Jo’s Monday walk

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!

Jo’s Monday walk : From Bay to Beautiful Bay

You’ll be happy to know that I was properly shod for this little expedition.  Relatively speaking, of course!  But then, I wasn’t going to The end of the world.  It’s amazing how far you can actually see, round this wonderful coastline.  The cliffs seem to roll on and on.  Here I’m standing, in the fresh wind I’d been longing for, looking down on Praia do Tonel.  Ahead lies the Sagres promontory.  Behind me, a modest little pottery shop.

The commanding fortress looks out to sea in all directions.  Built in the time of Prince Henry the Navigator, its most distinctive feature is the compass rose, a giant pebble compass, 43 metres in diameter.  Within the fortress, Nossa Senhora de Graca dates from 1579, replacing the original chapel built for Henry in 1459.  He spent much of his later life here, dying in 1460.

The sea sucks greedily at the cliffs, battering its way in on the calmest of days.  It’s a place to be in awe of nature, yet fishermen cast their rods with the nonchalance of familiarity, from the most precarious nooks and crannies in the rock face.

From the solid entrance to the fortress, Rua da Fortaleza gradually dwindles into Sagres, the cobbles culminating in a timeless square, the heart of the community.  My visit coincides with an easing of restrictions related to lockdown and Covid-19.  Caution is in the air and people are sparse, yet there’s a peace and calm to this sun-soaked spot.  It’s not hard to linger here, sheltered from the wind, and indulge and daydream a little.

Reluctantly I move on.  Curving round the cliff tops, views sweep down to Praia da Mareta and across the bay.  The sun is gaining strength as I follow the road past an old school, converted to a café, and a straggle of surf shops, eating establishments and a tiny post office.  The signs are leading me to Praia da Baleeira and the old port.

From here the lookout is to distant Praia do Martinhal.  The bay is protected by the four islets lined up on the horizon.  It’s a bustling port area, temporarily becalmed.  The small cove has tempted just a few to frolic on the sands.

I’m pleasantly tired now, and climb back up the steep cliff, passing the pretty tasca with the incomparable view, to a more modest eatery, where the locals happily pass the time of day.  I try to catch a few scraps of gossip while gazing out across the bay.

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I hope you enjoyed a wander across Sagres.  Even in high summer it’s a place where you need a warm jacket early morning, and certainly when the mist creeps in on an evening.  I’d love to see it with the sea raging and storming those cliffs.  For now I’m content to share a few walks.  Many thanks to all of you who keep them coming.

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Carol has shared some truly spectacular scenery from Australia :

Rain in the Rainforest

Cloud Shapes

A Walk in the Forest

While Marion treads carefully on limestone pavement in Yorkshire :

Malham Cove

And speaking of limestone, Drake introduces us to a rather special one :

Some answers blow in the wind

While, just across the water, we are…

Surrounded by horizons

An early start and a bit of a climb certainly didn’t daunt Albert :

Jerrabomberra Mountain Reserve-Summit Walk

Nor is there any reason to stay at home with local views like this!

A Walk in the Woods – or beating those stay-cation blues!

Walking doesn’t have to be restricted to Mondays.  Whatever suits you, Colline  🙂

A Sunday Stroll

Rupali enjoys taking us out for the day and exploring her beautiful world :

Weekend 101 -Hiking

Finding sanctuary in nature

While Susan finds delight in the simplest of pleasures :

Walking the urban forest

Natalie always manages to keep herself busy, no matter where :

Summer Week 4 :Trillium Park

It’s a long while since I’ve been to Morecambe Bay, and I’m happy to do it in Eunice’s company :

Morecambe promenade – south to north

How about this for a grand finale?  A fabulous post from Sheetal :

The Ultimate Guide to Florence

Rather a lot of shares this week.  Please visit where you can, and apologies for anyone I’ve missed.  I’m temporarily becalmed myself, after a wonderful family visit.  Take care all, and have a good week.

Jo’s Monday walk : The end of the world

What would you expect to find at the End of the World?  Certainly not a gift shop selling exceptional marine sculptures!  But I was very taken with ‘Nemo’ and his friends, even though I’d come all this way to admire a lighthouse and gaze out in the direction of the Americas.  Cabo de Sáo Vicente lies at the south westernmost tip of Portugal, and indeed of Europe, just 6 km around the coast from Sagres.  It’s a spectacular location, the cliffs rising almost vertically from the Atlantic to a height of 75 metres.

