Jo’s Monday walk

Jo’s Monday walk : Ponta Delgada

Off to a flying start in the clouds last week, today we’ll have our feet much more firmly on the ground.  I’m taking you back to the beginning of our Azores adventure, and arriving in a rather dull, grey Ponta Delgada.  Quite a contrast to the sunny Algarve we left behind, but I was full of optimism and happy to finally be there.  It was mid-afternoon when we landed.  A 10 minute taxi ride from the airport, check-in, and we were out on the streets.  I needed a flavour of Sáo Miguel’s main city, and capital of the islands, because I would not be returning.  The following day we were flying onwards, to the island of Sáo Jorge.

My initial impression of Ponta Delgada was not kind.  Much of it looked neglected and unloved, the architecture reminiscent of an outdated Madeira.  But first impressions are not always fair, and my judgment was clouded by the heavy skies.  Nevertheless, the display at the airport should have alerted me that something special was happening here.  The billboards in the street were a definite clue.

The penny still not quite dropping, I wandered on.  The doors stood open on the church in the main square, and I ventured up the steps.

Sáo Sebastiáo, the Igreja Matriz or Mother Church, was magnificent.  I said a quick thank you for my safe deliverance and continued, drawn towards the waterfront.  I peered at the distant hills, willing the cloud to clear.  Down in the marina I was surprised to see paintings along the quay.  I associated these messages of goodwill with Horta, on the island of Faial, but the tradition must have spread to other islands.

So often my wanderings are defined by boats and churches, and this was to be no different.  I lingered hopefully, for just a patch of blue in the sky.  It was still warm enough for frolics in the outdoor pool, but I crossed the road to mount the hill to Sáo Pedro.

When I came out of the church, my husband was chatting to a mischievous looking small boy and his older, more sensible, sister.  They were giggling over their 4 or 5 words of English, while he manfully practised his Portuguese.  All were delighted with the situation.  We parted ways, in need of a coffee, and were amused to then find them sitting at the bus stop opposite our café.  They waved cheerfully as they waited for their bus home, and we ate our first Azorean pastries.

Our spirits lifted along with the clouds, and we strolled on along the waterfront.  By the Fort of Sáo Brás a bustling market was in full swing.  Across the Campo of Sáo Francisco, past the fountains and beyond the bandstand, a wonderful sight met our eyes.

The Church of Sáo Francisco was adorned with flowers.  Curious, we went inside.  Living in Portugal, as we now do, we are well used to splendid panels of azulejos.  Still we gawped at the walls and ceiling before us.  Yet these were not the main attraction.  A throng of people were gathered at the end of the church opposite to the beautiful altar, with their backs turned to it.  Slowly we edged forward to find a gap.  Behind a glass panel, this is what we saw.  We had inadvertently arrived on the island for the Festival of Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres.

This link contains a video which you do not need to watch all of to understand the significance of this.  We had missed the parade but could still revel in the beauty of the flowers and decorated streets.  And our first hydrangea!

After supper we returned for a look at the illuminated streets.  The City Gate looked far more imposing with its wash of blue.

And Sáo Francisco?  Well, judge for yourself.  A bit of a dazzler!

The night time shots have too much glare, but I think you can feel the atmosphere.  Perhaps I misjudged Ponta Delgada.

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I’m back in the Algarve now, but still marveling at the many sights I saw in the Azores.  Join me for more here on Jo’s Monday walk next week.  And many thanks for all your wonderful contributions.

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Starting out with Ann-Christine’s beautiful homeland and a tribute to a remarkable man :

Thursday Thoughts – A Life’s Work

Then a little test for your fitness, with Suzanne :

Hiking the Henderson Tramline Loop

Something cool and soothing next, from Xenia :

A Walk at Leitir Easaidh

Not so hot in Toronto, either, but quite interesting.  Thanks, Indra!

Toronto Summer – Don River Valley

Some street art can be disturbing, but that’s part of its function, isn’t it, Ulli?

Urban Art Hall, Berlin

By contrast, lush growth and planting, from Jude.  I’ll make it to Cornwall yet!

