Todos a Caminhar

Jo’s Monday walk : Alvor & the Estuary

In the 15 years that I’ve been coming to the Algarve, Alvor has grown and grown.  Given its situation, tucked into an estuary on the far side of busy Portimáo, and with lovely Lagos at the curve of the bay, it was inevitable.  It’s one of those fishing villages I used to love to nosey around.  One of the huge attractions of recent years has been the addition of a boardwalk, which takes you far out into the estuary.  So, I’m delving back into my summer memories, to give you a lovely simple stroll this week.

It didn’t start quite that way for me, because I was joining the end of season rally with Todos a Caminhar, along with a couple of hundred others.  Off we all romped, through the village, to the bemusement of quiet Sunday morning folk.  Up and around the back of the ever expanding hotels and apartments, until I stopped for a breather and to admire the cliff top view.

People were just beginning to awaken to a lazy breakfast by the pool as I descended to the boardwalk.  Save for young families and those determined to get a good spot on the beach, as near to the sea as possible.

It’s a good place to walk off breakfast, and if you continue along the coast you will earn your reward.  I just managed to catch some last blooms.

An ideal subject for Becky’s October Squares?  I hope you have your lines ready for tomorrow, but don’t forget to square them!

You can loop back towards the village from several points along the boardwalk, casting envious looks across the water.  Not everyone can afford a mansion, but anyone can eat cake!  Someone I know insists that pavlova contributes to his ‘5 a day’.  Who’s arguing?

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Short and sweet this week!  I have company from England for the next few weeks, but I still have things I want to share, so I’ll do my best to continue.  Give me a nudge if I miss you?  Here, or over at Jo’s Monday walk.

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A walk I simply had to include!  Cheryl shows us how very beautiful is Korea (you need a head for heights) :

Hiking Ulsanbawi Rock on Chuseok

And Lady Lee treats us to more of Japan :

Miyajima

While Debbie takes me to familiar and much-loved territory :

Promenade from King’s Cross to Paddington

Jackie continues her pursuit of food, drink and a little art :

Rise and Shine

Drake shares countryside and city.  Take your choice :

Surrounded by nature

Attention-competition

While Eunice explores another well-known city :

A day in Dublin(1)

And Cathy stays on track, with castles in Spain :

(Camino day 36) El Acebo to Ponferrada

Bye for now!  Take care of each other till the next time.

Jo’s Monday walk : Punta del Moral

I can get a bit obsessive sometimes, so when it was suggested to me that the area around Punta del Moral, in Huelva province, has more than its share of beautiful, white bridal broom right now… well, nothing for it but another trip to Spain!  By one of those strange quirks of fate, Todos a Caminhar were holding an event there this Sunday, which gave me just the excuse I needed.

I’ve introduced you to Todos a Caminhar before.  It’s an initiative to keep people healthy by getting them out walking.  Each Sunday at 10 they meet at a different venue, and on this particular weekend it was a coordinated effort with the council in Ayamonte, across the Guadiana in Spain.  Coachloads converged on Punta del Moral from around the Algarve, and the locals came too.  There are always a few characters at these things, and the gentleman with the strange horn amused himself, and the crowd, with a spinning top and a hoop.

There was a great feeling of camaraderie, free drinks and even a small cake- don’t tell!  People lined up in semi-organised fashion after a bit of a warm up and, with a minimum of jostling, we were away.  Soon the crowd thinned out as people found their own walking pace.  There were 3 different walk lengths, from 4.7 to 10.5km, to cater for all abilities.

It’s a very watery world, out there on the salt flats.  A lazy amalgam of river and sea.  Much of the heather looks like scrub with the tide out, especially at this time of year.  In summer it glows a beautiful lilac, but it’s too hot then to walk in this open terrain.  The river wanders wilfully, twisting and turning, often sluggish as the tide nudges in and, just occasionally, gushing and frothing with enthusiasm.

Our path takes us close to Ayamonte, clearly visible across the channel, and then turns its back to head for the ocean.  A lone fisherman searches for shellfish to eke out the diet while, beyond him, the fancy resort of Isla Canela fills the horizon with empty apartments.

In the opposite direction, the lighthouse at Isla Cristina commands attention, blinking in bright sunlight.  Around we go again, pausing only to glug a little water, and admire a cluster of cistus, who seem to be a long way from home.

The broom are not so prevalent here, but thronged the road in welcome as we approached, and are there to nod goodbye.  Before we left I persuaded the other half to take a final look at Isla Canela.  We once considered buying there, but are very glad we didn’t.

