Jo’s Monday walk

Jo’s Monday walk : Along the Guadiana

I’ve been acting tour guide for the past couple of weeks, so not a lot of time for serious walking, and it’s been too hot.  Still, I’d hate you to think I’m taking it easy.  The first of our Striders walks kicked off the season with a good stiff uphill, above the River Guadiana, to get the lungs working.  There was much puffing, panting and grumbling, but it was great to be back in this glorious scenery.  Catching up on the lives of our walking friends took some of the pain away, and soon we were looking back down again.

You’ll notice how dry it all looks.  It’s been a long summer and the reservoirs are low.  Almost every year the Algarve faces this problem and somehow the plants survive to burst forth in another glorious Spring.

There’s often a reward at the top of a hill, and so it was with this one.  I’m told it’s the oldest intact windmill in the Algarve.  I peered at it from every angle, even venturing cautiously inside this photographer’s dream.

I speculated on how it must have been on this hilltop the day the wind took the roof off, half expecting to see the witch’s red shoes peeping out from under the vivid rust.

There’s a pathos to the abandoned houses in these hills, wells and bread ovens on standby for better days.  Here and there a hint at occupancy, washing on the line and pomegranates ripe for picking.  Urns with a sense of humour.

A blaze of parched colour fills my vision, and then a gentle descent to the river.  No time to stop for food today.  Tour guide duties beckon.

But we do snatch a swift drink, with a lovely couple who are seldom far from an icecream.

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I hope you enjoyed our company this week.  I’m going to take a week off walking duties as my lovely daughter arrives soon and I need to give her full attention.  I’ll be back with a Jo’s Monday walk on 28th October.  Meanwhile I have some great shares for you.

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I love a lass who doesn’t let the weather put her off.  Thanks, Anabel!

Cowden Japanese Garden and Castle Campbell

You can count on having fun with Debbie :

A whirl around Oktoberfest

And funnily enough, Lady Lee was there this week too!

Oktoberfest 2019

While Eunice is in Limerick, and what a lovely place it looks!

A day in Limerick

But I’m afraid Drake has me wanting to escape!

Inside, so much inside

Some great street art, doors, windows, and food- of course!  It’s Jackie!

Cafe del Teatre

How closely do you look at your surrounds?  Meg doesn’t miss a detail :

Eurobodalla Beaches: Rosedale

And Suzanne is always aware of the beauty that surrounds her :

Hiking in Porcupine Gorge National Park

Let’s end with Cathy, smiling in the rain :

(Camino day 38) Cacabelos to Trabadelo

Bye for now!  Take care till the next time.

Jo’s Monday walk : Ferragudo

An artist could rarely want for inspiration in Ferragudo.  Nestled in the mouth of the River Arade, blinking sleepily across at booming Portimáo, the village almost restores your faith in the Algarve that was.  I had come for a very special boat trip, but first I need to set the scene.

A more painterly sky I have never seen, gossamer white clouds drifting lazily out to sea.  As you wander into town, it’s hard to avoid the evidence of artists at work.  The fisherfolk cast their nets, fore and aft, and count their catch.

A tidy tangle of lobster pots adorn the quayside, as lobster pots ought.  Cobbled and petal carpeted streets creep upwards from the bombeiros, the fire brigade rarely essential in such a watery realm.

A castle on a beach!  Who’d have thought it?  A romantic image juxtaposed with modern marina on the far shore.  Newly laid stone walls, protecting the villas of today with remnants of yesterday.

Slow steps leading upwards to the church and a sublime outlook.  Narrow alleys to follow, back down to shore and sea.

Lying in wait on the harbourside, more industry.  A little gossip.  A snooze.  A shy maiden.

Azulejos tell life as it was, and never will be again, but life goes steadily on here in Ferragudo.  Gently, thoughtfully, without haste.

Back on the quayside all is calm, but fisherfolk are always busy.

