Nossa Senhora da Conceição

Jo’s Monday walk : Blessing the fishermen

Why is it that whenever I suggest an outing to an event, my husband looks at me with some scepticism?  Granted, we have struggled sometimes to be in the right place at the right time, but we usually do get there in the end.  So it was with the Blessing of the Fishermen, in Quarteira this month.

I’d be the first to suggest that Quarteira isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but there are some occasions you shouldn’t miss, if you can help it.  Nossa Senhora da Conçeição is the patron saint of fishermen and of Portugal.  Every year on 8th December an image of the saint is carried to the harbour for a blessing of the fleet.  I had read that this took place at 3pm.  Thinking to have a bit of a stroll first, we arrived soon after midday.  All was quiet, but as we approached the harbour I was excited to see that the boats were all decked out in their finery.  Blue and white bunting fluttered in the air, colours considered lucky by the fishermen.

Access to the harbour was restricted to fishermen and their families, but you could walk right out along the molho, the sea wall enclosing them.  Music and laughter drifted from many of the vessels.  A black cat looked on disdainfully, just one of many opportunists.  At the end of the molho, a shrine dedicated to Our Lady.

A blessing did not look imminent, so we retraced our steps past the compelling street art and into the older part of town, hoping to find a church.  A red carpet seemed like an invitation, but turned out to be a herring of the same colour.  Dilapidation mingles with the mundane in Quarteira.

Back on the lengthy promenade, it was time for a drink.  I won’t show you the enormous piece of chocolate cake my husband managed to consume, without any help, I hasten to add.  I had seated myself next to an elderly gentleman, gazing out to sea.  Waiting for the action to transpire, we had soon exchanged histories.  He was from Lisbon, visiting his daughter and keen to see this event for the first time.  Gradually people were assembling, small groups chatting and families with children, weaving in and out on scooters and skates.  On the beach, a few sun worshippers appeared oblivious, but most kept an eye on the sea.

Sure enough, at 15.00 the fleet began to leave the harbour, tooting horns and shooting flares high into the cloudless blue sky.  Excitement rippled through the spectators.  The shorter arm of the seawall made a good vantage point, and I munched on roast chestnuts as I watched and waited.  Finally all the boats were lined up.  More flares ripped through the air, and they were off, racing back to shore.

Boats from all across the Algarve had come to join in the celebration.  We waited until all had returned to harbour, uncertain of what, if anything, came next.  And, just as we’d decided to call it a day, around the corner came the procession, led by a slow marching band, the Senhora held aloft.

We realised that the procession had made its way along the promenade, while the boats paid their tributes out at sea.  We were swept along with the crowd for a while, turning back at the busy harbour, where the priest would be waiting to give his blessing.  An afternoon to remember.

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I hope you enjoyed sharing this with me.  It was such a joyful, warm atmosphere.  Advent here in the Algarve is lovely.  I won’t be sharing a walk next Monday as it’s Christmas Eve and you might well have other things to do.  I will be stopping by with good wishes for the festive season before then but, in case I miss you, have a blessed and peaceful Christmas.  Meantime, my thanks to everyone for your company.  Let’s share some walks!

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Mount Baker makes an awesome backdrop.  I know you’ll love Lynn’s beautiful photos :

A Little Farther Into the Woods

Alice stays close to home for this week’s walk :

The Farmer’s Market

But Jackie’s still in Spain.  I would have loved to visit Monserrat :

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Why not let Geoff show you a few scores?

The Earliest Place #Lowestoft #walking

Yay!  ‘Tis the season, and where better to view it?

Walking in a Victoria Wonderland

Drake shares the love of his life.  From an angle you might not have seen her!

Down on the corner

Come and listen to the birds in Denzil’s homeland.  He’s always full of good, practical advice :

Walking around De Maten in Limburg

I don’t think Cathy will ever run out of beautiful walks to share!

Canyon de Chelly: the White House Trail

On Mondays there are always murals over at Sami’s Colourful World.  Pop along and see, if you haven’t already.  Don’t be too busy to enjoy life this week.  Christmas will be here and gone before you know it.

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!

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk44_Polygon-Wood-Cemetery

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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.