Loule

Six word Saturday

Viva Mãe Soberana!  Viva  Mãe Soberana!

An emotional day in Loulé, last Sunday, celebrating the festival of Mae Soberana. 

For 15 years I’ve wanted to be a part of this ceremony.  The captions tell part of the story, but it’s a memory I hope will stay with me forever.

Impossible to share in Six Words, but I tried.  Viva Mãe Soberana!  Wishing you all a peaceful weekend.

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Six word Saturday

My last few Carnival Spiky Squares!

You can have too much of a good thing, but I couldn’t leave Loulé out of my Carnaval spikes.  No more- I promise!  But you’ll find plenty of Spiky Squares over at Becky’s place, and some excellent advice on Debbie’s Six Word Saturday.  Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Jo’s Monday walk : Chocolate time in Loulé

I’m feeling a bit naughty this week.  You’re always encouraging me to eat cake, so I thought I’d take you along with me to the annual, Algarve Chocolate Fair, in Loulé.  Any volunteers to help with the tasting?  I bet I can guess whose hand went up!

Pause for breath?  Please excuse the overload, but it was planned as a Valentine’s Day treat.  We’d better walk slowly now, while you nibble your chocolate.  (I did succumb to a very delicious dark chocolate bar, nibbed with crispy almonds, but I’m keeping that one to myself)

Loulé makes for very easy wandering, unless you happen to time it for Carnaval.  The main street was already being festooned with garlands, in readiness for the event in two weeks time.  We’ve been on numerous occasions, and my husband loves the political satire and the sparingly clothed dancing girls.  Me, not so much!  But it’s good fun and the youngsters love to get dressed up and join in.

I’m more interested in the beautiful, tiny church, tucked around the corner from the castle, Ermida de Nossa Senhora de Conceição.  The kind lady inside happily points out the main features of the azulejos, telling the story of Mary and Joseph and their special baby.  Just within the doorway, remnants of the town walls gaze dimly upwards, through a clear glass panel.

Downhill, past the castle and around silent Igreja Matriz, a small park looks out onto battered rooftops, and across town to the futuristic dome of Nossa Senhora da Piedade.  An elderly chap gazes quietly into space from his bench, while above a small boy gleefully climbs an ancient olive.

We’ve loitered in Loulé often before.  A gate through the old town wall leads out to a busy back street, rumbling with traffic.  Beside the gateway scowls an ancient pump, the surrounding streets an enigma of beautiful tilework, graffiti and skilled craftsmanship.  Ceramics and cork shops flourish and, from an open doorway, the sound of mallet tapping brass rings out.  I stop to admire a gleaming, burnished lampshade.

I was a little disappointed to find that no art was on display in the former Convento de Santo Antonio.   Hopefully restoration will continue and a further exhibition be set up for summer.  One last port of call.  I rarely visit Loulé without ascending to the heights, but this time we drove up the hill to Nossa Senhora da Piedade.  I hope to be there to see her carried from her sanctuary this Easter.

It’s a strange church, but I was quite taken with my last image- a reflection of the Sanctuarium on the window of the House of Candles.

The walks keep rolling in, so thanks to all who’ve contributed, and to those of you who take the time to read them.  Join me, whenever you can, here on Jo’s Monday walk.  I try to keep it lighthearted!

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Did you think we’d lost Meg?  Can’t keep a good woman down!  Showcasing a hodge podge of Australian architecture, in her own inimitable style :

Warwick heritage walk

‘My’ bit of the Coast to Coast walk, with Geoff and his Dad.  Great memories, beautifully written :

Walking With The Wind At My Back: Part Five #coasttocoast #walking

Natalie continues her adventures in Central America :

Boat trip on Lake Atitlan and Santiago Village

Pure delight for the eyes, this one from Susan :

Winter Walk Around Bodnant Garden in Wales

A quick zap of colour from Jackie this week :

Monday Mural

‘Sunshine, food and medicine for the soul’.  Irresistible, don’t you think?

Flower of the Day – Hellebores

A casual day out, enjoying the warmth, with Alice :

Skidaway Island Nature Trail

Irene is determined to make me shiver!

A Snowy Walk

While Elaine has captured the most beautiful dragonfly shot, despite very murky weather :

A dragonfly and a fish out of water

Architecturally beautiful, and sunny!  Debbie’s post couldn’t be more different :

Wandering in Vilafranca

Ever been to Queens, New York City?  Let Lisa show you around :

Jo’s Monday Walk

Iceland is on most people’s wish list, isn’t it?  You might know Drake had made it!

