Walking Trails in the Algarve

Jo’s Monday walk : Odeleite, a beautiful disaster!

From one extreme to another, last week’s gentle look at village life to this week’s biting off more than you can comfortably chew.  Does this look like a promising start- the cemetery wall in Odeleite?  It was all downhill from here- a seemingly endless set of concrete steps, and yes, I did stop to wonder how I’d find the energy to climb back up them.  But all’s well that ends well, isn’t it?  There was a seat awaiting my return.

Odeleite is such a pretty village, as you can see, though not a little steep.  That morning I was surprised to find a skirmish of bikers, clad in leathers and revving their engines on a narrow terrace.  Much preferring the tranquil life, I moved on.

The first mistake was to follow an inviting sign.  My partner in crime has a nose for these things, so he tells me.  My mistake was to follow him.

The goat did try to warn us!  The water course looked very inviting, and with a picnic I could have lingered, but we had our walking heads on.

Now I have to confess that if things don’t go my way, I can get a little grouchy.  As we climbed the hill, away from the village and leaving the water far behind, I niggled a bit.  After all, we had set out to walk beside the water.  Or at least, I had!  But my persuasive other half insisted that route PR5 was exactly what we needed, and would bring us back to the river, in a loop.

A rock pool or two spliced through the charcoal stone and everywhere rock roses waved and bobbed at our passing.  Hard to stay grumpy in surroundings like this.  After half an hour of dips and rises, we came to a village called Alcaria, where things began to look promising.  It’s well known I can be won over by a glass, or two!

Tucked down a back street, casa do pasto Alberto’s had a couple of outside tables. Unfortunately it was Sunday lunchtime, and inside was heaving with locals, tucking in.  We managed a chunk of gooey meringue apiece, before sadly moving on.  We were about to make our next mistake. The choice was a 2km return to Odeleite or to continue on the PR5.  Blame the wine, if you like, but I found myself agreeing to the latter.

Did you notice that the sign said PR4?  Somewhere along the way we had left our PR5 behind. As we approached the river, a field full of sheep tinkled their bells at us.  We knew that we would have to cross the river to reach Odeleite, but where was the nearest bridge?

Some way distant, of course.  With great relief, we finally crossed a road bridge.  The sign read Foz de Odeleite.  Familiar territory!  At least, I recognised the restaurant.  Still quite a way to go to our destination, but the sky was blue and the scenery beautiful.  And I was following my river!

Over on the far bank we spotted the sheep we had passed earlier.  A tempting tumble of apples by a deserted farmhouse…  if I took one, would a dog race out, barking?  With serenity all around us, it was a shock to the system to find that trouble was lurking, just ahead.

A ford that we really hadn’t bargained for, and quite deep.  Retracing our steps was unthinkable, so it was off with the shoes and a slow, steady wade across, holding hands.  On the far side a Portuguese family watched, the small boy busy amusing himself.  Stones and rivers go together, don’t they, but he stopped play, open-mouthed, to watch our progress.

We dried off, and a sign pointed us directly towards Odeleite.  What could be easier?  Smiling cheerfully at the family, away we went.  Along with the cistus and lavender, tiny blue iris winked shyly at us.

Tired but hopeful, there was yet one more twist in store.  Always observant, my partner had realised that the river was flowing in the ‘wrong’ direction.  Increasingly doubtful, he wanted to go back, ‘just to be sure’.  Abandoning whatever good sense I had left, I returned with him to where the bewildered Portuguese family, fortunately, still remained.  Halting language, gestures and smiles confirmed what I already suspected.  We had been on the right track, and had to retrace our steps.

Eventually, we did make it back to Odeleite, after 6 hours of walking and at least 16km.  As we came into the village, it was immediately obvious the mistake we had made.  Isn’t it always?  We had started out in completely the wrong direction.  The walk we were ‘following’, Terras da Ordem, from the Walking Trails in the Algarve book, gave 2 choices of starting place.  Maybe we’d have been better off with the other! At least we didn’t have to climb those woeful steps.

If you’re feeling brave and want to try it, you need to scroll almost to the end of the website, to page 140.  And in fairness to the better half, we were at the junction of 2 rivers, as the map will show. Confusion all round!

