Water makes me happy

Tina’s inviting us to choose our own subject this week, and I’m going with water. My star sign is Scorpio and, though I’ve never really seen the connection between that curly-tailed creature and water, I have to admit that I have a strong attraction to it. I’m never happier than when I’m on the beach, examining shells and listening to the sound of the waves. But if I’m not near the ocean, a river will do, flowing gently but with determination towards the sea. Or I can be calm and happy by the still waters of a lake.

In my Algarve home, in the south of Portugal, nothing lies between me and Africa but water. The sandbar islands that I love sit serenely offshore, lapped by the tide, each a world in miniature. The water flows out into the lagoon and beyond them to the ocean.

It’s no coincidence that I chose Tavira as my home. It’s supremely placed to take advantage of the water that laps its shores and runs through it. From across the water the offshore island beckons. It cast a spell on me from the very first time I saw it. The Rio Giláo flows softly out to meet it.

It’s a wonderful coastline, with plenty of places to play. I hope you enjoyed sharing it with me. Thank you, Tina, for giving me a choice.

Lens-Artists Challenge #125 – You Pick It!

Jo’s Monday walk : Rock cistus and water

If there’s anything that fills me with delight, it’s the sight of a hillside covered with wild, rock cistus.  Back in January, I took you to Furnazinhas in the Algarve hills, and we walked south of there to the reservoir of Odeleite.  The cistus were just beginning to open, and I hoped that when I returned to do a second walk from the village they would be more advanced.  As we drove north from Castro Marim, cistus lined the road.

We left the village following the sign PR10 for Barrancos, though as Becky will tell you, nothing is guaranteed when following Portuguese trails.  We were forewarned that this might not be straightforward but, with a bit of perseverance, managed to find a way through the overgrown path to confront our first water crossing.  A wobble or two and I was across the stones, and feeling triumphant.

To be fair, we were lucky, because there has been just one solid, downpouring day in the last couple of months, so following the course of the Beco da Maria Galega was not as tricky as it might have been.  In fact, we were surprised at how green and fresh everything looked, with new growth everywhere.  We even spotted green lavender!  The rockbed was equally fascinating, as Becky describes.

I loved the variety of this walk.  As I followed the stream, a cottage with a small farmstead peeped through the trees.  Down at my feet, flowers cavorted nimbly in the grass and tiny pink stars winked up at me.  A frog played lazy hide and seek with the shade.

Rounding a bend, I heard the gentle chuckle of water.  A waterfall had formed in a deep cleft in the rocks, and I peered into its clear green depths.  On the stiller waters nearby, tiny white starlets floated.

We had Crocs and a towel with us but, as always happens when you come prepared, we had no need of them.  Although we did cross and recross the water any number of times, mostly a hop, skip or even just a stride was more than adequate.  Spring was all around us.

As we continued through the valley, two deeply-voiced birds startled us into silence as they called loudly to each other.  I’m no birder and didn’t recognise their cry at all, but my husband thought they might be corncrakes.  I happened to mention this on Hanna‘s blog, and she very kindly tried to help me identify the bird voices, as you’ll see in her Comments.

The trail was easy to follow, but a moment’s indecision arose around 7km.  Follow the road, or an interesting path that felt like you were on private property?  Hoping not to fall foul of any stray dogs, we chose the second.  Tiptoeing around what looked like newly tilled soil, I caught a flicker of pink and white in the long, damp grass.  Could they be early wild orchids?  The photos are, unfortunately, too blurred to tell.

A last flurry of cistus, thankfully no dogs, and we were back in the village where, once again, the cafe was closed.  But you’ve been a patient audience so I shall still reward you with cake.  It’s only right to celebrate your 1000th post, isn’t it?

Water is my element so I loved this walk.  I hope you did too.

walking logo

Lots to share again this week.  Thank you for your company.  It wouldn’t be half so much fun without you.  Please visit as many as you can, and join me here next time on Jo’s Monday walk?


Lovely Debbie has spotted me a room with a great view this week, as she gallops around the world :

Ambling around Arachova

And Margaret has a nerve-tingling treat in store :

The foothills of the Sierra Nevada

You have to admire grit and determination, and the gurgle of water!  And Suzanne :

Hiking Mt Eliza Mine Loop

Janet finds some graves with a serene view :

Monday walk… a view to die for

And Alice goes looking for a piece of American Heritage :

Step into the Center of a Village dating back to 1135AD

While Susanne concentrates on a capital city :

A Capitol Tour of the Other Washington

I always enjoy a garden festival, don’t you?  Check this one out, with Sandra:

#Northwest Flower & Garden Festival (Post #2)

Heaven’s, Irene!  Will this lass ever be free of snow?