The sun sets as they scull homewards, one last gaze sweeping the bay, ensuring all is well.

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I hope you enjoyed sharing Ferragudo and the Arade estuary with me.  I do believe it’s a special place.  And now it’s time to share some of your walks.  Many thanks for keeping me company here on Jo’s Monday walk

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Still wandering happily in Dublin, with Eunice :

Another day in Dublin – Part 2

Lady Lee takes one last look at Japan :

Dotonbori

What’s Jackie got for us this week?

Food stand

Oops, missed Joe last week!

Jo’s Monday Walk – I call it the Super Walk

Street art is best when it makes you think, like this from Ulli :

Artbase Festival 2019 – Murals in Rural Ruins

Drake rarely abandons me :

Abandoned stories

And I try to keep track of Denzil, whenever I can :

16km hike around Orp-Jauche

While Cathy Caminos on :

(Camino day 37) Ponferrada to Cacabelos

And Carol explores a little of Western Australia.  Pop in for scones, why don’t you?

Outback History

That’s it from me for now.  Life continues to be hectic, in a good way.  More visitors arrived last night so we’ll be exploring the Algarve together.  I’ll catch up with you all when I can.  Stay well and be happy!

Jo’s Monday walk : Alvor & the Estuary

In the 15 years that I’ve been coming to the Algarve, Alvor has grown and grown.  Given its situation, tucked into an estuary on the far side of busy Portimáo, and with lovely Lagos at the curve of the bay, it was inevitable.  It’s one of those fishing villages I used to love to nosey around.  One of the huge attractions of recent years has been the addition of a boardwalk, which takes you far out into the estuary.  So, I’m delving back into my summer memories, to give you a lovely simple stroll this week.

It didn’t start quite that way for me, because I was joining the end of season rally with Todos a Caminhar, along with a couple of hundred others.  Off we all romped, through the village, to the bemusement of quiet Sunday morning folk.  Up and around the back of the ever expanding hotels and apartments, until I stopped for a breather and to admire the cliff top view.

People were just beginning to awaken to a lazy breakfast by the pool as I descended to the boardwalk.  Save for young families and those determined to get a good spot on the beach, as near to the sea as possible.

It’s a good place to walk off breakfast, and if you continue along the coast you will earn your reward.  I just managed to catch some last blooms.

An ideal subject for Becky’s October Squares?  I hope you have your lines ready for tomorrow, but don’t forget to square them!

You can loop back towards the village from several points along the boardwalk, casting envious looks across the water.  Not everyone can afford a mansion, but anyone can eat cake!  Someone I know insists that pavlova contributes to his ‘5 a day’.  Who’s arguing?

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Short and sweet this week!  I have company from England for the next few weeks, but I still have things I want to share, so I’ll do my best to continue.  Give me a nudge if I miss you?  Here, or over at Jo’s Monday walk.

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A walk I simply had to include!  Cheryl shows us how very beautiful is Korea (you need a head for heights) :

Hiking Ulsanbawi Rock on Chuseok

And Lady Lee treats us to more of Japan :

Miyajima

While Debbie takes me to familiar and much-loved territory :

Promenade from King’s Cross to Paddington

Jackie continues her pursuit of food, drink and a little art :

Rise and Shine

Drake shares countryside and city.  Take your choice :

Surrounded by nature

Attention-competition

While Eunice explores another well-known city :

A day in Dublin(1)

And Cathy stays on track, with castles in Spain :

(Camino day 36) El Acebo to Ponferrada

Bye for now!  Take care of each other till the next time.

Jo’s Monday walk : Frolics at the Fair

Back in the Algarve, the round of Summer festivals was still in full swing on my return.  Even though I’ve been many times before, the Medieval Fair at Castro Marim is quite irresistible.  The village, with its mighty twin castles, comes alive to a skirl of pipes and rhythmic, marching feet.  Every conceivable vantage point is occupied for the parade- some of them quite precarious.  I was one of the hypnotised audience.

