Jude is hoping for dramatic sunsets this week. They tend to be gentle around here. But I know that this is a scene beloved of Becky.
I like a fishy story. Don’t you? Truth to tell this one isn’t much of a story at all, and it’s not what I had intended to post. But if you can’t be spontaneous in your own space… well, it’s a poor show! It all started with a seahorse…
‘Let’s go to Olhão!’, I said. ‘There’s a new seahorse sculpture and some net things up in the streets’. What more of an invitation do you need? The Ria Formosa, just offshore from Olhão, is known for its seahorses, and you can take a very delightful trip over to the sandbars to hunt for them. Stuff of dreams? A little less exciting, the sculpture, looking out to sea.
But Olhão is one of those ‘love it, hate it’ places. Full of character, if you want to be polite. Desperately shabby in the back streets, but in the process of acquiring a shiny new waterfront for the visitors. The marina is always a treat, as you watch the boats to and fro-ing to the islands, but the riverside gardens are currently being torn up and replaced. Hopefully they will retain some of their character, and the wonderful azulejo benches. So uncomfortable to sit on, but beautiful to behold. But we’ve not come to sit, invitingly though the icecream van flutters its eyelids at the tables beside the water. The Arab quarter is always beguiling, so long as you don’t mind getting a little lost in the narrow tumble of streets. Spot the whale on the roof? No, I didn’t see it either at first.
I’m heading for the pedestrianised shopping area- not to shop, but this is where I think I might catch a fish or two. And certainly some street art!
Olhão has a fair claim to being the street art capital of the Algarve. The work depicting the fishing industry is among my favourites anywhere. But finally I find what I’m looking for, and yet it still comes as a surprise. Fish cavort above my head, darting through nets and flipping their tails. ‘Linda‘ says the sign over the shop- beautiful- and I have to agree.
I wander along, snapping and exclaiming, until I come to the main church square, where an exhibition catches my eye. I read the text and take a pic or two, and then I notice that the other half is staring skywards. He’s spotted the storks. Attention completely diverted.
I circle around the building, happy to find so many at home. Did you notice the time on the clock? I did, simply because at 3 on a Saturday afternoon I usually attend a Zoom meeting with some lovely ladies. Some of you will know that Becky spends most winters here in the Algarve, and that Olhão is her home of choice. I wondered if she might like to share the moment.
Back we wandered to a favourite café, with a ringside view of the leaping life above our heads. All was quiet in the heat of the afternoon. At weekends in summer the Portuguese go to the beach, leaving the towns strangely empty. Though empty in these days is not so strange! We settle at a table, with a refreshing wine, and I make the call. ‘Would you like to come for a walk?’ And so I retrace my steps, waving my phone at the sky in the hope that they might see the fish, and maybe a stork or two.
I did promise you a fishy story. I hope you weren’t disappointed?
And now some shares! A lucky dip into my ‘likes’ introduced me to Helen. Please stop by and say hello?
Drake has his own individual take on life, and he always makes me smile :
I always like to share stunning photos, and these from Mercedes are beautiful :
Rupali shows us the beauty of her world :
And Indra takes me to a city I’ve always wanted to visit :
Anabel is rightly proud of her heritage, despite ‘dreich’ weather :
While Margaret juggles with words :
And Natalie joins in with my fishy theme :
Becky and I share a love for the same places :
A bit of an aberration with the print in the shares! Made me rather late publishing today. Apologies if I’ve missed anybody. It’s not so easy keeping track right now. Too many distractions. I won’t be walking with you next week. It’s seriously hot! Enjoy your summer/winter/life! See you soon.
Something to always bear in mind when walking around our salt marshes is that they are tidal. In a spirit of adventure, just after Christmas, I set out to explore the stretch between Fuseta and Olháo, entirely overlooking this fact. In my defense, I was following the Algarve Cycle Trail and hadn’t envisioned that crossing water would be an issue. On a glorious, sunny morning, I caught the train to Fuseta A (there are 2 stations in this small village, and the other one isn’t Fuseta B!) A right turn will take you past the former fishermen’s houses and onto the coastal path.
Out in the bay the former coastguard station looks on without comment. It’s a calm and peaceful scene, many people having not yet returned from the holiday. Birds wander, pecking and poking in the shallows, completely undisturbed when the occasional cyclist passes by. The railway line also follows the coast, with minimal impact. The colours of the heather are a lovely contrast in this sometimes dowdy landscape.
