walking

Jo’s Monday walk : the walled city of Lucca

Shall I quote Henry James?  Lucca is a city “overflowing with everything that makes for ease, for plenty, for beauty”.  With a recommendation like that, how could I fail to try to squeeze it into our precious few days in Tuscany?

There was an ulterior motive , of course.  The city lies in a flat plain at the foot of the Apuan Alps, an hour or more’s train ride from our base in Florence.  I would have an opportunity to see a little of the Tuscan landscape, and the other half would get to rest the weary legs after the dizzying heights of Florence .  He would need this in preparation for the 4km walk around the city walls.  Not too far, is it?

No matter that you’ve seen photos, the reality is always a little different.  I knew that the city walls had been turned into a boulevard for that much-loved Italian pastime, passegiata, but still I didn’t comprehend the scale.  I found myself grinning as I strode across the grass towards the nearest bastion, one of eleven positioned around these 16th century walls.

Over a narrow moat, through a tunnel and up some steps, and there I was, looking down on Lucca.  A friendly lion gave me a silly smile, and I began to stroll.  Far in the distance, the snowcapped Alps.  Near at hand, elderly couples enjoying the gentle sunlight, cyclists whizzing by, toddlers tottering on 2 or 3 wheels or pushing dolls prams, and students sauntering off to lectures. All of life, it seemed to me.

Looking down from the walls provides views of the botanic gardens and wonderful snippets of the life of the Lucchesi.  A pedalo comes towards me, a dog perched haughtily in the basket up front.  I’m so busy smiling, I miss the shot!

At intervals I’ve glimpsed the bell tower of the Duomo di San Martino, the cathedral.  Time to descend, beneath nodding magnolia, and seek it out.

Construction of this striking cathedral began in 1063, the great apse and campanile remaining, still, from the original.  The nave and transepts were rebuilt in Gothic style in the 14th century, one of many reconstructions.  Entering, my eyes are immediately drawn to the ceiling.

I first learned the story of Ilaria del Carretto through a blogging friend, Ventisqueras.  Born in Pisa, and loving her native Tuscany with a passion, she impressed me with the magnificence of this tomb.  Wife of Paolo Guinigi, an influential politician, Ilaria died very early in childbirth. Jacopo della Quercia, of Siena, was commissioned to keep her beauty alive.

Leaving the cathedral, I go wandering in search of food and a place to sit awhile.  I’m heading in what I think is the direction of Piazza Antifeatro but before too long I’m lost in the maze of streets.  Lucca has her share of lovely squares and exceptional architecture.  Eventually I settle in Piazza San Michele, the site of a Roman forum, with San Michele in Foro towering over me.

I feel sure that Lucca has much more to offer to offer me, but my companion has had enough. Reluctantly I return to the station, dawdling where I can.  The exterior of Basilica di San Frediano, founded by an Irish bishop in the 6th century, invites.  The square in front of it, idle with newspaper readers and peaceful observers of life, a serious temptation.

I’ve barely scratched the surface of this charming city, whose wealth was founded on silk and lingerie.  I wanted to show you Torre Guinigi and climb to the roof garden, symbol of the rebirth of the city under the Guinigi family.  Instead I must ask you to read the links throughout the post for a much fuller picture of Lucca than I can give you here.  I hope you enjoyed it.

It’s been a busy week for me.  Three days on the Isle of Anglesey and a walk through Farndale’s daffodils seem to have eaten up most of it.  I’m sorry if I’ve fallen behind with my visits but very grateful for your continued support.  I’ll be playing catch up this week because next Sunday I’m off to the Algarve for 2 weeks.  I will continue to welcome walks but won’t be posting while I’m there.  Details as always are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Let’s put the kettle on now, and settle in for a good read!

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So much more than a walk, I really enjoyed Annika’s visit to Framingham.  I simply had to share this one :

‘Perfume of the Mountain Grass’

I love Debs to bits but I needed a big coat, scarf and gloves for this one!