For a boat lover like me, the marina is a magnet, but there’s no heart to the place.  I’m consoled by a single, shocking pink Livingstone daisy- old friends of mine.  And, on the very edge of the resort, stop briefly by Ermita de Nuestra Senhora de Carmen.  I’d narrowly missed opening time- 11.30-1.30 on Sundays, but if I’m ever around on 16th July, I might get to see Our Lady carried to the estuary.

After all that walking, you wouldn’t begrudge a little something sweet, would you?  And packed full of healthy fruit!

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Spoilt for choice again this week!  There’s a bumper bundle of walks- please do visit as many as you can.  And feel free to join me here on Jo’s Monday walk with one of your own.  I’ll try and make you welcome.

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Debs didn’t have enough energy to haul us right up the hill.  I would never suggest she should eat more cake!

Burials in Old Calton Cemetery

Janet seems to be feeling a touch prickly :

Monday walk…This yard looks sharp!

Not an easy one to spell, but this looks like a beautiful place, Natalie!

Day Trip to Chichicastenango

Fishy stories with Jackie  🙂

Noche El Pescador

If I was looking for an idyllic place to live, I could well be tempted by Alice :

Wilson Village

I seem to be traveling backwards with Carol!

Welcome to 1867

And Geoff revives some of my memories, as well as his own :

Walking With The Wind At My Back : Part Four

I normally expect Karen to take me walking in Australia, but this one fooled me!

Stratford Walk 1: the lake

Gunta takes us down among the Redwoods- a stunning sequence!

A walk among giants

Irene assures me that the deer and squirrels are coping well :

Left Behind in the Snow

But I couldn’t stop shivering when I read this one!  🙂

Place – Walking the Flip Side

Glad to see things are improving down Lisa’s way!

Walking in Blue Skies in February

And Margaret has completely shrugged off the snow, and found a robin :

A winter walk: footprints, snowy sheep- and just one robin

While Sandra had me peering out of the window in delight!

#Snow Days #Saturday Snapshot & Monday Walk

No such problems in ‘la belle France’, with Tobias :

Chateau La Coste

I love the rugged tree roots in this one!  Come and paddle with Amanda!

Monday walk – Boreen Point Foreshore

I’m really lucky this week, because Becky has completed the other half of my Furnazhinas walk for me.  Thanks, darlin  🙂

A glorious walk through Geologic Time

And Cathy is sharing more of her Camino experience.  Another one not to miss, but do beware of the bulls!

(Camino: day 5) a rest day in Pamplona

That’s it for another week.  Hope it’s a good one!  Take care of yourselves, and I’ll see you next time.  No Spain, but maybe chocolate?

Jo’s ‘not a Monday walk’

Hi folks!  Normal service is far from being resumed, but I’m aware of collecting lots of walks which I really ought to share, so here I am today.  Could I perhaps ask that you don’t send me any more links for the moment?  I have family arriving at the weekend and they have first call on my time.  I shall have a sixth birthday to celebrate, Halloween to avoid (my daughter more than makes up for me), and then the weight of numbers will come crashing down on my head.  A big one!

As if that’s not enough, I have a cat to feed.  One that hisses at me. (I do understand, I’m not the patient mistress of the house  🙂  ).  Actually, the mistress explained to me how I should place a doorstop to prevent me being locked out in the garden with said cat.  And then the door blew shut, as she was explaining, and both of us were marooned in the garden.  Life, huh?  Her on tiptoe, looking over the wall for a neighbour.  Balanced on the back of a chair.  “Christina?”  Nothing!  I holler too, but my husband is painting, in blissful ignorance.  Finally a workman a few doors down comes to see what the matter is.  ‘Er, could you open my back door and let us in, please?’  The front door is wide open.  Hopefully I won’t repeat the incident in her absence.

So, what else?  Todos a caminhar, the free walks programme aimed at encouraging a healthy population, has resumed.  On a sunkissed Sunday morning we lined up on the boardwalk at Cabanas, with music to enhance the enthusiastic warm up.  Good for a giggle if you’re an observer.  And then we’re off!  Out of the village on a back lane, past orange and olive groves.  Some of us chattering, some striding out determinedly.  At the halfway point, a bottle of water, an apple and a breakfast bar, thoughtfully provided by the council.  And afterwards, an invitation to lunch with a lovely couple.  Sunday became a celebration of life, as we boated across the narrow channel to the ilha, and strolled on the finest of sand.

I’m still dipping into the archives for today’s photos, but you can keep track of most of my doings on Instagram or Facebook.  It’s much easier to share to them straight from the phone.

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Please read and enjoy these, if you haven’t already.  I won’t be sharing any more for a while.  Many thanks to everybody.

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Seems ages since I shared a walk of Becky’s.  She’s back in Portugal later this week.  Whoop-e-doop!