As often happens, a signpost throws confusion into the calm, either direction appearing to lead to Olháo. The longer of the two, though interesting, doubles back on itself, but not before I have spotted the nesting storks, a rather endearing frog and a hoopoe.
Now it may seem a little early, but the sun is very warm and a decision is needed. The perfect place to make it presents itself, a small restaurant, ‘O Farol’. Does anyone mind a cake stop? His and hers, of course! Mine is the almond tart.
Decision made, we head in the general direction of the coast, hoping to be able to continue around the bay to Praia dos Cavacos. And as luck would have it, we’re able to tiptoe around the edge of the sand and reach a boardwalk that looks quite new. The surrounding buildings are unconventional, and ornamented with some rather wonderful artwork.
We are never out of touch with the quiet salt pans, which breathe life into this landscape. You may have thought it all going swimmingly (bad choice of words 🙂 ) but a slight hiccup is just around the corner.
The railway track, which has followed us so patiently, decides to leap a gully full of water. We shake our heads. It’s too big a leap for human legs. A family of cyclists approach from the direction of Olháo. When they passed this way earlier the tide was out. Bravely they hoist their cycles and cross the precarious track. The alternative for us is a very long walk, so we grimace and hasten across the gap. My heart is thudding. If a train should suddenly appear… but minutes later we are in the heart of the nature reserve known as Quinta de Marim.
The plan was to skirt this park, and stay close to the campsite at Olháo. But it’s simply a relief to be across the water.
The tidal mill is a beautiful sight at high tide. It has not been operational since 1970, but the equipment still looks ready for action. I clamber up to the roof and look out across the water, to the low-lying barrier island, Armona.
The sun is low in the sky as we finally reach Olháo. The contemporary theatre, itself a converted mill, stands in sharp contrast to the crumbling facades of neighbouring buildings. Oblivious, the birds cavort on a high wire above. Soon all trace of Christmas will be gone.
For us, it’s time to catch a train home. If you should happen to repeat this walk, be very aware of the tide times. And meanwhile, many thanks for accompanying me on the adventure that is the new year.
Not too many walks to read as you get back into a routine. Join me any time here on Jo’s Monday walk. The welcome is always the same.
Janet has enormous fun in a museum!
And we all know that Jackie never lets the side down :
No place like home, but Drake is happy to hang his hat in a number of places :
While Sandra takes me back to one of the most beautiful places I have ever been :
Irene shares the beauty of a beach in winter :
And Indra, the lush landscape of :
In stark contrast, Karen takes us to Australia, where heat is a killer. Do please donate something, if you can :
Candy combines a history lesson with a great walk. I had no idea!
And Cathy takes us back to a very beautiful mosque :
Happy New Year to anyone I’ve missed. Onwards and upwards!
Some weeks I have no idea where to take you. After all, there are only so many hills I can drag you up and down in search of cake, aren’t there? So, I thought we’d take it fairly easy this week and hop on a boat. Always my default setting. You might recognise the marina at Olhão, above.
With 20 minutes of smooth calm sailing, you just about have time to say goodbye to the mainland before you’re approaching Culatra, one of the Algarve’s barrier islands. You can leap off at the first stop, or continue along the shoreline towards the lean white lighthouse at Farol. There’s a small village at either end of the island and, after a meander through the cluster of villas and shacks, you can slip off your shoes for a paddle.
It looks like somebody’s been shipwrecked here! Still, with a ferry every couple of hours, rescue is pretty certain. It’s a long swim to Fuzeta!
Paddling done it’s time to cross over the boardwalk and pootle about with boats. I’ll not spend time lingering among the narrow alleyways, charming though they are. If you remember, we had a good look around last time I brought you here. A lot of work is going on, laying new paths on the island, so maybe change is afoot. Hopefully nothing too drastic!
It doesn’t always pay to nose around. I almost fell foul of this little creature. He was sitting innocently beside a boat, when I unwittingly invaded his territory. Leaping and snarling, he made quite sure that I wasn’t up to no good. I beat a hasty retreat, making what I hoped were soothing noises.
