Portugal

Jo’s Monday walk : Loving Lagos

It’s not often that I venture to the western end of the Algarve but, when I do, the city of Lagos is a particular favourite of mine. I knew that my daughter loved it too, from a fleeting visit about 10 years ago.  What better excuse did I need for a bit of footloose and fancy free?

The old side of town is a warren of twisting and turning switchback streets, with fleeting glimpses of interest as you whizz around a harepin bend.  Lisa commented that she was glad not to be in the driving seat, but we put our faith in my valiant other half, and eventually we found parking, way up beyond the castle walls.  I had not realised that they were so extensive.  Following our noses led us to an interesting wall or two of graffiti.

Truth be known, these days some of Lagos is a little bit tacky with touristy shops and restaurants- a victim of its own success and having some of the Algarve’s most inviting beaches.  But I can overlook a street or two that resembles Albufeira because this is a very engaging place.  It has history and beautiful churches, and it has character in spades, if you go looking.

Peeping between the narrow streets, the spires of several churches catch the eye.  I knew Santo Antonio by reputation, but was a little disappointed not to be able to share the astounding architecture and elaborately gilded wood with you.  Photographs were forbidden, but I did manage to find a link.  On the main square, Santa Maria was much less elaborate, but still beautiful.

Lagos has a history stretching back over 2000 years.  Originally a Celtic settlement, it was colonised by the Romans (as Lacobriga), valuable to them for its fine harbour.  When the Moors arrived in the 8th century, they added fortifications of castle and walls, and established trading with North Africa.  Henry the Navigator made Lagos the centre of Portuguese maritime explorations in the 15th century, the caravels venturing further and further south along the west coast of Africa, hoping to find a route to India.  In 1434 Gil Eanes succeeded in rounding the cape but sadly, within 10 years, the slave trade was established.  Lagos has the dubious distinction of having Europe’s first slave market.  Prince Henry received one fifth of the selling price of each slave, helping him to fund further expeditions.

With the death of Henry, Lagos continued to receive shipments of goods and slaves but its role was gradually eclipsed by the rising star of Lisbon.  A string of forts was constructed along the coast to defend from pirates and neighbouring Spain.  Among them, Ponta da Bandeira Fort, which sits so picturesquely on the headland.  From 1576 to 1755, Lagos was capital of the Algarve, but the earthquake of 1755 destroyed much of the old town.  Some of the castle walls remain but many of the current buildings date from 17th century.

Knowing my tendency to linger by the sea, I was allowed only the merest glimpse of the fort before being whisked away to lunch.  The lure of white sangria just about did the trick.  Over lunch we discussed ‘where next’ and Lisa made it a mission to find for me the landmark ‘green building’ which appears in many images of Lagos.  We were, of course, permitted to dawdle by the odd shop.  Ingenious use is being made of cork these days- everything from tiny purses to sandals, with jewellery and even clever fans.  Eye catching balustrades and tumbles of flowers were duly noted.

Lisa was following Google maps (isn’t technology a wonderful thing?) in a haphazard sort of way.  There were simply too many distractions.  Crossing Praça Gil Eanes I could see just a snippet of Ribeira Bensafrim, the river that pours out into the ocean.  We climbed gently and found ourselves in a square looking at a very colourful building, which proved to be the living science centre. ( Centro Ciência Viva de Lagos)

A restaurant terrace looked out onto the marina and busy river.  No sign of the desired ‘green building’ but, as we retraced our steps downhill, there it was in all its glory.  How had we missed it?  ‘Azulejos e postais‘- Tiles and postcards, as it is now known, on Praça de Luis Camoes.

Close up the tiles were very beautiful, and the owner was delighted to discuss the restoration of his building.  Mission accomplished, it remained to find our way back uphill to where we left the car.  I hope you loved Lagos too, and enjoyed our ramble together.

I’m back in the UK now, so hopefully ‘normal’ service will resume, but I may be a while catching up.  Thanks so much for your loyalty, and for staying with me.  Once again I have a bumper bundle of walks to share, so do please find time to visit these lovely folk.  And if you’d like to share a walk with me, just follow the logo.  Many thanks!