Tremenheere Trees

Carol’s been in the wars lately, but she’s a real trooper :

More than a Battlefield

You can have such fun with photographs!  Sometimes I forget to play.  Thanks for reminding me, Lynn :

Local Walks : Wind in the Garden

The first of a series of walks by the Murrumbidgee River in Australia, in the company of a Wombat :

Molongo River Track (Crossing) – By way of Shepherd’s Lookout

While Cathy soldiers on, taking the good with the bad :

(Camino day 22) Castrojeriz to Boadilla del Camino

And Drake… well, he’s always off somewhere interesting.  Giverny is a favourite of mine :

Didn’t promise a rose garden

Breathing space

The following morning we saw just a little more of Ponta Delgada.  I’ll share it with you during the week.  Have a good one!

Jo’s Monday walk : Serra do Topo to Fajá dos Cubros

Me again!  A little bit of explanation is probably necessary before we start our next walk.  One half of this couple was not all that keen to go to the Azores.  For one thing, he doesn’t like airports or flying.  There were 6 flights involved in this holiday.  Secondly, only one of us drives, and the other is, shall we say ‘inconsistent’, with navigating.  Yes, even with Google Maps.  It has led to the odd fracas on previous jaunts.  In the interests of harmony, we had agreed that on this holiday we would use taxis or public transport, and that he would not hire a car unless absolutely necessary.

As it happens, public transport is extremely limited on the islands, and taxi hire a perfectly reasonable and accepted alternative to driving on some of the more tricky roads.  So it was that a lovely lady named Zélia, with bright orange finger nails and a dazzling smile, was driving us to the top of the island of Sáo Jorge.  Think ‘very steep’.  We left our base in Velas on a beautiful sunny morning, but were dismayed to find that high up on the mountain the mists were swirling damply.  Zélia informed us, with a cheery smile, that this was often the case, but that it would be fine further down.  Then she drove off, promising to pick us up again at 5.30pm at our destination, leaving us looking at each other in dismay.  Neither of us were clothed for wet weather, but at least I had on sensible shoes.

Which I needed!  Peering ahead and hoping that the going would not get too hard, we edged gingerly into the mists.  It was a little slippery under foot and concentration was needed, but I felt elated to be up there.  We started out at a height of 700 metres, and dropped relentlessly to ground level.  Tough on the knees, but I have to say that I’ve never done a more spectacular walk.  As the cloud swirled around us, occasionally we would catch an encouraging glimpse of the sea, far below.

What fascinated though was the appearance of the shrubs and trees.  Living their lives shrouded in moisture, many were clad in a thick fungal moss.

As the mist cleared a little, we stopped to munch on a couple of biscuits and restore our equilibrium.  Nothing was familiar, from the rickety, roped-together gates, to the trees, sprouting unexpectedly.  And then I spotted my first hydrangea.

We had thought that we were alone on the trail, but voices alerted us to the fact that we were being followed.  And then, ahead of us on the path, Ma and Pa, and two calves.  All of us showed the parents the greatest respect, but they seemed very placid and not at all alarmed at human presence.  The calves were a little more skittish and took avoidance action.

We exchanged pleasantries with the couple, who we were to meet again, picnicking by a waterfall.  Hopefully the worst of the descent was behind us, and we could look forward to a first glimpse of Caldeira de Santo Cristo.  Meanwhile we could enjoy nature’s playground, marveling at the ginger lilies and an abundance of tiny pink pom-poms.

And then suddenly, there it was in the distance, and I was challenged as to which view was better, the one ahead, or behind.  What a landscape!

It must be at about this stage that my husband’s knee began to play up.  Timing, huh?  The impact of all that downhill.  We took it as slowly as we could, which wasn’t hard because the views were stunning, but you still needed to concentrate on your footing.

Just in time we reached the sanctuary of Santo Cristo.  The church wall was the ideal place to sit and admire the Fajá (low ground) and salt water lake, and munch another couple of biscuits.  Looking at the map, we realised that we had only completed half the walk, and our final destination was nowhere in sight.  We had lived with worse views!

Luckily we had plenty of time, but the remainder of the walk was not as flat as we could have hoped and I could feel my husband wince at every downward step, let alone the ups.  Fajá dos Cubros still seemed a long way off.