Peer hard at the clifftops and you might observe some tiny humans, just to give you some idea of scale.  Not being especially nimble of foot, I usually remain behind the camera on these occasions.  Opening time is at 10.00 and fortunately this seems to coincide with the time at which the sea fog starts to roll back, revealing the stacks in all their beauty.

As you round the bay approaching the lighthouse, your eye is snagged by the Fortaleza de Beliche.  I never can resist a good fortress, and as we were a little early for the lighthouse it made sense to go there first, though not quite sure what we’d find.

More enticing views, and a rugged path down the cliff, but my right flipflop chose this moment to part company with its sole.  Obviously a warning!  Running repairs meant that I could at least slow shuffle as far as the lighthouse.  Still, a 16th century fortress, once under attack by Sir Francis Drake, no less, was a welcome addition to my walk.  Access to the chapel is no longer possible as the site was closed due to erosion in the 1990s.  Seabirds glide around the cliffs and dolphins frolic in the water below.  Here, nature reigns supreme.

The promontory of Cape St. Vincent (Cabo de Sáo Vicente) was regarded as sacred ground as far back as neolithic times.  The Ancient Greeks dedicated a temple here to Heracles, and of course, the Romans were here too.  Naval battles aplenty were fought offshore, but it’s easy to imagine this tranquil place as having magical qualities.  The setting sun hissing into the ocean was once thought to mark the edge of the known world.

The present lighthouse is 24 metres high and was built in 1846 over the ruins of a 16th century Franciscan convent.  It guards one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, and is among the most powerful lighthouses in Europe.  Much later we could see it from our hotel in Sagres, as dusk fell.  But it’s time for a much needed coffee stop, a little more artwork and some great entertainment, watching people clamber onto the giant chair for a photo opportunity.  And yes, the coffee and pastries were extortionate, but they were awfully nice.

When we left there was a whole array of takeaway coffee and burger vans setting up in the parking space outside.  Understandable, but, as there was no admission charge on the lighthouse, I didn’t begrudge spending a little in the coffee shop.  If they’d sold flipflops in the gift shop I’d have bought those too.  My one disappointment was not to be able to ascend the lighthouse.

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Sagres was an interesting experience and I loved the sea breezes, but I’m keeping posts minimal for now.  Many thanks for your continued support.  Life remains hot, and busy.  Apologies if I’ve missed anybody from the following round up.  Enjoy!

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Let Drake take you on a voyage of discovery :

Another day in paradise

When waiting turn idyllic

Slow walk

Carol shares the beauty of her native Australia :

A Walk to Remember

Up, Down, Up

And Rupali always shares the gift of love :

Weekend 99: To heal

Midsummer seems so long ago, but you’ll enjoy this offering from Ulli :

Prehistoric Midsummer at Woodhenge

Who doesn’t love poppies?  Margaret’s an early riser :

It’s Worth Going Walking Quite Early…

Janet’s away on holiday, but she left this treasure before departing :

Monday walk… castle walk

And it’s a while since Sandra wrote this.  The blackberries may be ripe now!

Same place, different week

Eunice walks most weekends, in a lovely area, so if you visit her you’ll be spoiled for choice :

Heysham – a walk in three parts

Brinscall to White Coppice walk

I don’t know if you know Aiva, but she does some fabulous walks in Ireland :

A fantastic Walk of the Weekend : the Killaspugbrone Loop Walk in Sligo

And finally, out and about again, Cathy takes us on an irresistible tour of street art :

A mural walk in Washington on a hot July day

Wherever you are, I hope that life is treating you kindly.  It certainly has its ups and downs.

 

Jo’s Monday walk : a fishy tale!

I like a fishy story.  Don’t you?  Truth to tell this one isn’t much of a story at all, and it’s not what I had intended to post.  But if you can’t be spontaneous in your own space… well, it’s a poor show!  It all started with a seahorse…

‘Let’s go to Olhão!’, I said.  ‘There’s a new seahorse sculpture and some net things up in the streets’.  What more of an invitation do you need?  The Ria Formosa, just offshore from Olhão, is known for its seahorses, and you can take a very delightful trip over to the sandbars to hunt for them.  Stuff of dreams?  A little less exciting, the sculpture, looking out to sea.

