surrounds me.

I sadly have to amend this post today because lovely Sue lost her battle. I can only say what a privilege and an honour it was to share this space with her. My thoughts are with her family and loved ones. RIP, beautiful soul.

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The links are few this week and I would not normally be posting a walk, but I think you’d understand if you met Sue.

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Sometimes us walkers bite off more than we can chew. I think Graham was relieved to get home after this :

Hilina Pali Trail loop

Fancy getting clarty ? Jude has the very place!

A Riverside Walk – Noonvares

LadyLee has a much more relaxing pastime in mind :

Puzzle number 21 – Birds

Carol has some stories told on stone that I feel Sue would love, in a completely amazing place :

Story Tellers

And Mel never runs out of energy!

Exploring the Sydney Coastline – Bondi to Manly Path – Stage 4, Darling Point to Kirribilli

Have a happy week! It’s all out there, just waiting for you.

Jo’s Monday walk : A Faro interlude

I feel a bit like that White Rabbit today, and if I had a pocket watch I’m sure I’d be consulting it and shaking my head. Whose ever idea was it to make my Monday walks a fortnightly event? Oh- mine! Well, not the brightest idea I ever had, because it’s too easy to forget which Monday my walk is due. If I can’t keep count, how can I expect you to? So, yes, I’m late! Having gleefully published a bevy of greens this morning, I then realised that I had a pressing engagement with my walking friends. I do apologise! But it’s still Monday in my part of the world so, shall we go?

We probably need a word or two of explanation here. Our neighbour and close friend needed to be at Faro hospital one day last week, and we agreed to take her. We are still expected to remain at home, but with certain exceptions and this was a necessary journey. Not sure how long the appointment would take, we set off to wander the streets of Faro, to see what changes had been wrought by the pandemic. All was eerily calm- no blaring traffic horns, and most of the shops closed. Like many a city centre, and especially here in Portugal, the streets are a total melange of architecture. New rubs shoulders with old and care worn, if not completely derelict, while some old and stately residences have been beautifully preserved. Street art has become commonplace.

The railway runs along the front at Faro and just beyond the railway station stands an imposing but not pretty building. A former flour mill, starting in May it’s set to be turned into an apartment block, so I was glad that I had an opportunity to inspect the artwork. Normally I would turn right from the railway, passing the bus station and head towards the marina and old town. The hub of the city, the cafés are usually busy and the shiny red fire engines on standby for duty.

Sturdy walls enclose much of the old town and vendors ply their trade beneath them, selling trips to the barrier islands and to observe birds and dolphins. Across a vast expanse of water lies the airport, and planes normally roar overhead at regular intervals. But not today! All is silent, until the train trundles along the tracks to discharge its pitiful cargo.

The kiosks are shuttered and the former fishermen’s huts stand forlorn. The occasional passerby passes, masked like ourselves, usually with averted gaze. The gaiety has gone from our lives, leaving behind suspicion and mistrust.

A sign of life, and even laughter, comes from a bizarrely painted shop in the city walls, and beyond that, the strange mournful sound of a didgeridoo. I recognise the sound before I see the performer, a young man in a beanie, sitting propped against the wall, playing for himself alone.

We’re happy to return to the hospital, past the empty car park, and pick up our friend. Faro, like many another, no longer feels like the city we love. But finishing on a positive note, life is set to return to the Algarve when current restrictions start to ease after Easter. And in the meantime, I’m sure Sami will be happy to add this to her collection of murals.

Sami’s Colourful World

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A great collection of walks to share this week. Apologies again and I will endeavour to stick to my schedule in future. Always happy if you can join me on Jo’s Monday walk.

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Say hello to Linda? She’s not the only one!

I was late to the party…

I had no idea what Cady had in store when she said ‘come back on Monday’ :

Jo’s Monday Walk: The Cemetery

Backtrackin’

What’s a little rain when the world is this beautiful? Let Sarah be your guide :

Where the Gods descended: Kamikochi

Carol has a wonderful surprise for us this week. And then you meet the kings of the canyon!