Fortunately there were distractions.  In places workmen were repairing the track, and at one point gestured for us to walk forward through a trench of what looked like newly poured concrete.  Naturally we proceeded with caution.  Elsewhere there were signs of slippage and a new bridge was under construction.  Winter storms had taken their usual toll.  Slowly and painfully we covered the last of the ground, and I don’t know which of us was more relieved to see the spire of Nossa Senhora de Lourdes.

I do know that it was wonderful to sit beneath the vines in that serene and lovely spot.  And who should be there but our nice French couple, eating icecream.  Seemed like a good idea, but first I had a glass of wine, while I listened to their story.

But I couldn’t leave it there!  With Mick sitting peacefully, I had to look at the lagoon at Fajá dos Cubros.  The stillness of the place was remarkable.  I don’t know when I have experienced anything like it.  Lava bridges separated the pools, and the light was starting to fade a little.  I was all alone, with this haunting, eery beauty.

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Just minutes later, Zélia collected us, full of apologies.  She runs a little cleaning business in addition to taxi-driving.  A cleaner had phoned in sick, and she’d had to cover for her, making her slightly late.  She more than compensated as she swept us back over the majestic mountain, chattering merrily, and stopping to let us look back down at the view.  What a day!  Should you be tempted, the 10km walk was PR01 SJO.

I don’t know if you’ll agree, but I think this is possibly the most beautiful walk I have ever undertaken.  I had half written the post when I came upon Ann-Christine’s Lens-Artists challenge for this week.  I know that she loves these islands as much as I do, and would like to dedicate this walk to her.  I think that there are just enough Trees.

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Sorry if this is a bit long-winded, (and no cake, Brian!) but it is such a powerful memory for me.  I’ve attempted to keep track of all the walks in my absence, but if I’ve missed anyone, I’m sorry.  Just give me a nudge.  Normal service resumed on Jo’s Monday walk.

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You know when Debbie says casual amble, that it won’t be.  Anything but!  Another place that I love!

Casual amble around Cascais

It’s a beautiful part of the world, and even better with great weather.  Thanks, Margaret!

Moors and hills and rugged coast : walking Northumberland

Chihuly and Kew in the same sentence, with a little bit of whimsy from Geoff :

Forming a Disorderly Kew #Kewgardens #Dalechihuly

Janet takes us wandering in France.  You never know what you might find…

Monday walk…in Saint-Bresson

Monday walk…La Chapelle de Beauregard

There are still some places that I’m cross with myself for not seeing.  Natalie shares a few, here :

Croatia: Delightful Dalmation Coast

Sounds like a sitcom, but life with Jude is never that.  It’s more about sharing beauty :

The Lanes in May

If you go down to the woods today… you might well find Susanne  🙂

Walking Midst the Tallest Trees on Earth

Or for something more exotic, try Drake’s place :

Brightening eyes

A grey reminder of England, in a city I know to be lovely.  Thanks, Rosemay!

York – A Walk Round the Old City Walls

An unusual one from Tammy :

Photography Challenge Neon Signs

Days 18-21 on Cathy’s road.  Some good, some bad, but with a happy ending :

(Camino day 18) Atapuerca to Burgos

(Camino day 21) Hornillos del Camino to Castrojeriz & Ruminations

‘Get your kicks on Route 84’ just doesn’t sound right somehow, now does it?

Haibun : Casa Grande

Rupali shares the beauty of the Land of the Midnight Sun :

Weekend 82 : Midnight walk

Ending with a display of the military that made me smile, from Carol.  Read why over in her comments :

Feel the Beat

Have a great week, everybody!  I’ve heard that Summer is about to begin in Britain.  Good news, hey?

Jo’s Monday walk : Mértola’s 10th Islamic Festival

Time to stray across the border again.  A different border this time, crossing the northern boundary between the Algarve and Alentejo, and high into the hills above the River Guadiana, to wonderful Mértola.  A place so rich in beauty and history it almost hurts, not least because of the steep gradient of its streets.

