Jo’s Monday walk : Santa Barbara de Nexe

The second of our walks with Faro a Andar was not quite so strenuous, but we knew that it involved windmills, and where are they always sited? At the top of a hill, of course! But the sky was blue and smiles broad as we congregated by the village church, in Santa Barbara de Nexe. The size of the group was much reduced and there were no children this time. Was that a bad sign? We hoped not.

Looking around us with interest, for this was not a village we knew much of, we headed away from the church and almost immediately turned right and began to head uphill. A path led out of the village, beside a stone wall. Beyond this we could see Monte Figo rising, whilst in the nearest field a couple were harvesting olives.

There followed an interlude without much chatting. Better to save breath for the climb ahead. Can you see the windmill on the hilltop?

To be fair, the views were beautiful, gentle clouds gliding across the sky and the windmills growing progressively closer. The coast was a distant glitter, and below us even Santa Barbara was beginning to look small. I paused to admire some scarlet flowers and try to peer at the villa hiding behind them, before continuing upwards.

Eventually we reached the windmill of the stars. I imagine it would be beautiful up here on a night. Now, if I was a shepherd or goatherd… Can you see that grey windmill in the distance of the last photo? We expected that we would carry on to that point, but the walk leaders opted to turn back, after a short talk about our surrounds. Perhaps the track was too rough. We might try it ourselves sometime. But we were happy enough to follow an easy route back down the hill, a procession of trees accompanying us. Gurning, mangled olives, full of character and holes. Almond trees, wispily waiting to bloom. A cottage, complete with alfarroba.

And then we were back at the church, passing a house I had serious designs upon. What do you think? Behind a lovely flowering hedge it had a veranda facing out to the far distant sea. Mistakenly I thought it was single storey and very manageable, but approached from the side it was on two levels and the garden was huge. Absolutely not in my price league, and ever practical Michael declared that you’d have to be very fond of church bells.

We had spotted a couple of cafes and thought that we might have a drink together before going our separate ways. Sadly, one was full to the brim and the others closed. No cake today! Instead a look around this quiet but well-heeled village, making notes for a return.

Ending by the cemetery. Wikipedia tells me that the impressive church was constructed over a 12th century chapel, but that human settlement in the area goes back over 30,000 years. I wasn’t able to see inside the church, but found a video celebrating the local Saint’s Day on 4th December, 2019. Unfortunately this year’s concert was cancelled again due to Covid.

In January, Charolas are performed locally to celebrate the new year, by groups of singers accompanied by simple instruments- accordion, castanets, tambourines and triangles. I have to wonder if these will be allowed next year. No New Year fireworks will take place in Faro, or on the bridge at Tavira.

walking logo

Saying a very beautiful goodbye to Autumn with Drake :

Just around the corner

While Teresa takes us on a whistlestop museum tour :

Edinburgh to Glasgow and back

A little bit of magic with Alethea, remembering lovely Sue :

A Magical Walk with a dragon, a coyote and a blackbird

A more down to earth kind of magic in the streets of Triana, with Sarah :

A walk in Seville’s picturesque Triana district

Not so far away, Rupali continues a love affair with Barcelona :

The astounding interior of Gaudi’s building

Marsha always finds so much joy in life. It’s quite simply infectious :

FOTD, Fan Of, Monday Walks, Changing Seasons: Remembering Fall

You could do worse than these show-stopping views from Janet!

Monday walk…Mt. Lemmon

The next Faro a Andar walk is scheduled for 19th December, but currently I have no idea whether it will take place. I hope you enjoyed this one. Have fun with your Christmas preparations, and take good care.

82 thoughts on “Jo’s Monday walk : Santa Barbara de Nexe

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    • I could definitely live with the bells, Sarah. But I might need a gardener and someone for pool maintenance, and probably a housekeeper…which is exactly why we have a little townhouse. It’s called living within your means! Nice to dream though.
      I’ve seen lots of stormy photos, lately, hon. What’s a bit of rain between friends? Thanks a lot!