But first, a wander through the streets and stalls to see what’s new.  I don’t seem to be able to escape colourful electricity boxes these days.  In Castro Marim the eyes follow you everywhere.  It’s just a little disconcerting.

But once you’ve paid your couple of euros admission to the festival you can leave them behind.  I disdained a cardboard crown.  It didn’t offer the same protection from the fierce rays of the sun as my wide-brimmed hat.  I did foolishly buy earthenware mugs to sup from.  What to do with them when your hands are full?  Balance them on a wall, and hope.  A lesson learned for next time- don’t buy, or bring a bigger bag!

Of course, there are plenty of craft stalls and you might just spot that purchase you really need.  Or you can sit awhile, under a canopy, and absorb the sounds and smells and watch folk drift by.  Someone is sure to offer you a bite to eat, and distractions are plentiful.

It feels like the whole village joins in, from the smallest girls, proudly paraded by parents, to mature gents and their ladies, delighted to don costumes and smile graciously at the watching crowds.  Promptly at 3, banners and band turn the corner and the entertainment begins.

Interaction with the crowd is part of the fun, and stilt walkers stride menacingly around, while tumblers joke and totter through the streets, two of them frolicking with a large green ball.  There is a menagerie of animals, from carefully controlled hawks to an endearing goose girl, from goats tugging at their leash to grouchy camels.  You can’t help but be drawn in by the atmosphere.

But let’s tear ourselves away for a while!  The parade will continue on and up around the castle, pausing for a little showmanship, and to rest the legs from the wearying cobbles.  Many entertainments later there will be a banquet within the castle walls, but for now I’m needing a quiet place.

I did mention that there are two castles at Castro Marim.  The fortress of Sáo Sebastiáo is rarely open to the public, and broods over the town in silence.  A former stronghold of the Knights Templar, it is used for demonstrations of combat during the festival, in a very low key way.  The ruins are treacherous underfoot in places, and a steep climb up from the village, and this tends to keep the crowds away.  If you’re looking for a breathing space, coupled with wonderful views, this is the one.  Just take it slowly.

High on the walls you have views of the salt pans and, far beyond, to neighbouring Spain, across the River Guadiana.  You can well imagine how all conquering it must have felt, looking down on your enemies from here.

Did you notice the pile of saIt in front of the bridge?  It’s harvest time for the salt in summer, and everywhere mounds have been raked into the sun to dry. Castro Marim uses this asset uniquely in the winter.  A beautiful nativity scene graces the village hall, the bed of salt crystals on which it lies looking for all the world like snow.

You can spend as much, or as little, time as you want at the Medieval Fair, and of course there are cake stalls.  I’m not going to indulge you this week, but the fair runs for 4 days in late August, and I can highly recommend being there, if you can.

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Time to introduce a few more walks.  Many thanks to my regular contributors, and to those of you who’re just passing by.  Join me any time here on Jo’s Monday walk.  I’ll try to make you welcome.

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I do love a good cascade, especially in Debbie’s company :

A lakeside locomotion in Chisinau

Alice takes us to a windswept beach :

Georgia’s Peach of a Beach

A free walking tour, with Mel, that I know you’re going to love :

A Winter Wander in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney

Lady Lee shares another gem from her tour of Japan :

Sensó-ji and Meiji Jingu

And you know there’s always time for food at Jackie’s place :

Street Food

I can rely on Drake for humour and good company, in some of the most beautiful settings :

Old but still with attitude

But you will seldom see a more beautiful walk on here than this share from Ann-Christine :

Thursday Thoughts – Centre of the Earth

It never ceases to amaze me, the beauty on our doorsteps.  I’ve borrowed this, Lynn.  Hope you don’t mind?

Local Walks: Tofoni at Larrabee

I end, as so often, counting the footsteps with Cathy :

(Camino day 35) Rabanal del Camino to El Acebo & ruminations (week 5)

That’s it for another week.  Hope things are good in your part of the world.  Take care till next time.