I was there on a mission.  The 10th Islamic Festival had come to town, and my good friend Becky had advised me not to miss it.  Interested in all things archaeological, I knew that she had been impressed with her exploration of the ruins there, but more of that later.  For now, let’s bring on the dancing girls, to the insidious beat of the drum, as they snake beneath the castle walls.

Sumptuous smells assault the senses, and materials of every conceivable shade waft and billow above and around you.  Lanterns glisten and twinkle in the light as you are transported back through time, to the Souk.  The drum beat fades as you stop to browse the stalls.  Leather bags and sandals and slippers in every style imaginable, mounds of spices, nuts and tiny cakes fight for your attention.  The stall holders smile, and try to barter with any potential customer.  Beautifully fragrant soaps claim to be good for the environment, as well as your skin.  It is overwhelming, but fascinating.

In a quieter corner, beneath the castle walls, craftsmen ply their trades.  Exquisitely carved woods, a loom for weaving, gleaming metal jugs and canisters, artfully and painstakingly decorated.  Some items are extremely useful, others prized purely for their beauty.

Below the castle, Igreja Matriz awaits, her doors invitingly open.  I enter reverently, delighted by this rare opportunity.  Behind the altar, the remains of the mihrab from the 12th century mosque, since converted to a Christian temple.

A garden slopes away behind the church, and I look down upon the makeshift roofs of the market to the Guadiana, far below.

But then, the icing on the cake!  And please don’t take that literally.  In the many years that I’ve been visiting Mértola, I’ve been aware of an archaeological dig.  Becky alerted me to the fact that great progress had been made and, sure enough, the gate was open.  Firstly you are invited inside a life-sized replica of an Islamic home.

15 such dwellings were found in the surrounding area.  The 70cm foundations were of stone, the walls of taipa (rammed earth) and the roofs, sloping down to the patio, Roman roof tiles placed on a layer of canes.  The floor was usually of beaten earth and inside walls adobe (mud brick).

Much of the detail is lost, but information panels reconstruct and explain some of what was once there.  An Episcopal palace in 6AD and a style of living far beyond the grandeur we have today.  It must have been fine to saunter in the cool, between the columns, and sit contemplating those carefully wrought hunting scenes at the end of another hot day, the sound of water tinkling in the background.

The castle watches sombrely over the graveyard and the ruins below.  I climb to its heights where, from the castle walls, I can sweep my gaze over the terrain beyond.  The distinctive shape of the church below is like a beacon.

Things are beginning to bustle down below, and preparations to feed the hungry are going full pelt.  I have walked past innumerable vendors of caramelised nuts, twitching my nose appreciatively, but it’s time for something more substantial.  Overhead the washing flaps.

The Mértola website is a feast of information.  I can’t believe that it was actually back in May 2016 that I last took you strolling there.  At that time I hoped to attend the biennial Islamic Festival in 2017.  They say all good things come to those that wait.  I’d have to agree.

Just one more hill to climb, for the view, of course.

I’m aware that this is a bit of a blockbuster of a post, but it will be my last walk with you for a while, so I hope you’ll indulge me.  Next week I’m off to the Azores and I will be a whirl of panic and packing next Monday.

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There’ll be stories to tell when I get back!  Meantime you can still send your walks and I’ll catch up when I can.  Thanks so much for the support and good company.  Here are some more great reads :

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Bluebell time ‘back home’.  It passes so quickly!  Let Debbie show you the way :

A walk into the land of fantasy

One treat always follows another around here.  Bask in the land of beauty, with Jude :

Fairy Flowers

Hopefully the floods have subsided since Janet sent me this walk.  Glad she’s keeping an eye on things :

Monday walk…walking on water

There’s always space for an oddity around here.  Especially when it’s from Dad’s homeland :

The Crooked Wood in Pomerania/Poland

It’s a while since I walked with Denzil.  He’s very knowledgeable about his native Belgium :

On foot through the Hageland

What do you know about Norway’s Constitution Day? I’m sure Rupali can enlighten you :

Weekend: National Day

Ever rambled with a Wombat?  Maybe you should try it!

A walk around Lake Ginninderra

There’s something about waterfalls that gets me every time.  Thanks, Carol!