Wintry Central Park

Much warmer in Lady Lee’s homeland, the Philippines :

Batanes Day Trip 1

I read this one with great interest, as I was Anglesey bound.  Thanks, Eunice!

A walk round Parys Mountain

On the beach at Barnes?  Only with Geoff (and Dog!)

Barnes by the Sea #walking#london

So nice to see my part of the world through fresh eyes. Especially such observant ones as Jude’s :

An amble around Durham’s Cathedral

Where’s Woolly this week?  Why Lucerne, of course!

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Jackie is still hanging around Mazatlan, and it’s easy to see why!

Just Another Day…

Ever wanted to volunteer on a kibbutz?  This is a good year.  Do read Lisa’s post!

Pura Nature Reserve

Bringing back such wonderful memories of my time in Paris!  Thanks, Drake :

Home away from home

Miriam is a joy to be with, especially when she’s feeling light-hearted :

Whimsical Walkabout Wednesday

While Carol knows how to appreciate a good hill or two.  I seem to remember that from our meeting :

Up to the Top

Please give a big welcome to Cadyluck Leedy for her wonderfully original introduction to Cairo :

Jo’s Monday Walk : Me, You and Agatha Christie

And that’s it for another week!  Brilliant, aren’t they?  I may be scheduling a walk for next Monday, but it rather depends how the week goes.  I’ll keep you posted.  Meantime, take care of yourselves and enjoy your walking!

Jo’s Monday walk : Spring at Crook Hall, Durham

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Stroll along the river bank with me, in the heart of Durham City, and let me take you to an idyllic garden.  I intended to visit a new exhibition at Durham Cathedral but, as luck would have it, it was closed that day.  I’m a firm believer in serendipity and, as the gentle sunshine warmed my cheeks, I suddenly knew where I wanted to go.

Crook Hall dates from 13th century and is a vision in golden ivy-clad stone.  It sits back a little from the footpath and the gently elevated position makes for majestic views over Durham. Crook is a Grade 1 listed Medieval hall with a rich and colourful history.  As all such places should, it has a resident ghost, ‘The White Lady’, and has been enjoyed by such luminaries as William Wordsworth and John Ruskin.  Today I’m going to focus on the garden rooms, described on the website as each having their own personality.

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It’s impossible to ignore the constant presence of the house.  It provides a benign backdrop, yet with an almost tangible air of mystery.

Close by the house, a secret garden has been in existence for more than 700 years.

Statuary is an integral part of the gardens.  Nymphs and maidens shake out their tresses, demurely lower their eyes, or gaze seductively out.  Monks perform solemn duties, urns cast playful shadows and a rather mischievous Puck plays his pan pipes, sheltered beneath a weathered tree.

The golden lady follows me with her eyes, and what of the lady reclining, neglected, on the bare earth?  She must have a story to tell. Ornate chairs and benches invite me to linger, admiring the pure white snowdrops.  Beyond the lake, fiery witch hazel brands the limpid blue sky.

I drift from ‘room to room’, each leading to the next, yet independent and sufficient in itself.  A mighty lion bench, breathing fire, gives me pause.

Through a gate, precisely trimmed hedges in the newest of these still evolving gardens, etched with remnants of winter shadows.

Leaving the house behind, I wander down towards the rusty maze, bereft of leaves this early in the year.  Did you glimpse the koala, dangling in the tree?  And yet another selfie!  One more surprise awaits- a softly slumbering giant!

And then I’m back at the entrance and The Garden Gate Cafe. (open all day, separately from the Hall, but there are Tea Rooms inside the Hall too) The Sparkling Afternoon Tea looked very inviting but my lift had arrived and so I’ll have to disappoint you yet again.  No cake!  How come you missed this place, Jude?  It would have been a natural for the Garden Challenge.

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Down at the river bank, this scene awaits, but if you turn and walk back towards the cathedral you might just be able to catch the exhibition, Open Treasure.  And if not, Durham Cathedral is always beautiful.

