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Jo’s Monday walk : Vaqueiros, Cheese fest & the choir

Back in January, before our Iives were seriously upended, I took you on a walk from Vaqueiros.  The blossom was out then.  It seems such a long time ago.  A different, more carefree life.  But I want to take you back, to the beginning of March, for one last outing with the wonderful choir, Ossonoba, before all our boundaries diminished.

We were meeting at the crossroads of a country lane, close to the village of Malfrades, a little uncertain of what was to follow.  What we were sure of was a warm welcome, and smiles of recognition from the choir.

As usual, we had an experienced guide to lead the walk and answer any questions we might have about flora and fauna.  In Portuguese, of course, but if we looked too perplexed there was a member of Almargem on hand to explain.  This organisation had liaised with the choir to promote the Via Algarviana, and we were engaged in conversation several times with a charming young woman, anxious that we enjoy our experience.  And enjoy it we did!  The wonderful, big-faced white rock cistus were just getting into their stride too.

We were at one of the highest points of the Eastern Algarve, and as if that were not enough, were all set to climb a disused viewing tower for panoramic views of our surrounds.  You might have wondered about my leading photo.  We’ve reached the top!

The less confident might have opted for a seat with a view, but even it didn’t look very secure.  We followed the gently rolling trail down to the lake, with one more surprise in store.  Beside the path, winking silently in the sunlight, mysterious wild bee orchids.

The village of Vaqueiros, our destination, is just ahead, for the choir are to perform there, one last time for the season.  In January the village had been completely deserted, so we were astounded to find the main street lined with stalls.  Smoke from several bread ovens drifted into the air, with lingering delicious smells.  Local cheeses, sausages and bread were on sale, alongside beautiful hand crafts.

We made our way to the top of the village.  The choir were assembling on the church steps, those who had walked with us slipping away to change.  It was hot there in the open and I looked around for shade.  A dog lay in a lazy stupor.  The choir shuffled.

Finally they were ready, and the sounds, so familiar to me now, filled the air.  Pure joy in singing, and in each other’s company, is what makes this choir very special to me.  After the concert we were invited to follow them to a nearby restaurant.  They ate, and drank, and sang…A Capela, as they do.  A day to remember.

I’m sure they will have carried on singing, even though their plans for travel have been disrupted.  I hope to join them again in the autumn, but there’s a certain indefatiguable lady whose #SquareTops I’ll be joining even sooner.

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A bumper collection of walks this week.  Good to know you’ve still been out and about, enjoying our world, whatever the restrictions.

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Starting with a stunner from Jude :

The George V Walk in Lockdown

Always nice to welcome a newcomer.  Especially one with a sense of humour.  Meet Geanie!

Duck Takes a Walk (During COVID 19)

Joseph has a great fondness for moss.  Why not let him show you?

A Daily Walk

I had no idea that South Korea was such a beautiful country till I followed Cheryl :

A Walk in Daewangam Park & Ilsan Beach

Not just a walk along a lovely beach, but dolphins too, from Alice!

Dolphin Watch

And some spectacular sculptures, courtesy of Natalie :

5 Circular Art Works To See

Lush forest to sooth the soul, with Susanne :

Green River, Rain or Shine!  And Steelhead sighting!

Andrew, being interesting on his home patch :

Village Walks – Blow Wells and Watercress Beds

Drake, a little sentimental?

Broken eggs

Margaret, being resourceful on her doorstep :

Walking Every Single Day During Lockdown

And Janet, keeping it even closer to home :

Monday walk…in my room

Nor has Eunice strayed very far :

Smithills Hall and Moss Bank Park

While Ann Christine shares her beautiful Swedish homeland :

Thursday Thoughts – A Spring Hike

It’s a real honour and a privilege to be joined by Cee this week.  Come and see her garden!

Jo’s Monday Walk & Lens-Artists Photo #94 – Walk in My Front Yard

And Pauline takes the next step, with a video link into hers :

Come with me for a video walk in the garden…

But Cathy simply carries me off into a beautiful bubble from the past :

Lucca to Florence, Italy

Fabulous, all of them!  Thank you so much for your company.  I take much pleasure in our virtual world.  Stay safe!

Room at the top

I could well have called this Top Specimen?  I have one that I was gifted but it’s now looking a shadow of its former self.  I have high hopes for mine’s recovery, one of these days, but if it ever looks like this I’ll be thrilled.  Meanwhile, in Praca Dr. António Padinha in Tavira, there is a wonderful old building.  Yes, it’s one of many that need renovation, but if you have a few pennies to spare?  Top project!  The location is perfect.

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Cranes over the Top

I had to include this one for Becky.  The Military Bridge in Tavira, a ‘temporary structure’ for 29 years, is finally making way for something sleeker and more modern.  From a health and safety point of view, definitely an improvement.  Aesthetically speaking, time will tell…

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Six word Saturday

Which one makes the better square?

There’s a cycle path from Tavira to neighbouring Cabanas, and this bridge spans the narrow River Almargem along the way.  It struck me as perfect, in the original, for Jude’s #2020PhotoChallenge on converging lines.  But it works as squares too, don’t you think?  Up and over the Top!  We’ll be passing this way on my Monday walk.  Meanwhile, have you got Six Words to shed a little light for Debbie?

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On Top of the World

It was a strange day.  We had driven back from the north east of Portugal, and decided to spend a night in Serpa before returning to our Algarve home.  When we ventured out next morning the whole place was deserted, closing down as the virus approached.  No possibility of visiting the Museum of Watches, as planned, but we were delighted to find the castle walls still accessible.  A grey mist hung over the town, adding to the sombreness of the mood.  Gradually it lifted and, for a moment, we were feeling on top of the world.

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