A Different View

Irene’s sharing beautiful flowers this week.  I expect she’d like some company :

Walk in the Garden

And it wouldn’t be Monday without a Cathy’s Camino walk or two, would it?

(Camino day 16) Villamayor del Rio to Viillafranca Montes de Oca

(Camino day 17) Villafranca Montes de Oca to Atapuerca

‘Don’t cry for me Argentina!’  A city of history and beauty shared, with affection, by Susan :

Walking Buenos Aires, Argentina

That’s all for now, folks!  Take good care till the next time.

 

Jo’s Monday walk : Back lane beauty

Captivating?  He was very cute.  Desperately eager to get through the fence to us but, when he did, a little shy.  On a warm and cloudy afternoon, a couple of weeks ago, we decided to leave the car at home and explore our back lanes.

We live on the northern edge of Tavira, and beyond us the countryside sweeps gently away to the Algarve hills.  It’s about half an hour’s walk to a rather nice pottery and garden centre, with an exceedingly nice café.  This was our destination, but by a rather more roundabout route.  You wouldn’t want to get to the cake too quickly, now would you?

Such a moody sky!  Almost a collector’s item with the boundless blue we have experienced lately.  Capelinha!  That’s the name of the area, and a rather lovely farmhouse still bears the name.  We turn down a path edged by stone walls and the journey of discovery begins.

The almond blossom is long gone, but firm pods of almond are ripening everywhere.  We puzzle over a creeper with unusual blooms, the leaves well-chewed in places.  Did you spot the culprit?  Vibrant loquats vie for our attention, while the Hottentot fig escapes gracefully over a garden wall.

Rows of orange trees march off into the distance, trailing fragrance behind them.  We cross a river bed and find, among the dry bamboo shoots, lilies glowing like pallid candles.  A young man and his lady, pushing their bikes up the hill, pause for breath and smile.

A meadow opens out before us, a sweet symphony in green, orchestrated with notes of pink and lemon.  A butterfly flits ecstatically from one to another and I wait, and wait, for that moment when the wings are still enough to capture.  I almost make it!

I could have played all afternoon with that butterfly, but there were other distractions.  A soft haze of pink, with a tiny snail.  A zing of cornflower blue.  More orange trees- mature this time.  I have to restrain myself from reaching out for a handful of luscious figs, temptingly close.

The leaves are such interesting shapes.  Then a dense orange flower, heralding pomegranates in the autumn, and a ladybird astride a wall.

A cluster of houses, and a bike or two.  A potato vine, prettier than its name would suggest.  And a flamboyant blossom.  Pretty rural scenes.

In such agricultural country a paddock full of horses and a donkey is no surprise.  Nor is the tinkling of bells and the sheepdog herding his flock home.  But one sight did make me look twice.  What a fierce-looking captain!

Tina talks this week about what constitutes Harmony.  Nature provides it effortlessly, don’t you think?  Perhaps someone should tell Mr. Billy Goat!

Doing my best to restore harmony.  Well, everyone likes cake, don’t they?  Feel free to indulge because I won’t be around to walk with you next week.  I have some lovely friends arriving from Newcastle.  I suspect we’ll be eating lots of cake!

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Meantime, please do read and share!  And thanks to all of you for your continued support.  It wouldn’t be Jo’s Monday walk without you!

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Jackie managed to be first this week, and so, of course, …

It’s Coffee Time

A choice of 3 from Natalie- and all beautiful!

3 Walks to take in Slovenia

I absolutely love these windows, so thanks, Debs!

Rambling around another Rabat

Serious, full-on walking with George!  I could only gaze in admiration.  Don’t miss it!

A Big Day in the North

Janet enriched my life with a little ‘forest bathing’ this week :

Monday walk…on the wild side

It sounds a bit like a sitcom, but you will be charmed.  Thanks, Susanne :

The Ducklings of Clark Lake

And there are few sights more beautiful than this!  Thanks for sharing, Sandra!

Tiptoeing through the Tulips – #MtVernon, WA 

Although Jude is offering lots of temptation this week.  And we’re not talking cake!

The turn of the rhodies

And funnily enough, so is Rupali, though they are many miles apart :

Weekend 77: Rhododendron

More Camino with Cathy, though she’s actually in Tuscany right now.  Lucky girl!