But Olhão is one of those ‘love it, hate it’ places.  Full of character, if you want to be polite.  Desperately shabby in the back streets, but in the process of acquiring a shiny new waterfront for the visitors.  The marina is always a treat, as you watch the boats to and fro-ing to the islands, but the riverside gardens are currently being torn up and replaced.  Hopefully they will retain some of their character, and the wonderful azulejo benches.  So uncomfortable to sit on, but beautiful to behold.  But we’ve not come to sit, invitingly though the icecream van flutters its eyelids at the tables beside the water.  The Arab quarter is always beguiling, so long as you don’t mind getting a little lost in the narrow tumble of streets.  Spot the whale on the roof?  No, I didn’t see it either at first.

I’m heading for the pedestrianised shopping area- not to shop, but this is where I think I might catch a fish or two.  And certainly some street art!

Olhão has a fair claim to being the street art capital of the Algarve.  The work depicting the fishing industry is among my favourites anywhere.  But finally I find what I’m looking for, and yet it still comes as a surprise.  Fish cavort above my head, darting through nets and flipping their tails.  ‘Linda‘ says the sign over the shop- beautiful- and I have to agree.

I wander along, snapping and exclaiming, until I come to the main church square, where an exhibition catches my eye.  I read the text and take a pic or two, and then I notice that the other half is staring skywards.  He’s spotted the storks.  Attention completely diverted.

I circle around the building, happy to find so many at home.  Did you notice the time on the clock?  I did, simply because at 3 on a Saturday afternoon I usually attend a Zoom meeting with some lovely ladies.  Some of you will know that Becky spends most winters here in the Algarve, and that Olhão is her home of choice.  I wondered if she might like to share the moment.

Back we wandered to a favourite café, with a ringside view of the leaping life above our heads.  All was quiet in the heat of the afternoon.  At weekends in summer the Portuguese go to the beach, leaving the towns strangely empty.  Though empty in these days is not so strange!  We settle at a table, with a refreshing wine, and I make the call.  ‘Would you like to come for a walk?’  And so I retrace my steps, waving my phone at the sky in the hope that they might see the fish, and maybe a stork or two.

I did promise you a fishy story.  I hope you weren’t disappointed?

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And now some shares!  A lucky dip into my ‘likes’ introduced me to Helen.  Please stop by and say hello?

Quarantine Walks: The Bulford Kiwi

 

Drake has his own individual take on life, and he always makes me smile :

Away from home

As times go by

I always like to share stunning photos, and these from Mercedes are beautiful :

Hiking in green Appenzell

Rupali shows us the beauty of her world :

Daily Walk

Weekend 98: Moments from the Wilderness

And Indra takes me to a city I’ve always wanted to visit :

Hong Kong… An Eclectic Mix

Anabel is rightly proud of her heritage, despite ‘dreich’ weather :

Port Glasgow Heritage Walk

A daunder round Dundee

While Margaret juggles with words :

Six Words?  Twelve Words?  All nonsense

And Natalie joins in with my fishy theme :

Life and Fish-Themed Art

Becky and I share a love for the same places :

Where the Douro flows into the Atlantic

A bit of an aberration with the print in the shares!  Made me rather late publishing today.  Apologies if I’ve missed anybody.  It’s not so easy keeping track right now.  Too many distractions.  I won’t be walking with you next week.  It’s seriously hot!  Enjoy your summer/winter/life!  See you soon.

Jo’s Monday walk : Beyond the River

‘Why Tavira?’ is a question I’m asked all the time when I talk about the place where I live.  Although I love the peace of the Algarve countryside, I could never willingly live in a little hillside cottage.  I would forever be gazing at the horizon, imagining the lap of the waves at my feet and the sound of the ocean in my ears.  Here in Tavira the river brings the sea to me, and it’s one of my greatest pleasures to board a ferry and ride out there to meet it.  This week the town ferry reopened.  There was no queue at the kiosk, nor in fact any other passengers aboard than me and my husband.  And a crew of five, some of whom were youngsters, learning the trade.  Prosperity will come again, and they need to be prepared.  For now, the instructions are to wear a mask on all forms of public transport, and so, bizarre though it felt on the open deck of a boat, we did.

We pulled out of the quayside, where the work of building a new bridge continues apace, and soon were chugging out through the marshes.  Lilac heather lines the riverbank, but my gaze was directed far beyond, counting the flamingos.  The day was full of billowing clouds, which could have explained the emptiness of the ferry.   After all these years, still I find the views from the landing stage compelling.

