Jo’s Monday walk

Jo’s Monday walk : Mesquita & the Fonte

Follow the N270 inland from Tavira and you come to an area of gentle undulations.  After Santa Catarina, look for a sign saying Mesquita, off to your left.  Park close by the restaurant Lagar da Mesquita, and you find yourself in a fairly easy walking environment, with a number of enticements.  I’m not talking cake just yet, so don’t go getting your hopes up.

Relatively easy to miss in the long grass, the Monte Negro well is a solid structure, of unknown origin but believed to be several centuries old.  On a blue sky day with crisp shadows, bright blooms nod and a dog barks at us, but still wags his tail.

A gentle incline takes you up the Ribeira do Bengado valley to a trig point blessed with two windmills.  Neither seem to be functional right now.

In the distance, the faintest shimmer of ocean glints in the sunlight.  Down in the valley, we walk beneath trailing branches, on a carpet of leaves and fallen acorns from the many oaks.  A cross stands, all alone, on a rough hewn wall.

The path emerges beside a cottage rich in bougainvillea.  Another dog inspects us, through closed gates, and decides we’re harmless.

Soon we come to the natural Fonte and a bit of fun.  Vigorous scrubbing demonstrates how it might have been done, ‘back in the day’, while a few turns of the handle easily produces water from the well.  Wash day in the sun!

Grapefruit dangle temptingly over a fence, and it’s time for the luxury of a coffee stop.

We’re on our way to the last of the features of this walk- the Geoponto, and the beautiful ornamental rock known as limestone breach.  Going far back in time, much of the Algarve was beneath the ocean.  Remnants of coral and fossilised animals from that era can still be found in the limestone, quartz and feldspar which make up the local geology.

A fascinating prospect, isn’t it?  The rock is now used in the building industry, and for decoration.   Across the fields the trail leads back to the road.  An empty rill passes another water wheel and soon the crossroads signed Lagar da Mesquita appear.

I hope you enjoyed our walk today.  Even if you only came for the cake.

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Time to share a few more walks.  Many thanks to my contributors and all of you who’re happy to walk along with us.  Join me next time here on Jo’s Monday walk.  And maybe bring a walk of your own?

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I do like quirky, don’t you?  An odd little piece of Cornwall, on Jude’s doorstep :

Hayle: Penpol Terrace Walk

Just let it happen, with Drake.  It could lead anywhere :

Unplanned bike ride

I know somebody who loves apple pie, Alice.  Especially with custard!

Historic Town Famous for Apple Pie

Speaking of which, let’s see what Jackie’s got this week :

High Tea

Natalie’s staying indoors, but surrounded by beautiful flowers :

7 Tidbits about Chrysanthemums

Janet’s indoors too but her interests are rather different :

Monday walk….but not too far

While Mama Cormier shows us around her neighbourhood :

My Monday walk on Tuesday

And for those of you who like snow with your spectacular scenery :

A Quick Jaunt to Moab, Utah

Or you can carry on the Camino, with Cathy :

(Camino day 45) Melide to Arzúa

It’s December and I’m sure a lot of you are leading busy lives.  Please don’t stress too much!  It won’t make Christmas any better.

Jo’s Monday walk : Back to Serenity (Monte Velho)

I thought long and hard over whether I ought to include this walk, but I loved it.  Full of warmth and companionship, it was in celebration of a very special lady.  Roberta Smith was always Bobbie to me, and she was there right from the very beginning of my Algarve walking days.  A very determined lady, she had overcome a near fatal aneurism to get back to walking in the hills she loved.  Always she was spurred on by the promise of the one gin and tonic she allowed herself each week.  Simple pleasures for a lady who needed to be frugal.

Always kind to others, in the end life wasn’t kind to her.  Months short of her 65th birthday, and of drawing the pension she had so looked forward to, cancer abruptly claimed Bobbie.  We, her walking friends, were in shock.  It has taken close to a year for us to make this walk, in celebration of our time with her.  On a day of blue skies and softly drifting clouds, many of us said our goodbyes.

I’ve never struggled to know what Bobbie saw in these hills.  From the first time I ventured up here, I was under their spell.  The patterns that trail from valley to summit and down again, as the clouds gently jostle for position.  The trees, in silhouette on the horizon, gnarled and torn, up close.  The isolation of distant dwellings, and the ruins, sorrowful remnants of life.  The blues and violet shades that come with evening.  I love them all.