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Lots of walks to share this week and I hope you can spare time to visit as many as you can. Especially as I won’t be posting a walk next week.  I will, I hope, be skip, hop and jumping (or walking) in Florence.  I don’t want to schedule a walk in my absence because it’s too hard to catch up again afterwards.  So I hope you’ll forgive me if I hang on to any walks you share till the following week?  Details are all on my Jo’s Monday walk page.

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Eddy was close in my footsteps last week, but his were even cooler!

Do you want owt fromt’ shops?

There’s nothing nicer than a gentle stroll with Jude.  Treat yourself!

Historic Uphill Lincoln

Anabel ventured further up the coast from me, in some delightful villages :

Fife Coastal Path

Another coastal path for you, but Eunice is over on the other coast :

Anglesey Coastal Path- the White Arch and Tyger’s memorial

Two for the price of one from Eunice this week!

A long canal walk

Imagine my surprise on seeing Ana’s post!  Right on my very own doorstep :

Strolling along the River Wear in Durham

Quite a leap of the imagination from Durham to Buenos Aires, Ana :

Beloved Argentinian characters at Paseo de la Historieta

Jackie’s having fun down Mexico way- lovely bougainvillea!

A Mexican walk

I do love Woolly’s perspective on life!

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Lady Lee is completely at home in the Philippines :

What’s in Bohol?

And Liesbet is pretty good at balancing a budget!

Laguna Beach, CA- On a Shoestring

Amy’s back, and she’s chosen to ride, but who can blame her?

An Elephant Ride

I love Yvette’s take on life, but brrrh, those Falls look chilly!

Walk with Jo in Niagara, NY (doors and windows) 

Drake is always irrepressible.  Got to love him!

Warm feet and cold nose

Isn’t it always walking weather?  Well mostly, when you’re with Susan :

Walking, Weather or Not

And Carol has a most appropriate question :

When is a Walk not a Walk?

Rounding off with a highly informative walk from Denzil.  He’s doing a grand job promoting Belgium :

Walking from Tervuren to Bertem

And Cathy, beavering away in the States, but still found time to walk with me :

Philadelphia : the south mural arts walk 

Remember- no Monday walk next week!  But I’ll try to find you some cake in Florence.  Stay safe till the next time!

 

Jo’s Monday walk : A walk through a Pub!

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If there’s anything that really annoys me it’s leaving home in clear blue skies to drive to the Yorkshire Dales and encounter grey, dampness.  But if you’re in search of a waterfall then you can’t really begrudge a little rain.  And to visit Hardraw Force you have to pass through a pub, so you might say there are compensations.

I don’t know the village of Hawes at all but it is surrounded by magnificent, sweeping countryside, though visibility was poor on this particular day. 850 feet above sea level, it claims to be England’s highest, and has been home to a market since 1307.  Go on a Tuesday if you’re a market fan. The name Hawes means ‘a pass between mountains’, in this case endearingly-named Buttertubs and Fleet Moss.

I’m heading for Hardraw but, on Town Head, a sign for Gayle’s Mill strikes a chord with me.  In 2004 it was a finalist on the BBC TV ‘Restoration’ programme.  It was but a short diversion to take a look.

Unfortunately this was as close as I could get.  Gayle Mill is a working saw mill, and can only be visited by guided tour.  Even the craft shop was closed.  The Wensleydale Creamery Visitor Centre, a highly popular venue, is nearby and I gave it a wistful look.  I do love a good bit of cheese.

Water flows through the village and is harnessed by the mill, which dates from 1784.  In the 1900s it pioneered electricity generation and brought light to the valley.  Just then the sky was darkening rapidly and it seemed like a good time to move on.

You could retrace your steps down Gayle Lane, but a pretty little footpath offers an alternative route back to Town Foot.  And sheep!

Hardraw Force is clearly signed from the crossroads, so it was best foot forwards into a chilly breeze.  I told myself it was holding off the rain.

There’s often a wind off the water, isn’t there?  I turned left into the field and trod carefully till I reached the flagstones.

It’s not far till you pass through a gate and the pub is right there, in front of you.

The sign says ‘innkeeper and waterfall provider’.  That’s quite a claim, isn’t it?  At £2.50 a person, is it a little mercenary?  Let’s see if it delivers.