We followed the path across the Ilha towards the beach.  The main seafood restaurant was being industriously cleaned and rearranged, in readiness for hoped for customers.  The adjacent campsite is to remain closed this summer, and the object of our affections, The Sunshine Bar, had yet to open, but the recycled fish at O Xiri has a new lease of life.

With no particular objective in mind, we set off along the deserted beach, walking into a boisterous breeze.  As we paused to regain our breath, a tiny figure appeared on the horizon.  We watched as the quad bike drew near, and then passed us by.  The maritime police with a pleasant occupation.  Nothing but a few gulls to keep us company.  In vain I tried to capture them in flight.  Better to focus on the jewellery of the beach!

We had reached the area known as Terra Estreita.  Another ferry and a boardwalk connects this beach with Santa Luzia on the mainland.  Beach umbrellas in residence, but not a soul to be seen.  Just the tyre tracks of the young policeman.

Turn back, or carry on?  The legs were starting to feel a bit leaden in the soft sand, but we knew that the Beach Bar at Barril was open.  A fair incentive for another half hour or so’s walking.  Maybe even cake?

The clouds were starting to amass and the wind to bluster, but I was intrigued by the clumps of greenery and plants I had never before seen growing on this beach.  Nature rearranging herself in the absence of humans.  We had already noticed that the shoreline was different in places.  The action of wind and waves.  Soon I was in the mesmerising presence of the anchors at Barril.

I defy anyone to walk past without taking at least one or two photos of them.  Possibly after refreshments.  The sky was miraculously clearing again by the time we were ready to return, and the wind gentling us along from behind.  More found treasure!

Finally the lighthouse at the river mouth came into view.  It’s not a bad life being a beach attendant right now.

Almost ready to board, but I can’t leave you without a bit of biscuit cake, can I?  A treat, because it’s been a sobering week, in many ways.

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Janet led the way, last week, in being too upset to walk.  Many of us knew just how she felt :

Today I can’t walk

But Margaret will cheer you up :

A Tale of Three Birds: Chapter Two- The Curlew

And Anabel has beautiful rock formations in Berwickshire :

Cove to Siccar Point

Trees, sky, tiny flowers… just a few of the things in Susan’s new world :

Walking around a lockdown

Drake demonstrates how beautiful green can be :

Most of all greenish

While Rita celebrates the blossom trees in Toronto :

Feeling high at High Park

Doesn’t matter what day it is, Rupali can find beauty :

Wordless Wednesday Walk 3

And Sheetal can get excited about Florence :

Date with David

Irene contents herself with the simple things in life :

Along the Trail

I’ve never hiked Dartmouth… but I’d like to.  Please meet Zara!

Dartmoor Hiking Trails: Princetown to Fox Tor

So far I’ve been documenting and diarying my life here in the Algarve, in this exceptional period.  I think you can see, it’s a beautiful place.  I don’t intend to stick to a schedule from now on, so if you share a walk with me I’ll be delighted, but I can’t be sure when I’ll share it here.  Wishing you all a peaceful and healthy transition to a better world.  It’s ours to make the best of, isn’t it?  Stay safe!  And eat cake?

Jo’s Monday walk : Barragem de Beliche

A lingering rock cistus highlights the banks of the reservoir.  A couple of weeks ago I ventured up to Beliche, in part to check the water levels, but also because it’s a largely uninhabited area.  Or so I thought!  The car parking area alongside the dam surprised me.  Leathers and helmet clad bikers were thronging the space.  But they kept to themselves, and we duly distanced ourselves too.  As they pulled away we got a thumbs up and a cheery wave.  Life has to move forward, but you can choose your own pace.

Around here, you can imagine, it’s pretty slow.  April and early May saw a lot of rainfall.  A Godsend, because the reservoirs were dangerously low.  And also because the Portuguese really don’t like the rain, and were very happy to stay home and avoid it.  Fique em casa!  Stay at home.  Job done!

There were no tourists, so nobody to get upset but a handful of disgruntled expats who’ve chosen to live here.  Blue skies are theirs by right, aren’t they?  And eventually were restored, the timing being almost perfect, as beaches and beautiful countryside again became available.  With enormous gratitude for what we have, and not a little trepidation, we set out.

If anything could dispel doubt, it was the sparkling blue waters of the Beliche dam.  Such a relief to see water levels being restored, for summers here can be long and hot.  Bypassing the fearsome machinery, we climbed the hill to gaze back down at the dam.