Reykjavik, up north

The Algarve, not so much, but it certainly suits me and Becky :

A meander through Faro

Carol shares a wonderfully atmospheric snippet of Toronto’s history :

Sensing the Past

While Jude revives a memory or two of her own, in Ludlow :

A Ludlow Walkabout

And Eunice takes us back through Bolton’s history, in 3 parts.  Know about the elephant connection?

Visiting the museum (1) – Elephants & Egypt

Finally, Cathy shares a garden that Jude would just love to be let loose in!  And I’d love to join her :

A stroll around Moab

Worn out, again?  Must be all that chocolate.  It was good fun though, wasn’t it?  Have a great week and see you next time!

Six word Saturday

Loving Christmas time in the Algarve

I’ve been seriously neglecting Becky’s Square challenge this month, but time marches on and it’s almost time to wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

I’ve seen Aldeia dos Sonhos (the children’s Village of Dreams) in Loulé, a tree made of recycled plastics in São Brás de Alportel, and one decorated with firemen’s boots in Faro.  I’ve hunted down Presépios (Nativity scenes) in towns and villages all across the Algarve.

Perhaps I’m biased but I do think that Tavira’s lights are the best I’ve seen.  Square, or not so square, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

Wishing you all the joy of the festive season.  And let’s hope the year ahead is kind.  I will be whizzing around the UK, so no Monday walk for me next week.  But I’ll be home in the Algarve for New Year.  Hope to see you then.  Meantime, don’t miss Debbie’s beautiful six words.

Jo’s Monday walk : Loitering in LOULÉ

I always try for variety in my walks.  Sometimes I have to look back to see where I’ve taken you, as was the case with Loulé .  The attractive tile panel of the Arab market, shown above, was hidden away in a Pingo Doce supermarket. (I was looking for a birthday cake at the time, strangely enough)  Loulé is one of those places you can go when the Algarve weather is not all that you might have hoped for. (yes, it happens!  Though not often, in my experience.)  There’s always something of interest to see and do there.

Despite the urban sprawl, it has a rather elegant old quarter, resplendent with calçadas, so I’m sure my friend Madhu would enjoy it.  Billowy panels fluttered above the streets, evidence that it had been consistently hot and sunny.  Meandering on Rua 5 de Outubro, I had an urge to go and see Nossa Senhora da Piedade.  It’s an uphill climb to the church, but I think it’s worth it.

As luck would have it, I was diverted before I could even begin my climb.  A banner on the side of a church building proclaimed the closing days of an art exhibition, by João Garcia Miguel.  A smile from the receptionist, just inside the doors of Convento de Santo Antonio, invited me inside.

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But what an extraordinary sight greeted my eyes.  I’m afraid the art exhibition took second place.  The central nave of the church had been restored, in a plain and simple style, while retaining the crumbly but beautiful arches and alcoves of the side chapel.

A solitary, beautiful fresco vied with the artwork.  The most joyful experience!  The cloisters were barriered off and in poor condition, but restoration appeared to be ongoing.  I will return, for sure.  But first, a hill for us to climb…

I won’t dwell too long on Nossa Senhora da Piedade, as we’ve been there before, but I’m sure you can see the attraction.  The tiny chapel was built in 1553, almost survived the earthquake of 1755, and has been restored in all its exquisite detail since then.

Overshadowed by the huge dome of the 2oth century addition, you might never know this chapel exists, but it’s been bringing the crowds here for the Easter procession since the 16th century.

I must have had my religious head on that day because, wandering back into town, I found myself drawn to Nossa Senhora da Conceição.  Sitting in a quiet corner on Rua Paio Peres Correia, there’s often a queue outside this small chapel with its beautiful 18th century azulejos.  I was lucky!

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So many riches in my walk today!  I think we’ll just tootle past the bandstand and head for home.  But, wait a minute!  I’ve not treated you to cake lately, have I?  Better put that right.  Please, be my guest!

I hope you enjoyed returning with me to Loulé today.  Next week I plan to take you to Cascais, on the Lisbon coast.  A change is as good as a rest?

Thanks so much for the lovely response I got last week.  I’ve got some great walks to share, so let’s get that kettle on and settle in.  Join me with a walk of your own any time.  Details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.