The seagulls were completely indifferent but a couple of small boys playing football were highly amused. I raised a cheer when I lobbed their ball back to them, over a fence. Kids here lead a simple life. In warmer weather they become water babies, diving off the pier again and again, to the cheers of their mates, and swimming like gleeful fish.
On board again, we chug back across the water. Entertainment is provided by some fellow passengers feeding the gulls, which swoop and perform aerobatics to snatch the bread. In no time we’re ashore and strolling along the quayside, seeking refreshment.
We find it down an inviting passageway. Such a nice reward for a minimum of effort. Healthy, too? I hope you enjoyed sharing.
More great walks this week. Do find time to read them, please. You might make some new friends. And if you can, join me next week on Jo’s Monday walk? You know I like a bit of company.
Cathy honoured me with a link to her Camino walk last week, but I missed it. Please don’t!
And sometimes she takes me places I’ve never even heard of! Who says blogging isn’t educational?
I’m always in awe of her photography, and jealous of the places she’s been. Thanks so much, Debs!
You can share anything on my walks… and Drake often does! 🙂
Denzil is right on my wavelength. A peaceful riverside walk with a castle or two :
When she’s not eating, she’s shopping! Always good fun with Jackie :
All the way to Guatemala next, with Natalie :
Lisa’s taking us on one of her favourite walks, by the Hudson river :
A short walk with a stroller sometimes suits Alice :
While Irene cheers us with ice blue (and a warm coat and scarf!) :
Snow can look so pretty, but I’m keeping a safe distance! 🙂 Thanks, Eunice :
Ending with Susan, and some fascinating memories of her time in the Peace Corps, and a very different world :
Have a great week, everybody! Me? I have another week of walking, t’ai chi, stuttering along in Portuguese and hopefully more lovely sunrises.
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!
Closely followed in the happiness stakes by Drake :
And this one from Emma, just because I like it. We share fond memories of Tenby :
Robin has a nice touch too. Not too far from my doorstep :
Back to basics, with Jackie :
Never heard of this place, but Lady Lee is very well-traveled :
Less exotic, but very nicely presented by Anabel :
And here’s Shazza, on the hunt for Spring. I do hope she finds it soon!
But fairies would do very nicely. Lots of rich detail in this, from Theresa :
Can you believe I’ve never been to Rome? Never mind- Jaspa can show us the ropes :
Not so far away, Cathy has one last romp on ‘In search of a thousand cafes’ :
And Denzil finds much to give pleasure in the city of Antwerp. Check out the escalators!
Meanwhile, Pauline does a fabulous job of capturing the wild waves :
And Becky does a fair job on remembering the names of flowers. Much better than me!
I’ve joined Candy on her explorations before. You should enjoy this one :
Recently featured in Inntravel’s ‘Slow Lane’, meet Luke and Nell, in this part of the world that I love :
And finally, Carol takes us caving. There are some beautiful shots here!
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!
It’s impossible not to be dragged into one of Becky’s challenges, isn’t it, no matter how gloomy you may be feeling? I only wish I had a Mad March Hare, though I probably shouldn’t have said that. Someone’s sure to come up with one.
Go on! Take part! It only takes a few minutes to find a March Square.
I’m going to be a bit lazy for my first walk back with you. After all, I’m still in the Algarve, nominally on holiday, but in fact testing out a new lifestyle to see if it suits me. Many of you won’t be surprised to find that it does. I have taken you to Ilha da Culatra before, but my Stroller friends were going there recently and I just had to tag along. I’m sure you’ll see the attraction.
Culatra is an island of fisherfolk, but it doesn’t spurn the attention of tourists or beach worshippers who make the effort to cross over from the mainland. I regularly promote Enjoy the Algarve, a monthly online magazine full of fascinating events and details. Culatra features briefly this month and I thought you might like to see a little more.
Embarkation from Olhão is an easy affair. Ida e volta will get you a return ticket. We chose to disembark at Farol, the second port of call on this long, barrier island, guarded by a strut of a lighthouse with a red cap.
Weaving between a few cottages and a restaurant, almost immediately you reach the beach.
I couldn’t decide quite what the waves were jumping so playfully over, but they held me captive so that I had to scoot to catch up with the others. Of course, you can linger at the beach for as long as you like, but the walkers are single-minded folk and food was a top priority. A boardwalk turns inland, leading back to the village of Culatra, the first port of call.