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  5. What a beautiful hike, Jo, and it looks to be strenuous, but well worth it. The windmills fascinate me. And those old, gnarled olive tree trunks add to the feeling of the age. When you mention settlements 30,000 years ago it must be impossible to travel without wondering who is accompanying you. Magical! I hope you find a time to trek to the second wind mill. It would be well worth it, I’m sure!

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    • Hi Debbie! Yes, the views are wonderful up there, all the way down to the shimmering coast. Today we say farewell to 2 of our closest friends here, and though we will keep in touch online it’s not the same. The feeling of camaraderie is lovely. We’ll walk and collect pine cones in the woods, and then lunch. Maybe later I’ll put my Christmas tree up. Wishing you a wonderful festive season, hon. Friends and family, this year? We have a very brief few days in the UK planned but it all feels very uncertain.

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      • I’m sure it’s really bittersweet to have your times with visiting friends, including such full exchanges, and then the need to say goodbye. But I do hope you’ll be able to travel to the UK without too much restriction. I think we are all “on point” watching the new variant and wondering how we’ll all be affected. My family is primarily local, and we are keeping things simple, but it should be a lovely holiday. I think we’ve scaled down so much that it feels a better fit for me anyway! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  6. What a lovely, sunny and warm walk this week, Jo! I type this looking out my window watching the snow fall! So many of your landscape scenes look just like San Diego in Southern California–I mean to the detail. Similar latitude I imagine. Having grown up there and making 2x yearly visits, I have no doubt some of your vistas could easily replace those in SD and none would be the wiser. How fun to be part of a walking group. Your images of the area are stunning. To think humans may have inhabited the area 30,000 years ago is staggering. Thanks for the wonderful walk!

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    • I’ve just been commiserating with friends newly back in the UK and struggling with the temperatures there, Terri. It’s all relative to what you’re used but I didn’t feel any envy. I remember snow fondly but am happy with just memories. Thanks, darlin. Yes a lot of similarities with SoCal I think. ๐Ÿค—โ˜ƒ๏ธ๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ’•

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  7. Incredible history and views, Jo! As always I savour the beautiful views, your eloquent and engaging descriptions and gentle humour! Yes, I think the church bells so close to a house would quickly become aggravating yet …

    It is exhausting how Covid is still affecting our lives in so many ways – like living on two levels. Enjoying our lives and what we can do safely, yet missing so much. I hope your quick visit to the UK can still go ahead this year. Take care, Annika xxโค๏ธ

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  8. I’m so sorry about the lack of cake, from the look of these pictures, you earned your cake! Those blue skies set everything off to its best show. Simply gorgeous. Thanks for linking to my post, my friend. Have a great week. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • I am of the school that thinks you can have too much cake, Marsha. Shock, horror! You won’t tell anyone, will you? On Sunday we went to a Christmas fair that had been cancelled. Our consolation, a bit of a walk and a very nice lunch. And I couldn’t eat all my cake! The shame!

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      • Did it taste ok? Was it too crumbly? Were you sick? Oh my, I’m worried. You couldn’t eat all your cake! This is serious, Jo.

        However, to be honest, I haven’t had any sweets for about four months. I lost a lot of weight when I was sick, and now I am not losing anything. And that’s without eating sweets. If I change back, I will become a balloon. ๐Ÿ™‚ So no cake for me. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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      • Oh, that’s so sad! It’s a bit of a story, Marsha, and would likely make a good post, but I doubt I’ll get there. Bottom line, it was dense with marzipan and coconut and very rich. And we had a coffee stop when I was persuaded to eat some sweet mince pie earlier in the morning. Woe is me! No custard, though!

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      • hahaha Too much of a good thing! LOL! So glad it wasn’t poison. I got food poisoning once from eating something that I love that wasn’t cooked long enough. I was miserable for a week, so I’m glad it wasn’t that!

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  9. Looks like a lovely walk Jo and the blue skies are gorgeous. I say that from a very damp and cloudy Hawaii where we have had an ugly weather system swirling around for a week now. I think windmills must make a splendid destination, even if they are atop hills. I like the look of that house but it’s far too large for me, unless you’re opening a B&B!

