Jo’s Monday walk : A tale of regeneration

We’ve done a lot of walking lately, and it’s almost become a tradition to say farewell to friends returning to the UK with a walk, and a relaxed, happy meal together. Nothing too taxing this time, for one had recently pulled a hamstring moving furniture! There are miles of boardwalk along the Algarve and, as we all love to be beside the sea, this was the obvious choice. I had already booked the restaurant and arranged our meeting place when the other half came up with a different suggestion. The Parque de Lazer is close by, he said. You could collect those pine cones you’ve been wanting for ages!

Did anyone mind the last minute change of itinerary? There were no dissenters but I had my suspicions. So, armed with a bag for the cones, off we went! As you can see, another idyllic, blue sky, Algarve day.

It proved more interesting than we might have expected. How could I have forgotten already those fires that swept across the Algarve in the summer? We were back in the UK, but worried for friends who lived very close to the conflagration. A change in the direction of the wind and they would have been in grave danger. These woods have a high percentage of eucalyptus trees, which burst into flames and blaze with wild abandon. A very scary sight, and not one you would wish to be too close to.

Great emphasis is laid here on clearing the ground around your house, if you are a country dweller. It pays very great dividends in creating a fire break. As we strolled through the woods we marvelled at the devastation around us, and yet, there was no doubt that nature was fighting back. With a little help, perhaps. A logger was busy disposing of yet another fallen eucalypt.

The more observant of you may have noticed something? A distinct lack of pines! I had been deluded in thinking I was coming here to collect pine cones. It had been that kind of week! But still, the sun was warm and there were many beautiful patterns on the surviving eucalyptus trees, twisted, mangled and blackened though they were.

Impossible to be out of sorts on such a day. Bands of cloud drifted overhead, tangling in the trees. We chatted about the months to come, and when and where we might meet again. Some are moving house. Some have already moved. There are several choices of trail through the park, which is just off the E125, beyond the village of Santa Rita. We followed one that was just a little more than 7 km.

And in no time we were back at the car park, appetite at the ready for lunch. This time I struggled womanfully with the two slices of almond cake that arrived for my dessert. I really could have used a little help, or opted for something a bit lighter. As it was, we had the best of both worlds for we decided a little after dinner stroll on the boardwalk would be a good idea. Lots of smiling, happy faces.

And to add to my happiness, one of our group has since brought me a bag of pine cones. He won’t need them in his new home.

walking logo

Pretty lights are good for the soul. If I were in Belgium I wouldn’t miss this show. Thanks for sharing Denzil!

Enjoy a winter walk in Bokrijk

And what a pleasure it would be to join Drake in the Vosges :

Illuminated darkness

Or celebrate with Indra’s grand daughter :

Celebrations

Rupali cooks with love, and some other wonderful ingredients :

Random 51: Celebrating Culture – A Culinary Walk

Teresa does a little reminiscing this week :

Back in Cebu

Memories don’t come more magnificent than these from Sarah. Or wet!

Mosi-oa-Tunya, the Smoke that Thunders

Vines can look really beautiful in the autumn :

A day trip from Strasbourg: Mittelbergheim

The countdown to Christmas is on, isn’t it? I hope to be walking next week. Take good care of yourselves till then.

73 thoughts on “Jo’s Monday walk : A tale of regeneration

    • As I said to someone else recently, a controlled burn can be restorative for nature, Yvette. I remember seeing the North York Moors smouldering and reviving every summer. But flaming, out of control fires, fanned by the wind, are the scariest things. We were high up in the hills on Friday and the devastation was complete. But still, nature was fighting back. Thank you for time spent with me this year. Hope 2022 is kind to you.

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  2. Glad I saw you, just in time for Christmas on Debbieโ€™s blog. Yes, those moves can have a big on us! Am glad someone offered his pinecones:) Also liked your post about the Christmas market โ€“ the phenomenon has not arrived here yet. Hope it will at some time!

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  3. Pingback: Santa Rita – the most joyful village! | Still Restlessjo

  4. How about that – you got pine cones after all? The eucalyptus trees are very interesting. The odd ones we have here in gardens are more like bushes. Their bark always fascinates me. Will the really charred ones be able to throw off the outer bark and be OK underneath do you think? I am glad your womanful struggles are with dessert – long may they stay that way!

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    • The bark on the eucalyptus peels naturally anyway, Susan, so I’m pretty sure the blackened ones will be fine. Yes, pine cones at the ready for when I dismantle the nativity scene in my fireplace. Thanks, darlin!

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  5. So many wildfires this summer, it was quite scary, here in Canada too. Hope the nature will regenerate soon, no more fires for awhile๐Ÿ˜Š
    A nice walk though, I love the sky in Algarve๐Ÿ’•
    Christie

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  6. I didn’t mind the lack of pine cones because your route brought us some striking pictures, unusual and so well composed. Those trees look so interesting. Your walk sounded like fun and I’m glad you had a good day. Not sad with seeing friends return to the UK? Re the eucalypt trees, when I was in Galicia last I was told that they are a menace there but they can’t get rid of them, they have tried every which way – including burning – but they come right back up. They are destroying the native trees of the region and I suppose that is happening in Portugal as well. Almond cake and lemon meringue pie! I can tackle both so long as I have a coffee to accompany.