I freely admit, not the most exciting walk we have ever undertaken, but just then it felt like giant steps into the unknown.  I delighted in the freshness of the air, and the soft sprinkling of lemon and lilac flowers dusting the hillside.

A cloud passed overhead, just as I was pausing to admire another solitary cistus.  And then drifted away to join its brothers, dreaming in the sky.

This circular walk is a little more than 6kms, sufficient in the mounting heat, and before long we were below the IC27, which runs north towards the Alentejo.  There are a couple of farms in the valley, and a donkey, who gave me rather a disdainful look.

Experience has taught me to be more wary of beehives!  And their aggressive inhabitants.

The map indicated a river flowing towards the dam, but it must long since have dried up.  The telltale reminder, an overgrown measure of depth, was just visible through the shrubs.  A gentle climb brought us back to the car park.  I’d love to share the lemon drizzle cake made by one of my companions, to celebrate our first visit since the onset of the virus.  But I devoured 2 pieces, and never even gave it a thought!  Next time…

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However, I’m more than willing to share some great walks.  Here we go!

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Always good to meet another Algarve blogger, and Tracy is also a published authoress :

Montes Mourinhos – Pera circular

Wouldn’t you just love to meet Sheetal here?  I know I would!

Dinner in Trastevere, Rome

Indra shares her memories of the natural beauty of Canada :

Summer of 2019: Waterton, Canada

While Janet improves my vocabulary, amidst the natural surroundings of Arizona :

The Riparian Preserve

Sharon is surrounded by some beautiful countryside too :

Caton Riverside Walk

And Susanne is simply happy to be outdoors again :

Back for a Walk at Coulon Park

An easy, unhurried style of life, with Drake :

Some even forget the mobile

And a poignant and personal post from Alice :

One Last Song

A poetic lady I know as ‘Heart to Heart’ (Dil se Dil tak… )  Such a lovely name for a blog, Rita :

The woods are lovely dark and deep…

There must be a history to this village name, Jonno?  Always smiling, these two!

Our Favourite Devon Walk to Heanton Punchardon

You can admire a little beauty with Rupali any time :

Wordless Wednesday Walk 2

While Anabel knows the way to my heart.  Via a drystone roundhouse is especially good :

Edin’s Hall Broch

Calling Becky, Debbie, Sue and Margaret- Ulli has found us some more goats!

Hidden Gem Downtown

That’s it for this week!  I’m going to put the brakes on for a little while.  It’s getting too hot to walk on a regular basis, though I did another 6kms yesterday to check out the larger dam at Odeleite.  Not looking too bad at present, but there’s a long way to go.  Take care all, and I’ll see you soon.

Jo’s Monday walk : Praia de Barril

Such a familiar sight, and one that I love, especially when the heather is in bloom here at Barril.  The salt marshes can be a wallow of mud and scurrying crabs, but catch it right, with the tide in, and it’s very beautiful.  The temperatures have been steadily rising this week, and with them the temptation to visit the beach.  We parked at our usual spot, looking out to the bridge, and the Ilha beyond.

The path over the causeway is narrow, and has been closed while emergency measures were in place, but the time has not been wasted.  New signboards describe the antics of the bocas cava-terra, or Fiddler crabs, and the wading birds that happily fish these waters.

Track maintenance has taken place too, sand being always anxious to reclaim its rights, and the engines and carriages have been given a shiny new coat of paint.  A 15 to 20 minute stroll brings you to the beach, Praia de Barril, on Tavira Island.

A fringe of green weed decorates part of the shoreline, and in the distance a heat haze.  We turn to walk in the opposite direction, aware of other footsteps in the sand, but not a soul in sight.  The haze persists on yonder horizon too.

The strangest thing!  As we walk, the haze expands to meet us, and before too long we are shrouded in a fine, damp mist.  Turning back, we can’t help but chuckle that it’s just like the sea fret on the north east coast of England.  Only once before has this happened to us here.  I can remember the eerie feeling as we sat on the beach, engulfed in a sunny fog.  Then, as now, it had rolled away again within half an hour or so.

The graveyard anchors clung on, unimpressed.  I’m sure they must have seen much worse in their many years.  The beach bar was newly reopened and we stopped for a drink and chat to the young waiter, who had had no work or income for 2 months.  He shrugged and smiled, glad to be working again, even if custom was poor.  ‘We have to try!’  And in bright sunlight we started back.

