salt marshes

Six word Saturday

What kind of clouds are these?

Gentle ones, of course! As we edge through October we might even gather a few rain clouds. That would be very kind because the land is parched. Becky is encouraging us to be kind this month, and if you can find Six Words today, Debbie will welcome you too! Have a happy Saturday!

KindaSquare

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Thursday’s Special : Estival

I’ve always meant to tell the story of Flor de Sal, so much a part of summer here in the Algarve.  A walk through the salt marshes is one of the joys of summer, though you do have to pick your days as it can be unbearably hot.  A hint of breeze can make all the difference.

The pink colouration, from crill, especially transfixes the eye.  The fusion of sunshine and salt water creates the salt crystals, which need high temperature and strong sunshine with only gentle winds.  This year conditions have been perfect and it’s a very good harvest.

The process starts around April, when the tanks are prepared.  Mud and clay has hardened over the years and a first channel of salt water is fed in with the tide, to a good depth.  The system of tanks or reservoirs are connected with locks and channels, and gradually the saltwater is transferred to increasingly shallow tanks, warming the water in the process.  Finally it reaches the crystallisation tanks where, from June to August, ‘flor de sal’ is formed.  The fragile crystals form on the saltwater surface.  Harvesting is done by hand, the ‘marnotos’ being highly skilful in collecting the crystals, which must never touch the bottom of the pans.  They are raked gently off and left to dry in the hot sun for 7 days, where they become more crunchy, and identifiable as the ‘flor de sal’ which is sold in the markets.  Their appearance through a microscope is like a flower.  Just one more miracle of summer.

Many thanks to Paula, at Thursday’s Special, for the inspiration.

Jo’s Monday walk : Back to the salt pans

I make no apologies for being back among the salt marshes today, for they always captivate me.  Especially when powder puff clouds drift away to the horizon in a pure blue sky, or luxuriate in salty sand puddles.  It’s a landscape that changes mood with the weather; sullen and drab, until the sun sweeps aside the muted colours, bathing them, and me, in warmth and light.

As with Changing Reality I’m heading for the sea, but this time in an easterly direction, towards the small resort, Cabanas.  A cycle path renders this area a hazard to walkers in peak times, but today I’m breaking new ground for me and striking out into the marshes.

You probably don’t recognise the cyclist’s bridge over the River Almargem from this angle, dwarfed as it is by the railway bridge.  I always hope to catch a train trundling across, but it never happens.  Turning my back on the bridges, I follow the river.  Far better than trains, I have the prospect of flamingos in this calm stretch of water.  And sure enough, there they are!  Tiny at first, in the distance.

I hope to startle them a little, for they are beautiful in flight, but they remain oblivious and eventually I tear myself away.  The way ahead looks promising.  Behind me, a shimmering lagoon of water.  The flamingos, mere specks.

I follow the curve of the rough path, towards the open sea at first, but then curving back around the salt pans.

The sludge and caramel colours and soft reflections blend together with the azure sky.

As I near the salt mountain I wonder at the giant ‘needle’ suspended in the sand.  We’re approaching my Hula ladies again, graceful in the breeze.

There are two choices now- a return via the Salinas estate, or to continue on towards Fort Rato and back into Tavira that way.  I opt for the first, and am gratified to snatch a photo of the train hurtling along.

One last look from the cyclist’s bridge and home to put the kettle on, another 9 or 10km completed.  I’m sure there must be cake as a reward.  I’m linking again with Jude’s #2020 Photo Challenge.  This week she’s looking at curved lines and I feel sure I have a number here.  No squares for me today, but #SquareTops does share a strong connection with salt.

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I’m very lucky to have some lovely people following this blog.  Drake is assuredly one of them :

Story of the tiny church

Skywalker holds the line (no, not Luke!)

And a quiet little lady can show you Korean cherry blossoms in all their glory :

Namsan’s Cherry Blossom Trail

Experience the beauty of her world with Rupali :

Morning walk

Weekend Walk 93

Staying close to her new home, Janet loves the morning too :

Monday walk…Yes, indeed, I’m walkin’

While Amanda is happy to introduce you to her Home by the Sea :

Birds and Sports

And Eunice has found a new walk, close by :

A circular walk from Barrow Bridge

Indra will very happily take you to Central Park :

A Welcome Escape

While Colline is taking her books for a walk :

A Small Stream

Chocolates, anyone?  Sorry, there aren’t any, but Natalie has the recipe for staying fit and well :

Life is Like a Box of Chocolates

I always enjoy a stroll with Flavia.  And this time I’m singing…Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen!