Thanks folks, for following my weary feet.  Sometimes it’s not such a good idea.  I will struggle to respond to you today because very last minute plans mean that I am in Bristol as you read this.  I hope to have WiFi at some point, and if all else fails I’ll be home again late Tuesday. If I haven’t shared your walk this week, it’ll be here next Monday.  Kettle on now, and feet up, my happy band of armchair walkers!

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Becky, the laugh was on us!  One of these days we’ll walk together and I won’t get lost!

Nightingales in the Pomegranate Trees

Bavaria is so pretty, isn’t it?  Lady Lee spent a few days there :

Bamberg – The Changing Seasons

Jackie’s still battling the elements and having fun in California :

Day 3 So Cal- Monterey and Area

Woolly shows his serious side with an Anzac Day post :

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While Drake has fun with a broken bus in Lancashire :

Wanna be free

Meg keeps me well supplied with beautiful beaches.  Tread carefully on this one!

Eurobodalla beaches : Plantation Point

It remains to say that I hope you had a great weekend, Bank Holiday or otherwise.  Words will struggle to describe mine.

 

Jo’s Monday walk : Lagoão Trail

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I do like to have a bit of fun on a walk, and for me that invariably means water.  When the guide book says that the river might not be fordable after heavy rainfall, I picture great torrents.  But this is, after all, the Algarve, and the prospect of being swept away downstream is not huge.  The only way to find out is to follow the trail and see.

So it was that we parked up, between the football ground and the fire station, in the wonderfully somnolent village of São Marcos da Serra.  Our destination that day was the hilltop village of Alferce, site of yet another magnificent Presepio de Natal, this one with life-sized figures.  The Lagoão Trail was almost en route, so it was decided to ‘make a day of it’.

This is a nicely level, circular 10km walk, initially following the river.  Much of the scenery has a soft Autumn tinge to it on this January day.  A great billow of smoke announces a farmer, burning off dead wood and shrubs.  The delicate pink of a rose bush delights my eye.

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Before too long we approach the ford, which I’m happy to say is fordable.  Mick goes first, in his sturdy boots.  While I’m fiddling about taking my shoes off, a car splashes through, catching me completely by surprise.

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I linger to gaze into the swirling waters, lapping clear and cool at my bare toes.  The river is moving quite swiftly, creating gurgly pools in its midst. Satisfied with my brief plodge, I follow the trail, admiring the wispy fronds of toffee-coloured tamarisk.

Soon a junction is reached.  Consulting the map it’s obvious that the walk can be shortened, but the reservoir beautifully reflects the umbrella pines and it’s too tempting to continue to walk beside it.

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The trail winds away from the reservoir and past a couple of tired-looking farms.  A posse of cats try to outstare me, in that way that cats do. Distracted by them, and trying to photograph a heap of drying cork, I fail to notice the dog till it’s leaping and snarling at my side.  My protector has his toe boot at the ready, and fortunately it backs off.

Hurrying on around the bend, I catch the tinkling of a bell.  I anticipate goats, but it is in fact another dog.  A much more laidback character, this sheepdog scarcely looks in my direction, but he has an ear cocked for his charges.  They watch me with curiosity, from the other side of the wall.

The final stretch of the walk turns back beside the river.  I’m quite surprised to find a railway track ahead but, checking my map, it appears the line runs north to Beja in the Alentejo.

As often happens, the road back into the village involves a bit of uphill, but there are gleaming white chimney pots to distract, and even an iris, peeping out of foliage.  A couple of villagers sit on the steps of their houses, in the sleepy warmth.  In the main square a few benches are occupied, next to the pretty little church.  I peer into a shop window at a Nativity scene made entirely of cork. Not easy to photograph!  A sign at the community centre indicates a main display inside, but it won’t open until 3.00, and I’ll be gone.

A glint of sunlight draws me towards the Christmas tree.  It’s made from recycled plastics. A brilliant idea, and one we could all copy.

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The only restaurant appears to be closed, but there’s a tiny cafe where a tumbler of wine and a cake costs very little.  Duly fortified, it’s down through the village and back across the river.  The empty car park is now overflowing and it appears it’s ‘match day’.  Young, fit bodies mill about and it’s time to reluctantly move on.

This walk features at page 100 of the Walking Trails in the Algarve, where you will find a map and details.  Time to put the kettle on?