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    • We had a great day, Mari, and yes I do miss those folks. But I have other friends here and Christmas is just around the corner so there’s plenty to think about. And coffee is an essential of life ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿ’• Back here on Thursday with the most delightful village and a very real Christmas scene. See you soon xx

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  9. It’s interesting how quickly fire damaged lands regenerate. Still the actual fires must be awful. We’ve had a few on the island this year, but luckily without too many houses and such burning. Still, you had a good day out in the sunshine with friends, and that’s always a good thing.

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    • In some ways fires are part and parcel of the eco system, Graham, but they need to be controlled and that’s not easy in high temperatures. It’s the saddest sight to see blackened trees. But you’re right- we were a jolly crew!

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  10. Here in California we are so accustomed to fire and burn areas that do so much damage, and at times I lose sight of the fact that wildfire is a problem around the globe! We have a lot of Eucalyptus in California, certainly not a native, and there is a concerted effort to eliminate them as quickly as possible. They burn like an oil torch!

    So glad you had a lovely day with your friends, and I enjoyed the photo. It’s so wonderful that visitors come from the UK, but it must be bittersweet when they leave. I hope that 2022 opens up many more wonderful travel opportunities, Jo.

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    • Thanks so much for that, Debbie! Next year’s plans are very tentative indeed, but we do look forward with hope. The alternative is too depressing. Merry Christmas to you, hon! It’s starting to feel quite close.

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  11. Over here if we live in bush areas they are encouraged to make fire breaks around the house. Yes fire is a scary thing. I never realized you had so many eucalyptus in the Algarve. What a lovely group of friends. Do any of them stay permanently in the Algarve?

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    • Hiya, darlin! Yes, lots of eucalypts, though they are trying to discourage planting of them and thin them out where they can but it’s a big task. Absolutely wonderful friends, Pauline. At the moment there is only one of the couples in this photo permanently resident, but I have other friends who are full time residents. I had coffee with 3 of them this morning. Mostly the relationships started with walking groups, but not all.

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  12. A fascinating walk, Jo. I love eucalyptus, so a bit sad to see them charred. In fact any mention of the bush fires gets me itchy – really scary and the power of fire can skip so daintily across the cleared patches. Climate change is making us all more aware of the daunting power of nature.
    But your bubbly writing and your enjoyment with your friends has calmed me again.
    And I really must contribute a walk soon. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • It’s a scary subject, for sure, Debs. The eucalypts are so flammable. There’s been an undertaking to thin them out, but as you say the fire can leap gaps when fanned by the wind.
      Thanks for your kind words, hon. No worries about a walk. I just enjoy writing them.

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  13. Interesting as always, Jo…the American west, as I’m sure you know, struggles with worse fires every year. Where I live it’s not as dry so we’re not usually affected but I’m always reading about the need for people to clear brush and build firebreaks. Your Eucalyptus photos are great. As is that sky!

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    • I couldn’t contemplate living this close to woods, Lynn. I wouldn’t sleep nights. Even around the edges of Tavira there are farms where clearance is absolutely essential because in the summer it’s tinder dry. Blue sky, like most things, comes at a price. But today, it’s near perfection.

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  14. I am terrified of forest fires and appalled at the increasing number of them. And yet … I read a long and scholarly article recently about the need for (at least some of) these fires and the role they play in keeping forests healthy. I think the biggest problem is that houses and other manmade growth have just gotten so much closer and denser, so we have no choice but to constantly fight the fires. But that was not the point of your post … and I’m glad you and your friends had such a nice farewell walk in your beautiful and resilient surroundings. Seeing nature heal itself is heartwarming, as is time spent with good old friends!

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    • It’s not quite the same, Lexie, but in the UK they did a controlled burn of the heather, high on the moors, every year. A part of the regenerative cycle. But you have to choose carefully where you live. I could not contemplate living in the Algarve hills. I would never sleep. No walking today- just socialising with more friends. We are all in this together.

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  15. Whether online or in-person, walking with friends is a good thing – and even better when ending it with a dessert. Fire is a helpless and scary feeling. Yet, I think of places in nature where a fire is necessary to create renewal. I know this is true in parts of the western US, so I wonder if this is true in Algarve. Have a good week, Jo!

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    • I think it has always been a factor, Frank. The worrisome thing these days is the manmade fires that catch the wind and then burn out of control. Nature can cope with a lot of things, but we do seem hellbent on making life difficult for her. Thanks, hon! You too!

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    • Ha! I could have just said ‘pop them in the post, Jude’, but then, like my birthday present from Lisa, they might never have made it! But still, it was a lovely day out. And you got to see the smiling faces.

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  16. Ahhh, happy people! ๐Ÿ™‚ So good to see. And such a lovely day. And you even got your cones after all.

    As for eucalyptus trees, not so happy-looking. We have many around here too, they were put it (by Mussolini) to drain the swamp which was this area in the past, a proper malaria wasteland. I will try not to picture them going up in flames. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

    No, instead I will try to imagine how it can be that you cannot finish your desserts, tsk tsk. ๐Ÿ˜€

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  17. Really good to see some areas are beginning to recover from the fires ๐Ÿ™‚

    Did you read the article on the impact on bee numbers. So much vegetation and hives lost, they think it will be three years before they recover ๐Ÿ˜ž

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