It is the time of year for medronho, the berries ripening with gold and scarlet temptation.  Recently I was offered them with a dessert, but more often they are distilled to a fiery beverage.  To keep out those winter chills.  The wind can be cold up here.

Finally, at the summit, a ceremony was performed.  One of our group had carried her ashes.  Another filled a glass with the G & T she loved.  Another had photos of when we were last all together.  We had no idea, then…

We continued through desperately arid land, streams dry as dust, but life clinging on determinedly, as it must.  Afterwards we convened at a restaurant in the hills that we often use.  Those who had been unable to walk joined us there, to celebrate Bobbie’s life, and to raise a toast.

Life is short.  Some are luckier than others.  But all of us must find a path.  I hope that Bobbie and her many friends will not mind me sharing hers.

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There are many walks and lives to share here this week.  Please find a little time to visit each other.  See you next time, on Jo’s Monday walk.

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Patience is rewarded, oh, so beautifully, for Jude :

Waiting for a sunny day

While Alice finds beauty of a very different kind :

The Elephant on the Desert

Feast your eyes on this lot!  Sandy plays gourmet in Lisbon :

Food and Restaurants -# Portugal

Someone else who doesn’t have an aversion to food- you can always eat well with Jackie :

Hot Chocolate

Some beautiful finds in the woods, with Janet :

Monday walk…in memoriam

While Natalie shows us Autumn in all its splendour :

Agawa Canyon: From Rail to Trail

A follow-up to Denzil’s recent Foresters’ Memorial post :

The 2-Memorial Sonian Forest Walk

And to Ann Christine’s walk through stunning Old Tbilisi :

Thursday Thoughts – A Last Walk – Until next time, Aleksandr!

Have you been walking with that lovely man Ernst lately?  And Gisella, too :

A mountain hike in the Appenzeller Alps (Switzerland)

Or that other lovely man, who sometimes likes life a…

Little bit dangerous

And talking of gentlemen, have you seen this post from Debbie?

A very short walk with a Superstar

It’s a little cool for me in Irene’s part of the world.  Or do I mean, ‘a lot’?

Frosty Morning Walk

A Winter Fantasyland

And Karen can hardly see her hand in front of her face!

A soggy walk in the Blue Mountains

I don’t know much about this part of the world, but I wouldn’t mind keeping Athena company :

Hiking the Columbia Gorge

And I had hoped to join Cathy on her journey, but it wasn’t to be :

(Camino day 44) Lestedo to Melide

I did, however, make it to the Azores, and I will return.  If these photos don’t entice you…

Hiking the Azores: The Mystery behind the Mistérios Negros

That’s all for another week.  I’m feeling quite emotional.  It must be the time of year.  Thank you so much, all of you who’ve followed the Living the dream journey with me.  Stay well, be kind to each other, and enjoy your week!

Jo’s Monday walk : Seville, second helpings

I was in Seville for not much more than 24 hours.  Just enough to complete my mission in meeting Sue, with a little time to spare.  On my second day I planned to see as much of the city as I could, intending to join a free walking tour.  That way I wouldn’t get lost in the maze of streets, and would make it back to the bus station in Plaza de Armas for my return coach home.

Of course, I had to get to the meeting point first.  The day dawned bright and clear and I set off across the city towards Plaza de Espana.  Cafés were coming to life in the sparkling sun as I headed through the leafy greenery of the Murillo gardens, and skirted the beautiful Real Alcazar.

Sometimes things go to plan.  Sometimes they don’t.  I arrived at Plaza de Espana to find barricades and a squad of security guards.  Apparently Green Day were playing a concert in these fabulous surrounds the following day, so access was forbidden.  The Plaza is the undisputed jewel of the Maria Luisa Park, built for the Ibero-American Expo of 1929.  I am lucky enough to have seen it in all its glory on a previous occasion, and was looking forward to a return visit.  Our guide explained a little of the history to the tour group, and then set off in the direction from which I had come.  We were to cross the city and end at the Metropol Parasol, a route I had already traversed that day.  I made a snap decision and excused myself.  Time was too precious to waste and I knew that I was close to the river.  It was the perfect day for a cruise.

And across the road beckoned another historic monument that I had hoped to see, the Torre del Oro.  The 36 metre high tower was constructed in 1220, part of the wall defending the Alcazar and formerly linked to the Torre de la Plata.  Unfortunately the tower was closed as it was All Saint’s Day, a public holiday, but I was more than happy to hop on board a boat.

