São Romão

Jo’s Monday walk : Natural beauty at Fonte Filipe

All that Carnaval razzamataz put away for another year, it’s back to the quiet life this week, in my sunny Algarve hills.  North of São Brás de Alportel lies a beautiful, green area which has provided me with many walks.  Twice lately I’ve started out from Fonte Filipe, a natural spring in the shape of a lemon, where legend has it a young girl appears at sunset, washing and singing in the fountain.

Leaving the fonte, I follow signs for Amendoeira.  Through the frothy wisps of tree branches, gentle humps hint at the surrounding hills.

A steady climb brings you to a villa, and a dog who looks down with casual indifference, lord and master of his landscape, for today, at least.  A drift of wild iris illuminates the path ahead.

Water is always the highlight of a walk for me.  I peer into ponds, ensnared by the meekest weeds, while reeds as straight as guardsmen protect me from the chorus of frogs.  Beyond them, cistus dance gaily in the slightest breeze.

Natural springs supplied the local populations of Amendoeira, Resinas, Carvalhal and part of  São Romão, and were used to irrigate the crops.  Stone pines grow freely here, their cones effervescent with colour at this time of year.  Mounds of cork lie drying in the sun.

It’s the turn of the pink cistus to dazzle now, the bees humming in ecstasy, while the wild narcissus gently nods.  Not to be outdone, there’s a flourish of cream and yellow among the rocks.

Back on the valley floor, a trickle of stream slides past the stepping stones.  I could paddle deliciously, but prefer to test my balance, pausing to enjoy the cool and the entwining of the shadows.

The trail from here is flagged, making easy walking.  It’s part of the Via Algarviana, which crosses the Algarve from the sea at Sagres to its border with Spain.  You need to keep your eyes wide open, for some jewels hide their beauty in the shade.  The bee eater orchid can be a shy creature.  Back into the sunshine, I pass a mill race, on the home straight now.  One more flurry of beauty and I’m back where I started.

From Fonte Filipe it’s an easy drive down into São Romão.  I stop to purchase homemade honey from a café, and a favourite restaurant, with views over the valley, supplies a wonderful panna cotta.

walking logo

Bombarded with walks this week, so you’re going to need to spend a little time here.  There are some beauties so please do visit if you can.

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A hard invitation to refuse, from Debbie :

Come Dawdle in Delphi

I just can’t believe I’m still sharing snowy walks!  Who’d be Canadian, Natalie?

A Walk to Canoe Landing Park

Drake knows where to find sunshine when he wants it (though he likes snow too  🙂  )

All day outdoors

I don’t mind a spot of rain sometimes, if we’re going somewhere interesting.  Thanks, Susanne!

A Walk through St. Augustine and Castillo de San Marcos

Janet’s post reminds me of the Leonard Cohen song, ‘Ring the bell!’  Funny the associations people make :

Goin’ to the chapel

Why not take it slow, and just enjoy the beauty, with Rupali?

Walking around 

Or you might prefer a bit of rough and tumble, with Alice :

Saint Patrick’s Day Rugby Tournament

And then you can always visit Jackie for sustenance :

Menu del Dia

Any baseball fans out there?  You might recognise this place :

China Basin Park

Mary shares some very beautiful murals :

Haibun : Cesar Chavez Elementary School

Short but sweet, and very familiar, from Becky!  Did you spot my Spiky Squares to welcome her back?

A stroll in the Barrocal

There’s nothing like looking at beauty through the eyes of one who appreciates it.  Double helping from Jude!

Godolphin Gardens in early Spring

Paris Focus : A Stroll along the Seine

Memories and much more, with Susan :

Walking Quito, Ecuador

And talking of memories, Amanda is testing my Polish this week :

A Little Polish Never goes Astray

Cathy plods on along the Camino, taking some interesting rest stops :

(Camino: day 8) Lorca to Villamayor de Monjardin

While Carol gives us a brand new definition for ‘close to the edge’ :

Edge Walking

Hope you enjoyed my company this week.  I certainly enjoyed yours.  Take care, and catch you next time on Jo’s Monday walk!

 

Jo’s Monday walk : Blossom and chimney pots

Feeling a little fragile as I write this- too much dancing, wine and excitement!- so please excuse me if I just stroll gently with you in the Algarve sunshine.  São Bras de Alportel makes an excellent base for walking, surrounded as it is by softly rolling countryside.  Allow me to indulge my current obsession with chimney pots…. and blossom, of course.

Starting from the former pousada, with grand views to the hills, you can follow a couple of simple trails.  Notice boards will advise what you need to be watchful for, or you can simply enjoy being there, drenched in the soft colours of Spring.

At a crossroads the sign points towards the ‘miradouro das castanhas’, the viewing point of the chestnuts.  Curiosity would have me look, but the group I’m walking with turn in the other direction.  I make a mental note to return, and patiently follow.  Minutes later we pause at a fonte- one of many underground springs in the Algarve.  A poem enhances the old stone and one of our group attempts a translation.  A squeal of laughter interrupts.  Another of the ladies has twirled the handle of the ‘nora’ (well) with a little too much energy, and is treated to a swift gush of water.

There was very little water and a lot of dry riverbeds when I walked in this area, but since then a day or three of torrential rain has brought the countryside alive again.  Flipflops or sandals and a towel may be needed.  Better still a sense of balance or a walking stick.

Rounding a hill it’s often possible to come upon a herd of sheep, with their faint air of apprehension and surprise.  Washing flutters appealingly on a line, while lemons ripen and flowers I don’t recognise make patterns on a wall.

This is cork territory and some of the trails lead beneath these gnarled beauties.  Someone has a sense of humour, but I’m not sure that I approve.  The ‘knight’, on the other hand, can only be greeted with a smile.  But I did promise you chimney pots, I remember.

Every village has it’s own variations, some crumbly with age, some new.  The village of São Romão has a lovely church and a deep sense of serenity.

It also has a a restaurant that we favour very often.  I’ll leave you with a little something sour and a sweet treat, to enjoy with your cuppa.

Excuse me for rambling this week.  I’m so looking forward to the frigid air of the north east tomorrow evening.  Please read and share the following walks, and join me with one of your own, if you’d like.  Details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.

Jude does take us to some beautiful places!  And did you spot a few circles in a square?

Garden Portrait: Stourhead

And quite often, Drake excels himself too :

Symph in green ‘n white

For those of you craving warmth, why not join Elaine in the desert?

In Search of an Oasis

Jackie always likes a large one of these!

Slice of Life

And just look what Irene’s found for us this week!

Sunny Lakefront

But this one from Ting simply has to be my walk of the week.  Don’t miss it!

Walking with Elephants

That’s it for now.  Not too many to read.  Hope you have a great week, wherever you are.