To escape the heat of the sun there are several restaurants. As usual I was more interested in my surroundings than food, so I grabbed a quick bite and set off again with my camera.
It’s a very basic lifestyle. Sand and sea rule and necessities have to be shipped from the shore. As I’m writing this a thunderstorm is rattling overhead and I know that the islands are in the frontline for inclement weather. Hard to imagine on a day like this, but I’ve heard this ocean roar.
There’s an element of scruffiness that doesn’t suit everybody. No manicured greens to tee off on here. But I was highly amused to find, right by the water’s edge, a miniature football pitch. Evidence of another Portuguese passion!
And then it’s time to make for the ferry, wending back past ochre houses, idle bikes and always a twist or two of flowers.
The still calm waters of Olhão await, Becky. No changes yet!
I hope you’ve enjoyed being back in the Algarve with me. I still have another week or so to go. My daughter joins me on Sunday so I expect to be quite distracted but I’ll try to post another walk next week, and keep up with comments on this one. Take good care till then!
Please find time to check out these walks, if you haven’t already done so. Many thanks to all of you for your loyalty and support, even while I’ve been absent. Special thanks to Meg and to Jude for lovely birthday surprises for me.
I am a huge admirer of this lady’s work, so thank you very much for joining me, Debbie :
Another lady who always produces beautiful work. Take yourself strolling with Susan :
I wonder what Jackie might have cooked up this week?
There’s nothing like good company on a walk. Tobias has a style all his own, and I love it :
Candy takes me to parts of Brittany I didn’t even know existed :
There’s much more to Birmingham than meets the eye, and you can rely on Becky to find it :
What’s Woolly been up to? Keeping very busy!
Carol explores her own backyard, but Australia’s a big country :
I do love a garden, and Cadyluck Leedy has a really fine one to share :
And a place I’ve always wanted to visit :
Why not try it Marsha’s way? The scenery is beautiful, even if the company is grumpy :
I wouldn’t have expected to miss fog, but Jude’s walk on misty Bodmin is hauntingly lovely :
And finally, Kaz gladdens the heart with a gazillion, glorious jacaranda!
Much love to you all from my sunny Algarve home. See you soon!
I’m turning the tables on Becky this morning and putting my own slant on one of her walks. Exploring the delightful Legends Way will supply all the details you need, so I can quite simply enjoy myself.
The Algarve abounds in legends. In Olhão they have been brought to life in sculpture. The stories are a little naive, but no less lovable for that. Alina and Abdala, above, are star-crossed lovers in the traditional sense, and I love the way that her hair flows around him.
I started my wanderings (with Becky, I might add, but more of that later) at the beginning of Caminho das Lendas, or Legend’s Way. I paid due attention to the maps but, inevitably, then followed my nose. The little chap above was one of my favourites. So poised and graceful in the way that young boys have, with a ball at their feet.
Beware who you invite into your game though. He might just bewitch and spirit you away! It’s such a ‘lived in’ looking place, Olhão! The ravages of time have certainly got to some of it but you could be kind and describe it as full of character.
I really don’t much care for the Boy with Big Black Eyes, so I couldn’t resist having a little fun with him. I thought I looked my best all wobbly, but he doesn’t look very amused, does he? Distinctly bad-tempered, in fact!
The next character struck me as rather sorrowful, but who wouldn’t be, if swallowed by a whale? The wonder of it is that Arraul survived! But I’m glad that he did as he allegedly created the sand barriers that protect the Algarve to this day.
There’s one other character you ought to meet, but I was feeling rather wilful and the boats moored in the marina were demanding my attention.
Bom Sucesso, the caravel that sailed the Atlantic to Brazil, always draws my admiration. I usually meet Becky close by here, her husband Robert having cast a discerning eye over the day’s catch in the fish market. Both are lovers of fish and they had a treat in store for me. I’d been hearing about Vai e Volta and was keen to try out this ‘all you can eat’ fish restaurant.