Copenhagen – Rosenborg Castle

While Su tempted me into a fabulous garden with her beguiling title :

To touch a hundred flowers

And Irene looks back at London as it once was, and will be again :

Memories of London

A feast of photography from Cathy this week :

Morocco: Essaouira to Marrakech’s Bahia Palace

And in a completely different style, but no less beautiful, Lynn shares her world :

Local Walks: Back to Washington Park

I hope you found something to enjoy here with me today.  I’ll be back walking next Monday.  Stay safe till then!

Jo’s Monday walk : Changing reality

You don’t know what you have, till you’ve lost it?  I don’t think I was ever in any doubt about just how precious are our Algarve salt marshes, and the beaches beyond them.  One day, towards the end of March, with a State of Emergency in place, I set out to walk, within our prescribed area, from home.  Bypassing the town centre I headed past the salt processing centre and on beside the marshes.

The stork, in its nest, feeding young.  Just seconds before it had flown overhead, beak stuffed with fish.  My camera, too slow to capture.

Out along the road, on their own, two cottages stand together, backs turned to Tavira.  The road is narrow here, and paved only on one side.  Drivers approaching each other must choose who will mount the low curb to allow passage, a sometimes interesting manoeuvre to observe.  And then the road forks, one way passing an orange farm, the other continuing towards Fort Rato and the river beach.

The marshes are home to many birds, wading in the cloudy waters.  Everyone stops to watch if the flamingos wander close, wary, but diligent in their search for crill.  They are more easily seen from the Quatro Aguas road, or from the deck of the ferry as it chugs out from Tavira.

The abandoned fort broods silently, as it has for the many years since defence from attack by marauding pirates was a threat.  I wonder again why no-one has seen this as a business opportunity, but am quietly grateful that they haven’t.  This sometimes ugly stretch of river beach is beloved of dog walkers, and small children who can play safely in the shallow waters.

For me, it is my nearest access point to open water, the natural curve sweeping round to meet the river.  On the far shore, Quatro Aguas presents its more manicured facade to the sea.  I am well used to wandering here, watching the boats come and go, and sometimes venturing into the grounds of the Vila Galé Albacora hotel.  There’s a pretty courtyard, with a church, and a small museum dedicated to the fishing industry.

The hotel is closed, like all others since the threat of the virus became known.  Restaurants too, and there is nothing now to disturb the peace of the morning.  I skirt the boundaries and head back towards Tavira.

Clouds are bubbling up a little, as so often at change of tide.  This time I take the turn off past the farm, following the cycle trail.  On one side, the salt marshes, stretching towards Cabanas.  On the other, the row of palms I’ve come to regard as my Hula ladies, rustling their skirts in the breeze.

I’m heading for home now, beneath the railway tracks and past the Salinas estate.  I cross the E125, strangely silent, and follow the road through fields and houses towards the place that I live.

As I’m writing this, I feel the emotions stir for, just a couple of days after this walk, the closure signs went up on Shell Beach.  I no longer have access to the sea.  I have not tried to walk to Quatro Aguas, but fear this may be similarly out of bounds.  Particularly during the Easter period, the police have been vigilant in keeping people safe.  I’m hoping that the rules will soon be relaxed a little but, in the meantime, I have the countryside and beautiful hills behind my home and a good stretch of salt marsh.  You may have noticed the absence of cake?  The cafés are closed, of course, but you can still visit a bakery and take home something nice.  Next time, perhaps!  Meanwhile, did you spot a few chimney tops along the way?  I hope you’re joining in with Becky’s #SquareTops!  Looking very dapper today!

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When I was young I would often end up here in the Summer holidays.  Thanks for the memories, Eunice :

Peasholm Park, Scarborough

I never can resist a stretch of sea to walk beside, especially if it’s a bit choppy :

Walking along Jeju’s Yongduam Coastal Road & Olle Route 17

The greenkeeper’s got his eye on you, Drake!

Without rush and stress

It’s amazing what you can find in the desert, isn’t it, Mel?

Sunset, Sand and Sculpture

While Cathy brings us Italy in all its beauty :

Cinque Terre: Charming Portovenere

I’m still sharing walks, though I understand your opportunities are more limited at the minute.  I’m just happy to have you virtual travel with me.  Stay safe!