Reaching for the Goal

Drake must have chilly feet (but a warm heart  🙂  )

Streets of snow

And for any of you still missing ice and snow, Sartenada would love to take you walking in Finland :

Winter walk

How about a spot of sunny fishing with Jackie?


Tea Bee mostly hikes in the English Lake District, but sometimes in warm, exotic places :

Visite du Jardin de Balata et la Route de la Trace, Martinique

Talking of exotic, how about this from Natalie?

Postcard from Guatemala City

Or better yet, stroll down Memory Lane with Susan :

Walking Otavalo, Ecuador

Cathy’s got us all looking up this week!

The Saint Louis Gateway Arch

It’s Carnaval week here in the Algarve and celebration is in the air.  I hope to bring a little singing and dancing your way.  Take care till then!

Explore the Elements

I’ve left it ‘oh, so late’ to enter the Explore the Elements competition hosted by Thomas Cook. I was tagged just a couple of days ago by Becky at Hidden Delights of Olhao.  The prizes are so nice, but looking at the entries I already know I stand no chance!  What finally decided me to enter was this shot, which I took yesterday.



I wasn’t thinking about the competition, but was drawn to the water, as I always am, even on a dull day beside the River Tees. Formless.  Emotional.  Magnetic.  Water holds me in its spell.



In complete contrast, this blaze in the dark of a Paris night seemed to me to have all the crackle and energy of fire. Shooting upwards it brought a glow of admiration to my face.



A wind farm off the north east coast of England stirs the air with vigour.  You can climb the Vertical Pier at Redcar to be a little closer to the elements and the swirling motion of the clouds.

Beneath the towering giants


Gravity defying, the red cliffs of the Algarve stubbornly persist, despite the insidious forces of erosion.  The earth here awes and yet is the same substance that binds us all together.

These are my impressions of the elements.  In order to enter the competition I have to nominate 5 bloggers.  At this late stage it is of no benefit to them, but had it been possible I would have loved to see the impressions of Rommel at Sophomore Slump, Debbie at Travel with Intent, Lucile de Godoy, Sylvia at Another Day in Paradise and Sherri Matthews.  Sorry guys- I guess the prizes have gone!




Thursday’s Special again!

Lake at Sedgefield

Fire and water don’t mix, do they?  Which is a real shame because I wanted to submit this for Thursday’s Special and you never saw a hotter image of Paula!

Clever effect, isn’t it?  Visit Lunapic to see how it’s done.  Many thanks to Amanda for helping to increase my wisdom.



Water : river rafting the Dunajec

The start point at Smorowce Nizne

The start point at Smorowce Nizne

Finally I reach the river rafting post, one of the highlights of my recent visit to Poland.  I think it fits quite well with Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge : Water.  It’s a subject that I love, though you might have to excuse the odd mountain creeping into the background.

Here come the rafts

Here come the rafts

And the experienced oarsman, of course

And the experienced oarsman, of course

And off we go!

And off we go!

The rafts have one older oarsman in the front, poleing skilfully and doing the commentary (po Polsku, of course!) while a younger model provides strength and endurance at the back.  We are very lucky with the day and the water is serene and calm.

A flat expanse of sunny water

A flat expanse of sunny water

We pass by the village of Czerwony Klasztor, in Slovakia

We pass by the village of Cerveny Klastor (Red Monastery), in Slovakia

With Trzy Korony (Three Peaks) visible on the Polish shore

With Trzy Korony (Three Peaks) visible on the Polish side

Under the bridge- don't forget to wave!

Under the bridge- don’t forget to wave!

Can you see the peaks of the Tatry Mountains in the distance?

Can you see the peaks of the Tatry Mountains in the distance?

We round a bend and the terrain changes completely

We round a bend and the terrain changes completely

For a while the boatman can sit and chat

For a while the boatman can sit and chat

And a party of school children are delighted to overtake us!

And a party of school children are delighted to overtake us!

The scenery is lush and green

The scenery is lush and green

Dwarfing us sometimes!

Dwarfing us sometimes

And naturally I get my bum wet in some of the faster eddies!

And, naturally, I get my bum wet in some of the faster eddies!