One of the best sounds for me is rushing water.  Rounding the corner from the Green Dragon Inn, I can already hear the tumult of the falls. England’s highest single drop waterfall sits in a great bowl of limestone, shale and sandstone.

Incredible to think that the process that produced this landscape began some 340 million years ago.  Alternating layers were laid down in the warm seas of those times, and through the rise and fall of the land and some glacial activity the Karst scenery developed.  At the back of the waterfall it’s possible to see the individual layers.

Did you wave back?  I did!  And then I crossed over the bridge and followed the path back along the opposite bank.  It was really busy in the Green Dragon Inn, so I didn’t linger, though it did look characterful.  I was surprised at how many people had ventured out on such a grey day, and can only surmise that this will be a seriously busy place in summer.  But the waterfall will be much diminished.

I just about made it back before the rain hit.  The waterfall will be thundering for a few days yet.

Hawes lies along the A684 from Leyburn in the Yorkshire Dales.  The map on this link will give you a few clues.  Time to get the kettle on!

Thanks everybody for kindly accompanying me each week, come hail come shine (but hopefully no snow!).  It’s always a pleasure to have you along. I have some more great contributions this week. Please spare a little time to go visit, especially if they’re new to you.  Details, as usual, are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  I’d love you to join me with a walk of your own.

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Lady Lee is always a few steps ahead of me!  Have you been to Dresden?

Dresden- Jo’s Monday walk

Jude has a delightful saunter in search of cake this week :

Sleaford Historic Riverside Walk

I prefer sunshine, but Shazza’s found something interesting even on a cloudy day :

Rydal Hall Sculpture Trail

I don’t think I’d do much walking in Amsterdam.  I’d hop a boat, like Woolly :

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Jackie and glitz go together, don’t you think?

More Vegas Opulence

In pure contrast, I never saw snow look more beautiful!  Thanks so much, Drake!

Colourful snow

This week we have a Wild Daffodil joining us.  Sound like fun?  Do go and say hello!

Gate

Becky has laid on a lovely sunset for her wander round Olhao, because…

Everyone loves a sunset

And if you’ve never seen Lisbon before, Paula’s photo is a magnificent place to start :

Follow My Shadow

If you glory in wild and wonderful scenery, you will love this, from Jessica :

5.30 a.m 

And Inese shows us drama in Ireland, rain, shine and rainbow!

Magic road to the Mahon Falls

That’s it for another week.  It’s been a grey one here but I’m sure Spring is on its way.  Enjoy your life, won’t you, whatever the weather?

Jo’s Monday walk : Ribeira de Algibre

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The first place you would think to look for a captivating mural is a sleepy Algarvean village in Portugal, isn’t it?  No- me neither!  But it was one of the highlights of a recent walk in Ribeira de Algibre.  Situated north west of Loule and not far from the village of Boliqueime, this is walk no. 17 in Julie Statham’s book, “Let’s Walk Algarve”.

The chief criteria for this walk was that it was level, and not too long, the other half having sustained a limp.  I could, of course, have left him with his feet up, reading a book, but he insisted on being gallant.  There’d be ample time to read later.  Out past the quarry we went, left through the village of Parragil, then left again.  We parked, as instructed in the book, just past the bridge, and slap bang next to the most amazing wall.

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The owner of Vila Dias must have an artistic nature, and a sense of humour.  Reluctantly I turned my back on it to follow the trail, just before the bridge.  We are in an area of olive groves and vineyards, with lofty bamboo screening off the narrow river.

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The path twists and turns, revealing shallow riverbed on one side and regimented rows of vines on the other.  I pounce with glee on a small clump of white flowers- early narcissi, cushioned in luxuriant green, and guarded by ancient olives.  1000 years of age is not uncommon for these gnarled beauties, weatherbent by the sharp winds.

The soil is it’s usual, rich red and deep puddles occasionally surprise.  Neither of us can remember any rain.   All is still and calm when, out of nowhere, the carefree sound of pop music on a radio.  We exchange smiles and hum along, peering to see where the sound is coming from. Around each bend we gaze expectantly, but there is no sign of the music maker, and gradually the sound fades into the distance.

