Quarteira

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.

Old Quarteira meets new

Quarteira is one of our ‘go to’ places for a lazy stroll.  It’s a bit of an anachronism, with high rise hotels and apartments dominating the seafront.  Stroll along the lengthy promenade in one direction and you come to the Fish Market, with a little harbour beyond.  The ‘smart’ resort of Vilamoura is on the horizon.  High rise of a finer calibre.  Stroll back the way, and where the promenade ends you have a wonderful expanse of beach.  This way lies Vale de Lobo, and the truly ‘smart’ set.  I don’t really belong in either, but I don’t mind to take a look, now and then.  I rather liked the exhibition of fishermen, erected by the sea.

But the real purpose of today’s post is to share with you a little of what Quarteira was, ‘back then’, before the developers arrived.  A series of signboards have been placed along the front, flashbacks to the 60s, and I found them fascinating.

The backs of the signs indicate their situation on the seafront.  I haven’t kept to order, nor have I included all of them.  A couple I find particularly poignant.  Life wasn’t easy back then.

I don’t know how much of the small print you can read, but one of them tells of the ‘Vestigios Romanos’.  Offshore the remains of a Roman settlement were found.  Now that’s antiquity!  But let’s end with a smile.  Wednesday’s are market days and I have a fondness for the cheese stalls.  This character was peddling his wares.  Salad, anyone?

Linking this to Becky’s Past meets Present.  I hope she likes it.

Six word Saturday

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Strange place to find yarn bombing!

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Being in Saltburn last week reminded me of an unexpected find on my recent trip to the Algarve.  It was a grey and slightly surly day, with just a hint of sunshine, and I was strolling the seafront at Quarteira, seeking distraction.  Near neighbours with Vilamoura and its extravagant bevy of yachts, Quarteira is a rather more ‘homely’ resort.  Market day on Wednesday draws a crowd, and there are inevitably folk ‘taking the air’ on the long promenade.  Efforts are being made to lure holiday makers further along the coast, with a new stretch of promenade and cafes beyond the small fishing harbour.  Always nosy, I was wandering over to take a look when I spied these.

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They couldn’t fail to brighten up a grey day, could they?  I’m quite looking forward to seeing if Saltburn brighten up their pier again this summer. Do you remember last year’s yarn bombing?

Hope you have a colourful weekend.  Mine will be full of washing.  I guess that’s colourful enough!  Have fun, and maybe pop in and see Cate at Six Word Saturday.  See you on Monday for another walk.

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