On the inside

Where Kings Grow

I was very wrong to think that Alice was taking us to a home for cats!

Oldest Tabby Structure in South Carolina

Meanwhile Cee’s waiting for those tulips to bloom. Not long now!

Jo’s Monday Walk: Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm

And Drake’s enjoying the change of season :

Time for change

Joanne was tempted out into the sunshine, and Charlie enjoyed his walk :

Jo’s Monday walk

Janet’s an early riser. See what she found in March!

Monday walk…Marching into Spring

While Lady Lee’s been doing jigsaws in lockdown :

Puzzle number 19 – Asian lanterns

Never too late for a walk! Karen takes a closer look at her surrounds :

My Monday walk, too late all round

Jude’s a busy bee at present. Nowhere she’d rather be than in a beautiful garden :

Meteorological spring

Wishing you all a happy week. Get out walking, if you can? See you soon!

Jo’s Monday walk : a floral dance

You may remember last fortnight I had a mild flirtation with the trees here in the Algarve. I enjoyed it so much that I thought I might get a little closer to the ground this week. Across northern Europe, Spring is beginning to bloom. Here it is already well established. Shall we dance?

Life may have its limits for us humans right now, but nature doesn’t seem to have noticed. Colourful blooms burst forth with exuberance, and we can only try and replicate the joy of their dance. Remember Terry Wogan’s terrible Floral Dance? He was never without a smile.

Bees buzz and twirl in partnership with the wild flowers that carpet the land. Yellow seems to predominate in amongst the luxuriant green, with here and there a spike of deep lilac or a smudge of blue. The dance can lead us up to the hills or out towards the sea, dipping to stroke and admire, filling our senses. The white broom shivers seductively in the hint of breeze, its days already numbered.

Filled with the serenity the sea can always bring me, I turn my steps inland. Here the cistus are flirting with the hills, dancing in wild abandon.

Much water has flowed down these hills this winter, and the gurgle of a stream we sometimes cross has become a clamouring torrent.

Time to turn our steps for home, but the dance is not yet done. Almost on my doorstep, the blooms still court my attention.

The softness of an Algarve Spring is all around me. A world full of softness and abundance. I hope that Ann-Christine approves.

Lens Artists Photo Challenge #137 – Soft

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Walks proliferate this week. I noted in my Reader this morning that there are a couple of others and I’ll include them next time. Please try and visit each other. I’ll be back in two weeks. Join me next time on Jo’s Monday walk.

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A volcanic lagoon seems like a great destination to me. Thanks, Graham!

A walk around Kiholo Bay

Fancy a bit of a climb? Carol will make it worth the effort, and fill you full of wonder :

Don’t Count, Just Go Up!

Where There is Water

Marsha and Vince are enjoying territory new to them :

#Prescott Walk 5: Peavine Trail

Prescott Walk #6 Willow Lake Trail

Drake is a man who loves an adventure in the snow :

Snowy walk

While Lady Lee simply loves snow!

February Love Me 14

Did you ever see such icicles? Wrap up warm, Rupali!

Weekend 115: Let’s walk together – A glimpse of real life

I think it’s warming up a little where Yvette is!

Walk with Jo and Thoreau Quote: Deal with brute nature. Be cold, hungry and weary.

The stuff of my dreams, with Gilda :

Hiking the Rugged Cinque Terre Coastline

Scaling the heights with Sheetal was ‘supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’. Truly!