Many thanks to you all for continuing to share your walks with me, no matter what the weather. Details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page, and everyone’s welcome!

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I rarely turn down a good scone.  I guess Anabel knows that :

A stroll in the grounds of Scone Palace

Say hello to Eunice, please?  A Meccano bridge and Mandarin duck make a pleasing combination :

A New Year canal walk

A familiar theme- Capability Brown- from Lady Lee :

Stowe House

Going prospecting with Liesbet!

Things to see in the Northern Gold Country

Jackie explores an inspiring garden :

Albin Polasek Sculpture Gardens

A boat, a beach hut and a lighthouse with Stephanie in Puget Sound :

A Walk through Point No Point County Park

I really enjoyed looking at Brugge with Woolly.  Have you missed any of his posts?

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Just a tiny bit jealous of Becky, who’s back in the Algarve, walking, on my behalf!

More than a glimpse of the Guadiana

It won’t be so warm in this country!  Play a game with Biti?

Guess what country?

London Wlogger is doing a grand job of hosting walks around our capital, including part of my old stomping ground :

Mile End Park to London Fields : Exploring Parks of the 19th and 21st Century

And are you familiar with When in my Journeys?  This is a lovely walk!

A walk on the streets of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Sometimes photography can be pure poetry.  Paula is surely mistress of the art form :

Braving the Elements with Grace

We’ve had some ferocious weather this month.  Drake examines the debris around the Baltic :

Day after a hard stormy day 

Denzil tells a sorry tale, but all’s well that ends well :

Sint-Agatha-Rode and the patron saint of breast cancer 

And Carol finds something really rather mysterious in Cornwall :

A Secret Place

Not so much a walk as a seal fan club, with beautiful photos.  Thanks, Susan!

Seal Walk

That’s it for another week.  I hope you enjoyed sharing.  Take good care of yourselves!

Jo’s Monday walk : Querenca to Fonte de Benemola

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Another of the Algarve’s sleepy villages, Querenca was looking idyllic on the last day of my October holiday.  Our walking group were meeting at the cafe on the left of the photo above.  It’s quite a drive up into the hills and a ‘bica’ of coffee is always appreciated before we start walking.

Surrounded by rolling hills and leafy green scenery, Querenca breathes pure tranquillity. Excepting when the Festa das Chouricas takes place, at the end of January, and the waft of spicy sausage rouses the locals.  In honour of St. Luis, the patron saint of animals, the celebrations give thanks for the pigs, bred locally, that feed the villagers throughout the year.  I rather fancy trying chouriço à bombeiro, where the sausage is doused in brandy and set alight. Bombeiros are fire fighters, in case you wondered.  Time to set forth.

We leave the village square in a downhill direction, over lovingly worn cobbles.  I’m too busy admiring the scenery to realise that the return route could well be steeply uphill. There are 13.7 kilometres to cover first.  I’ve walked to Fonte de Benemola in the past, but this route is unfamiliar.

Portuguese street names do sometimes seen inordinately long.  And did you notice that cat, giving me such a baleful look?

Continuing downhill we find the beginning of the trail to the Fonte, or spring.  A lush green valley leads beneath lofty cliffs, the arid red of the Algarve soil revealed in the fissures.  It reminds me greatly of my trip to Rocha da Pena, but today the weather is impeccable.

img_4322The trail winds along dustily, and becomes quite rock strewn in places.  In Spring these nooks and crannies will be dressed in the finery of rock roses and lavender, with the promise of wild orchids.  This late in the year colour is harder to find.

When finally I reach the Fonte, the bamboo and rushes are bleached almost colourless.  A soft shushing noise betrays the presence of the water, a sign ‘olho’ pointing hopefully.  A young couple are balanced on the rocks, trying to capture on camera the bubble of water as it rises and swirls in an ‘eye’.  I carry on, knowing that I’ve seen it in far less parched surroundings.

These natural springs prevail throughout Portugal’s hills.  This is ‘the eye’ in Springtime.

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As we follow signs back to the village I wonder if the cheery basket maker is still there, with his whistles and bird imitators.  I had purchased a wicker bowl last time, feeling sorry for him as he sat alone in the woods.  It serves as a slightly wonky erstwhile fruit bowl. Many new arrivals are enjoying the unseasonally hot weather, and I feel sure that he will be enjoying good trade in his shady dell.

