Sanlucar de Guadiana

Jo’s Monday walk : The last lap

At long last!  Finally reunited with my download cable, I am able to share a few photos from my 6 whirlwind weeks in the Algarve.  We landed back in the UK, at damp and drizzly Leeds airport, on Friday.  Despite the gloom I was delighted to see a last glow of Autumnal orange clinging to the trees.  One last hurrah!  Which is how I feel, as we are now working towards a completion date on our house less than 2 weeks away.  Laying, listening to the creaks of our old house at 5 in the morning, the check list of ‘to do’s’ tumbles around in my head.  Easier to get up, and start doing.

This isn’t a walk- more an update and a collection of swift reminiscences.  That tortoiseshell never did befriend me, though I fed her faithfully.  But at least I avoided spending the week confined with her in my neighbour’s lovely back garden.  The weather became less reliable, as it tends to in late October.  Which was a shame for my son, who wanted nothing more than to idle on a beach.  After a nightmare journey, where they almost failed to reach us and had us pacing up and down all evening, we finally all got to bed at 3 in the morning.  Nothing stops a 6 year old from being exuberant, especially when there’s a birthday in the offing.  Improving his minigolf handicap, an icecream almost as big as him, and a Bola de Gomos (‘cake’ comprised entirely of marshmallows wrapped around jellies and gummy teddy bears) all produced that heart warming smile.  The small science centre in Tavira kept him captivated as he helped to create a volcanic lava ‘eruption’, using vinegar, baking soda, washing up liquid and red food colouring.  The rain dripped off all our noses at Zoomarine, but what do dolphins care as they leap and glide, to enthusiastic applause?  And the giant seahorses in the aquarium didn’t seem to mind our awed gaping.  So many giddy patterns were run round the beach, whilst my husband demonstrated his castle building expertise.  Small person’s best bit?  Sharing the winner’s podium with my son at Karting Almancil.  To pilot a car on your own you have to be 7, but dual controls gave both of them a hugely enjoyable ride.  ‘Next year, Mum?’

As for my birthday, I cannot imagine a more beautiful setting for a wine tasting than Quinta da Tôr, in the gently rolling Algarve hills.  By then my son and family had reluctantly gone home, to be replaced by my lovely daughter and her husband.  Both were highly appreciative, of both the setting and the produce.  A great deal of wining and dining took place in the few days they were there; a little gentle strolling to a castle not made of sand, plus a ferry trip to pretty Sanlucar de Guadiana, across the river.  Serendipity had it that we were able to be joined by my good friends Becky and Robert, for a fabulous farewell luncheon at Vai e Volta in Olhão.  Seldom has so much fish been consumed at one sitting.  Huge thanks to José and Maria for being such generous hosts.

The fairy tale ended, as these things must, and Michael and me went back to scrubbing floors, painting and changing beds.  Our last evening was largely spent circling each other in the kitchen, trying to keep out from under the feet of the Man from MEO and his assistant.  Our Internet connection had been abysmal, but we thought we were stuck with it as we had been told there was a blockage in the duct.   Hoorah and 3 cheers for Marco, who laboured diligently to find a solution, while we wondered if we were ever going to have supper that evening.  Finally he went home to his wife and child, a successful connection made, and we wolfed down our food and went for a quick celebratory drink at our neighbours.  Great ending to another chapter.

walking logo

Meanwhile the walks have continued to arrive.  I cannot commit to a regular Jo’s Monday walk until I’m back in the Algarve at the end of this month, but I will continue to share and to visit you whenever I can.  Many thanks to all of you for your patience.

………………………………………………………………………………………

Fabulous images from Tobias.  I first saw these sitting in a café in drizzly old Leeds.  A nice welcome home :

Les ocres de Roussillon

Goult – Morning Walk

Street art rules with Cactus Catz.  Do enjoy visiting her :

Monday Mural : Joe Pagac’s Borderland Brewery mural, Tucson, Arizona

Sharing a little fun and a stroll with Judy :

A Walk Around Town

The majesty of the Austrian Alps, in the company of Drake :

Naked peaks

In case I didn’t make it back in time to enjoy it, some lovely Autumnal colour from Eunice :

An autumn walk in Central Park

While Irene finds a squirrel in an arboretum :

What’s that Racket?

Some folk are wanderers for life and this certainly applies to my lovely friend, Cathy.  You can spend hours enjoying her travels, in her native America and abroad :

The Giant Logs Trail at Petrified Forest National Park

The Crystal Forest Trail at Petrified Forest National Park

Sincere apologies to anyone I’ve missed out.  It hasn’t been easy keeping track.  I have 10 days to pack our personal possessions, leave the house in good order, and say lots of goodbyes, and then we are gone.  Oh yes, and replace the washing machine.  It gave a mighty groan and subsided mid-spin the day we left the UK.  Definitely, the last lap!