A palace fit for an English Queen

A glass of wine with Drake?  It would be an honour :

Colors of mood

Rupali shares some wonderful colours too :

Leaves in Autumn

Was September beautiful for you?  It certainly was for Lady Lee :

The Changing Seasons, September

Alastair managed to find his way to my walks.  Please do visit and say hello :

My Walk this Week 127 – Autumn Morning

It’s never boring at Jesh’s place, no matter what she’s up to :

Vacation Busyness

Janaline has seen the world, and there’s nothing like the beauty of Ireland :

Why I walk to explore places like Rathmullen in Ireland

Raspberry heaven with Irene :

Take Your Pick

Someone who’s always living the good life- join Jackie for a slice or two :

Pizza toss 

You butter believe it

Let’s hear it for Cathy!  She’s completed the Camino- loud fanfare!- and still shared some beautiful walks with me.  This is just one of many:

Wupatki Pueblo

I’m back in the UK on 9th November.  I should just make it to a Girl’s Night and then it’ll be crazy while we finish packing and handing over our home.  Catch up with you when I can.  Take care till then!

Jo’s Monday walk : Sunrise on the Salt Pans

I sometimes do daft things!  When I saw a sunrise walk featured in Tavira, in Todos a Caminhar, I just knew I had to do it.  I’ve always wanted to live beside a beach, so that I could slip outside into that beguiling early morning light.  My reality is far from that, but a 20 minute stroll will bring me to the riverside, and beyond, a world of salt marshes and oyster catchers.

Trying not to disturb a certain person, I tiptoed down the stairs at 5.45, gulped a few mouthfuls of coffee, and out into the mild, morning air.  I thought I had made good time down to the Praca, but when I got there the place was deserted.  I hadn’t been sure how many other enthusiasts to expect, but the streets of Tavira were Sunday morning sleepy.  Just as I was deciding what to do, a lady in joggers sprinted into the square, threw off her jacket and made off at speed.  It was 6.18am!   I had missed the start by three minutes.  And sure enough, the sun was just starting to rise.

I had no intention of hot footing it after them.  I had all this to myself!  In lazy pursuit, I ambled out along the river.  The soft light pearled the water, the stillness unbroken.  Even the birds were enjoying a Sunday snooze.

As I reached the edge of the salt pans I smiled to myself.  There in the distance, lycra clad figures sped towards me.  All of this seemed wasted on them.  I continued to stroll and snap.  As they straggled past me, in twos and threes, I smiled ‘Bom dia!’ but most were focused on home.

Across the salt pans there was just enough light to reflect Tavira in the water.  Ahead, the small marina and boatyard of Quatro Aguas.  It’s a place that I love, but I had never seen it in such opalescent light.

Enjoying the early morning mellow.  Gently I retraced my steps, in the ever increasing light.  Mauve crept into the heather and bronze lit the sandbanks.  I played at being a birder for a while, an obliging chap posing for me.  The wrecked mill drew closer.

And then I was back in town, and crossing the flyover.  A fisherman, releasing his boat to catch the tide.  Passing the common, a strange sight caught my eye.  An inverted Minnie Mouse, remnant of last night’s festival revelry, perhaps?

An elderly gentleman with a nice smile had also observed the balloon.  As I stopped to take the shot, an agitated shrieking filled the air.  Body taut and wings beating rapidly, it flew overhead again and again.  I supposed it must have had young close by.  Feeling like an intruder, I wearily returned home, where all was still silent.  Time to put the kettle on and start the day.

I hope you enjoyed watching the sun rise with me.  I’d like to add it to Cathy’s Photographic challenge at Wander.essence.  She’s doing some fine work over there.  I tried to bring the salt marshes alive for you.  I’m half-tempted to add this to Tina’s Soft too.  I hope she won’t mind.  The light on the water was so very soft that morning.  Are you following the Lens Artists?

Many thanks to all of you who accompany me each week.  My wanderings would be nothing without you.  Join me here any time.

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Let’s start with Lady Lee and an outing to the park :

Skywatch – our day out

Alice invites you to ‘smell the flowers’.  It’s that time of year, isn’t it?

Delaware Park- Buffalo NY

Some people say I have too many of these, but Jackie’s a lady who knows all about food :

Tea Break

A world far removed from my experience.  Let Janet take you there :

Monday walk…. sites and sights of Sheridan

Nothing I like better than going adventuring with Drake :

Bay of Kiel

Geoff rediscovers the delights of the Kent coast :

Thanet, a Walk on the Not so Wild Side #walking#kent

And Eunice shares some local history and a pleasant walk :

A local walk to Hall i’ th’ Wood

The heat has been getting to them in Norfolk, I think, but Janaline makes the most of this garden tour :

A walk through West Acre Garden in Norfolk

Fancy walking a race circuit?  Let Jaspa take you to Monaco!