But all too soon the journey ends and we are pulling in to shore

But all too soon the journey ends and we are pulling in to shore

I hope you enjoyed my watery journey.  It took about 2 hours through the Dunajec Gorge, and ended up back at Szczawnica, where I was staying.  If you ever have the opportunity to go there, don’t hesitate.

But first you need to visit Cee, and have a little more fun with water.

Six word Saturday


How I like to display hellebores



They have such a pretty face, but they’re shy!  I love to snip the heads off and float them on a bowl of water, then I can openly admire these jewels of colour.  Especially when the weather is too cool and damp to venture into the garden.  They grow quite prolifically so they should last me a while.

Share six words of your own?  Cate at Show My Face will be a gracious hostess, as ever.  Join her via the link or the header. I’ve amassed quite a few now, and you can see those by clicking on the button below.


Bridging the Gap

Some posts just kind of lure you in!  You could do a Challenge post every day of the week and two on Sundays, if you had the time.  Mostly I look, admire, make a mental note, blink twice and the next Challenge is there before me.  Somehow I’ve completed all my chores with time to spare this weekend, and without further ado, I present Bridges, at the kind invitation of Ailsa at Where’s My Backpack.

The wonderful thing about bridges for me is that often they span my favourite element, water.  I love to lean over a bridge and gaze into the depths.  Sometimes they even create beautiful reflections as a bonus- two for the price of one.  Putting them side by side has taken longer than I expected, but now that I have, I’m taken with the contrast between my surly northern skies and the gentler images of Southern Europe.

Click on a photo to see them in gallery form.

Thanks, Ailsa.  I’ve enjoyed my Sunday leisure time.  Come bridge spotting with me over at Ailsa’s?

Cee’s fun foto challenge : water

Do I need a logo?  I’m not sure.  I’ve never taken part in Cee’s fun foto challenge before.  But I do know that I love water, and that’s this week’s subject.  So I’m going to shower you with a few of my damper moments.

Ooh, look Mum!

Ooh, look Mum!

Water feature in the Rynek (market square), Wroclaw

Water feature in the Rynek (market square), Wroclaw

A little warm rain in the botanic gardens

A little warm rain in the botanic gardens

The moorhen doesn't seem to mind

The moorhen doesn’t seem to mind

Japanese water gardens always look so serene

Japanese water gardens always look so serene

Or you can have dancing waters and a musical accompaniment

Or you can have dancing waters, with a musical accompaniment

Especially pretty on a night

Especially pretty by night

I like my water on the wild side too

I like my water on the wild side too

Or lapping gently at a shoreline

Or lapping gently at a shoreline

With a few bubbles in it

With a few bubbles in it, for fun

Or the odd branch

Or the odd branch, dangling down

Or stunningly,as part of a "waterfall" light installation

Most stunningly, as part of a “waterfall” light installation

I probably should stop now.  My eyes are tired, and maybe yours are too.  But I’m not good at doing things by halves, so maybe just a couple of my lovely Portugal to finish with.

Tickling a sunny square in the Algarve

Water tickling a sunny square in Lagos, the Algarve

And sparkling in the Douro at Porto

And sparkling in the Douro at Porto

So many shots I have of that Douro

So many lovely shots I have of the Douro

Time to let the sun set, at Peso da Regua

But it’s time to let the sun set, at Peso da Regua

I did say that I love water, didn’t I?  And I know that I’m not on my own, so visit Cee’s page to join in with the challenge, or view the many other great entries.

Sunday post : Water H20

Once again it’s a privilege to take part in Jakesprinter’s weekly challenge.  As I pointed out to Jake, I’m a water sign, so this one’s irresistible.

So, I’m going to take you from the mountains to the sea, and where better to do that than Portugal?

Looking down on the River Guadiana

Rio Arade on it’s way to Silves

Cascades at Pego do Inferno

Rio Gilao at Tavira

Slipping round the coast to Isla Canela in Spain

Ria Formosa, the lagoon at Cacela Velha

Praia de Odeceixe on the west coast

Above Praia de Marinha

The stacks at Marinha

And down on Marinha beach

Barril beach, the water rushing to shore

What could be lovelier, or more essential, than water?  I can’t imagine my life without it.

Many thanks to Jake for the opportunity to share these photos.  I hope you like them, and I’d be delighted to see yours if you decide to join in.  You can view all of the entries and instructions for joining the challenge at Jakesprinter Sunday Post.  Hope to see you there.