Jo’s Monday walk : A sally through the salt marshes

Grey is not my favourite colour for sky, but sometimes there are compensations. (not cake- too soon for that!)  A friend had suggested a sally through the salt marshes, and I’m always seduced by the fusion of sky and sea.  I hadn’t reckoned on a grey day, but it was warm, so, no excuse!

The light on the water here is special on all but the glummest of days.  Passing by the fisherman’s huts there’s always a cat or two, trying to appear disinterested in today’s catch.  Down in the salt pans, birds wade, flap their wings, and glide across the still waters.

A pomegranate tree clings to the last of its fruit, and the reeds rustle and sway, bleached beige by the sun.  Small hillocks of salt gleam, white, against the sullen sky.  A mysterious pink has appeared in the salt pans, not reflected from the dense clouds overhead.

The light is changing and, looking to the hills, I realise that the clouds are beginning, ever so slowly, to roll back.  The water darkens, inexplicably, to a rich magenta and I watch, transfixed, as grey gives way to blue.

I’m rounding the marshes to reach Fuseta for lunch.  If I’m lucky the sky should be clear by the time I get there.

It’s almost unreal, the transformation in the skies as I head towards the sea, and I can only be a grateful witness.

I wander along the quayside, peering at the tiny fish milling around the boats.  If they were bigger I’d think they were pushing their luck, but it’ll be a while before they make anyone a decent supper.  Well, perhaps a ship’s cat?

Which brings us, of course, to the inevitable subject.  Does anyone have space for cake?  Someone’s been eating mine, again!

Not such a grey day, after all.  Replete, we sat in the sunshine, gazing out across the bay.

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Not so many walks this week.  Huge thanks to my regular contributors. Please visit each other, if you can, and don’t forget to get out there walking off all those cakes! Join me any time, here on Jo’s Monday walk.  You know you’ll always be welcome.

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What’s a little rain when you’re with a lovely friend?  Welcome back, Gilly!

A winter visit to ROSEMOOR

It’s a whole different world in Ecuador!  Join Natalie in her explorations :

Papallacta Hot Springs: A Delightful Stay

Or Drake, with his alternative view of Paris :

Insists on being alive

New Orleans!  Now that’s a place I’d love to visit :

Monday Murals : First Day in New Orleans

Never been to Berlin!  And Autumn seems long ago and far away now  🙂

Berlin Day Hike: Last Days of Autumn around Gamensee

With a much more thoughtful attitude to walking than mine, I’m sure many of you know Frank :

On a Beach Walk: #71 (Homeostasis)

He’s leaving the blogging world soon, so you might want to say goodbye.  And then, hello to Kammie!

Steps

Life is beautiful in Irene’s world :

Old San Juan

Let’s finish with Cathy, surrounded by the exotic on a…

A whirlwind tour of Fez, Morocco

Those clouds dumped a fair bit of rain, and I ended up wading on a couple of my walks.  Back to glorious blue this weekend, and set fair for summer.  See you soon!  Take care till then.

 

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.

 

What do you want from me?

The salt pans at Tavira, with an unusual pink tint

Maybe this is a question I should have asked long ago.  But to ask it, you first have to think of it.  Browsing in WordPress Discover I found lots of articles dedicated to improving your blog.  The suggestion that your focus be more on the reader than on yourself was one that made me think.  I tend to think of myself as someone who likes the sound of her own voice, and this is certainly true of my blog.  My scribbles are mostly anecdotal and in diary form, and they help to keep my travels alive for me.  They are my ‘unique voice’.  But is that enough?

The marshes come alive with colour in the summer

Is this really what the readership wants?  Is it too much of me, and not enough about them and what they want to read about?  It’s quiet around the blogs at the moment, and I start to wonder if I’ve become boring.  Have I assumed that my style of writing will carry me through, when people are hoping for more facts/more fantasy/more information?  Do I give enough?

I look at the bloggers I admire and it’s true that many of them have a more factual basis to their blog.  I can protest that I’m an individual and that this is my space, but is that sufficient for you?  I am sometimes approached to work with marketing companies.  Would this result in a loss of identity, or might it benefit the reader?  Am I right to stick to doing things my way?

I love this light over Tavira

So, what do you think?  Now is a good time to ask, because I’m not sure that this blog will continue after I move to Tavira.  Most certainly there will be changes to be made, but I would like to take you along with me.