Walking the Epic Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix Racetrack

I always love Aarti’s style :

Walk in a Monasterio

A very different monastery experience from Banactee, dipping back into memory :

Climbing on Mt. Sinai

And finally, another enthralling outing with Cathy.  The scenery is superb!

Strolling along Park Avenue at Arches

That’s all folks!  Wishing you a wonderful week.  Hope you can get out and about a bit.  See you next week!

Jo’s Monday walk : Todos a Caminhar!

Something a bit different this week.  We’ve often remarked that we seldom see Portuguese people out walking, as we stride around the countryside.  Maybe they don’t regard it as a leisure pastime, or are simply too busy earning a living and looking after their families.  It obviously hasn’t gone unnoticed because, a few months ago, we came across an initiative called ‘Todos a caminhar’- walking for everyone!  Sponsored by local councils, it aims at promoting better health in the community.

Each Sunday morning, at 10.00, a different venue across the Algarve hosts the walk.  A couple of Sundays ago we turned up for the one at Castro Marim, a beautiful village right by the River Guadiana.  I had visions of tramping through the salt pans with flamingos wings beating the air all around me, but it was not to be.  Coaches had arrived from all across the Algarve and, there in front of the sports pavilion, a sea of people did variations on a ‘warm up’.  Unphased, we joined them, and off we all surged, on the road out of the village, but nowhere near the salt pans.

Almost immediately we were in open countryside, in an area unfamiliar to us, and surrounded by chattering groups of Portuguese.  Determined older ladies and their gents, who were keen to show they still had what it takes, groups of giggling teens, singles striding away, everyone using up those calories so they could enjoy a really good, late Sunday lunch.

A right turn took us up a hill, in the direction of Vista Real, and so it was, a royal vista.  Once we’d gained height, far across the fields I could just make out the outline of the mighty castle at Castro Marim, with the Guadiana beyond.  As the hill dipped again there was an option to collect a free orange and a bottle of water, and complete a shorter circuit of 3.5km.  Fitter individuals could tackle the longer 10km course.  Well, what do you think?  In for a penny…

It was a blustery day, with rain threatened, the scudding clouds encouraging us to pick up the pace.  The group was well spread by now and we were keen not to be last.  There were arrows marking every junction and cheerful helpers riding back and forth, ensuring no-one had come to grief.  After another steep climb, with views of the salt pans, there was a second opportunity for water and an orange.

A couple of horses, probably bored with the sparse grazing, took an interest in us motley passersby.  The route climbed through the village of Monte Francisco, a few characterful older properties and a sequence of mostly new villas.  Locals nodded a polite ‘Bom dia’.

The best views of all were afforded to the Castro Marim Country Golf Club, a swish establishment with as extensive and beautifully laid out golf links as any I’ve seen.  However, nothing surpassed my first sighting this year of a cistus in flower.

Smiling down the home strait, the blossom twirling in the breeze, I enjoyed the placid cows and the ruin.  Soon we’d come full circle, and finally I sighted my first flamingo.  And where there’s one, there’s often another, isn’t there?  Not quite as I’d hoped.

It took us about an hour and a half to complete the 10km.  We marvelled at the scale of the operation.  Not all are as big as this one.  There were ambulances on hand, in case anyone over exerted themselves, and everywhere, smiling, happy faces.  Best of all, the rain held off, the clouds blew away and afterwards we treated ourselves to delicious tapas on a lovely sunny corner in nearby Vila Real de S. Antonio.  Life could surely be worse!

So much variety, here in the Algarve!  I hope you enjoy sharing it with me.  Come back next week because I have something rather wonderful to share.  Meantime, thank you very much for your company, and if you have a walk you’d like to share with me, please feel free.  Details, as always, are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Please do visit as many of these walks as you can.

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Mosaics, history and emerging Spring in Israel from Lisa this week :

Shoham Forest

Meg takes us time traveling through the twists and turns of her beloved Australian landscape :

Aragannu

Let Amanda take you back in time with the amazing Pergamon Museum in Berlin :

Finding Heine and Treasures in Berlin

Still shivering with Irene in the Midwest!

Chilly Reflections

And heavens, Janet almost disappears in the snow!

Monday walk… winter walk

How about some warming stew with Jackie?

El Guisado Stew

And you can usually rely on sunshine from Lady Lee :

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

My good Danish friend is giving us an easy option this week.  Thanks so much, Drake!

Walk the easy way

But Cathy doesn’t know the meaning of easy.  Go along with her and Mike, and just enjoy yourself!

Prague, Czech Republic : exploring Mala Strana

This one won’t take long.  You have to love Tobias’ sense of humour!

A tour of the Academy

Thanks again to you all for spending time with me.  I have another busy, but sometimes lazy, Algarve week ahead.  Take good care!