Nor was I alone.  The water was busy with all manner of craft, young and old enjoying the holiday.  Cruceros Torre del Oro provide an hour long, panoramic cruise on Río Guadalquivir, Sevilla flaunting her charms on all sides.  Comely, traditional Triana gives way to the futuristic Expo ’92 site and, in the distance, the fairground rides of Isla Magica.  As the boat gently turned midstream, I gazed deep into the heart of the city, towards the cathedral, guarded by her exquisite tower.  All too soon I was stepping ashore.

Denied access to the tower, I set off along the quay, the serenity of the river forgotten as traffic whizzed past me, from one set of traffic lights to the next.  Impatient for a green light, I crossed over to admire the Plaza de Toros.  Although I would never set foot inside to witness the tormenting of a bull, the building itself does command respect.

On the far shore, the flutter of umbrellas at a pavement café danced an invitation.  Crossing Puente de Triana, I admired the sweep of the river.  Would a table here be affordable, I wondered?  I cast my eyes over a menu or two.  Not too bad, and the view would be worth it.

I squeezed into a space, facing the river, with an hour just to contemplate the beautiful city before me, and all I’d seen and done.

I ate Flamenquins- ham and gooey, melted cheese in crispy breadcrumbs- no room for dessert.  Trailing a backward glance or two, I recrossed the river and followed it along the shore, towards my waiting coach.  It had been a delightful re-acquaintance with Seville.

If you missed my previous walk in Sunny Seville, you missed a treat.  No, not just the cakes, though they were good.  I met lovely Sue!

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Many thanks to all my wonderful contributors.  Walking is so much better with your company.  Join me any time, here on Jo’s Monday walk.  Newcomers and old friends, I always try to make you welcome.

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As I remarked to Drake, if I didn’t live in Tavira I could be very tempted by this place :

Modern old-fashionedness

The name has always delighted.  The place might have a little catching up to do, Debs :

Elephants and castles

We all have a long way to go to ‘save the planet’.  Here’s a reminder from Natalie :

Have you heard about the Float’em Garden?

Rain is a precious commodity, but too much or too little can cause real distress :

Jo’s Monday walk…a break in the rain

Candy shares some fine photos from northern Spain :

Walking around Astorga

Just look what Irene can see on the horizon!

Beyond the Dunes

Sometimes I get lazy about visiting other blogs, but I made a lovely find this week.  Lots of Azores posts :

Hiking the Azores: Along Levada do Serra do Faial

Ann Christine is thoughtful on Thursdays, but she also takes us to beautiful places :

A Walk with Aleksandr in Old Tbilisi

Walking is a great stress buster.  Sounds like Terri might need one or two :

Sunday Stills: Walking Through the #Calm Before the Storm

Meanwhile the Camino saga continues with Cathy :

(Camino day 43) Portomarín to Lestedo

There’s not much water about in Australia right now.  Share a little with Carol?

River Walk

Can you believe, it’s almost a year since I moved to Portugal?  Later this week I plan to conclude my series Living the Dream.  Hope to see you then.

 

Jo’s Monday walk : Sunny Seville, on a mission

Metropol Parassol

This is probably not the image that first comes to mind when someone mentions Seville, but it’s an image that grabbed my attention when I first saw it, back in 2011.  Metropol Parasol is familiarly known as Las Setas (the mushrooms) but it reminds me of a giant waffle.  Maybe I had breakfast on the brain, for the sun was just cresting the surrounding buildings as I walked all around the perimeter.  I settled myself at a convenient table in Grupo Sala to devour an avocado torrada, my eyes moving appreciatively from my plate to this surreal vision.

During mundane excavations in the Plaza de la Encarnación, Roman ruins were discovered.  Work came to a halt, but the finds can be seen in a museum beneath Metropol Parasol.  Sadly I did not manage to see these, nor to ascend to the walkway to look down upon the city.  I was much too early, and my wandering footsteps had far to roam that day.

A maze of calles weave Seville together, and at every second corner there appears an image of a saint, or a church.  I counted San Pedro and Santa Inés, Santa Catalina and San Andrés, San Nicholas and Santa Magdalena, San José and Santa Marta, all looking down on life with gravity.

Slow progress is made through these narrow streets.  The light and shade captivate, each alley and doorway cloaking in mystery the life within.  At a busy crossroads I hear the smart-stepping click of horses hooves, and am just in time to capture the smiling bride and groom.

