Portugal

Jo’s Monday walk : Fuseta at Blossom time

As promised, almond blossom in the Algarve this week.  This is a variation on a walk we’ve done previously, this time starting in the small seaside town of Fuseta.  It’s just a few stops west of Tavira by train.  Wave your passport at the conductor and you’ll get half fare if you’re a pensioner.  Well, there have to be some advantages to being over the hill!

Not too many hills this near to the coast, but it’s up and over the railway tracks and out into the countryside.  We’ve barely taken a few steps when we’re in a field, surrounded by almond blossom.  I stand and stare!  Blossom is opening up in trees all along the roadside, but this is the first time I’ve seen the flowers out in such force.

I can’t understand how my walking friends can be so oblivious of their surroundings, and I linger far behind.  Maybe it’s the lure of a coffee stop up ahead.  On they go, following a path through the fields, a glimpse of sea shimmering on the horizon.

Soon we’re on a paved lane, leading to the E125- a busy road which stretches almost end to end of the Algarve.  We are making a stop at Tianica, a pottery workshop with a cafe and terrace at the rear.

Avoiding temptation in order to have space for lunch, it’s back to the lane after coffee.  A track leads down to the edge of the salt marshes and we follow it back in the direction of Fuseta.  The tide is low, and boats sit silently in the sludge, waiting to be rescued when it turns.

It’s not a long walk, though you can extend it further through the marshes, which continue on the far side of town.  We thread between the fishermen’s cottages and the apartment blocks, and I’m delighted to find remnants of Christmas in the yarn bombed trees.

Go on, admit it!  You’re more interested in lunch.  A leisurely affair at La Plage, on the front at Fuseta, culminating in cake, of course.  I stood in line at the cabinet, hopeful that there’d be a morsel of tiramisu left.  I must have looked desperate, because the waiter served me the last slice and then added a scoop of profiterole to my plate.  Lucky, or what?

Totally replete, I sat by the waterside afterwards, keeping a lazy eye on life.  Finally I persuaded myself to stir in the direction of home.

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Short but sweet, I hope?  I bet you enjoyed the cake.  Got a walk you’d like to share?  Join me here on Jo’s Monday walk for a warm welcome.

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Shall we start with a good clamber?  I think Debbie wrote this one just for Sue :

Clambering through an old Omani village

Anabel is realistic about Scottish weather, but it doesn’t stop her enjoying the beauty :

Hebridean Hop 19 : Tangasdale

I never saw a prettier lighthouse than this one.  Thanks, Alice :

Harbour Town

What do you like in your soup? Can I have Coconut Shrimp for mains please, Jackie :

Soup of the day

The ‘Australian Outback’ on her doorstep is giving Suzanne lots of pleasure :

The desert up the road

Geoff continues the saga of walking with his Dad :

Walking With The Wind At My Back : Part Two

I know it can be beautiful, but I’m not missing this at all, Drake :

Day in the snow

Brian takes us to subtropical community gardens for a little heat.  Want to join him?

Lismore Rainforest Botanical Gardens – the paths

Much nearer to my new home, some beautiful Algarve clifftops :

A cliff walk from Carvoeiro to Ferragudo : the ‘Trail of the Headlands’

While Susan takes us back to a place where she once lived.  The lady has a fascinating past :

Walking Back Home – Pasto, Colombia

And Cathy explores a house not many of us would venture into :

Balcony House at Mesa Verde

That’s it for another week.  Please find time to read them.  I shall be out and about, as usual.  Hope the weather’s kind, wherever you are.

 

Jo’s Monday walk : Lagar da Mesquita

Better late than never?  It’s still Monday in my part of the world, in my ‘new’ home in the Algarve, and I’ve just about got time to share a short walk with you.  I’m going to be deliberately vague because this walk was about 8 weeks ago, an outing with the Striders, and I was too busy chatting and catching up with everybody to pay much attention to the route.  A common fault when I’m walking in a group.  Our start point was a little way inland from Tavira, at Lagar da Mesquita, on route PR1.