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Remember that climb back into the village?  I confess I had forgotten all about it.  It took a while before I was puffing and panting back into the village square.  There just has to be a reward, don’t you think?

Much later I discovered a video of the Fonte that I thought you might like to see.

There are a number of routes around the natural springs.  Walking Trails of the Algarve pages 76 and 80 will give you shorter variations on this walk, or you can simply follow the signboards.  This video will give you a glimpse of the basket maker.  Please ignore the advertising.  I hope you’ve got the kettle on, ready to join my walkers from your armchair?

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Thanks so much, everybody, for your kind contributions to my walks.  I wasn’t at all sure where to lead you this week but in the end I opted for sunshine, as Winter wraps itself around us here in the UK.  I hope you enjoyed it.  If you’d like to contribute anytime the details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Just click on the logo above.

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I do like a tinker in a museum and a browse round a market.  Geoff can tell you a story or two as well :

From Paddington to Page#walking#london

Woolly likes a little stroll, with not too much effort and some classy cars :

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But sometimes he gets a little further :

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Jackie’s by the York River, in Yorktown.  Virginia, of course!

Day 6- Yorktown

Nothing like a good fumble around the Albert Docks with Drake.  He’s in his element!

Come and get it

Does anyone know what Pargeting is?  Jude does, and I really love it :

Love Lavenham

Becky’s counting to 6 this week, but there are lots more than that!

There are pomegranates in the tree

While Carol’s fossil hunting and has found loads!

Buried Treasure

Or you could join Kathrin for a delicious trip to the beach :

A day at Solana Beach

How do you follow the legend that is Badfish?  Why, with devotion, of course :

ONE FINE DAY in BRATISLAVA : Part III

That’s it for now.  I think I’ll be walking in the UK again next week.  Feel free to join me but, more importantly, take care till then.

Jo’s Monday walk : Boa Vista Trail

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Becky will recognise this little chap straight away, but I’m not going to take her advice and walk the Boa Vista Trail the ‘other way round’.  I would, however, suggest that you pay close attention to her post, if you one day find yourself up in the Algarve hills, with a little time to spare.

It was one of several grey days I encountered in April this year, not ideal for a trail named beautiful view, but pleasant enough for walking. From Vila Nova de Cacela in the Eastern Algarve, we left E125 and headed north on a minor road, EM509.  A goatherd and his enthusiastic dog caught my eye as we headed for open country.  At the village of Corte Antonio Martins, our 9km circular trail began.

There was a slight, blustery wind, setting the flowers to shiver and shake.  As it died down, a spatter of heavy rain drops hit the ground. Up went the umbrella! (the other half, ever prepared)  This is just like an English walk, you’re thinking!

But the flowers on the hillside told a different story.  Cistus beamed at us- mostly the Montpellier variety, with their welcoming ‘face’, but large, plain white ones too.  Tiny pink ones, and others resembling potentilla.  Wild lavender and vivid yellow broom.

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Looking over a cottage garden wall I tried to guess at some of the mysterious planting.  Carobs and apricots, figs and aloes, I managed.

Just occasionally the sun peeped out, transforming our world.  Well-marked paths rolled gently up and down the hills.  Reaching a crossroads, we continued on past countryside wholely at ease with itself.  Houses dotted the landscape, some, sadly neglected shells, others full of life.  A cat gazed, unblinking, as we rounded a corner.  A challenge in that glare!

The trail crosses the Ribeira do Rio Seco in a couple of places, ‘dry river’ a not entirely accurate description.  Rather, a shallow stream, at this time of year, the surface liberally sprinkled with tiny white flowers.  They seemed to link arms, reaching across the water.

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Gently uphill again, cistus pointing the way.  A sign for Pomar confirmed we were still on track.  At a ramshackle old hill top cottage we came unexpectedly upon a family of small, brown goats.  Engrossed as they were in giving a ‘short back and sides’ to the overgrown shrubs, suddenly we were eye to eye.  After the slightest hesitation, we were dismissed us as unthreatening.  Back to the job in hand!

We carried on, with huge smiles on our faces.  Not far to go now.  This is agricultural country, the hills green and vibrant with colour.