Jo’s Monday walk : Luz de Tavira to Fuseta

I’m often asked if it’s possible to enjoy the Algarve and its natural beauty without the use of a car.  My walk today gives you one example of how to do just that.  In much of the Eastern Algarve the railway tracks run quite close to the shoreline.  As well as a hands free ride through pleasant countryside and that age old delight of peering into passing gardens, you can hop off the train and pursue a gentle walk.  After my brief absence, I’m taking it slowly.

The place I’ve chosen to start is Fuseta, a very laidback town 10km east of  Olhão, with an active fishing fleet and a natural harbour.  You can easily while away an hour or two here and I’ll give you some thoughts on how later, but first let’s catch that train.  There are two railway stations in Fuseta, though I’ve only just discovered tiny Fuseta ‘A’.  It’s at the top of a hill, behind the restaurants at the western edge of town.  If this doesn’t appeal, Fuseta-Moncarapacho, the main station at the eastern end of town, will serve you just as well for the purposes of this walk.

It’s only a couple of stops from Fuseta to Luz de Tavira, a sleepy little spot if ever there was one.  Dismounting from the train you cross directly over the railway tracks.  A word of warning- there is no official gated crossing, but it’s a very flat area and you can see far along the track in both directions, so please do look both ways.  Safely over, turn right at the first corner and follow a leafy lane, passing a couple of country homes.  Prickly pear and almond blossom will vie for your attention in this early stage of the year.

Bear left and soon a glimmer of water will appear on the horizon.  You are joining a stretch of the Ecovia Litoral, a cycle track which threads its way along the Algarve coastline, but which in many places makes for relaxed and enjoyable walking.

Often times the boats are marooned on these tidal mud flats, beautiful in their ugliness.  If you are lucky the tide might be in.  In any case, the sea will glitter in the distance.  The ruins of a defence tower, Torre d’Aires, are largely ignored, lost in the pellucid landscape.

Along this shoreline, an elevated bungalow with a lovely tumble of garden calls to me, though my more pragmatic other half reminds me that mosquitos will be a severe nuisance in summer.  This is the heart of the Ria Formosa Nature Reserve, and a winter haven for migrating birds.

Just past the midway point to Fuseta you will find a cafe, O Conquistador.  Virtuously I did not sample them (I was to have a substantial lunch at the end of my walk) but the cakes did look extremely appealing.  Following an arrow the path now crosses through the salt marshes, with Fuseta and a towering mound of salt on the horizon and butter yellow oxalis rippling at your feet.

I am delighted to observe, busily guzzling in the briney water, a large flock of flamingos.  Their overhead flight makes a lovely ending to my walk.

And no, I didn’t manage to capture them, unless you wish to see a very blurred tail feather or three.  But I can share that I ate at Crispins, almost impossible to miss as you walk back into town.  The quayside makes a pleasant after dinner stroll, leading as it does to an expanse of river beach.  Grab a bench and gaze out to sea, or watch the locals playing boules behind the green.  In warm weather you can ferry across to Armona and an endless expanse of beach.  Make sure to carry water with you as you are unlikely to find it at this end of the island.

Feeling like something a tiny bit more strenuous?  You can climb up through the narrow streets, for a closer look at Igreja Matriz, the Mother Church.  Notice the red lighthouse in the bell tower.  Legend has it that many years ago, during a mighty storm, the women of Fuseta lit an enormous bonfire in the churchyard, the highest point of the village, to guide their fishermen husbands home.  The men were guided safely back by the distant light and the image of Our Lady of Carmel, on June 16th, an event still celebrated every year.

It has its gritty areas but Fuseta is quite an interesting town.  This video gives a fairly realistic view of it.

I hope you enjoyed my walk.  I do try to include the details you would need if you found yourself in the area, but I can highly recommend Becky’s blog as a walking resource.  Based at  Olhão, she covers much the same territory as I do, with the very useful addition of an interactive map.

Sorry that I’m overdue in sharing some of these walks, but I do like to step back from the blog sometimes, especially here in the Algarve.  I don’t stop walking but I do just relax into glorious scenery and good companionship.  Many thanks to you all for your patience and support.

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Did you know that Drake is a steadfast Liverpool supporter? :

Night in anticipation

You need plenty of fuel in weather like this, but Jackie never has a problem :

Bundling up

No place like home, for Kathrin :

Monheim am Rhein : A walk through my home town

Lisa gives us a history lesson and some beautiful views (and warm sunshine!) :

Holidays in Haifa

While Lady Lee lives the high life!

Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Miriam shares a charming place and a snippet of Australian history :

Old Chiltern Town

Marsha has a tendency to cheat a bit, but look out for those Monarch butterflies :

Plan your Travel Itinerary to include the California Central Coast

Nobody does a garden justice quite so well as Jude.  As a bonus, two gems, one old, one new :

Garden Portrait: Scotney Castle

Garden Portrait: Polesden Lacey

Yikes!  It was snowing at home when I received this from Elaine :

A wintery walk beside Loch Achray

And Irene’s post looked even colder!  Go and say  ‘hi’ and warm her up :

To the Top of a Dune

If that’s not cold enough for you, Hiking Maine is sharing some stunning ice formations :

An amazing Winter Hike on the Cathance River Trail in Topsham

Finishing here in the Algarve, Becky shares one of her passions :

The Olhanese architectural promenade

I hope to share another walk with you next Monday but I’m not making a full return to blogging just yet.  Take care of yourselves, and enjoy your walking, whenever and wherever you can.

 

 

 

Jo’s Monday walk : Salt marshes at Fuseta

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It’s that ‘betwixt and between’, Christmas time and the New Year.  The weather has been atrocious in so many places and some people will be spending it mopping up and repairing their homes.  I haven’t managed too much walking lately myself, but I do still have some happy memories to share.  Shall we take a little salt marsh stroll in the Eastern Algarve?  Nothing too strenuous!  At day’s end, we can even linger by the beach awhile.

The sky is blue, and that’s a good start!  I’ve taken you to Fuseta before.  It’s a little off the beaten track, but beloved by campers for the beachfront camp site.  New development unkindly overshadows the distinctive fishermen’s homes.  Prime location is key, after all, but the fishermen pursue their livelihood as they always did.  The settlement dates back to 1572, and the fishing boats still cluster together in the mouth of the Rio Tronoco.

Approximately 10km east of Olhão, you turn off the E125 and follow the narrow road, over the railway tracks and down past the river mouth to the shore.  Except in high Summer you will find ample parking beside the camp site.  With the sea on your left, walk between the fishermen’s houses and the new apartment blocks facing the sea.  The salt marshes open out where the road ends.

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It’s a distinctive landscape, and habitat for all kinds of birds.  I’ve grown to love it’s oft times, unkempt appearance when the tide is low. Spears of sunlight glinting on high water will reward my patience later.  Coots bob gently on the surface, while their longer-legged friends peck, and choose.

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Paths lead between the salt pans but you would be ill advised to follow any that are not obviously well trodden.  Cyclists zip past, some with a smile and a wave.  Looking back, houses randomly dot the marsh borders, and in the distance the new builds gleam, whitely.

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You can follow the cycle track all the way to Olhao if you wish, but I did promise you a shorter walk, so I’m meandering back, on the main path across the marshes.  I know of a good bench or three, where you can watch the locals play boules and still keep an eye on the sea.IMG_1198

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You’ll be wanting a stop at the beach cafe, but I might just tempt you to a stroll along the river mouth first?  You know I like a boat or two!

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It’s a little ragged around the edges, but Fuseta is a real and honest place, with a working population.  I hope you enjoyed accompanying me on my stroll.  Shall we head back to that cafe now?  I hear there’s cake!

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I’ve had a great time walking with you all this year.  Thank you for the support.  It has been amazing!  I worry sometimes that the formula is growing stale.  I know that I will carry on walking and sharing, because I love it, but I would hate for you to be bored.  You can say so, politely, in the comments, if you wish.  I promise not to take offense.  For now, I’m going to put that kettle on.

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Not many shares this week, as you’ve all been busy with Christmas!  Hopefully you’ll find time to read just a few excellent ones.  Many thanks to my contributors!  My Jo’s Monday walk page gives details of how to join in.

Drake’s post was wonderfully Christmassy!  Happy New Year to you, sir!

Walkaround

Over at Junkboat Travels they were making a proper holiday of it :

Mazatlan, Mexico

Why not visit Jaspa’s favourite city?  You may be in for a surprise :

Secret Itineraries Tour, Doge’s Palace, Venice

One of my joys on Christmas morning was this precious gift from Meg.  Please don’t miss it!

Eurobodalla beaches : Wasp Head 

And my lovely friend Gilly proves that murky weather doesn’t have to make you miserable :

A Boxing Day stroll

Please do join me on Jo’s Monday walk next week, when I’ll be celebrating the launch of Jude’s new Garden Photography Challenge.  I have a rather nice English garden to share.  But first,  I’d like to wish you a very happy and healthy New Year, and lots of walking!