(Camino day 15) Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Villamayor del Rio

Nice to welcome Lady Lee back :

Bremerhaven

May will be very low key on the blog while I have company but I should be walking with you again on 20th.  At the end of the month I’m off to the Azores- a long held dream- and I most definitely will not be around.  Take good care till then!

Jo’s Monday walk : Gorjões

Back to the countryside today, after all the excitement of Easter and that family visit that now seems so long ago.  This little treasure was almost hiding its light under a bushel but, once I found one, then of course it had companions.

We’re up in the hills again.  Look to the far horizon, where you can see that distant deepening of blue that is the sea.  I’m standing in the grounds of an abandoned building project, wondering why someone would go to so much trouble to build their house on a hill, and then desert it.  There’s a story here, but one I’ll likely never know.  For now, I take in the views and the infinity pool that never was.

I’m in the area known as Gorjões, barely a 10 minute drive to the busy market town of Loulé, but seeming a world away.  The hills are speckled with villas and beautiful homes, each clinging to their privacy.  The lanes are edged with abundant wild lavender, and I trail my fingertips in their delicate perfume.  Climbing higher still, I come upon the remnants of a mill.

The path levels out and I peep over an inviting stone wall.  A crossroads reveals a heap of rocks with names… Casa Clara… Casa da Bisavo…  Aids for the postman, I think, only to be scoffed at by a local.  ‘We don’t get post up here!  You have to go to the village to collect it’.

I have company, but it’s a slow-paced walk where we stop to point out treasures to each other.  Like the magnificent blue beauty, and its smaller companions, nestled beneath a tree.  Impossible to miss the pure flamboyance of the poppy at this time of year.

Tiny yellow flowers decorate any open stretch of grass.  I stop to admire a grandiose villa, envious of the lovely pool, but I could not live so far from shore.  In amongst the rocks the cistus continue to flourish, nodding cheerfully at the least hint of breeze.

And then we’re dropping down again, spying one last jewel, shy in the sun, and a rock whose message we struggle to read.

I am surprised to read, later, that the flatter of the surrounding lands had long ago been used to cultivate tobacco.  A connection with ancestors in Brazil.  There are many stories in these hills, but for now it’s time to go in search of sustenance.

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I hope you enjoyed my company this week, as much as I enjoyed yours.  Please do find time to read these, and maybe, another time, share a walk of your own?  Details, as always, on Jo’s Monday walk.

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There’s dedication and determination… and then there’s Heather!  She’s an inspiration :

Walking The Walk

A lighthouse on an island… a sight I never tire of.  Thanks, Debs!

Sauntering the sands at Yellowcraig

In case you didn’t get your share of treats at Easter, Jackie has plenty to spare :

New Treats

You know, it can be miserable when it rains.  But it all depends on your point of view :

Rain

Not much rain in Savannah!  Let Alice be your guide :

Starland

Margaret has been revisiting some of her older posts.  Doesn’t this look beautiful?

On the path of Cathar shepherds – revisited

Closer to my former home, Sharon is always out, finding places to explore with her dog :

Entwistle Reservoir

Not a lot of walking, but a whole lot of eating!  Thanks, Sandra!

LaConner Crab Cruise -#Photos

Sharing tranquility and daisies with Susanne is never a bad thing :

Flaming Geyser State Park, a Missing Flame, and Steelhead in Training

Anyone seen Liesbet lately?  She’s been surfing ‘The Wave’!

Catching ‘The Wave’ means winning the Lottery

I love to be surrounded by water, so this place looks pretty perfect to me, Carol :

Island Life

The endless roads, with Cathy, lifted by the beauty of the churches along the way :

(Camino day 14) Azofra to Santo Domingo de la Calzada & ruminations (week two)

Another good week, wasn’t it?  Well, it always is if we’re still here.  Thanks for your company, and see you next time!

Jo’s Monday walk : Easter in Tavira

I’m taking you back to Palm Sunday in Tavira for this week’s walk, and an evening heady with emotion.  It’s some years since I spent Easter in the Algarve, but I vividly remembered some of the treats in store.  And I’m not just talking about sweet Folar cake, though that’s good too.