Our second crossing of Rio Seco produced still more delight.  A shimmering green pool among the rocks.  And more of those little flowers, holding hands as they stretch out on the cool water.

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Over the hill and heading for home, that sky still looked very dark.  I never did see a Eurasion jay, as the walking guide suggested I might.  I think I’ll leave that to Becky.  She’s so much better at that kind of thing than me.

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This walk is on p. 156 in the Walking Trails in the Algarve guide, with a map and further details.  If you saw my Saturday post, you’ll know that blue skies are more the norm in the Algarve.  I’m off there, just to make sure, on Wednesday, so there won’t be a walk next week.  Heaves sigh!  Never mind- let’s put the kettle on, shall we?

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Thanks everybody for your company and your great support again this week.  I still have a fistful of gardens to share, but they’ll have to wait a little while.  Meantime I have some wonderful walks to share with you.  If you’d like to join me, you can post a walk at any time.  I’ll catch up when I’m home again, because I don’t have Internet in the Algarve.  Details are always on my Jo’s Monday walk page, or just click on the logo above.

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I hope you all have one of these.  Drake does!

Nice life

Or you could take a nice old-fashioned walk on the prom with Lady Lee :

Along the Promenade

Miriam’s a lovely lady but I’m so not ready for Winter yet!

Winter in Maldon

A Canadian brewery tour with Jackie?  Now that’s a different proposition :

Distillery District 

I hope you’ve got your money handy?  We’re shopping with Biti this week :

The Market

Or we could go looking for bluebirds and butterflies with Geoff.  Hint- there are White Cliffs :

Bluebirds and Butterflies

Carol’s been living it up again, in that delicious Hawaii place!

Friday Night in Waikiki

The big city beckons Jaspa.  Look out for the graffiti fish!

A Stroll around Montevideo, Uruguay

I owe Susan humble apologies.  She’s been diligently walking and I never even noticed!  Not one small walk, but three!

Walking Brasov, Romania

Walking with Pelicans (sorry to show bias, but this is my favourite)

Walking with Sea Gulls

Kathrin is spending some wonderful beach time too.  Watch out for the spray!

A walk along 4-mile beach

There you have it, for now.  I hope you can find time to visit because I’ve included some wonderful walks.  There’s really something for everyone. I’ll be back walking on Monday, 18th July.  Take good care till then.

 

 

 

Jo’s Monday walk : Rocha da Pena

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Some walks are a really hard act to follow.  After last week’s Almond Blossom Trail, in blissful sunshine, I was really looking forward to taking you to the heights of Rocha da Pena.  I envisioned the landscape, dropping away below me, and my eyes gazing far out to sea. Unfortunately, the dismal cloud wrapped around the rock had other ideas.  Every day in the Algarve cannot be paradise, can it?  But what I can offer you is good company, some wonderful plant species, and… oh, yes- cake!  What’s a little drizzle between friends?

The drive out into the Algarve countryside is beautiful in itself.  A little challenging, and you do have to like hairpin bends.  This is another walk that features in the Walking Trails in the Algarve, (p.72) and once you arrive the signage is good.  The walk begins beside a cafe, Bar das Grutas, and a strong coffee is just the thing to set you up.  Don’t expect a smile from the proprietor, however.  Or maybe it was just the weather!  Taking a look at those clouds, I think we’d better get going!

It’s uphill, of course, but not too steep, and there’s plenty to hold your interest.  Plants nestle in unsuspected places.  I’m walking with a group and every now and then a voice sings out ‘don’t miss this one!’  I’m being teased a little, but I like it.  The challenge is to keep up with the group, yet still record my individual delights.

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There are a few signboards, pointing out things of interest, and I’m reminded of the fires that swept this mountain range, soon after we’d bought our Algarve home.  Driving along the coast, or even down on the beach, a black pall of smoke could be seen on the horizon.  It must have been terrifying to be up here, as the fires raged for 4 days, in 2004.  Hard to imagine on this moist day, when so much has renewed and revitalised.

I’m soon on the hunt for the wild bee orchids which, I discover, like this predominantly calcareous outcrop.  I can’t be cross with the weather when I learn that late January/early February is the perfect time to see them, rain or shine.  The plateau rises to a height of 479 metres at Talefe, which roughly translates as ‘trig point’.  All this richness and diversity has led to the Rocha being a ‘Special Protected Area’, by law.