Seville literally hums with life, an invitation to flamenco or a bodega awaiting everywhere in the heart of this city.  In Plaza de San Salvador the buzz of excitable Spanish conversation stops me in my tracks.  That and the sheer beauty of the square, glowing rosy pink in the sunlight.

But I have an appointment to keep, and must press on.  It’s Halloween and, forsooth, there’s a witch or two about.  It’s courtyards that entrance me, and the spellbinding rhythm of tapping feet.  A city of saints and sinners.

Ahead lies the prize.  The Giralda Tower, beckoning, from a distance.  Soon I am within touching distance, a little sad to see it swathed in scaffolding, but no matter.  I am here on a mission.

In a rooftop bar, overlooking the mighty cathedral, me and Sue (Words Visual) finally get to have that long conversation.

We watch the men at work on the scaffolding, and later there’s a passionate performance of flamenco.  An evening meal, with cake, of course!

You were worth every step of the journey, Sue.  Thank you so much for your lovely company.

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And thanks to everyone who’s walked with me this week.  It’s always a pleasure to walk with you.  Join me any time, here on Jo’s Monday walk.

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I was quite excited to see where Drake was taking me this week, because I’ve actually been there before :

Eight hundred year old icon

The challenge?  To make a power station look good in the rain.  Debbie’s up for it!

Not my usual south bank walk

When it rains, Jackie cooks or reads a book :

Morning Coffee

Meet Geanie, all the way from Utah!  I’m sure you’ll have fun together :

The Best Travel Destination Might be in Your Own Backyard

Irene always finds beauty close to home too :

Morning on the Marsh

I may be just a Stroller/sometimes Strider, but I love a little ambition in a walker.  Go Mel!

Camino Madrid 2020 – the nuts and bolts of walking in Spain

And Cathy, of course, with the challenge now behind her :

(Camino day 42) Sarria to Portomarín & ruminations (week 6)

Jude has been trying to tempt me with an English autumn.  Thanks for the memories, hon :

The Lanes in November

While Sandra was high up in Lisbon- great vantage points!

Miradouros in Lisbon, #Portugal

Finding a little magic in the Welsh hills, let’s finish with a lovely joyful walk with Becky :

Time travel in Wales

Next week I shall be continuing to walk through Seville.  Hope to see you then.  Meanwhile, take care.  Wishing you all a great week!

Jo’s Monday walk : Sáo Brás de Alportel, then and now

One Monday morning, earlier this year, I was wandering in the sleepy back streets of Sáo Brás de Alportel.  In a ruin mostly used for car parking I stopped to examine the remnants of old photos pasted onto the walls.   This is a town rich in tradition, where paper flowers are liberally used to decorate the streets at Easter time.  The scenes feature a quiet nearby street, the bombeiros or fire brigade, a local dance, and a lorry load of cork.  A museum in the town is dedicated to the cork industry, and piles of cork can often be seen drying in the surrounding hills.  The use of Monochrome can make a scene look ancient, but in Sáo Brás the past never seems very far away.

Until the council decided a change of image was needed.  New fountains on slick marble squares, and metal animal sculptures now grace the centre of town.  It’s surprising what a game changer this is.  The whole mood of the place is altered.

In the same way, replacing the colour in a photo with monochrome creates a change of mood.

It’s a gentle palette in Sáo Bras.  Washing adorns the wall as it must always have done.  Azulejo panels softly crown each doorway, predominately blue and white.  Modern art blends with old and crumbling buildings.  And in the countryside, bleached fields patiently await a turn in the season.

But it will take more than a few sculptures to separate Sáo Brás from its claim to antiquity.  You can follow a Roman road through the back streets of town.  And where better to savour that most traditional of Portuguese tarts?

My walk today isn’t at all what I intended, but I was having far too much fun on Saturday and left my camera and phone at a party.  I hadn’t downloaded my photos from last week’s adventure in Seville, so that will have to wait.  Not half so famous and a fraction of its size, but I think this little town in the Algarve hills has its own brand of charm.  I hope Patti will accept my contribution to the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge this week.

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Not too many shares this week, so please take the time to visit if you can.  Many thanks to all who participate.  Contributions are always welcome here on Jo’s Monday walk. Have a great week everybody!