At 5pm people were still strolling nonchalantly towards the Carmo Church.  The ceremony was about to begin but urgency is almost unheard of in these parts.  Eventually a priest left the church and unhurriedly mounted the low stage to address the crowd.  Children fidgeted and skipped about, the smallest ones being hoisted high on shoulders.  The scent of lavender hung in the air, a crushed carpet beneath our feet.  The band were roughly assembled, waiting for their moment.  But first the priest must intone his lengthy benedictions.

Then came the moment.  At a signal from their leader, the band struck up, and began a slow-stepping march.  With varying degrees of enthusiasm, they were joined by members of the congregation, who spilled slowly from the church, banners aloft.  Parents watched anxiously as the cubs shuffled past, shy in the spotlight of so many strangers.  Teenagers, with more assurance, grinned at friends in the crowd.

Cameras began to flash as the floats made their way from the church, gravity and the weight of their years etched on the faces of the bearers.

Against a mackerel sky, on this warm evening, the floats began to sway past us, plaintive music their accompaniment.  A substantial crowd had gathered, the lucky ones sitting up on balconies or gazing through open windows, the rest of us hushed in awe.  The floral decorations were a triumph in themselves.  Never have I seen Birds of Paradise and lilies displayed so eloquently.

Slowly the drama unfurled, as float after float was lofted by, stopping to adjust the weight on shoulders and to negotiate the corner.  Gently, gently down a perilous incline, the crowd following respectfully.

The numbers swelled as we gathered momentum, though the streets are too narrow for speed.  A slow march brought us eventually to the Ponte Romana bridge, decorated with sentinel palms for the occasion.  A few of the cubs carried them too.

On through the main square, some taking the occasion very seriously, others happy just to enjoy the spectacle.  No judgement.  No harsh words.

Such a human affair, you couldn’t help but be moved.  The faith and dedication, the hard work to bring it all together, witnessed by so many in a glorious coming together.  The military, caught smiling in a moment of relaxation.  The band bringing up a valiant rear!

And then the crowds disperse and wander off home, or out to supper, as we did, leaving the day to end, peacefully.

Why this particular procession?  I’ve witnessed a few this past week, including the atmospheric night time lament on Good Friday.  And the joyful ‘Hosannah’s of the Festa das Tochas Floridas in São Brás de Alportel.  But this was my first Easter in my new home town, and my first ever Palm Sunday from my local church.  I hope you enjoyed it with me, and that you, too, shared peace and love this Easter.

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Another Jo’s Monday walk, and time for a different kind of share.  Please do visit and enjoy!  And many thanks to all of you.

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Debbie always makes me smile, then amazes me with her beautiful photography :

Chomping at the bit for Chihuly

Natalie kindly takes me to Mostar this week – a place I wished I’d visited from Dubrovnik, many years ago :

Day Trip to Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

I’m always being assured how beautiful New Zealand is.  Another lovely ‘stroll’ with Suzanne!

The Tuahu Kauri and Sentinel Rock Trail

Now come and join me and Gilly, and Becky, in Topsham.  You won’t be sorry!

Last Thursday

Jude leads me down the garden path, again.  🙂  A very beautiful one  :

Trelissick Woodland Walk

Trelissick Garden in Spring

A little bit of initiative in the garden goes a long way :

Quick Tip – Yard Walkabout/Storm Repair

Two introductions next!  First, Suburban Tracks :

Stroll through Wild Street- Colors

Then a beautiful landscape, in Rajasthan :

The Wild Wet

And someone you know well- thanks Rupali!

The streets of Malaga

Geoff, meanwhile, shares his love of walking and of books, while Dog stays at home :

Walking With Rosie #bookreview #therosieresult

It’s not every day you see a couple of Penny Farthing’s rolling down the street.  Thanks, Irene!

Back in Time

Speaking of time, doesn’t this forest look primeval to you, Sandra?

Grand Ridge # Hike in Springtime

And stepping back in time, I’ve walked this landscape and loved it.  Thanks, Nadine!

Day 13 on the Pennine Way: Greenhead to Bellingham, 21.5miles

Anyone been to Luxembourg?  Looks nice, Drake!

