Quinta do Lago

Jo’s Monday walk : São Lourenço Trail

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Nothing special this week.  Just a short walk in the Algarve and a reminder that I will not be here to post a walk next week.  I probably won’t have time to respond to many of you before I go, either, so I’ll have to crave your indulgence.  You know I’ll catch you up when I’m back, don’t you?

In all honesty, I was a little disappointed in this section of the São Lourenço Trail but there were compensations.  It borders affluent Quinta do Lago, and appears to be used largely by joggers and cyclists, between rounds of golf.  I approached the trail from the beach, crossing over the salt flats via the Ponte de Ancao, an extremely long foot bridge, easily visible when you fly over the Algarve.

The last time I was in this neighbourhood I had turned left after the bridge, and been astounded at the beauty of the saltwater lake stretching before me. So I had high hopes on my return.  A right turn after the bridge had me skirting the edge of a golf course, the salt marsh squidging at my toes. The tide was out, but it was obvious that when it came in, some of the trail would be underwater and a little paddling might be required.  A good reason not to loiter, but it was not very obvious to me which was the trail.

IMG_1220This new-looking red dust cycle track proved to be a false start.  It led far into the distance, towards the airport, and seemed very popular with birdwatchers.  Solid benches along the way attracted couples with binoculars, focused on the watery world.  An about face proved necessary.

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It was immediately apparent that I should have stuck close to the golf course, on a much more beaten track.  I retraced my steps and headed into a stand of pines.  Beyond them, a small lake was overlooked by a two-storey bird hide.

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I spent a little while in the bird hide, enjoying the antics of the waterfowl, but I forgot to look for the two species of native terrapin. Azure-winged magpie are a common enough sight in Portuguese woods.  The trail ends at some rather unprepossessing Roman ruins, former salting tanks used for the preservation of fish.  A signboard describes the process.

Time to retrace my steps the brief distance back to the bridge, the tide not having advanced too far.  It was a warm day for late November and I had neglected to bring water.  The price of my folly was high.  I did say that this was wealthy Quinta do Lago, didn’t I? The cost of my glass of white at Gigi’s bar made me wince, but there was nowhere else in sight.  I stayed as long as possible to gain maximum value from the view.

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This is walk no. 42 from Walking Trails in the Algarve, a book I’ve used previously.  Remember Carrapateira?  Full details of how to get there, complete with maps, are shown in the guide.

And that’s it from me.  I’m publishing this a little early to give me a head start, but I hope you’ll still put the kettle on and settle in for a good read.

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As always, huge thanks to my contributors, and to those of you who just enjoy keeping me company.  Details of how to join in can be found on my Jo’s Monday walk page, with a click on the logo above.  Remember though, I’ll be missing next week.

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Lots of snow about the blogs this week!  Start us off, Anabel!

Mugdock in the snow

But we can hop aboard the Royal Yacht and keep warm with Smidge :

The Royal Yacht and Gormley’s 6 times

Or head for San Diego with Amy :

Monday Walking: Ringling Museum

Jackie’s still got plenty of sunshine too :

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Meet Susan, everybody!  She’s new to my walks so please make her welcome :

Discovering Street Art in Astoria, Queens 

This week Debbie brings us a fascinating tower and observatory in Copenhagen :

A Short and Winding Walk

No matter how often you see Banff National Park, it always looks spectacular!

Snow Decor

Some pretty wonderful rime ice leaves from Jude!  Brrrhh  🙂

Monthly Photo Challenge : Frosty January

More of the white stuff, anybody?  You could snowboard with Drake!

Snow time

Or stroll peacefully with Jaspa in the evening sun :

Villa Doria Pamphili Park

Not so much a garden as a torture chamber but this one’s very colourful.  Thanks, Lee Ann!

Haw Par Villa- Chinese Mythological Garden

Shall we end with a nice English resort?  Gilly still manages to make it look inviting, even on a gloomy day :

Winter by the sea

Many thanks, everybody!  I love your walks.  I hope to be back with an Algarve walk on Monday, 15th February.  Take good care till then.

A bridge too far?

Well, it is, isn't it?

Well, it’s long, isn’t it?

I had no idea that it would be so long!  But then, I’d only ever seen it from the sky as I flew over the Algarve.  I knew it to be a part of the swish resort of Quinta do Lago.  Not my usual stamping ground, but curiosity impelled me to take a closer look.

Parking alongside a selection of resplendent villas at Vale do Garrao, I descended some steps and followed the path around the salt marsh in the direction of the sea.

Vale do Garrao in the distance

The villas at Vale do Garrao

Sure enough, there was the beach

Sure enough, there was the beach

Not too many people to share it with!

Not too many people to share it with on a January day

I plonked myself down for 10 minutes, to enjoy the gentle warmth and the glinting sea.  Then it was time to head off along the beach, in search of the bridge.

And there it was!

And there it was, bridging the gap across the lagoon.

In the far distance, Praia de Faro

In the far distance, Praia de Faro

A burst of colour awaits at Quinta do Lago

And on the shoreline, a riot of colour

While the bridge stretched all the way back to the beach

The bridge stretches all the way back to the beach

This is Quinta do Lago

But now we’re in elegant Quinta do Lago

From the map it looked as though there was a footpath to where the car was parked.  Otherwise it would be a long walk back along the beach.   Following the path, I was surprised to discover a large saltwater lake, with pedal boats tied up for the Winter.

The lake and the country club

The lake and the country club

Back in the land of unaffordable housing

Back in the land of unaffordable housing

But the flora and fauna are free

But the flora and fauna are free

And the bird life in the marshes

And the bird life in the marshes

The colours melting into one another

The colours of nature, sublime!

It just goes to show that you don’t need a pot of money to enjoy the Algarve.  The beauty is all around you and it’s free.  The walk took just a couple of hours and the sun was beginning to dip as I returned.

Flying home, I didn’t see the foot bridge, but I did get a hazy shot of the road bridge out to Praia de Faro.  It was a little cloudy, so not too sad to leave!

The road across the Ria Formosa to Praia de Faro

The road across the Ria Formosa to Praia de Faro

And from another angle

And from another angle