One of the advantages of this walk is that it is split into two halves, circles that begin and end in the village.  Each takes only about 45 minutes, and there is a cafe where you might linger before starting the second half.  Except that, of course, Cafe Ribeira is closed.  Perhaps later in the year?  Not a soul is stirring, though a horse gives us a good long look.

I consult the other half, who has limped gamely along.  We might as well do the other half, he says, and so we do.  The path leads behind a house, on the other side of the road, and the book directs us to look for an abandoned mill.

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The trail continues, partly by the river and then into more woodland.  Deep in a thicket of olives we spot a herd of goats and I try to edge nearer without giving the alarm.  Not entirely successful, but I manage a couple of shots.

All is tranquillity.  We are passed, twice, by the same cyclist, obviously doing his morning rounds.  In the vineyards we see 3 or 4 people working, clearing and burning dead branches. It’s a wonderful, pastoral scene.

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As we approach the river again, suddenly the sound of the transistor radio fills the air.  We gaze all around expectantly, but still, no-one is to be seen.  A shy picnicker, perhaps?  Smiling we return to the village.  The sun has changed position and I’m drawn again into the world of the mural.

Even the bus shelter was pretty!  That’s it for another week.  I hope you enjoyed walking with me.  Let’s get the kettle on and enjoy that cuppa now. And for you sympathetic souls, let me reassure you that ‘the limp’ was much better next day.

Thanks everybody, for keeping me company again, and for your generous support and contributions.  Anyone can join in with a walk of their own, long or short.  Details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  You’ll be more than welcome.

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A place with a whole heap of history.  Let Lady Lee show you around :

A week in Malta

You’ve all got time for this one!  Thanks, Eunice :

A quick afternoon walk

Woolly has progressed to Amsterdam and windmills :

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Something you do with a Silver Cross pram, Anabel?

Perambulations in Perth

Jackie’s determined to walk me into the ground this week!

San Antonio, Texas

Lisa has some interesting graffiti for you, in Tel Aviv :

Florentin

Kate takes on a scary climbing challenge in Scotland :

Munro Bagging in the Arrochar Alps

Not so much a walk as a series of reminiscences from Geoff :

A Time in Africa- part one

Drake knows I have a weakness for Samso.  It’s so easy to see why :

Return for a walk

Yvette has a fascinating art challenge going on so I’m chuffed she could make time for me!

Walk with Jo : Mom’s Siam Carytown (Day 54 0f 365 Days of Art)

Fancy another challenge yourself? Jaspa has all the details :

Sam’s Ses Challenge #5 : Mountain

I’ve done this one before, but not the right way around.  Typical!  Thanks, Becky :

Remembering Gilda amongst the Almond Blossom

Jude delights me with a walk in her neck of the woods.  Could this be the year I get to Cornwall?

A Winter Walk

Have a great week!  Here in the UK there’s just a chance that Spring is in the air.  Wherever you are, try to get out and enjoy it.

Jo’s Monday walk : Boxing Day Blues

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I just know you’re ready for some fresh air and exercise this morning, and you’ve come to exactly the right place.  Grab a scarf and some gloves and we’ll go and dust off those Boxing Day blues.  Nothing finer than a vigorous walk along the north east coast of England.

We’re at Roker, just north of Sunderland, and smiles abound this gem of a morning.  Let’s start by the tall white lighthouse that studs the green.  In Summer this is the focal point for the Sunderland Air Show and breathing space is scarce.  Right now, we can stroll as far as the eye can see.

I’m heading south, but you can choose.  Not too many clouds in the sky this morning, but they can gang up on you when you’re  least expecting. Let’s hop down on the beach and see what we can find.

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The stories a pebble could tell!  I look back along the beach, and then ahead, into shadow.

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That’s Roker Pier you can see straight ahead.  It looks far distant but it’s no more than a good stride.

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The clouds are making the most enchanting reflections on the damp sand.