Jo’s Monday walk : Wollaton Hall

Just one more beautiful piece of English Heritage, before I move on.  I’ve jumped counties this week, to Nottinghamshire and an Elizabethan country house, Wollaton Hall, dating from the 1580s.  The sturdy old entrance gate looks anything but welcoming but, beyond it, 500 acres of parkland wrap gently around this elegant house on a hill.  Lime Tree Walk sweeps gracefully upwards, but I’m diverted by the activity down at the lake.

An aloof swan or two, some cheerful coots and a waddle of ducks glide around the lemon and white water lilies, on a well nigh perfect summer’s day.  The lake, just big enough to consume an icecream as you walk around it.

The park is also home to herds of Red and Fallow deer, some of whom astonished me by treading nonchalantly across the adjacent golf course.  It must be a common occurrence, for the golfers appeared unperturbed.

There are formal gardens too, out of reach of the deer, but Wollaton is best known as Nottingham’s Natural History Museum.  I’m really not fond of stuffed animals, but had to venture inside the hall out of curiosity.  I was glad I did.  In parts it was very beautiful.

It being the summer holidays, the hall was full of distractions for children.  My daughter, long past childhood but a child at heart, still likes to twirl a bat cape alongside Bruce Wayne.  Batman Forever!  Wollaton regularly hosts events, and has been used as a film set on several occasions, understandably looking at this staircase.  There appeared to be dinosaurs in residence, too.

I was interested to read of the behind the scenes tours available at the house,  including a ‘descent to the depths’ to discover the Tudor Kitchen and the Admiral’s Bath!  I averted my eyes from much of the taxidermy, but stopped to read Len’s story, and some history of the hall.

You can also access the roof for a closer look at the Pavilion Towers.  Or how about a Bat Walk, or ghost tour?  There have to be a few skeletons in the cupboards around here, wouldn’t you think?

We had some ace cake eaters in our company that day.  Sampling is a public service, after all.  Fortunately standards were met in the Courtyard.

Within the courtyard I also found something quite fascinating- an ancient knitting machine, on loan from the Framework Knitters Museum at Ruddington.  All in all, a very satisfying afternoon out.

And there you have it!  A bundle of very happy memories from an English summer.

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Time to share this week’s walks.  You have to admit, there’s variety here.  And if you want to add something of your own, you know where to find me.  Jo’s Monday walk explains it all.  Join me here any time.

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Let’s start with Debbie.  I remember this place as being wonderfully atmospheric :

A dawdle down under – In Liverpool

What is it about Cornwall that makes its gardens so beautiful?  Jude might know :

Heligan

More colourful characters from Janet this week :

Jo’s Monday walk…going to the dogs

Wonder what Jackie’s been eating?

Road Grill

Stroll round ‘Kyoto’s Kitchen’ with Lady Lee :

Nishiki Market

Irene takes us to a beautiful place :

Along the Shores

Step by step, Cathy crosses Northern Spain, meeting a few characters along the way :

(Camino day 34) Astorga to Rabanal del Camino

And I made a new acquaintance in Marsi.  The views are stupendous, but you need to be fit!

Smith Rock State Park: Oregon’s Rock climbing Mecca & Dreamy Day hike destination

I’ve been back in the Algarve for 3 weeks now, settling into a rhythm of sorts.  I hope you’ll hang around to enjoy it with me.  Take care, all!

Jo’s Monday walk : Lotherton Hall

I’m still in garden mode today.  That’s what inevitably comes from a visit to England.  At the suggestion of two good friends a jaunt out to a rather wonderful Edwardian country estate took place.  Celebrating 50 years of being open to the public, Lotherton Hall is a pleasant ride out of Leeds City Centre on the number 64 bus.  Amazing how quickly you can leave the city behind and be surrounded by rolling English countryside and pretty villages.  And wonder of wonders, the sun was beaming down!  Gardens first, in case the weather changed its mind.