Story of my Spirited Hike to Daulatabad Fort

Much easier but less thrilling, unless you play with the Bunsen Burner, a low level walk with Denzil :

The Eikelberg Walk in Gelrode

English villages are easy on the eye. There’s usually a pub and a church. Join Shazza in Lancashire :

Bolton-by-Bowland walk

And it’s always easier reading a book than walking, but Mel likes to do both :

The Highs and Lows of the South West Coast Path, GB

Love a stroll in a city by the water, just looking at life? So do I, and so does my friend Cady :

Just Strollin’ in Oslo

Twelve years ago I spent a special birthday on Madeira. Lovely memories rekindled for me by Becky :

A hiking adventure in Funchal

That’s all for now. Feel free to join me any time with a walk of your own. Take good care, and have a happy March!

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!

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 : Calçadinha de São Brás de Alportel

Well, the sleigh’s empty and Santa’s gone. Nothing for it but to put on the walking shoes again. We’re in the area of the Algarve known as Barrocal. São Brás de Alportel is a charismatic little town surrounded by beautiful countryside, and we’ve come to see something of a curiosity. Calçadinha, the remnants of a Roman road, which once linked Ossonoba (Faro) with Bejá, to the north in the Alentejo.

Although you could in theory follow a trail to the Roman ruins of Milreu, on the edge of Estoi, it’s a 10km walk, and of course 10km back again. As you can see, some of it’s rough going, and we’d just had lunch in São Brás with a couple of friends. They were happy to follow us some of the way, but when the going gets tough… we turn back. Another day perhaps, because Milreu is well worth seeing.

The trail starts just behind the Bishop’s Palace in São Brás and leads you down a cobbled path, away from the town. This is signposted as Calçadinha A, and takes you beneath the E270 road to Loulé. Numerous times we’ve driven by without a thought, but today we are teetering along a path that Romans might have trod, in their sturdy sandals.

Yes, it is a bit of an ankle turner in places. I can feel some of you wincing. But if you take it slow and stop to examine the patterns in the stones… it really is a fascinating experience. Listen hard and you might hear the sound of chariot wheels.

And before you know it you’re in open countryside, and can retrace your steps… or carry on. But that’s more than enough exertion for the first week of the New Year, isn’t it? There must be a cake reward somewhere abouts!

It’s less than 2 km in distance and there is more information to be had on this link.

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Not many shares this week, but then, you’ve all been busy with Christmas. I hope to post a walk fortnightly, if I can fit one in between challenges. Join me on Jo’s Monday walk, any time you like.

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A few Christmas leftovers from Drake :

Ups and downs

And a treat or two from Tricia :

Hiking to Georgia’s Gergeti Trinity Church

While Rosemay left me kwite breathless 🙂

Happy New Year from Perth

Ending with some good advice from Denzil :

The benefits of a daily evening walk

Back to work for some, ‘normal’ life for others. However you spend it, make the most of your week.

Jo’s Monday walk : Christmas themed

I remember when rock was young….

‘Tis the season, and it wouldn’t be Christmas for me without the lights. Family, friends… we’re all scattered and in the wrong places this year. The UK are locking down ever tighter, and friends who made it back there are not sure how or when they will be able to return. For me, I’m still sad not to be with family. But moping won’t help anyone, so let me lead you through the back streets of Loulé. We’re in search of a waterfall.

‘A waterfall?’ I hear you say. ‘In the back streets of Loulé?’ Well, why not? If you believe in Santa… We just need to twist and turn a bit, head down this paved drive, a sharp left into a narrow alleyway and look! Steps lead steeply down. You can hear the sound of tumbling water. And there it is! Complete with stepping stones, maybe a touch precarious. We’ll just look, from here.

Who would have suspected, so close to these apartments? What a surprising view they must have from their balcony. A private garden with a small orchard and a waterwheel. Let’s follow the fonte to see where it goes.

Ponte dos Álamos, the Bridge of Poplars, was built on a secondary Roman road that connected the now ruins at Milreu, north of Faro, with Loulé. Made unstable by the action of the water, the bridge was reconstructed and widened to permit traffic in 2011. It feels strange to be so close to the town and yet on the edge of open countryside. Curiosity satisfied, and vowing to follow the stream on our next visit, it’s time to head back to the centre. The sun is going down and soon the Christmas lights will come on. Look! There’s Santa flying past the castle.