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Just around the corner, a rather strange ‘gateway’ to Roker Park.

Don’t let it put you off.  It’s rather a nice little park, especially when the Roker Lights come to town in September.

In no time at all we’re back on the sea front, and there ahead of us stands proudly curvaceous Roker Pier.

img_5490 Remember I mentioned those sneaky clouds?  Well, just for a few seconds…

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…a drop or two of rain plops on the sand.  But it’s gone in a whisper, making me doubt it was even there.  I stroll back in the direction from which I’ve come, smiling at a dog walker, and a lone maiden on a rock.

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For a moment I fancy she might just be a mermaid.  That’s what happens when you watch ‘Splash’, the movie, on Christmas TV.  Heading north again, did you spot the selfie on the beach?

There’s a good incentive to carry on around this bay.  On the edge of Whitburn, Latimer’s deli and fish restaurant is a great little spot, looking out to sea.  On a summer day you’ll be fighting to sit out on the sun terrace. Today it’s just that little bit cool, and squeezing inside is more desirable.

The lobster salad was such a good price, and looked delicious.  I modestly settled for a lovely fish chowder. Maybe next time?  I hope you’ll join me.

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Thanks everyone for spending time with me today, and the whole of the year.  I’ve loved having your company.  I’m going to be missing for a few weeks because next Monday I’ll be on my way to the Algarve.  I have 2 weeks to enjoy, and recharge my batteries.  I don’t blog while I’m away, so the next walk will be posted on 23rd January.  That seems a long way off.  You might have forgotten me by then.  If not, I’ll be open for walks as usual. Details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.

Let’s enjoy some great walks now, shall we?  I’ll pop the kettle on first.

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You can always rely on Anabel for a bite to eat along the way :

A walk round Overtoun Estate

Indra’s in British Columbia, and very beautiful it looks too :

Kelowna…. Nature’s Playground

Sunshine in your eyes?  And the ‘white stuff’, with Drake :

Snow in the eyes

Beautiful architecture as Jude follows in my footsteps, along the river bank :

Norwich Part III : Wensum riverside walk

I know she’d love the fruit and flowers in Lady Lee’s Philippines :

Sonya’s Garden – Urban floral displays

Jackie found lots of ice in Florida.  An unusual, if expensive, treat :

Charlie Brown’s Christmas

Not so chilly at the beach, with Geoff and Dog :

Hag Stones#poems#poetry

And where’s Woolly this week?  Dodging snakes it seems!

Jo’s Monday-Walk-06 Geelong Botanic Gardens 

Denzil always enjoys a breath of fresh air and a stretch of the legs :

Walking around Wonck

I’m quite jealous that Sophie managed to get onto these walls :

The walk on the wall of Pisa

And I’m determined to get to Cornwall next year for these scones.  Thanks, Carol!

The End

Have you come across the London Wlogger?  The lady features very informative London walks :

King’s Cross to Hampstead Heath : Unlocking London’s beauty

Finishing with a little piece of leftover Christmas magic from Drake :

Dreaming about so much

And closer to home- you’ll like this, Jude!- Jaspa shares some Cornish lights :

Mousehole Harbour Christmas Lights

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.  I’ll be around till the New Year, walking of course, if the opportunity arises.  Make the most of your relaxed time, before we dive into 2017.

Jo’s Monday walk : Christmas Magic in Roundhay

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A little bird told me that you’ve all been very good this year.  Soon it will be time to open Santa’s sack.  Thank you for staying with me on all of those long and arduous hikes.  This week it’s all pleasure.  Shall we take a little one by the hand and go in search of some Christmas magic?

The venue is Roundhay Park on the outskirts of Leeds, where we’re queuing up for the Magical Lantern Festival.  Arrive a little early to make parking easier.  There are food stalls and a few small rides for the tots.  Hot chocolate and Baileys, strictly for the grown ups.

Here we are, queued beneath the Chinese gate, the anticipation and excitement building.  Look up!  Look up!  Can you see the reindeer on the top?