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Everybody should see this place once in their lifetime, so thanks, Lady Lee :

Santorini

While nobody does spectacular better than Debbie :

Slow and exposed walk along the Thames

Drake treated me to the warm glow of Autumn in a place that I love :

Colorful Autumn

And Elaine took me to her pretty home patch, too :

Early November walk by the canal

While Jill took me to a place that I’ve long wanted to visit :

Come explore Cadiz with me

And Cadyluck Leedy took me to an area that I don’t know at all!

Jo’s Monday Walk : Dinan, France

Liesbet has some spectacular photos, taken between house sits :

Southern Utah’s National Parks

And Violet takes me waterfalling

Inglis Falls

I did think Silly Back Lane an odd place name, but then I looked again.  Cheers, Jude!

Siblyback Lake

But then Woolly made me sad all over again :

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk43_Gibraltar-Bunker

There’s something so distinctive about French windows and shutters.  And about Tobias; style :

Beynac, Part One

Beynac, Part Two

I’m really enjoying  Carol’s ‘close to home’ series, with their wonderful details.  Just look at these trees!

BYO Birdseed

Becky’s cheating a little bit with this one :

Glass, iron and steel at Kew

But on Friday morning I was sitting right here, waiting for the ferry to the Ilha.  Sunny memories :

A short stroll at Quatro Aguas

I have a gazillion photos to sort, including those from Lumiere in Durham last night.  Amazing stuff!  It’s forecast a damp week so it looks like I’ll have time to spare.  Whatever you get up to, I hope it’s a good week for you.  Take care!

 

 

 

Jo’s Monday walk : Martinhal to Baleeira

Embracing the sea again this week, I’m in the far west of the Algarve, just before you reach the mighty cliffs of Sagres.  This somewhat lunar landscape is not at all what I’m accustomed to. (Is it just me or does the rock below bear a passing resemblance to a Storm Trooper?)

Yes, I thought so!  His smile’s a bit crooked and evil.  It’s a beautiful bay, reached from a turn off on the N125, signposted Praia do Martinhal.  A smart looking resort overlooks the beach, but nestled below is an agreeably casual restaurant.  Portuguese families have brought the children to Sunday lunch, and are chattering away like magpies.  

A small girl sits on the sand while Dad tussles with a kite, strongwilled in the offshore breeze.  Two fit-looking youngsters carry paddleboards down to the water’s edge, launch them smoothly and paddle away.  Out in the bay windsurfers zip to and fro, with varying degrees of accomplishment.  I simply watch.  The only activity I’m any good at is walking.

The other half has found a comfortable spot, sheltered from the wind, and I’m off round the headland to see what I can find.  A generous sweep of beach ends in more rocks, with a tempting path mounting to the cliff top.

I’m picking my way fairly carefully when I hear music and laughter.  A cautious peep over the cliff edge reveals a group of young folk setting up a barbecue on a slab of rock.  Someone has been very busy with a brush and a pot or two of paint.

Across the bay the towering cliffs of Sagres loom closer, and below them the fishing port of Baleeira.  There’s a small strip of beach at Baleeira which is also walkable from Sagres town.  A stiff breeze keeps the windsurfers scudding swiftly.  I look back to check how far I’ve come.  Not too far but it’s time to return and collect the husband.

Now, where did I leave him?

It’s not a long walk but, if you like to feel the breeze in your hair and you’re not afraid of heights, you might enjoy it.  This was a small part of my birthday celebrations and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I should be back to ‘normal’ next week.  I apologise if my visits to you are spasmodic.  I’m struggling with a poor Internet connection and I intend to enjoy the last few days of my Algarve time with my daughter.  Time together is very precious.  Meantime I have some great walks to share, so thank you everybody.