The hall was once owned by the Gascoigne family and the formal gardens were designed between 1893 and 1914.  The rose terrace is overlooked by a remarkable bronze sculpture, ‘Peony Priest’.  I didn’t take as many photos as I normally would because I was in excellent company, and there was much catching up to do.  As well as that, a Vintage Fair had taken pride of place in the gardens.  Stalls with all manner of garments, glassware, china and books filled the lawns.  A little browsing and, to save the contents of our purses, you understand, it was into the Coach House for coffee (and a scone with jam and cream  🙂  ).

A tiny chapel in the grounds is dedicated to St. James and dates back to 1170.  It was restored during the First World War for the use of soldiers recuperating at Lotherton.  The serenity must have seemed a boon to them.

Elsewhere in the grounds a Beatles Tribute Band was tuning up.  Serenity destroyed, but there were lots of toe tappers.  Our visit to the hall was accompanied by the familiar strains of ‘It’s been a Hard Day’s Night’.  It was all I could do not to join in the chorus as I looked through the window.

The hall itself truly captured my imagination.  It brings to life another era, and tells the stories of the Gascoignes and the families that worked for them, in an ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ fashion.  Sir Alvary Gascoigne had a highly successful diplomatic career and this is reflected in the exquisite furniture and fabulous chinoiserie throughout the house.

I’m sure that many people would enjoy this step back in time, but the Lotherton Hall experience doesn’t end there.  An enormous range of birds, many of which I have never seen before, inhabit the aviary.  Moving from one compound to the next presented continuous surprises.  I’m not a fan of zoos in general, but there were lots of happy children and their parents in the park.

We’d done a lot of wandering and it was time for a substantial meal.  My friend’s suggestion of the ‘Crooked Billet’ pub, just 1.6 miles away, was a huge success.  The proof of the pudding is in the eating, isn’t it?  And surely Eton Mess can’t be fattening!

Their only son is getting married this Friday.  I wish him and his bride a wonderful life together, and hope they’ll be as happy as his Mum and Dad.

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More walks to share this week.  Thank you all for contributing and for reading.  Join me any time you like, here on Jo’s Monday walk.

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I’m stealing from a master this week.  I’m sure most of you will know the work of Lignum Draco :

Le Mont Saint-Michel

And, just over the water, Jude focuses on what she does best- a Cornish garden :

Trelissick Garden in Summer

While Margaret does her best to cheer us, with a dash of ‘je ne sais quoi’ :

Le Jardin Extraordinaire : a late summer treat

This lady never ceases to amaze me with the places she goes, and the resulting photographs :

A stroll around a stadium

While Lady Lee has the best holidays ever :

Kinkaku-ji (Temple of the Golden Pavilion)

A challenging walk from Cheryl, but well worth it, I know you’ll agree :

Hyangiram Hermitage Hike in Summer

While Irene takes us to some stunning heights in Hawaii :

Top of Diamond Head

And Teabee reminds me of the beauty of English heather :

Randonée/Hike to High Rigg, St. John’s in the Vale, Cumbria

Alice’s turn to take us through some locks this week  :

Lockport Flight of Five

Drake shares another snippet of his fascinating life :

Not bad but Baden-Wurt..Berg

And Janet demonstrates her fondness for animals :

Jo’s Monday Walk…the dog days of summer

If you’re just feeling lazy, Sandra has the answer :

Afternoon Tea at the Empress, Victoria, BC

But Cathy strides on with determination in every step :

(Camino day 33) Hospital de Orbigo to Astorga

Nothing left to do but wish you all a great week.  See you soon!

Jo’s Monday walk : Kirkstall Abbey to Leeds City Centre

What could be finer, on an almost sunny day, than a little piece of English Heritage, topped off with a canalside walk?  Numerous times I have passed by the ruins of Kirkstall Abbey, with a backward look and a sigh.  Founded in 1152, over 800 years ago, this Cistercian monastery is surrounded by greenery and sits on the banks of the River Aire.