We followed country lanes and narrow tracks out of the village, with the promise that there wouldn’t be too many inclines.  Villas nestle among groves of olives and oranges, some with quirky touches, like the pair of legs protruding from a cement mixer.  One of them is serenaded by a profusion of pink flowers, while everywhere the vines have developed a beautiful rosy hue.

A crossroads is signed Desbarato but we carry on, beneath spreading holm oaks and over a carpet mulch of leaves and acorns.  I cannot take my eyes off an ancient cottage, tenderly wrapped around with the softest, creamy pink bougainvillea.  Petals litter the floor like a rag rug, the ornate metal door knob, set into marble, something of a mystery.

We loop back to the start, a little gentle exertion for the inevitable reward.  Short, but sweet, I hope you’ll agree.

So much has happened in the last couple of weeks that I’ve hardly had time to draw breath.  Yet here I find myself, living the dream.  I hope you’ll come along with me.  This is just the beginning.

Thanks to all of you who’ve waited patiently, and for your generous support.  If I’ve missed anybody out, do give me a nudge.  Meantime I’d love you to join me on Jo’s Monday walk. Please read and share the following walks.

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You’d best tackle Debbie’s walk when you’ve got plenty of stamina, but you’ll be encouraged by lots of smiling faces :

A steep climb accompanied by Buddha

Geoff and Dog take to those London streets again :

A Wander Across the Far North #capitalring #walking

Mondays are murals day with Cactus Catz.  I know you’ll enjoy these :

Monday Mural : Trashcan Mural, Downtown Tucson, Arizona

Mural : Joe Pagac’s Harboring  Beauty

Drake shares the warm colours of North Africa :

Not alike, but fascinating

And Jackie goes adventuring in Spain :

Cafe Solo

Wilderness as far as the eye can see, with indefatigable Cathy :

The Blue Mesa Trail at Petrified Forest National Park

The Painted Desert Rim Trail at Petrified Forest National Park

And Miriam is clearly on top of the world!

Walking in Wonderland

While Carol comes up with the most stunning views!

From the Sea to the Sky

Hidden Wonder

Life in a Sussex backwater ?  Many thanks to Mari :

Steyning – A Sussex Town

It’s so nice to be back!  In every sense.  I arrived ‘home’ to Tavira last night.  Today I met a lovely new neighbour, walked on my favourite beach and caught up with friends.  I hope your week is as good as mine promises to be.

Jo’s ‘not a Monday walk’

Hi folks!  Normal service is far from being resumed, but I’m aware of collecting lots of walks which I really ought to share, so here I am today.  Could I perhaps ask that you don’t send me any more links for the moment?  I have family arriving at the weekend and they have first call on my time.  I shall have a sixth birthday to celebrate, Halloween to avoid (my daughter more than makes up for me), and then the weight of numbers will come crashing down on my head.  A big one!

As if that’s not enough, I have a cat to feed.  One that hisses at me. (I do understand, I’m not the patient mistress of the house  🙂  ).  Actually, the mistress explained to me how I should place a doorstop to prevent me being locked out in the garden with said cat.  And then the door blew shut, as she was explaining, and both of us were marooned in the garden.  Life, huh?  Her on tiptoe, looking over the wall for a neighbour.  Balanced on the back of a chair.  “Christina?”  Nothing!  I holler too, but my husband is painting, in blissful ignorance.  Finally a workman a few doors down comes to see what the matter is.  ‘Er, could you open my back door and let us in, please?’  The front door is wide open.  Hopefully I won’t repeat the incident in her absence.

So, what else?  Todos a caminhar, the free walks programme aimed at encouraging a healthy population, has resumed.  On a sunkissed Sunday morning we lined up on the boardwalk at Cabanas, with music to enhance the enthusiastic warm up.  Good for a giggle if you’re an observer.  And then we’re off!  Out of the village on a back lane, past orange and olive groves.  Some of us chattering, some striding out determinedly.  At the halfway point, a bottle of water, an apple and a breakfast bar, thoughtfully provided by the council.  And afterwards, an invitation to lunch with a lovely couple.  Sunday became a celebration of life, as we boated across the narrow channel to the ilha, and strolled on the finest of sand.

I’m still dipping into the archives for today’s photos, but you can keep track of most of my doings on Instagram or Facebook.  It’s much easier to share to them straight from the phone.