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Anabel starts us off with a walk around a delightful Scottish island I’d never even heard of!

A walk round Kerrera

Cathy wanders in all sorts of fascinating places.  Some day I’ll catch up!

A walking tour of Pest & a confusing (but fun) visit to the szechenyi thermal baths

And closer to home :

Maryland Heights : the Overlook Cliff Trail

This week Jackie is being disgustingly lazy.  I know- I’m jealous!

Tutti Frutti

And Ellen only breaks into a saunter now and again :

Going for a Crazy Cabbagetown Walk/Atlanta, Georgia, Pt.2

Not our Sue, though!  Energy is her middle name :

Irish Cliffs of Moher and Selfie Shenanigans

Hikeminded!  Isn’t that a great name?  I hope you’ll read her post too :

Berlin Day Hike : Fallen Leaves in Blumenthal

I think Carol deliberately set me up with this one.  May not be quite what you expect :

Roaming in Roma

Shazza stays close to home, and braves the weather :

A waterfall walk in the Dales

And talking of weather, these seas look awfully cold, Drake!

Traveling boxes

Australian beaches are a sight to behold, especially in the company of Meg  :

Eurobodalla beaches : Josh’s Beach

Woolly tells me that there are more than 2,500 Commonwealth War Grave cemeteries on the Western Front.  So much sadness!

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Come boardwalking in the sunny south with Pauline!  It’ll set you up for the week ahead :

Joining Jo on a Monday walk

Another sunny city that I’ve always wanted to see (and don’t miss the Transporter Bridge)- thanks Cadyluck Leedy!

Jo’s Monday Walk: Bilboa, Spain

That’s it for another week.  I have my last pre-Christmas walk with my walking group today, so I expect mince pies will follow.

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An explosion of colour and fun

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After flirting with Monochrome this week, I though it time to inject a little colour into our lives.  It seems ages since I waved and cheered with the crowd as the Carnival floats passed me by in Loule, but it’s only a couple of weeks.  After 110 years of celebrating the event, this Algarve town really knows how to party.  Can you shimmy?  Or make like a pirate?  Or maybe, be a mermaid?

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Whatever you choose, you need to be good with paper flowers, and happy to smile and wave for three hours.  That’s a lot of waving!

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There’s always a Pierrot, and lots of dancing girls.  The children are spellbound; many of them in costume and eager to be a part of it all.

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There’s a large political element to the whole festival.  The Portuguese love an opportunity to have a ‘dig’ at their politicans and celebrities.  They have a valid point because money is very hard-earned in this country.  But this is a time of celebration and it’s all done in a wonderful, family oriented spirit.  And, of course, there are a few jiggling ladies for the dads.

The pirate theme is highly appropriate.  Most people would agree that politicians rob and plunder.  And if all else fails, there’s always Pinocchio.

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I hope you enjoyed your trip to this year’s Carnival with me.  Next year, maybe come along and we’ll party?

Meantime, it’s the weekend again.  Hoping you’ll have a good one.  Don’t forget to pop in on Cate at Six Word Saturday.  And save some energy to come walking with me on Monday!

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Six word Saturday

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Carnival, for old and young alike

As always happens, I came back from Tavira with far too many photos and far too much to do!  But I couldn’t let Six word Saturday pass without a wave from the kids at this year’s Carnival.  I was a little greedy this year because we were there throughout the Carnival period, which starts with a children’s parade, on the Friday before Shrove Tuesday, in most of the towns and villages.

The main event in the Algarve takes place in Loule, where this year 110 years of Carnival were celebrated.  I managed to go there on the Saturday and happily rain kept away for the day.  Sunday in the small town of Sao Bras de Alportel was fine and sunny.  On Shrove Tuesday the weather was less kind, but I managed to catch a few shots over the tops of the umbrellas in the village of Moncarapacho. We’d been walking that morning but I was still in the mood for some samba.

No one is left out-  young, old or disabled, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve money to spend or not.  Long may it continue!

I have some shots of the fabulous Carnival floats, but no time to post them here.  I’m off to zumba and, later today, some real excitement!  I have a ticket to see Vincent Sirmione and Flavia dancing in their Last Tango show.  Fans of ‘Strictly’ will know how happy that makes me.

I hope you have a great weekend and can find time to join me for a Monday walk, when I’ll be taking you to see some beautiful almond blossom.   

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