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.


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…


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!

Top Lady!

Happy birthday, Becky!  Just a little cake to celebrate with, and a few flowers from the riverside gardens.  You might remember sitting on one of those benches with your lovely Mum, eating ice cream?  Wishing you a wonderful day!  And of course, I have to say it in #SquareTops.

Jo’s Monday walk : Capelinha and the lanes

Following on from last week’s walk down to the sea, I suggested I’d take you around a few of the country lanes and tracks, almost on my doorstep.  When we first bought our house in Tavira, there was very little property behind us.  From the rooftop we not only had our lovely sea view, but tree tops and greenery rolling away into the gentle hills.  Time, and development, being what it is, much of this is now interspersed with rooftops.  But it still only takes 5 or 10 minutes to be in open countryside.

When we direct people to our home we always say, stay on the E125 road through Tavira and take the turn off signed Fonte Salgada at the roundabout.  Our peaceful estate is on the left hand side, but if you continue on, you will be directed towards an animal sanctuary and a chapel.  This is the area known as Capelinha, a small scale but quite beautiful land of orchards.

Quinta de Capelinha lies not far along the road.  This was once the home of Manuel Joaquim Tavares Pais de Sousa e Andrade, Viscount and Baron, as well as Councilor and Mayor of Tavira, back in the 19th century.  The derelict family chapel sits by the roadside, abutted by a modern home and horticultural business, which specialises in fruit trees.

Today we will stay on the country road to Fonte Salgada, but there are several turn offs- narrow trails that weave in and around the orchards.

I pause to admire ripening carobs, and somewhere distant I can hear the sound of bells and the bleating of a lamb whose mother is out of sight.  The next turn off is ours, but just ahead lies the village of Fonte Salgada itself.  Should we take a look?

Sleepy in the midday sun, there’s not a lot to the village.  A café, closed at the minute, but no shop, so far as I could see.  A grain or cattle store, and a well.  Nowhere to spend your Saturday pocket money.

The road leads on up into the hills and I turn back to continue my walk.  There has been plentiful rain this Spring, a relief after a long, dry Winter.  The fields overflow with wildflowers and the air is scented with the heady aroma of orange blossom.

Figs ripen on the bough and the grass ripples with daisies.  The eloquence of the sky is a constant source of pleasure.

You’ve seen that last house before.  From wide, sweeping views I’ve turned down one of the many tracks leading back towards home.  Here I can dither and dawdle at will, eye picking out subjects that appeal.  Those little rock cairns seem to be flourishing.  And don’t the limes look exquisite?

The potato vines play hide and seek with the daisies, and a brave few remaining rock cistus turn their pretty faces up to the sun.  Plants I cannot name still have the power to enchant.  A stony path climbs gently past wizened olive trees and I’ve not far to go.  The air feels fresh and alive, raindrops clinging on in more sheltered places.

I am taking this opportunity to link to Jude’s #2020 Photo Challenge.  I know the vistas will appeal.  There are quite a few converging lines, and she never can resist a plant or two.  Funnily enough she is wandering down Cornish lanes in her post this morning.  A sign of the times?

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A lovely wander with Jude :

The Lanes in April

I had to include this one from Cathy.  I was with her every step of the way!

Cinque Terre: A vineyard walk in stunning Manarola

Serendipity has Sheetal in another of Cathy’s destinations.  Not strictly a walk, but too beautiful to leave out :

Travelling into the Tuscan World

Rupali takes us to another beautiful city.  I hope to follow her, one day :

An evening in Stockholm

Natalie stays close to home, but still finds beauty :

Life and Trumpeter Swan Sightings

Wherever he is, Drake is always perceptive :

When local is real local

And Eunice, too, is staying in her own neck of the woods :

A local walk at Easter

That likeable rogue, Jonno, is still out and about, with his missus :

The Croyde Bay Wednesday Walk

Just the name of this one wins me over!  Thanks, Alice :

Seahorse Way

Janet’s Monday walking again!  And any other day she can get out and about :

Monday walk…into the sun

Becky looks back on (or forward to  🙂  ) an Algarve favourite :

Rambling in the Algarvian hills

Let’s close with Cathy.  No-one is more prolific!  I love this symphony in blue :

Morocco: A day among the blue boats of Essaouira

I can occasionally get lost in these lanes, my sense of direction being lamentable.  I hope you enjoyed wandering with me.  Have a good week, stay safe, and see you next time!


I hope this is not too indiscreet a subject for a Sunday.  I didn’t know who to feel sorriest for, our topless friend or his smart neighbour.  A not uncommon sight, here in Portugal.  There’s a whole lot of sewing going on at #SquareTops this morning.  Have a nice day!

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!

Six word Saturday

Keeping on top of the situation

Spot the odd one out?  They are all horizontals for Jude’s 2020 Photo Challenge, but one of them won’t fit #SquareTops.  Hoping Debbie won’t quibble about my Six Words this morning.  Have a lovely Saturday all!