#MarchSquare

Six word Saturday

From one little angel, to another?

I’ve had this sweet little Smile in my head ever since I saw Ben’s fun Weekly Photo Challenge.  I squared her for Becky’s March challenge but somehow she never managed to slip in.  I hope you’re all smiling this weekend.  If not, go and see Debbie’s Six Words!

Six word Saturday

Determined to finish what I started!

No, seriously!  I need to finish sharing my visit to Jerez.  The Cathedral is magnificent.  Originally a Collegiate Church, it wasn’t granted cathedral status until 1980, by the grace of Pope John Paul II, though the church itself dates back to the Christian conquest of Jerez, on 9th October, 1264.  Briefly the sky was blue, but I was eager to see inside.

Just inside the mighty portal, I was surprised to find a model of an industrious looking Jerez, and close by, not so surprisingly, an altar to John Paul.

There was a wealth of beauty wherever you looked, the cathedral extending theatrically in a sequence of rooms behind the main altar.

My only disappointment was climbing the tower.  I never can resist, but the spiral staircase led only to a grilled window, with a limited view.

Slightly more than my allotted Six Words, I agree, but I do hope Debbie finds this Joyful.  Wishing you all a blessed and happy Easter.  And, heaven’s above, Becky’s March Square is finally over!  Let’s eat cake!

Jo’s Monday walk : A rainy day in Jerez

Today I’ve got my map out, and am trying to make some sense of my collection of photos of Jerez.  Not always easy when you’re a ‘follow your nose, snap everything that catches your eye’ sort of person.  We were staying very centrally, in the historic quarter, and initially I thought this a poor choice.  Especially as we rounded a corner, to a row of houses propped up with giant sleepers, almost next door to our hotel.  Just how safe, and how scenic, was our ‘close to the cathedral’ accommodation going to be?  But I needn’t have worried.  La Fonda Barranco was warm and welcoming, and perfectly placed.  History was right on the doorstep, even if some of it did need a little shoring up.

As always, it was a case of orientating oneself, something I’m not especially good at.  I’ve usually just about got the hang of a place when it’s time to move on.  But I can tell you that we had a superb Ayuntamiento, and the stunning cathedral at our backs, along with a small army of sherry bodegas.  A myriad of narrow streets encouraged wandering, with seemingly an equal number of churches.

The hues are all beige, citrus lemon and ochre.  In Plaza del Arroyo, just around the corner from our hotel, I was already dumbfounded by the architecture, a crick in my neck as I gazed upwards at the elaborate twists and curves.

You might remember from my previous Jerez post, we arrived on Andalusia Day.  Entry to the museums was free, and we sought shelter from wind and rain in the Flamenco Museum.  Filled with art and music, the arresting courtyard at its heart is a shining example of many that I saw in Jerez.

Back on the glistening streets, it wasn’t long before we had to seek shelter again, this time in a most convenient cake shop.  Naturally!

There are always compensations.  We were caught out in the rain numerous times, resulting in a second visit to that cake shop.  The skylight at the rear of the cafe was leaking copious quantities into strategically placed buckets.  Undaunted, we tackled more cake!

More wandering brought us to the Santiago quarter, well known for its flamenco.  The ravaged umbrella dangling from a dustbin summed the weather up succinctly.  The Clock Museum would have provided an hour’s dalliance, with multiple tick-tocking, but the timed visits were for mornings only.  We’d missed the last performance at 13.15 so, with a wistful look at the grounds, we settled for an atmospheric bodega nearby.  I did stop to wonder who kept the heroic looking warrior supplied with crocosmia.

I could quite easily have entitled this post ‘Lost in Jerez’.  We had a tendency to make a 20 minute walk take an hour, but Jerez is a muddle of fascinating, if sometimes scruffy, streets.  The weather definitely played its part.  A Lonely Planet recommend had us seeking sanctuary in the church of San Miguel, where the huge wooden doors rattled as the wind howled outside.  Built during the 15th and the 18th centuries, its altarpiece, the work of Martinez Montanes, is among the most important works of the Golden Age of Seville.