I think I’d prefer a sleigh. The huskies look keen but I’m not sure that those bears are friendly. Now here come the stars…

Loulé has a very attractive pedestrian shopping area and a market that resembles something from the Arabian Nights, especially when lit by fairy lights. Ceramic tiles, hand-beaten copper lamps and beautiful handwoven rugs are just some of the things you can purchase.

This year we have to find the magic of Christmas wherever we can. Come on, Santa- let’s rock!

Hope you enjoyed my Christmas story, and can find a little bit of magic this Christmas time, and a whole lot of love. That’s what it’s all about!

Lens-Artists Challenge #128

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Not sure that this is the best of times to be posting walks, when not everyone can get out to take them, but it’s nice to have something to look forward to, don’t you think? Merry Christmas, everybody!

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Looking at this beautiful post, it’s not hard to understand why Jude lives in Cornwall :

Looking for Camellias

Drake portrays the simple life, from his childhood home :

Vintage alive

Take a peek at the dazzling Duomo, with Rupali :

A for Alley(s) in Florence!

Share the festivities in Toronto, with Natalie :

Seeing the Lights

Or from Germany, with Lady Lee :

Second Advent

But it looks a bit miserable in Berlin :

Berlin Night Hike: Empty Covid City

Denzil can always find us a decent walk :

River Helle valley walk and Lake Eupen

And they don’t come more colourful than this, from Lookoom :

Colombia : Getsemani walking tour

I will be walking with a couple of friends on Boxing Day but my next Jo’s Monday walk will be in January. Take good care till then!

Jo’s Monday walk : Idling through the lanes

We’re back in the lanes again this week. Not so much a walk as a collection of reminiscences. In these past few weeks we’ve walked, in 2s and 4s, and once, daringly, in an 8. Our horizons were broadened and then, like the slamming of a door, curtailed.

In common with much of Europe. Patience is required. Not something that comes naturally, to me, at least. And yet, I’m surrounded by beauty.

It is the time of year to return to the hills. Slowly, for there is no hurry. Savouring the subtle aroma of orange blossom. A day’s worth of rain brings life and colour to the fields. Gentle sunshine breathes warmth over ripened vines and olives. The grape harvest now complete, nets are spread hopefully beneath gnarled trees to catch the olives. Pomegranates blaze a dark red promise of the luscious jewels to come.

As we ramble, snippets of information are exchanged. Our own grapevine of survival. Stories that make us smile. Some that make us sad. Linking us to one another. I stop to peer at a chequered fork, lying on the cobbles. Fallen from a bike’s panier after a picnic, perhaps? A quirky find. Softly coloured houses, one with a spreading vine, one trailing delicate green fronds over a wall. Its shadow dances at any hint of breeze.

A slight gradient follows, and a climb into the hills. Overhead the clouds soar and bubble away to the horizon. We look back to the coast, glistening in the distance, and point out our homes. The rock formations crumble on either side of us, raw nature reminding us that the earth has survived many ages. And, with or without our help, will continue to do so. Unlike some of the abandoned hill villages in the Algarve.

Dark clouds swoop, a portent of further life-giving rain, and a nudge back down the hill in time for lunch. I’m sure we can find cake somewhere? After all, it’s Monday!

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Hopefully I’ve rounded you all up from my last Monday walk. Apologies to anyone I’ve missed. I’m intending to make Jo’s Monday walk a monthly feature at present, so feel free to drop by with a walk at any time. I’ll always try to make you welcome.

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Janet has discovered a whole new and wonderful world in Arizona :

Jo’s Monday walk…diversity

Is it Autumn where you are? Rupali trails colours in her wake :

Weekend 106 : Autumn walk

While Margaret takes note of each step and stone :

Trusty’s Hill and Rutherford’s Monument

Carol shows off her native Australia :

Small but beautiful Part 1

Small but beautiful Part 2

Wonderful autumnal scenes and an ‘almost selfie’ from Drake :

Doing it the own way

Next path at the right

Way back in time, LadyLee had a holiday!