All summer long Leeds City Council have provided activities to keep youngsters active and entertained.  Kirkstall Abbey was one of the venues, in case you were wondering about the terrier.  He was watching me with curiosity as I read the signboards and imagined how life must have been, back in those draughty days.

A short, sharp shower forced us across the road and into the Abbey House tearooms.  Excellent timing for a huge slice of carrot cake.

I was astonished to learn that the main road into Leeds had once passed through the Abbey.  Today it buzzes and hums alongside, but a far quieter route into town can be found just a few hundred metres beyond, along the Leeds-Liverpool canal.

Leaving the Abbey to its own devices, I meandered across the grass to join the riverside path.  Youngsters were trying to span the river, with whoops of laughter, at a narrow point among the trees.  Beyond the weir it wasn’t immediately obvious how to reach the towpath, and I ended up on a rugby pitch, with some rusty containers.  Big hint- it is necessary to cross over the river to access the canal.

You never know what you’ll find on, or in, a canal.  Discarded gaiety from the day before, an old lad and his equally old boat, nuts and bolts and bridges, and a dad, wheeling the pushchair in search of peace and quiet.

Waterside weeds aplenty, dappled shade, a pigeon under a bridge, looking wary, and a timely reminder of distance.  Today’s walk, just a fraction of that.  Suddenly welcome sunshine flooded the canal with brilliant light, and simultaneously I passed by a small marina.

Close by, the traffic thundered over bridges, but in this watery world all was stillness and calm, with patches of ugliness.  Angled shots seemed to suit the confined space, reflecting the heavy girders with ease.

Approaching Leeds centre many of the old warehouses have been converted, but there are still sad facades with bleak-looking, shattered windows.  A museum peers down from behind railings.  Spare patches of wall host graffiti.  The canal trundles silently, nurturing its wildlife.

The railway joins the canal and the road network, and gradually everything converges on the city.  A sequence of locks steers you through it’s very heart.  The conviviality of the canals always draws people together, and I love this about them.

 

I have to apologise for being a bit ‘all over the place’ right now.  Many of you will know that I am back in my Algarve home, after spending most of August in the UK.  Events have overtaken me, but I have a few ambles still to share from my time in England.

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As always, many thanks to you all for following my wandering footsteps.  I hope you can spare some time to visit my walkers.  I can promise variety!  Join me next time, on Jo’s Monday walk?  You’re always very welcome.

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Jude’s back with us this week, sharing beautiful Cornwall :

A Walk on the Wildside

Denzil’s shifted his focus a little lately, but the details are, as always, excellent :

Doode Bemde, Neerijse

Debbie always finds such interesting subjects for her walks :

An amble in Another Place

A beautifully written walk from Mel, with some great historic background :

Escape Sydney’s Concrete Jungle on the Wulugul Walk

And by contrast, Joanne shares some very English heritage and sights :

Canterbury Tales and Trails

There isn’t any shortage of beautiful cities in Europe, is there?  Thanks, Drake!

The invisible bridge city

Janet shares a lovely picture storyboard this week :

Framing Wyoming: walk with me

While Natalie keeps our fitness in mind, in a beautiful setting :

Fit n Fun Walk: Toronto Music Garden

And Jackie has a very different focus :

But First, Dessert

Ann-Christine reflects on our topsy-turvy world :

Thursday Thoughts – Iceland, Life on Earth and at Sea

Lady Lee’s back from a fabulous holiday :

All Seasons – Our Japanese Holiday

While poor Cathy just keeps right on walking!

(Camino day 32) Valverde de la Virgen to Hospital de Orbigo

There’s walking, and then there’s Lexie!  This is an unbelievable effort.  You will be amazed!

Battling a Mountain

That’s it for another week.  I plan a slow day today as the weekend was hot and hectic.  Whatever you find to do, take good care of yourself.