A drum roll now for a sequence of March Squares, for Becky.  They should take me to the end of her challenge.  The Tinotto de Cielo, with a nod to sherry trifle, was particularly delicious.  The interesting menu at La Cruz Blanco included very tasty shrimp fritters and seafood lasagne too.

I still have the cathedral and the beautiful Alcazar to show you but they’ll keep, for the moment.  It’s time to put the kettle on, so you can settle down to read this week’s shares.

Many thanks to all of you who read and contribute to Jo’s Monday walk  It’s very much appreciated.  You’re welcome to join me any time.

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Almost certainly a step too far for most of you, but there are some beautiful photos here, from Arundhati :

How to turn One of Britain’s Best Walks into an Adventure

You don’t need photos so much as a little imagination, to walk alongside Susan :

Walking the “Sea Glass Festival”

And if you like a good time you can’t do better than to accompany Lady Lee :

Lovely weekend in Dusseldorf

Geoff has chosen to share a last bit of snow (I hope so!)  Keeping mine to myself :

Snow Doubt About It

We had joy, we had fun, we had… snowtime, with Drake :

Season in the sun

Eunice finds sunshine too.  And happy ducks!

A dog walk to Turton Tower

Smiling with Irene!  Reminds me of a Chuck Berry song, but that’s showing my age :

No place to go

Pauline is a lovely lady who likes to chat.  Wouldn’t you love to walk beside her!

Sonder…

And talking of lovely ladies, here’s another of my favourites.  Eloquence and history always mingle with Tish :

The Little Church By The Sea

Jude produces yet another garden from her bottomless archives!  Her flower galleries are exquisite :

Garden Portrait: Hergest Croft

And Carol dazzles with a beautiful display of abundance :

Two Gardens

That’s it for now!  I don’t have an Easter plan at present, and the weather looks uncertain at best.  Hopefully I’ll still be here with a Monday walk.

 

 

 

 

 

Jo’s Monday walk : Among the fisherfolk

I was all set to take you castanet rattling in Jerez today, but we had a strenuous week last week, didn’t we?  I thought a gentle amble round the latest addition to Olhão’s street art might be a better option.  Truth be told, I could easily have missed these, if it hadn’t been for Becky.  What would I do without her?  A mine of information, she saves me hours of research.  Murals with memories of the city gives details of the artists and how they came to work on this very engaging project.

Images of the sea always appeal to me, but the detail and realism of these bring them alive.  They were taken from a set of photos of life as it was in the canning and fishing industry in Olhão, giving them authenticity and vibrance.  While he was working, a lady asked to have a photo taken with the artist Pedro ‘Mistik’.  Her mother was featured in his painting and she had the original photograph at home.  I wonder if she was one of these?

The serious lady, or the one with the lively face?  Might she stand out in a crowd, or perhaps, be a supervisor?

What a source of pride the murals must be for the older inhabitants of Olhão!  The women, and their menfolk.  And their dogs, of course!

And then there’s the iconic fish market, where the catch is sold.  Close by, the lads still mend their nets.

But the days of the cannery are forever changed, wonderfully portrayed in all these capsules of time.

Four artists combined to create the work, bringing a new lease of life to these derelict buildings in Largo and Rua de Fábrica Velha.  The faces are so full of character, telling their individual stories.  They enthrall me.

It’s highly appropriate that the murals are close to Becky’s favourite fish restaurant in Olhão, Vai e Volta.  We haven’t really done enough walking to merit a meal, but they are only open for lunch, so we’d better pop in now and stroll a little later.   And no, that’s not my cake.  Blame Robert today!

I defy you not to be full when you come out.  And then a wander through Olhão’s atmospheric back streets just might reveal a March Square or two?

Five, I counted.  Thanks so much, Becky, for providing fun and hospitality, as well as all those facts.