The boards also refer to narcissus calcicola, which I take to be a simple daffodil. I’m wildly excited when I come upon a carpet of these tiny beauties, so much smaller than any I have seen before.  I think I probably have more than one variety here.

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Up on the heights, with the daffodils, lie the remains of a defensive stone wall, believed to date back to the Iron Age.  It’s been attributed to Celtic people who lived on the Iberian peninsula in pre-Roman times. (6th-1st century BC)

There are caves you can explore, currently inhabited by two locally endangered species of bat.  The largest cave, known as ‘Moor’s Grotto’, was used as a final desperate refuge in the 13th century, according to legend.  The Almohad Moors tried to hide there, before being slain by the Portuguese troops of King Afonso III.

After a speck or two of drizzle, a tantalising glimpse of hazy sunlight appears in the distance, as we drop back down the trail.  I look wistfully towards the open door of an unlikely ‘Mini Museum’ in the village of Penina, quietly going about it’s business.  But my walking friends have lunch firmly in mind.  No loitering allowed!  I guess I’ll have to come back, on a sunnier day, and perhaps do the walk in reverse.

If you’re thinking you’ve seen that door before somewhere, it was one of many in Life is full of choices.  Within a matter of minutes we’re back to our start point, and not a moment too soon as the skies open.  The Bar das Grutas supplies food, but we hop into cars and head for the village of São Romão, near São Bras de Alportel, where we have a reservation.  A warm welcome awaits us at Cafe Correia.  And cake, of course!

I’m including a link to an excellent website, Walk Algarve, where you will find full details of the geology, and flora and fauna to be found at Rocha da Pena, with a little more history.  And now, that cake’s made me thirsty.  Time to put the kettle on.

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Thanks everybody for keeping me company on my walks, and for entertaining me with yours.  I hope you enjoyed this one and, if you have a walk you’d like to share, details can be found on my Jo’s Monday walks page.  Just click on the logo above.

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I’m not a huge fan of snow but if anything could persuade me… Anabel just might :

Canadian Rockies : Lake Louise

And Colline gave it a good try!  Canada definitely seems to be the place for it :

A Walk in the Snow

Come over to the ‘dark side’ with Drake?  He does it beautifully!

Abandoned walk

Congratulate Jesh?  She deserves it!

A Short Diversion

Me and Jackie, still singing, down Mexico way!  And why wouldn’t we?

Monday walk : Guadalajara

Jaspa does go to some fascinating places!  I’d really like to visit this one :

The Templar Tunnels of Acre, Israel 

A little summertime warmth, Down Under, with Rosemay would be good too :

The French Connection : Bunker Bay

Geoff and his dog go bounding through the sand dunes!

Life’s a Beach#glorioussuffolk 

While Snowdon Student takes a break from his studies to head for the hills again :

Relaxing by Llyn Idwal

Jude is busy getting ready to move to Cornwall, but still found time to share.  That’s a friend for you!

Scrobbesbyrig/Shrewsbury : Town Trail Part 1 

It looks a bit busy in Macau, for me.  Anyone been there?  Thanks, Lee Ann!

A stroll through the Old Town of Macau

Pauline gave me an early morning nudge this morning!

Early morning beach walk

I’m well and truly re-acclimatised to the UK again.  Not sure where to take you next week, but I’m pretty sure we’ll be walking somewhere.  Many thanks again, and I hope you all have a great week!

Jo’s Monday walk : Amendoeira (Almond) Trail

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True sign of Spring, and a sight to gladden the heart- almond blossom.  This is what the Algarve in February means to me, though the sky may not always be so blue. (but that’s next week’s walk)  Again I’m taking you up into the hills, and you’ll need a map to follow. Our start point is the village of Cruz de Alta Mora, inland from the River Guadiana.  The road dips and sways through unheard of villages.  There are occasional bus stops along the way, but nary a person waiting.  Does this look like an inviting place to start a walk?

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I rather thought so.  The sign pointed towards the village of Soalheira, and a trail led off through the welcoming carpet of false yellowhead.

