Jo’s Monday walk

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!

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.