The engines, in various stages of undress, made me smile.  Hopefully they will be pulling full coaches again, before the summer is over.

Back over the bridge and homeward bound, where I can offer you a choice of something sweet, or savoury if you prefer.  And shade!

Now and again I like to spoil you.  🙂  The heat has reached a crescendo around 30C this weekend, and an evening stroll by the water is a luxury.

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Let’s see what my walkers around the world are up to.  Many thanks to all of you for continuing to share.  Your company is always appreciated.

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Start at ‘Ye Olde Fighting Cocks’, with Debbie :

Wandering around St. Albans again

Janet appears to have found an oasis in the desert :

Monday walk…at the olive mill

But Rupali doesn’t need words :

Wordless Wednesday Walk

And Drake is all at sea!

Foreigners missing

Natalie doesn’t have any problem with getting out among the Spring flowers :

Life with Moments of Beauty

And I didn’t mind a few grey skies in Berwickshire, with Anabel :

Duns Law

Mel takes us silver mining in the Outback :

Walking through history in Broken Hill

While Denzil takes us on a longish walk from a pretty Belgian town :

Walk from Diest to Loksbergen (and back)

Ending with Cathy, in one of the loveliest cities I know :

A first glimpse into the glory of Florence

Next week we’ll go and look at a reservoir, to see how well they’re faring.  I hope you’ll come along.  Meantime, enjoy your week!

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 long way to the River

My current walks from home can be repetitious, but there are many ways to add variety.  Let’s see how much you recognise as we wander through a few lanes and back along the river.  We’ve looked over this wall together, though I don’t remember the horses.  And how about that rock, shaped like a bottle-nosed dolphin?  I very nearly missed the cairn, nestling among the boulders.

My husband is an avid litter picker, a practise I find tedious, though sadly necessary, so I have developed a keen eye for distracting details.  Passing motorists must wonder what I’m staring at, while he scours the roadsides.  A minute flower, shy in grassy surrounds, or a fragile cluster of froth, swaying to tantalise with the slightest puff of breeze.  A straying guinea fowl.  Though two’s company.  If I’m really lucky, a butterfly to follow, hopefully, as it flits from nectar to nectar.

I develop new enthusiasms as the season ticks over, forsaking poppies reluctantly, but delighted by thistles and their many lilac hues.  Morning glory has such a pretty name.  Solagnum, not so much.  Small, pure white cistus, I love, and the ever faithful rose.

At the Ermida da Nossa Senhora de Saude we carry on towards the river.  In the bright sunlight I imagine the spikey agave leaves as a dinosaur, stalking its prey.  Suddenly a shower hits, and we scamper for the scant shelter.

Minutes later the sun is beaming again, and it’s on down the road to Tavira, the wildflowers making cheerful company.

But it’s not all as pretty as a picture.  Beneath the railway bridge, graffiti lurks.

And then you’re welcomed by the riverside walk, with its feast of flowers, and a view I’ve come to love.

Increasingly Tavira has become a tourist town.  It’s easy to see why, but I have to admit to preferring it without them, so this little sojourn has its advantages.  I can’t help smiling with pride, though, when someone stands by ‘my’ river, admiring.

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Time to share some of your walks.  Many thanks for continuing to walk with me.  I love your company!

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Leading off with Debbie, and a place that I know rather well :

Walking the banks of the Rio Tejo

Cheryl shows us a little more of enchanting South Korea :

A Walk in Daewangam Park & Ilsan Beach

It comes in all shapes and sizes.  Drake shares his from Denmark :

Spring variations

And Colline from her home in Montreal

An Array of Spring Flowers

While the woods are greening up nicely for Margaret :

One More Walk in the Woods

And Jude swirls us into a lesson on beautiful Bluebells :

Wild landscapes

Karen shows us a seriously empty Sydney!

Familiar but strange

And Janet takes us on a postcard walk  🙂  :

Monday walk…Le Grand Ballon

Denzil is as informative as ever.  He’s my Belgium expert :

How to walk or cycle the Promenade Verte in Brussels

Always worth climbing a hill for a glimpse of water.  Thanks, Irene!

Up to the Top

And Sandra is so glad to be back!