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You might have noticed a tendency I have to find walks with hills in them?  The walking guide I was using gives an indication of the ‘ups and downs’, and I always look to see how strenuous it might become. (but then often do the walk anyway, if it’s not too long)  In this case the steepest incline comes right at the end of the walk.  One of the signboards in the village of Alta Mora described the trail as the way of the cabra Algarvia– the Algarvean Goat- so I shouldn’t have been at all surprised to come upon a pen full of them.

Did you spot the ruined windmill on the top of the hill?  Or the ginger cat in that sparse grass? ( you can click on the photo to make it easier)  I was headed upwards, but initially it wasn’t too steep.  If you wanted the view from the top, that comes at a cost…

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And then it’s far behind you, and you can see the next village ahead.  Looking back at my photos I can see I got a little carried away on this walk, but it was quite hard not to.  Aside from the blossom, I am enamoured of the wild cistus.  I find this countryside almost impossible not to love.

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After Caldeirao, the trail idles through the greenest of valleys, then rises somewhat surprisingly to a tarmac road.  There, nestled in the landscape and unmentioned in the guide, a tiny cafe awaits.  This is the point at which all thoughts of walking might well disappear out of the window.  Or, more appropriately, off the enticing balcony.  Laundry dangles over the valley below.  The scene is only despoiled by a cacophony of compounded dogs.  A puppy in the cafe garden twitches its nose at visitors, while Mum snoozes determinedly in the sun.

I know that many of you will be disappointed at the non-appearance of cake.  I will humbly make amends in my next walk.  For now, I need to head on to the idyllic, though partially abandoned, villages of Funchosa em Cima and de Baixo. (upper and lower)

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It’s a steep climb back out of the valley and then roll down into the next, Ribeira do Beliche.  I spot a donkey in a courtyard, his back firmly turned to me.  I edge closer, but pause when my husband reminds me they do a wicked back kick.  A shot under cover of planters will have to do!

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There are river crossings to be made.  A few uneven stones straddle the water, and I end up with one wet foot.  No matter- it’s a warm day. Crouched by the side of the water, I spot some tiny delicate orchids.  Funny how similar they are to some I’ve seen on the cliffs at home.  Alas, my shots are horribly blurred, so I’ll simply tell you that next week I have a different orchid, which I found very exciting.

I cross the stream a second time, a little more successfully, and then begins that last, long slog up the hill, which leads, eventually, back to our start point.   Not for the feint hearted!  You don’t want to watch me, so I’ll end with a delicacy of blossom.  Is it ever possible to have too much?

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Phew!  I have to say I’m rather tired after all that, and just have the energy to point you towards Walking Trails in the Algarve, where this walk appears, right near the end, at p. 144.   Full details of how to get there are given in the guide.  And now, the kettle on, I think! 

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Thank you all for your tolerance while I was away.  I tried to keep up as best I could, but managed to miss a few of you.  Amends made here, I hope. Once again I have some wonderful contributions.  If you possibly can, please find the time to read them.  And maybe even join me on a walk next week?  Shorter, I promise!  Details on Jo’s Monday walk page or the logo above.

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Drake’s timing was simply wonderful!

Hit the road

Tobias always makes such good use of his ‘props’  :

Walk on Beach

Debbie just can’t resist a shot or two on the way to work!  Or anywhere, really…

Misty Walk Along the Thames

Fancy making your own Tequila?  You just need blue agave plants!  Cheers, Jackie!

Monday Walk : Tequila, Mexico

Amy takes us back to visit the exotic Ringling home.  What a beauty!

Monday Walk : Ca’ d’Zan

The national parks in the States look larger than life, don’t they?  I’d love to visit!

Arches National Park, Utah

Somewhere else I wouldn’t mind to try- Hawaii!  Have a wander with Carol :

A Walk Along Front Street

Waking to snow is not my idea of fun, but in the Rockies you’d expect it, and Anabel looks pleased :

Canadian Rockies : Num-ti-jah Lodge

My daughter spent her birthday and 3rd wedding anniversary in Edinburgh, and fully endorses Smidge’s recommendations :

Edinburgh ‘must do’ : Edinburgh Castle

Gilly would like my goats, wouldn’t she?  Her dogs might not be so keen :

Walking the Goat to the Bowling Green

And Jill just scraped in, in the early hours of this morning.  I haven’t even had time to read it yet, but I will!