Under we go, across the road and into the park.  Roundhay Park includes 700 acres of parkland, lakes and woodland.  In summer you could stroll to your heart’s content, admiring the Monet and Alhambra gardens and former Chelsea Gold Medal award winning gardens.  Tropical World is beloved of children for the meercats and the butterfly house.  This December the gardens have been transformed with the addition of the lantern festival.

It’s a gentle beginning, as the sun disappears softly into the woods.  What ARE all those pandas up to?

We weave around the canal garden, ooh-ing and aah-ing at each new sight.  A pumpkin feast affords much delight.

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Flowers sparkle prettily, birds tweet from luminous cages, dragonflies whirr and ladybugs glow.

A serenely oriental pond has me clicking and clicking, trying to get the best angle to capture this beauty.

With a grand finale of geese and prancing unicorn, I fear that the tour must be over.  Not so! I’m delighted to be directed back across the road.

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In Mansion Place an avenue of lanterns leads to yet more flamboyance.

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Elegant blue and white porcelain twinkles, while swans dip their graceful heads to admire their own reflection.

A pagoda signals one last crescendo of excitement.  No self-respecting Chinese festival is complete without a dragon or two.

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Try to end with a flourish!  I believe I did.  Time to relinquish the little hands and tuck small persons into bed.  The Magical Lantern Festival is on at Roundhay until 2nd January.  If you’re in the area, why not treat yourself?  It really is lovely.  Full details are on the website.  Let’s put that kettle on!

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Thank you so much for another fantastic year of walking and friendship.  You make it very special.  I hope to have another walk for you next Monday (Boxing Day) but I know that many of you will be absent and enjoying Christmas with your family.  Let me take this opportunity to wish you all a peaceful Christmas, filled with much joy.  And now to share some walks.

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A blissful beginning from Paula!  I know you’ll enjoy :

New Horizon

Lady Lee spent the most beautiful birthday weekend walking and eating…  ideal!

Birthday Weekend in Garmisch

Life isn’t ideal in a lot of places.  Let Indra show you the brighter side in India :

Walk the Green Side of Gurgaon, India

Becky’s found blue skies and some rather interesting sculptures in Olhão :

Exploring the delightful ‘Legends Way’

Where’s Woolly this week?

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My memories of San Diego are of scorching heat.  Elaine’s are soothing and refreshing :

Balboa Park – Japanese Friendship Garden

Christmas posts are becoming inevitable!  Here’s a lovely one from Stephanie :

Lights

And then please hop over to delightful Kayserberg with Drake :

Do they know it’s…? 

Carol had the most fantastic view from her apartment in Cornwall this year :

Falmouth – Near and Far 

And Biti found the cutest B & B, especially if you enjoy street art :

Marseille Colorful Panier

A mournful, poetic walk to end the year with Geoff and Dog :

December#poem#walking

But Cathy’s still right on adventuring!

West Virginia : The Endless Wall

A winter wonderland’s something to celebrate, isn’t it?  Irene’s is beautiful :

Melancholy is Futile

I hope to be out and about walking between Christmas and New Year but I won’t be posting walks between 2nd and 16th January.  Maybe you can guess where I’ll be.  Merry Christmas all!

Jo’s Monday walk : Gargrave in the rain

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I did tell you last week that my skies aren’t always blue?  Sometimes you just have to carry on and do it.  August in England- you never can tell what’s in store!  My companion’s still smiling, so grab a mac and come with me to Gargrave.  What’s a little rain between friends?

It’s a lovely village, but I’m not staying long.  I hop over a stile in a stone wall and off across the field, even though that sky does look a bit ominous. I have a date with a canal.  I expect it will appreciate a little more water!  The sheep don’t seem terribly bothered, so why should we?

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I do seem to have encountered a lot of sheep this summer.  You might remember that I spent an anniversary weekend in the village of Skipton, on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales.  Gargrave is situated just 4 miles north west of Skipton, and I had in mind a 3 and a half mile walk to take in a few locks. The Leeds and Liverpool canal and the River Aire both pass through the village, as does the Pennine Way, so perhaps you can understand my enthusiasm, despite the dreary weather.