As the lights go down on Olhão, I have heaps of walks to share this week.   Please find time to visit, especially if it’s someone you don’t know.  You’ll find some great reads.  I hope you’ve got that kettle on for a cuppa?

Pride of place, as promised, and a delight for you all!  Thanks, Jude!

Garden Portrait : Powis Castle

Closely followed in the happiness stakes by Drake :

Procession of Joy

And this one from Emma, just because I like it.  We share fond memories of Tenby :

Waiting for the Tide

Robin has a nice touch too.  Not too far from my doorstep :

The Cross

Back to basics, with Jackie :

What’s cooking?

Never heard of this place, but Lady Lee is very well-traveled :

Sihanoukville, Cambodia

Less exotic, but very nicely presented by Anabel :

A stroll round Lanark

And here’s Shazza, on the hunt for Spring.  I do hope she finds it soon!

Searching for signs of Spring

But fairies would do very nicely.  Lots of rich detail in this, from Theresa :

Following a river to a Fairy Glen

Can you believe I’ve never been to Rome?  Never mind- Jaspa can show us the ropes :

Wandering Rome, The Eternal City, at Night

Not so far away, Cathy has one last romp on ‘In search of a thousand cafes’ :

Our last day in Prague : old town & the Jewish Quarter

And Denzil finds much to give pleasure in the city of Antwerp.  Check out the escalators!

How to spend a day in Antwerps’s historic centre

Meanwhile, Pauline does a fabulous job of capturing the wild waves :

Cyclone Linda whips up the waves

And Becky does a fair job on remembering the names of flowers.  Much better than me!

The art of flowers

I’ve joined Candy on her explorations before.  You should enjoy this one :

Castelo Branco

Recently featured in Inntravel’s ‘Slow Lane’, meet Luke and Nell, in this part of the world that I love :

Rota Vicentina/2/Finding the Fisherman’s Way

And finally, Carol takes us caving.  There are some beautiful shots here!

Hidden Beneath

That’s it from the wintry north east of England.  Hope you enjoyed it and many thanks to those of you who took part.  Join me any time on Jo’s Monday walks.  You’ll be very welcome.  Have a great week!

I’d rather be in… Caldas de Monchique

You might remember the camelias from my Monday walk post? I thought I should finish that lovely day off, whilst it’s still in my head.  And those darned March Squares– there’s just no getting away from them, is there?

If you drive up the N266 towards Monchique, from the coast, you will pass the sign for the thermal spa, Caldas de Monchique.  It’s easier to turn off on the way up, but be warned- you mighty dally there longer than you had planned.  You also need to like gradients, but if you just want a flavour of the place you don’t have to climb much.  Set at the bottom of a valley, it’s in a world all of its own.

Better in Spring, the season of wistfulness here on the serra, because in Summer the spa becomes a popular place.  The path drops down to the main buildings, or you can follow a series of woodland paths, in and around the boulders.  The fonte chuckles to itself and, even on a not-so-sunny day, families will be having picnics at the shady benches provided.

Caldas de Monchique was a spa even in Roman times, and was once popular with Portuguese royalty.  The springs (caldas means ‘hot’) are at a temperature of 32C, and are used as a curative for rheumatism and respiratory problems.  The water from some of the springs is bottled.

The combination of Moorish styled main buildings and more rustic dwellings, in such a setting, seems to lend an element of fairytale.  It’s one that appeals to me very much.  I hope you like it too.

The storks?  If you remember, they line the roadside on the way to Monchique.  These are just two of many.  Where would I rather be? asks Krista.  Well, it’s not a hard question, is it?

Six word Saturday

Beautifully square, or not so square?

That seems to be the theme of my week so far.  In case you missed it, I raised a smile with a square on Thursday.  Today I’m going for beauty.  Becky is determined to turn our March Square.  Why fight it?  And, with a little thought, you can describe it all in six words.

Have a happy weekend!