Biking the shores of Inle

I woke to snow this morning, looking oh, so pretty, outside my window.  I haven’t had time to ‘enjoy’ it yet, but hopefully?  Once again, my thanks to all.  For those of you I saw on Saturday, Vincent and Flavia were fabulous!  Have a great week, and see you soon.

 

 

 

Jo’s Monday walk : São Lourenço Trail

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Nothing special this week.  Just a short walk in the Algarve and a reminder that I will not be here to post a walk next week.  I probably won’t have time to respond to many of you before I go, either, so I’ll have to crave your indulgence.  You know I’ll catch you up when I’m back, don’t you?

In all honesty, I was a little disappointed in this section of the São Lourenço Trail but there were compensations.  It borders affluent Quinta do Lago, and appears to be used largely by joggers and cyclists, between rounds of golf.  I approached the trail from the beach, crossing over the salt flats via the Ponte de Ancao, an extremely long foot bridge, easily visible when you fly over the Algarve.

The last time I was in this neighbourhood I had turned left after the bridge, and been astounded at the beauty of the saltwater lake stretching before me. So I had high hopes on my return.  A right turn after the bridge had me skirting the edge of a golf course, the salt marsh squidging at my toes. The tide was out, but it was obvious that when it came in, some of the trail would be underwater and a little paddling might be required.  A good reason not to loiter, but it was not very obvious to me which was the trail.

IMG_1220This new-looking red dust cycle track proved to be a false start.  It led far into the distance, towards the airport, and seemed very popular with birdwatchers.  Solid benches along the way attracted couples with binoculars, focused on the watery world.  An about face proved necessary.

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It was immediately apparent that I should have stuck close to the golf course, on a much more beaten track.  I retraced my steps and headed into a stand of pines.  Beyond them, a small lake was overlooked by a two-storey bird hide.

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I spent a little while in the bird hide, enjoying the antics of the waterfowl, but I forgot to look for the two species of native terrapin. Azure-winged magpie are a common enough sight in Portuguese woods.  The trail ends at some rather unprepossessing Roman ruins, former salting tanks used for the preservation of fish.  A signboard describes the process.

Time to retrace my steps the brief distance back to the bridge, the tide not having advanced too far.  It was a warm day for late November and I had neglected to bring water.  The price of my folly was high.  I did say that this was wealthy Quinta do Lago, didn’t I? The cost of my glass of white at Gigi’s bar made me wince, but there was nowhere else in sight.  I stayed as long as possible to gain maximum value from the view.

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This is walk no. 42 from Walking Trails in the Algarve, a book I’ve used previously.  Remember Carrapateira?  Full details of how to get there, complete with maps, are shown in the guide.

And that’s it from me.  I’m publishing this a little early to give me a head start, but I hope you’ll still put the kettle on and settle in for a good read.

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As always, huge thanks to my contributors, and to those of you who just enjoy keeping me company.  Details of how to join in can be found on my Jo’s Monday walk page, with a click on the logo above.  Remember though, I’ll be missing next week.

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Lots of snow about the blogs this week!  Start us off, Anabel!

Mugdock in the snow

But we can hop aboard the Royal Yacht and keep warm with Smidge :

The Royal Yacht and Gormley’s 6 times

Or head for San Diego with Amy :

Monday Walking: Ringling Museum

Jackie’s still got plenty of sunshine too :

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Meet Susan, everybody!  She’s new to my walks so please make her welcome :

Discovering Street Art in Astoria, Queens 

This week Debbie brings us a fascinating tower and observatory in Copenhagen :

A Short and Winding Walk

No matter how often you see Banff National Park, it always looks spectacular!

Snow Decor

Some pretty wonderful rime ice leaves from Jude!  Brrrhh  🙂

Monthly Photo Challenge : Frosty January

More of the white stuff, anybody?  You could snowboard with Drake!

Snow time

Or stroll peacefully with Jaspa in the evening sun :

Villa Doria Pamphili Park

Not so much a garden as a torture chamber but this one’s very colourful.  Thanks, Lee Ann!

Haw Par Villa- Chinese Mythological Garden

Shall we end with a nice English resort?  Gilly still manages to make it look inviting, even on a gloomy day :

Winter by the sea

Many thanks, everybody!  I love your walks.  I hope to be back with an Algarve walk on Monday, 15th February.  Take good care till then.