For just 10 euros, the fish kept on arriving! I sampled salmon, sea bass, sardines, and tuna among others. It all depends what the boats bring in that day. In addition there was delicious cornbread, salad, potatoes and a tasty dip. What more can you want? Simply amazing for the price! And don’t forget to ask for the sweet menu, especially if you like carobs and figs. I would show you, but I was so full that I was sharing mine with the other half. I daren’t stop to take the photo, else it disappeared! I’ve given you the link to their Facebook page to help you find your way there. Not everybody is lucky enough to go with Becky!
I almost forgot to mention Floripes, a voluptuous lady in white who was stranded far from her Moorish home.
That’s it for legends, and back to boats! I never can resist them for very long.
The sun was starting to set and it was time to leave. In writing this I had cause to look back at O is for Olhão and remember what a very interesting maritime history this Eastern Algarve town has. It’s well worth a visit.
Legend of Marim
Lovers entwined in metal
Lost to the river
Feeling quite poetic. Must be time to put that kettle on and read a few posts!
Thank you so much for keeping me company on my rambles. It is very much appreciated. I’d love you to join me with a walk of your own and it’s very easy to do so. Details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page. Please find some time to visit these walks. You won’t regret it!
I’m always thrilled when a great photographer joins my walks! Thank you, Tobias!
That bit of blue makes all the difference, and it’s beautiful where Eunice lives :
Lady Lee keeps on coming up with places on my list of dream destinations :
A friendly chat in Dollar and a money mushroom. That’s what I call value, Anabel :
What’s that about diamonds and best friends? Sadly, Woolly can’t afford these!
Jackie doesn’t think money matters in Vegas. It costs nothing to look, after all!
On the other hand, safaris don’t come cheap. But just look at what Geoff got for his money!
It’s always an artistic look at life with Jesh :
People will keep showing me fabulous places I’ve never been! Thanks, BiTi 🙂
Part of Hanna’s personal history, I loved this walk with her :
My friend Drake knows a thing or two about Vikings, past and present :
I always like to share pretty places, and Rosemay seldom lets me down :
Splendid isolation with Paula, another very special photographer :
And just in case you didn’t follow the link earlier on, here’s lovely Becky!
I think I’ll be back to grey skies and an English walk next week. You’ve been warned! Have yourselves a great week.
What made you happy this week?
I was very slow to warm to street art, but an hour or two last year in the Algarve’s graffiti capital, Olhao, finally convinced me. It can transform the ugly and unloved. If you haven’t seen any of Dario Silva’s work, you might like to follow the link to Olhão.
Kazimierz, in Kraków, is another of those ‘grungy’ areas where imagination has been allowed to roam. Who wouldn’t be happy ‘Singing in the rain’?
This little lady gazed artfully at me from a shop doorway in Faro. Using her womanly wiles to sell. I resisted, but she caught my attention.
Paula’s theme of Urban Art in Thursday’s Special gave me the opportunity to post something that made me very happy. In Drama in the Streets I was drawn to the striking lady figure, who seemed to recall a painting in my memory. Try as I might, I haven’t been able to find her in the art world. If anyone has any ideas, I’d be grateful? But more importantly, have a happy weekend!
Dario Silva isn’t a name that I knew until recently. I’ve been seeing his handiwork around Olhão, in the Eastern Algarve, for a number of years, mostly on old and unloved buildings. A prolific street artist, in 2009 he was forced to stop using spray paint. The toxic fumes in the paint were damaging his liver. But you can’t keep a good artist down. “The street is my addiction”, he said.
In recovery, he turned to painting with a brush and water-based paints. It’s a much slower medium but it enables him to continue to paint. His work might once have been regarded as vandalism, but now the commissions are coming in and even the local council have embraced him. Many think that Olhão is a finer place for his intervention.
It’s virtually impossible to pass through Olhão without seeing Vivenda Victoria, in it’s abandoned state. It sits on the E125, at the hub of the town’s shopping area. Other works of art have started to mushroom in the most unlikely places, but you have to seek them out.
I had thought to include the street artworks in a Monday walk, but they straggle around some of the town’s less desirable parts, and that is surely the point. At times I felt a little intrusive, wandering with my camera through the back streets of Olhão.
I had intended to link this post to Thursday’s Special, which this week is themed ‘Abstract’. By definition abstract means divorced from reality. My images are rather a reflection of sad reality, but I would urge you to visit Suzanne’s wonderful post. It might set you thinking.
Do you have a favourite of these? Mine is still the boy with sad eyes.