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    • I don’t do catering well, Graham. I become all fingers and thumbs at the very thought of guests. And I can’t afford a housekeeper and gardener. Guess I’ll have to stay put in my little townhouse. And I do have nice neighbours! You’ll be back to blue sky before you know it!

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      • I’m not good with guests either. It’s good to be happy with what we have, not that I always manage that. And yes, the weather has already changed a tad for the better with the return of the trade winds. Hopefully the blue skies will return tomorrow!

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  10. So many lovely photos. I love old gnarled Olive trees and I want that house too. How often do they ring church bells anyway? That blue motorbike looks like the one I had. Thanks for another fab walk Jo ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

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  11. Here I am back in blog land again Jo and just loved this virtual walk/stroll/struggle up the hill with you. What fabulous scenery. You capture it so well. Will have to google “gurning” a word I’ve not heard before, but it sounds very gnarly, and twisted.

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  12. This was a great walk, Jo, and the photos really brought it to life. Just loved those gnarled old olive trees and what brilliant photos you took of them. Your blue skies made me wish to be there but I know I couldn’t have kept up with you, in fact, I’d have had to say ‘Leave me here with my book and you go on to the top’ as I did on my last walk in France just two years ago. Still, what could be nicer than sitting n the sun reading a good book! Although I loved the village as shown in your photographs I missed the occasional broken down place and peeling plaster. Almost too good to be true. Do you think it’s immaculate condition accounted for the full restaurant? Enjoy the 19th occasion and look forward to reading all about it.

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    • There are times, Mari, when I wish someone would say just sit there and read your book. Especially when I’m puffing up a hill! The day will surely come ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ’•
      It’s true there aren’t too many shabby bits in this village and there are some pretty wealthy neighbours. Quite a few restaurants close here in late November and some don’t reopen till February for Carnival and tourist season. The cafe we liked the look of was busy putting up Christmas decorations. Hopefully we’ll be back ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—

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  13. I love the description of the olive trees, the big one certainly does look like it’s gurning, and I like the fish on the tile picture, they look rather cute ๐Ÿ™‚

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  14. What a delightful place, Jo, although I can identify with the windmills being at the top of a hill as you know from today’s post from me. ๐Ÿ™‚ The house is lovely but yeah, I don’t want to be that close to church bells, too much like being next to a railroad line. I love the character of the trees you shared and since I love olives, olive trees are favorites. Reminds me of sitting among them at the Olive Mill enjoying my mocha. Thanks for hosting this whenever you can. It’s always fun and I love seeing your walks.

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    • In a couple of villages here the church bells play a carol or other piece of music and I really do like that, Janet. I can see a small section of the railway lines from our roof but the noise is minimal. There is talk of electrification and faster trains but who knows when that will happen. This is Portugal, after all! Lots of lovely things but keeping to a schedule doesn’t tend to be one of them. Hugs, darlin!

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  15. What a lovely walk: yes, windmill walks ARE windy walks, aren’t they? And hilly to boot. I loved looking at the Faro a andar site, and was delighted to find that written Portuguese is quite accessible with some knowledge of Spanish. Unlike the spoken version …

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  16. You describe your walks so beautifully, gurning mangled olive trees, I feel as though I am by your side. One thing though, you never mention how long these walks are or how far. The windmill looks quite distant in your photos, but I know that can be deceiving. Santa Barbara looks quite pretty. Hope you return to check out the cake ๐Ÿ˜‹

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    • Thanks, darlin! Thought you might like the gurning olive trees. ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ’• I usually try to remember length but I forgot with this one. I was trying to include a video of the Santa Barbara celebrations in the church but couldn’t make it happen. Just over 5 and a half kilometres this one, but half of that was uphill so distance isn’t the key. If the walk takes place on 19th December we’ll be back there. The village has a nice Italian favoured by a famous musician. It’s that kind of place ๐Ÿ˜—

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