Halfway across the field the mild drizzle turns to a downpour.  Nothing for it but to plod on, hoping to reach the shelter of a few trees.  I always seem to get the giggles at such moments. Not so the other half, whose frown was growing deeper by the minute.  With some relief, I spot the first lock, through the trees.  A cheery lock keeper bids us “good morning!”.  “I’m paid to get wet” he says, stoically.

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Fortunately the rain has eased again and I stop to admire the lock keeper’s cottage. Imagine, if you will, a bright Summer’s day.

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We cross over an old stone bridge and a pop of colour from a patch of tiny thistles catches my grey-weary eyes.  These are Bank Newton locks.

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Can you see what lies ahead?  I will try not to bore you rigid with houseboats, but I do have a bit of a fascination with them.

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One of the highlights of this walk was a small aqueduct, carrying the canal over the river. It was a first for me.  Not very spectacular to look at but an experience in itself.  I am full of admiration for the people who made these canals.

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Happily, at this point a glimmer of sunshine appears in the sky.  I don’t suppose you’ll be able to see it, but it puts a smile back on the husband’s face.  And then we come upon a very strange craft!

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One of the things I love about houseboats is the creativity of the people who live on, or near, them.  We’re almost at the end of our walk so I’ll spare you any more lock details. You might want to observe a stately swan though, and I’m pretty sure I have an irresistible dog for you.

Gargrave has a very charming website with a choice of walks around the village.  You could do much worse than follow one of them, and hopefully you’ll stay dry.  This is the walk that I did.

‘What!  No cream tea?’ I hear your outraged cry!  We drove onwards to Malham, where the rain was once again a deluge, and huddled in the corner of a cramped cafe.  Determined to see something of the mighty limestone crags, I persuaded the long suffering one to a short walk to Janet’s Foss. No need to feel sorry for him.  We were homeward bound and, as we crested the valley, sun beamed down upon us.   The scarecrow festival at Kettlewell more than made up for any disappointments.  Time to put the kettle on?

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I know time is a little tight right now, but please do visit the new folks on here, or at least bookmark them for later?  So much work goes into these posts.  I’d hate you to miss them. Huge thanks to all you for walking with me each week.  Details are, as always, on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Just click on the logo above.

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I have some great mates around here!  Thanks, Jude, for reminding me how very lovely Norwich is :

Norwich Part 1 : History and Architecture

Amy joins us with an extremely elegant walk this week :

A Walk of an Urban Garden

Geoff usually comes up with something different, and you’ll enjoy this :

Thomas Hardy and why he was miserable # walking

Next, a shout out for my birthplace, from Lady Lee :

Coventry Transport Museum

A dent in the head for poor Woolly?  Oh, dear!

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Something all too familiar to some of us.  Thanks, Jesh!

Rainy Seasons

Can we have a big welcome please for Lisa, from Israel?  She’s new to my walks :

The Jerusalem Model  (you may need to scroll down a little)

“I read the news today, oh boy!… ”  Those Beatles again, or my friend Drake?

A day in the life

Enjoy some beautiful frosty leaf patterns with Denzil :

Shapes and patterns in nature

Jaspa has a rare find this week.  Seeing’s believing!

Walk on the Ocean Floor at Hopewell Rocks, Canada

Here’s value for money.  Two walks for the price of one, from Peta :

Morning walk ; Afternoon walk

And I’d like to share a very beautiful post I found.  Please say hello to Vanessa :

Sandankyo Gorge, Hiroshima- Wandering off the Beaten Track in the Mountains of Western Japan

And another great find!  I love sharing walkers that are new to me.  Happy to introduce Ostend Nomad :

Walking the Vintnar Gorge

And one more for luck!  Sophie makes Siena look absolutely stunning!

Night walk in Siena

And, getting the Christmas walks rolling, who could be better than Becky?

Beginning to feel like Christmas

That’s it for another week.  Maybe I’ll be in Christmas mode next week.  Take good care of each other!