Grand Duchy

Another day with Cathy, a sea of vineyards and reflections on life :

(Camino day 13) Ventosa to Azofra

No cake, you’ll have noticed!  I over-indulged you on Saturday  🙂  I’m sure there will have been a few chocolates.  Wishing you all a great week!  I will be back with coverage of the Tochas Floridas.  It was sensational this year.

 

Jo’s Monday walk : Zoo, zoo, Zoomarine!

There are few worse feelings than that waving goodbye at the airport, but I’m gathering up some happy memories to share with you this week.  This was our third, and possibly last, visit to Zoomarine.  There’s something so endearing about a dolphin.  You’d sacrifice your bath for a week or two if you were offered the loan of one, wouldn’t you?  I know I would!

It’s great to be surrounded by smiling faces, and the zoo-themed water park has taken a leaf or three from the famous Florida parks, including a ‘catchy’ tune.  It’s not something I would recommend for every day as it’s quite a costly business and in full summer would be far too busy for enjoyment.  At this time of year, though, the sunshine can be quite warm and the water parks themselves are not yet open, so you can quite effectively kill 2 birds with one stone.  But please don’t talk about killing birds around here.  They do have ears, you know!

Talking of birds, isn’t this the most wonderful tropical plant ever?  I always have to stop to admire the Bird of Paradise.

The flora and fauna create a pleasant environment for a stroll, and you can always spice it up with a ride or two.  The wave maker was none too rough, but you could whoop your way down the water chute, as mine did.

A particular favourite with small person was the rollercoaster.  ‘Hands up’ as you swoop downwards.  He quite liked being high above the park too.

The sea lion show was in the process of being revamped, but there were crazy pirate acrobatics to compensate, and some hefty dinosaurs were being craned into position for a future Jurassic feature.  Zoomarine has all the makings of a great family day out.

I suspect Patti knew I wouldn’t be able to resist her Delicious post this week.  I almost met the lovely lady when she passed through Portugal earlier this month, but it didn’t quite happen.  Hopefully another time.  She and the Lens-Artists are doing such a good job.  And for those of you who care about these things, the one on the right was my choice.

walking logo

Time to catch up with a couple of weeks worth of walks.  Please do visit any you’ve missed.  And many thanks to all of you for continuing to follow along on Jo’s Monday walk.  It’s much appreciated.

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Why not let Janet tempt you with an almond croissant?  Or even a small absinthe…

Monday walk…in the Franche-Comté

Monday walk…the green fairy garden

You’ll be full as a gun when you’re finished over at Jackie’s!

Warm and toasty

Debbie I can always rely on to find me a view I’ve never seen before :

Roaming ’round Rabat

And Suzanne to sing lovely New Zealand’s praises loud and clear :

Hiking the Whakarewarewa Circuit

But I could almost be homesick for England when I look at some of Jude’s posts :

Around Trencrom

Penlee Park

And then Tish really made me wish I’d made it to the Malverns :

Stepping Through Time and Space in the Malvern Hills (cue Edward Elgar)

Margaret seduced me completely by taking me back to Staithes, an old haunt of mine, and then disaster struck :

Ragtag Saturday: The Cleveland Coast

Les demoiselles de Caraybat, daffodils and gentians : revisited

Lisa, meanwhile, had her eye on a young eagle :

Jo’s Monday Walk

Life on the move.  Drake knows all about that!

Day on the go

Where did Irene get to this week?

Walk Along The Trails

Soft and gentle Spring time, with Rupali :

Weekend 76: Spring 2019

It’s fascinating seeing the world from different perspectives.  Susanne shared close to home :

A Walk through Fairhaven and Western Washington University

And Cathy… well, she’s always wandering  🙂

(Camino day 11) a day in Logrono

(Camino day 12) Logrono to Ventosa

But you could create your own Algarve walk, with a little help from a friend.  Many thanks, Becky!

A magnificent hike in the Lower Guadiana

It’s Easter next weekend and I hope to share with you some of the magic of this special time of the year here in the Algarve.  It would be great if you could join me.  Meantime, have a happy and peaceful week!