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Please read and enjoy these, if you haven’t already.  I won’t be sharing any more for a while.  Many thanks to everybody.

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Seems ages since I shared a walk of Becky’s.  She’s back in Portugal later this week.  Whoop-e-doop!

A palace fit for an English Queen

A glass of wine with Drake?  It would be an honour :

Colors of mood

Rupali shares some wonderful colours too :

Leaves in Autumn

Was September beautiful for you?  It certainly was for Lady Lee :

The Changing Seasons, September

Alastair managed to find his way to my walks.  Please do visit and say hello :

My Walk this Week 127 – Autumn Morning

It’s never boring at Jesh’s place, no matter what she’s up to :

Vacation Busyness

Janaline has seen the world, and there’s nothing like the beauty of Ireland :

Why I walk to explore places like Rathmullen in Ireland

Raspberry heaven with Irene :

Take Your Pick

Someone who’s always living the good life- join Jackie for a slice or two :

Pizza toss 

You butter believe it

Let’s hear it for Cathy!  She’s completed the Camino- loud fanfare!- and still shared some beautiful walks with me.  This is just one of many:

Wupatki Pueblo

I’m back in the UK on 9th November.  I should just make it to a Girl’s Night and then it’ll be crazy while we finish packing and handing over our home.  Catch up with you when I can.  Take care till then!

Starting over

Did you notice the John Lennon title link to my last post?  I’m thinking it’s probably easier to write here than to try to keep up with each of you individually, lovely as you all are.  Yes, I wanted to come back with a brand new blog, full of the pure exuberance of life and the beauty of the Algarve, but it’s not practical at the moment, for a variety of reasons.  So, simply an update.

You know those Indian Summers we sometimes talk about in the UK?  We’ve definitely been experiencing one here in the Algarve.  Temperatures have just started to dip a little, which is good news for my walking friends.  The first Striders walk of the season, on 2nd October, was kept to a miserly 10km in the Algarvian hills, but nobody was sorry when the walk was over.  A long table was set up beneath an awning but, by the time we’d finished eating, the sun was avidly gobbling up the shade.  It was time to down the wine and move on.  But not before coffee and cake, of course.

The Strollers walk on the following Friday fared a little better.  We were near the salt marshes, with a hint of a breeze now and again.  A different mix of people, some of whom we hadn’t seen in a long while, and another wonderful accompaniment of hugs, smiles and traded stories.  Does it feel different now that we’re to become a permanent part of the community?  Not yet, but I have noticed subtle differences.  At one time I couldn’t bear to be out of the sun, and would feel myself twitching if I was in the shade a fraction longer than was absolutely necessary.  Now that sunshine has more or less become a constant, I can seek shade with equanimity.  Maybe Winter will change that, but for now we find ourselves adopting the Portuguese custom of pulling down the blinds in our house to keep out excessive heat.

Our third walk included a train ride with a ticket collector who was greatly amused by 27 Brits, smiling and brandishing passports at him at 8.30 in the morning.  Our discounted fare was 80 cents for the 10km, two stops, ride.  We then walked back, a loop of town, pine forest, beach and countryside totalling 14km, all on the flat.  More reunions and friendships renewed, and lots more hugs and smiles.  We are all so appreciative of what we have here.  Not just the wonderful climate, but the lasting warmth of companionship.  Few of us have been unscathed by anxiety or illness, but a sympathetic shoulder is never hard to find.

Since coming here, I’ve cast a fresh look around our home.  Aside from outstanding DIY (phew, Mick’s department!) there are a few issues about storage and how we use the space we have.  Cupboards and wardrobes have been given a stern looking at.  We’ve joined the local library and a small army of English language books will be making their way to a new and worthwhile home.  An antique television set, weighing a ton but producing not a single programme, in any language, has made it’s way to the refuse collection, located down an exceedingly pretty back lane.

The negatives?  Knee deep in photo albums prior to departure, I forgot a couple of things I normally regard as essential to my Algarve life.  The cable to download photos from my camera and my memory stick, so I’ve had to improvise for photos.  And my diary!  Unheard of, this last, so I’ve taken to recording events online on the notepad.  Not entirely satisfactory.  🙂  Still to do?  Partly due to a wretched cough I’ve not yet joined an exercise class, nor a language class, but I will!