Kranzbach holiday

And Marion explored a beautiful English town :

Ross-on-Wye, Hertfordshire

Have you ever been to Armenia? No, nor me! Interesting, though…

Armenia: The Beauty of Not Hiking Mont Azhdahak

I’m always a sucker for enthusiasm. Where better than Tuscany?

San Gimignano, the turreted village

While Frank muses on the shoreline :

4 – Shells – Beach Walk Reflections

Please do visit the above. They’re all lovely people and you might make a new friend. Meanwhile, have a great month!

Jo’s Monday walk : Castelo Velho de Alcoutim

Discarded hilltop ruins are ten a penny in Portugal.  Truth be told, I had no idea that this one even existed.  Numerous times I’ve been to Alcoutim and admired the castle, sitting solidly on its hill, protecting the town and looking out over the Guadiana River.  Little did I know that there was a predecessor, whose ruins I could still see.  Castelo Velho de Alcoutim came as a complete surprise to me.

What else does one do on a Sunday morning with the temperature climbing towards the 30s?  ”Just a short walk” was how he sold it to me.  A pleasant drive up to Alcoutim, with its lovely views across the river, and a mere 4km stroll.  No mention was made of a castle on a hill.

So we walked out of town, following signs for the PR3.  Already it was hot and I loitered whenever I came upon a scrap of shade.  Rounding a corner, a hill rose in front of me and, perched on the top, the aforementioned ruins.  I hesitate to say that I was surly, but I was!  I’m as fond of ruins as the next person, but a cooler day for them might have been nice.  Uphill was no pleasure at all, especially when the views were left behind.  While the river was in sight there was the distraction of whoops and cheers from the zipline, which stretches over from Spain.

As I grumbled to myself, Michael paused and indicated a short uphill scramble.  It didn’t look like a promising access to me but, as we hesitated, a car drew up on the stony path and a young woman stepped out.  Our timing was good, for she had come to unlock the gate, promptly at 11.00am.  Apparently the old castle is regarded as unsafe if the wind is strong.  There was almost no trace of a breeze that morning, and after walking all around the site to ensure that we were safe, she left us to explore.

It did feel a little precarious in places, but the views were superb.  It would certainly have been a good place from which to keep a lookout on Spain.  Built in the 8th-9th century, this castle was once an important Islamic military structure.  Exactly why it was abandoned in the 11th century is not known, but the younger castle was constructed in the 13th century, a kilometre away, within the town of Alcoutim.  It stands proud to this day.

As so often, the way back down was much more easily achieved.  I’m not sure that all of the zipliners felt the same way.  I was very happy to have my head back in the shade, and a magnificent view stretching before me.

I can’t remember cake, but maybe there was?  You’ll have to imagine your own.

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A few more walks to share this week.  Many thanks to all of you.  Please enjoy!

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Liesbet was happy to hit the road again, with a beautiful  destination :

Getaway to the White Mountains

Fancy counting butterflies with Sharon?  Hopefully there’s still time!

Salthill Quarry Nature Reserve

I love a seaport, and these are perfect examples from Drake :

Walk back time

The sunny side

Life at the beach isn’t always peaceful, as Alice can tell you :

Tropical Storm Isaias Passes By

Been a while since I shared one of Jude’s.  This is a beauty :

Summer on the Hill

Just time to slip in a little culture from Ulli :

Gothic Lady of Naumburg

Temperatures have seldom dipped much below 30C since we did this walk a few weeks ago.  Not walking weather, I’m sure you’ll agree.  I’m taking myself off for an anniversary jaunt into the Alentejo this week (correction- he’s taking me!).  It may, or may not be cooler.  Have a good week, whatever your weather!