#Hike Deprivation

It’s always worth following Cathy, to see what colourful thing her eye has found this time :

A day in the Marrakech Medina

I’ll have another walk for you next week, and then we’ll see how it goes.  Around the world we are starting to look beyond the grip of this virus.  I look forward to a day when we can walk without restraint.  Till then, stay safe!

Jo’s Monday walk : Vaqueiros, Cheese fest & the choir

Back in January, before our Iives were seriously upended, I took you on a walk from Vaqueiros.  The blossom was out then.  It seems such a long time ago.  A different, more carefree life.  But I want to take you back, to the beginning of March, for one last outing with the wonderful choir, Ossonoba, before all our boundaries diminished.

We were meeting at the crossroads of a country lane, close to the village of Malfrades, a little uncertain of what was to follow.  What we were sure of was a warm welcome, and smiles of recognition from the choir.

As usual, we had an experienced guide to lead the walk and answer any questions we might have about flora and fauna.  In Portuguese, of course, but if we looked too perplexed there was a member of Almargem on hand to explain.  This organisation had liaised with the choir to promote the Via Algarviana, and we were engaged in conversation several times with a charming young woman, anxious that we enjoy our experience.  And enjoy it we did!  The wonderful, big-faced white rock cistus were just getting into their stride too.

We were at one of the highest points of the Eastern Algarve, and as if that were not enough, were all set to climb a disused viewing tower for panoramic views of our surrounds.  You might have wondered about my leading photo.  We’ve reached the top!

The less confident might have opted for a seat with a view, but even it didn’t look very secure.  We followed the gently rolling trail down to the lake, with one more surprise in store.  Beside the path, winking silently in the sunlight, mysterious wild bee orchids.

The village of Vaqueiros, our destination, is just ahead, for the choir are to perform there, one last time for the season.  In January the village had been completely deserted, so we were astounded to find the main street lined with stalls.  Smoke from several bread ovens drifted into the air, with lingering delicious smells.  Local cheeses, sausages and bread were on sale, alongside beautiful hand crafts.

We made our way to the top of the village.  The choir were assembling on the church steps, those who had walked with us slipping away to change.  It was hot there in the open and I looked around for shade.  A dog lay in a lazy stupor.  The choir shuffled.

Finally they were ready, and the sounds, so familiar to me now, filled the air.  Pure joy in singing, and in each other’s company, is what makes this choir very special to me.  After the concert we were invited to follow them to a nearby restaurant.  They ate, and drank, and sang…A Capela, as they do.  A day to remember.

I’m sure they will have carried on singing, even though their plans for travel have been disrupted.  I hope to join them again in the autumn, but there’s a certain indefatiguable lady whose #SquareTops I’ll be joining even sooner.

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A bumper collection of walks this week.  Good to know you’ve still been out and about, enjoying our world, whatever the restrictions.

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Starting with a stunner from Jude :

The George V Walk in Lockdown

Always nice to welcome a newcomer.  Especially one with a sense of humour.  Meet Geanie!

Duck Takes a Walk (During COVID 19)

Joseph has a great fondness for moss.  Why not let him show you?

A Daily Walk

I had no idea that South Korea was such a beautiful country till I followed Cheryl :

A Walk in Daewangam Park & Ilsan Beach

Not just a walk along a lovely beach, but dolphins too, from Alice!

Dolphin Watch

And some spectacular sculptures, courtesy of Natalie :

5 Circular Art Works To See

Lush forest to sooth the soul, with Susanne :

Green River, Rain or Shine!  And Steelhead sighting!

Andrew, being interesting on his home patch :

Village Walks – Blow Wells and Watercress Beds

Drake, a little sentimental?

Broken eggs

Margaret, being resourceful on her doorstep :

Walking Every Single Day During Lockdown

And Janet, keeping it even closer to home :

Monday walk…in my room

Nor has Eunice strayed very far :

Smithills Hall and Moss Bank Park

While Ann Christine shares her beautiful Swedish homeland :

Thursday Thoughts – A Spring Hike

It’s a real honour and a privilege to be joined by Cee this week.  Come and see her garden!

Jo’s Monday Walk & Lens-Artists Photo #94 – Walk in My Front Yard

And Pauline takes the next step, with a video link into hers :

Come with me for a video walk in the garden…

But Cathy simply carries me off into a beautiful bubble from the past :

Lucca to Florence, Italy

Fabulous, all of them!  Thank you so much for your company.  I take much pleasure in our virtual world.  Stay safe!