You’d laugh!  As I finish writing this, rain is bouncing off the table on the patio.  But I’m smiling indulgently and enjoying the sound.  Good thing we finished that painting!  And tomorrow is set to be dry for another walk.  Have a great weekend, and I’ll catch up with you when I can.  Our Internet is feeble, but we’ll fix that too.

Anticipation…

Hard to know exactly when the dream began.  Sometimes it feels like it was always with me.  Bored with my job, which nevertheless paid the bills, I watched season after season of ‘A Place in the Sun’, each week convinced that this was the place for me.  Perhaps not Benidorm, and never, ever a do-er upper, but almost anything else was fair game.  There was so much world to choose from!

Early on, I discounted Florida.  Too far from family, I rejected the notion of becoming a snowbird and, silly as it sounds, I hate alligators.  I am thoroughly European and, though I might want to wander further, my natural habitat was always going to be on our continent.  Italy was a front runner.  With all those delicious miles of coastline and inspiring culture, how could ‘La Dolce Vita’ be wrong?  There was the allure of Croatia and its island jewels.  Greece with its ancient history and azure seas.  France seemed logical.  I had A level GCE in the language, and that whole unknown country, almost on my doorstep.  The Canary Islands, a contender too.  A nomadic life between islands and an agreeable climate would always appeal.  One place I didn’t consider was Poland, though in retrospect it could have been an interesting choice.

Portugal was quite low on the radar.  I’d never been, and knew little of it.  A week’s holiday swiftly changed that, and I came home the joint owner of a house.  Fortunately my husband loved it too.  The adventure of furnishing our home began.  Our first visit, 4 frantic days, was spent buying beds, a boiler and light fittings, and arranging for the fitment of a fireplace.  Two bright yellow, folding chairs doubled as indoor and outdoor seating.  The bare essentials of life.  We gazed in wonder at our ‘place in the sun’.  Tavira filled us with pleasure each and every time we ventured out.

The years ticked by, and holidays came and went.  The love affair didn’t wane, and we began to hope for the day when we could make the Algarve our permanent home.  Dad died, and there were no longer any serious impediments.  The youngsters would be able to visit us whenever they chose.  Time to put the English house on the market.  Much scrubbing in corners (having first emptied those corners!) ensued.  No doubt about it- the house needed decorating.  Should we strip everything for that blank canvas look?  Or go out and enjoy a ravishing English summer, potentially our last.  I bet you know the answer!

Silly question, wasn’t it?  As summer wanes, we now have some choices to make.  With a few viewings but no serious offers at the moment, at the end of September we will fly out to Faro.  No point yet in emptying the house and driving down, with as many memories stowed in the car as we can manage.  We will need to come back, for at least a week or two, to keep an eye on the house, our old friend of 29 years.  The family are already booked to join us to celebrate another significant birthday in early November.  It would be rude of us not to be there, wouldn’t it?  Until then, we’ll keep on anticipating… and preparing.

All set to see Cathy off on her next great adventure, ours has yet to begin, but it’s getting closer.  Join her at Wander.essence for Anticipation & Preparation.  I hope you will love the path she has chosen as much as I do.  Wishing you safe and happy travels, Cathy!

Six word Saturday

Tasting the fruit of the vine

One of our loveliest days on our recent Algarve visit took us to Quinta do Francês, on a wine-tasting tour.  ‘Awful!’ I hear you exclaim.  As the visit was a present from our son and partner, we felt duty bound to attend, and to sample the produce.  It really was rather nice!

The winery is owned by French pathologist, Patrick Agostini, and the wines grown locally in the Odelouca River Valley.  Our guide Tania was knowledgeable and interesting.  We toured the machine room and the cellar, where barrels of new and aged oak are kept.  And then, the tasting!

I could just fancy a glass…  Six Words, of course!  Debbie has cash in pocket and another brilliant six words this week.  Don’t forget to join her.  But first I would like to say a huge thank you to all of you who commented on What do you want from me? this week. The response was simply overwhelming.  I guess I’ll carry on, doing what I do.