Tish seems to have found her very own path to paradise :

On the Path to Harakopio ~ Peroulia Dreaming 13

As strange titles go, I give full credit to Ellen for this one :

Going for a Crazy Cabbagetown Walk in Atlanta, Georgia- Pt 1

And Cathy’s is a bit of a tongue teaser too :

Budapest : The Great Synagogue & a stroll down Vaci Utca in Belvaros

Mari’s walk is a little more sombre, but no less beautiful :

A Walk on the Ramparts of Ypres

And Woolly commemorates the Australian deceased from World War II :

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk42_Windmill-Site

Roll up!  Roll up!  Step right this way to see Violet’s pink elephant :

A circus treat

I share some wonderful memories of Lucca with Jesh (and Gilly!)

TIME- Where did it go?

You can usually rely on Jackie for a…

Flourish!

I don’t have any grandkids to play with like Sandra, but I did borrow one recently :

Walk

Indra is sharing spectacular scenery in this week’s walk :

Bay of Fundy…. Magic on the Rocks

Kathrin loves to hike in the mountains.  This one sounds like a song!

Hike up Mount Umunhum

My lovely friend, Pauline, has been rambling in the Australian outback.  You’ll love her findings!

Kings Canyon, time to sketch…

And here’s some artwork from Susan that I know she’ll love too :

Hunting a City-wide Art Installation : Ai Weiwei’s Good Fences Make Good Neighbours

Have a great week everyone, and I’ll be back in England next weekend.  Once again, apologies if I miss anyone.

 

 

 

Restless by name, restless by nature

Restless?  Who me?  You could say that.  I don’t know quite when or where it all began, nor do I know when it will end, but I hope to enjoy it while I can.  It’s not as though I don’t have beautiful places to wander to.

It’s sometimes a blessing and sometimes a curse.  How is it that some people never have the urge to roam? (my husband being one of them)  I only have to see a boat moored up to be champing at the bit.  Take me with you!

Debbie set the theme Restless on her One Word Sunday challenge this week.  How could I possibly not join in?

 

Looking east in the Algarve

Branching wistfully

eastwards.  Tortured by the breeze.

Always in motion

I did say I was leaving my Algarve behind, but you can probably see why it’s hard to do so.  For Paula’s Pick a word in June  I am illustrating Branching and Continual.  For Gilly, a little haiku, because I miss her.  Thursday’s Special, isn’t it?

Six word Saturday

Light fades on another lovely memory.

It’s more than 6 weeks since I got back from Tavira, in my lovely Algarve.  Time to round up a few of those photos I never got around to sharing, and move on.   A new roof top bar provides a great overview of this beautiful place.

Up on the castle walls

Until next time…

Don’t forget to share your six words on Debbie’s little bit of fun, and have a great weekend.  I’ll be back on Monday with a very English walk.

Jo’s Monday walk : Odeleite, a beautiful disaster!

From one extreme to another, last week’s gentle look at village life to this week’s biting off more than you can comfortably chew.  Does this look like a promising start- the cemetery wall in Odeleite?  It was all downhill from here- a seemingly endless set of concrete steps, and yes, I did stop to wonder how I’d find the energy to climb back up them.  But all’s well that ends well, isn’t it?  There was a seat awaiting my return.

Odeleite is such a pretty village, as you can see, though not a little steep.  That morning I was surprised to find a skirmish of bikers, clad in leathers and revving their engines on a narrow terrace.  Much preferring the tranquil life, I moved on.

The first mistake was to follow an inviting sign.  My partner in crime has a nose for these things, so he tells me.  My mistake was to follow him.

The goat did try to warn us!  The water course looked very inviting, and with a picnic I could have lingered, but we had our walking heads on.

Now I have to confess that if things don’t go my way, I can get a little grouchy.  As we climbed the hill, away from the village and leaving the water far behind, I niggled a bit.  After all, we had set out to walk beside the water.  Or at least, I had!  But my persuasive other half insisted that route PR5 was exactly what we needed, and would bring us back to the river, in a loop.

A rock pool or two spliced through the charcoal stone and everywhere rock roses waved and bobbed at our passing.  Hard to stay grumpy in surroundings like this.  After half an hour of dips and rises, we came to a village called Alcaria, where things began to look promising.  It’s well known I can be won over by a glass, or two!