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I love a leafy hollow in the woods.  Drake takes us speeding through :

Life beyond forestry

Natalie takes us through some very different woods to a beach :

Hiking the Tonquin Trail

Lots of leaves about this week.  Good to share a smile with Lady Lee :

The Weekly Smile for October

And linger a while with Irene :

Autumn on the Trail

A healthy splash of colour from Eunice this week :

Dublin street art

And a city I’d love to revisit.  West coast with Alice :

San Diego Waterfront- Seaport Village

How much do you know about Waterloo?  Denzil takes us through some of the history :

Walking the Battlefield of Waterloo

While Cathy is still on the Camino, but the end is in sight :

(Camino day 41) Triacastela to Sarria

Who doesn’t like to end on a high?  Thanks so much, Gilly  🙂

A glorious November day

I’m easing off this week after a slightly manic time.  Many thanks to all of you for following along and for your good wishes.

Jo’s Monday walk : Morgado do Quintáo

You might know, I spent time with my daughter last week.  Last year we managed to celebrate my birthday together, culminating in a rather lovely wine tour.  Happy to repeat the experience, if not the exact event, I searched for somewhere to wander through a vine or two.  Morgado do Quintáo, not far from Silves, provided the very place.

Following Google Maps, we thought we had the vineyard nicely pinned, but entry was not quite so simple.  Eventually we decided on some blue gates at the rear of the property, and a friendly voice over the intercom told us we were in the right place.  We followed a rough trail round to the farmhouse, and were delighted to find that we had company for the sampling.  An Irish couple and 2 young folk from Norway were waiting beneath the 2,000 year old olive tree.  Moments later our hostess joined us, and the tasting began.

We were sampling 3 wines, cultivated from ancient vines of Crato Branco and Negra Mole.  The vineyard was being brought to life, after years of neglect, with careful nurturing.  A wonderful spread of petiscos (nibbles) accompanied our wines, including bread, meats, local cheese, honey and delicious plum chutney.  The small businesses help each other out, more than happy to share their fine produce.  We chatted amongst ourselves, sharing our stories with each sip of wine, alongside the history of the grape.  An affectionate retriever made eyes at my daughter, when the owner wasn’t looking.  Just a morsel of meat? So hard to resist.

The wind was a little chill beneath the olive tree and I took myself off to play around with the flamingos bobbing on the pool, until it was time for the vineyard tour.  I love the russets of the vines at this time of year, the harvest safely stored.

It’s not a large enterprise, but they are hopeful that the business will grow.  If enthusiasm reaps rewards, they should do well.  The old farmhouse hides a wealth of antique machinery, and a wardrobe that seems to invite entry, for surely Narnia must be beyond those doors?

I gleefully acquired the last jar of plum chutney in the low key sales pitch afterwards.  Next year they will host their first wedding.  Already there is guest accommodation on site.  So easy to relax here with a good glass of wine.  I hope you enjoyed the experience.

Not too much walking this week, but I can always offer you great company.  As we drove off, the retriever lolloped alongside of us, his tail a golden plume in the setting sun.  I think we made a friend.

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Many thanks to all of you who stroll with me on a Monday, or any other day.  Feel free to join me here with a walk of your own, or simply enjoy the walks I share.  Details are over on my Jo’s Monday walk page.

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Let’s start with a very special walk with my Australian friend, Miriam.  Please do read and share :

Light the Night

Janet is back from a break.  Guess where?

Monday walk… in a French forest (again)

There are some good-looking cities around, and Lady Lee has enjoyed many :

Dusseldorf

Candy shares a less well-known but beautiful city, too :

Parks, walls and squares in Leon

Can you have too much of a good thing?  Jackie has her own view :

Thankful Abundance

Meanwhile, Drake can always make something out of nothing.  It’s a skillset!

Haphazardly around the corner

If you want to walk in the Lake District, Tea Bee will be your willing guide :

Hike to Haystacks, Lake District, Cumbria

And if you’re thinking of doing the Camino, Cathy has very many experiences to share :

(Camino day 39) Trabadelo to O’Cebreiro 

(Camino day 40) O’Cebreiro to Triacastela

A man after my own heart, Andrew- not to mention his lovely wife :

Travels in Portugal, A Wild River and a Cliff Top Walk in Odeceixa

And what can I say about Meg- my perfect companion :

Walks around home : October (Part 1)

Or Margaret, busy squirreling away for the winter :

(Almost) all is safely gathered in….

There are some places that simply weave a spell.  Share one with Ann Christine :

Thursday Thoughts – Tbilisi, A Feast for the Eye

That’s all for another week.  I hope you have a good one.  P.S No cakes today!  They’re all here.

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.