Hark back to my birthday weekend in Silves. Remember it? I found a levada, and lost the amethyst from my engagement ring. Not much of a swap, really. I’m still waiting for the stone to be replaced, but hopefully it soon will be. On that bright morning I had no idea that disaster might befall. Many years previously we had followed a route just outside Silves, which we thought to be this levada walk. With no clear signage and not a whole lot of levada, we were never quite sure if we’d got it right. Here was our chance to try again, but with the benefit of Wikilocs and Google maps.
We drove out of Silves on the N124 and parked by the Mira Rio restaurant, just 5km out of town. A lightbulb moment- we’ve been here before! We decided to do the walk in the reverse direction of our previous attempt, and this would at least guarantee us a stretch of the Rio Arade to walk beside. Triumph! Not only did we find the levada and the magnificent tidal river, but we managed to follow it for quite some distance.
With the sun glittering on the water it’s hard not to relax and savour the unspoilt countryside that surrounds you. Gentle hills rise from the river banks, but the walk is level, following the sinuous curves of the levada. After a hot summer there was little water to be seen, but the deep channels testify to the years of patient irrigation that keep this valley green.
It came as a bit of a surprise to cross a narrow road where, hidden among the trees, stood a rather grand building with a turret. Hardly a humble levada keeper’s abode. Back on the path, the valley spreads out before you, tall grasses tantalising in the whispered breeze.
Tucked into yet another curve of the river, a tiny marina dozes, with Silves sitting serenely on the horizon. At this point the levada parts company with the river and heads inland. We marvel at a muster of storks, circling above the river, before we too turn inland. We pass a few homesteads, alerting a dog or two. At one the owner comes out and gives us a nod, but mostly we are disregarded. Of no relevance in this wide landscape.
We follow a gravel path and then, to our alarm, a gate appears before us, firmly closed. We look at each other, dismayed. Where did we go wrong? Without a great deal of conviction I turn the knob. A satisfying click and the latch opens. It’s never fun to have to retrace your steps. We step through and close the gate behind us, and continue up the lane unhindered.
Soon we have the choice to continue on to the N124 and follow it back to the car, or mount a hill for views over the valley and back down the other side. It’s a no brainer, isn’t it? Sure enough we are rewarded with the high rise of Portimao in the far distance, while below us the river flows. At a cluster of houses a lady smiles softly at us, and we gesture and exclaim at how beautiful it all is. And descend slowly to rejoin the levada at our start point. Where, surely it’s time for cake?
The total walk is a little over 7 kilometers. I found this very tranquil video of the walk, with rather more water in the levadas, orange after recent rains, matching the ochre soil here. Thanks for keeping me company.
A good friend plans to take this walk next Spring, so I’m leaving her a link to Wikilocs here. Exactly which walk we did long ago remains a mystery, but we started and ended at the same point, this time with a great feeling of satisfaction.
Aggie made me want to share her post, written from the heart :
And I simply had to share these glorious views from Italy!
Denzil demonstrates what a beautiful place Belgium is for walking :
And Drake wanders in Pere-Lachaise cemetery :
While Margaret takes me back ‘home’ :
And Teresa treats me to a fabulous tour of the Scottish Highlands :
Sarah is delighted to be traveling again. Seville was a good place to start :
And Rupali takes up the theme in Oslo’s pretty Christmas streets, and beyond :
Always a delight to wander with Jude. These gardens are simply fabulous!
I seem to be back in the Jo’s Monday walk groove, but there are no guarantees. Join me whenever you like. Take care till then!