Tucked down a back street, casa do pasto Alberto’s had a couple of outside tables. Unfortunately it was Sunday lunchtime, and inside was heaving with locals, tucking in.  We managed a chunk of gooey meringue apiece, before sadly moving on.  We were about to make our next mistake. The choice was a 2km return to Odeleite or to continue on the PR5.  Blame the wine, if you like, but I found myself agreeing to the latter.

Did you notice that the sign said PR4?  Somewhere along the way we had left our PR5 behind. As we approached the river, a field full of sheep tinkled their bells at us.  We knew that we would have to cross the river to reach Odeleite, but where was the nearest bridge?

Some way distant, of course.  With great relief, we finally crossed a road bridge.  The sign read Foz de Odeleite.  Familiar territory!  At least, I recognised the restaurant.  Still quite a way to go to our destination, but the sky was blue and the scenery beautiful.  And I was following my river!

Over on the far bank we spotted the sheep we had passed earlier.  A tempting tumble of apples by a deserted farmhouse…  if I took one, would a dog race out, barking?  With serenity all around us, it was a shock to the system to find that trouble was lurking, just ahead.

A ford that we really hadn’t bargained for, and quite deep.  Retracing our steps was unthinkable, so it was off with the shoes and a slow, steady wade across, holding hands.  On the far side a Portuguese family watched, the small boy busy amusing himself.  Stones and rivers go together, don’t they, but he stopped play, open-mouthed, to watch our progress.

We dried off, and a sign pointed us directly towards Odeleite.  What could be easier?  Smiling cheerfully at the family, away we went.  Along with the cistus and lavender, tiny blue iris winked shyly at us.

Tired but hopeful, there was yet one more twist in store.  Always observant, my partner had realised that the river was flowing in the ‘wrong’ direction.  Increasingly doubtful, he wanted to go back, ‘just to be sure’.  Abandoning whatever good sense I had left, I returned with him to where the bewildered Portuguese family, fortunately, still remained.  Halting language, gestures and smiles confirmed what I already suspected.  We had been on the right track, and had to retrace our steps.

Eventually, we did make it back to Odeleite, after 6 hours of walking and at least 16km.  As we came into the village, it was immediately obvious the mistake we had made.  Isn’t it always?  We had started out in completely the wrong direction.  The walk we were ‘following’, Terras da Ordem, from the Walking Trails in the Algarve book, gave 2 choices of starting place.  Maybe we’d have been better off with the other! At least we didn’t have to climb those woeful steps.

If you’re feeling brave and want to try it, you need to scroll almost to the end of the website, to page 140.  And in fairness to the better half, we were at the junction of 2 rivers, as the map will show. Confusion all round!

Thanks folks, for following my weary feet.  Sometimes it’s not such a good idea.  I will struggle to respond to you today because very last minute plans mean that I am in Bristol as you read this.  I hope to have WiFi at some point, and if all else fails I’ll be home again late Tuesday. If I haven’t shared your walk this week, it’ll be here next Monday.  Kettle on now, and feet up, my happy band of armchair walkers!

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Becky, the laugh was on us!  One of these days we’ll walk together and I won’t get lost!

Nightingales in the Pomegranate Trees

Bavaria is so pretty, isn’t it?  Lady Lee spent a few days there :

Bamberg – The Changing Seasons

Jackie’s still battling the elements and having fun in California :

Day 3 So Cal- Monterey and Area

Woolly shows his serious side with an Anzac Day post :

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk17-Anzac-Day

While Drake has fun with a broken bus in Lancashire :

Wanna be free

Meg keeps me well supplied with beautiful beaches.  Tread carefully on this one!

Eurobodalla beaches : Plantation Point

It remains to say that I hope you had a great weekend, Bank Holiday or otherwise.  Words will struggle to describe mine.

 

Lazy Poet’s Thursday Haiku

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An old, fisherman’s table

Rusted now and all forlorn

‘Gainst the shimmering

Stealing my title from Gilly this morning, but I know she won’t mind.  I’m just sharing a last few soothing Algarve images before I return to the real world.  If you’ve never met Gilly, you’re in for a treat.  Go and say hello!