Jo’s Monday walk : would you believe it?

Happy New Year all! I’m back in the Algarve after an action-packed few days in Leeds, culminating in sitting on the plane waiting for the de-icer to arrive and gazing out at overnight snow. It arrived to bid us farewell! Christmas Day with the family was completely wonderful, but it was still rather nice to come back to sunshine.

One sunny day, before our UK Christmas adventures, a few of us had gone up into the hills near the Odeleite dam. Our plan was to walk the circular PR4 trail, which starts from the village of Odeleite. Just days before that, we had been to the village for a Christmas fair that never actually happened. Preparations had been abandoned midway when restrictions on gatherings were imposed. Imagine our surprise to find that the Nativity scene was now complete, and apparently waiting for us. Presepios appear throughout Portugal in the run up to Christmas, and usually remain until 6th January, the traditional Day of Kings. This one, I think, is a bit special.

The cats seemed fond of it too! There was a whole tribe of creamy coloured ones, regarding me with deep suspicion. So I took the hint and moved along. A steep hill leads down through the village, bypassing the church, until you arrive at the river.

A bridge carries you across, and a rough path leads to the start of the trail. Two trails in fact, as you have the choice of joining the GR15, a long distance route between Alcoutim to the north and Vila Real de S. Antonio in the south, and the much shorter, and circular, PR4. The GR15 runs for a total of 65km, so you should choose wisely.

The path climbs steadily away from the village till you reach a point where you can look back across the valley. We were pleasantly surprised to find water in one of the dips as there had been little rain and the reservoir was low. The trail is easy to follow, though a bit steep in places, and marked by red and yellow stripes on convenient boulders or signposts. Cistus, the rock rose, were already starting to bloom on the hillsides. Few people live in these hills, but the odd characterful residence catches your eye.

Most of the farms have guard dogs but, thankfully, most are chained or behind gates. There’s always a moment of uncertainty when a strange dog comes toward you, barking loudly but wagging its tail. We were untroubled on this particular day, and soon had lovely vistas through a sea of umbrella pines. The sky was full of interesting squiggles, and we were at peace with the world.

When the trail eventually flattened out again we were in a wide plain with a bewildering number of sheep. Light and dark, old and young, mingled unconcernedly together. The little ones were mildly curious, their seniors totally focused on food.

It wasn’t long before we rejoined the river, and followed it along to the weir and a former mill. An ideal picnic spot, we felt.

There are few things I like more than following a river, especially one with sinuous twists and curves. Standing stock still and staring hard into the shadows. Might a kingfisher dart past? Is that a heron amongst the tall reeds? Certainly there are fish, blowing bubbles.

But like all lovely walks, eventually it comes to an end, and we haul ourselves back up the hill, into the village. We have the choice of three restaurants, unusual in such a small place, and all at the top of the hill. We opt for the one we haven’t tried before, O Campones. (Peasants) The indoor space is crowded but a large sun terrace looks out to the reservoir. A couple of tables of workmen scarcely look up from demolishing their platefuls. We ogle the menu greedily. We’ve made a great choice.

The tragedy? The restaurant was closing for the holidays the following day and had sold the last of their desserts. Those dreamy chocolate profiteroles! Something tells me we’ll be back. It’s well worth a 10.4km walk!

walking logo

A choice of trails with Maggie and Richard in this wonderful, watery landscape :

Cape Breton & The Cabot Trail

And for those of you who love a snowy adventure, why not join Drake?

Walking and still standing

Sarah does a stunning job of walking us through these palace gardens :

A walk in the gardens of Seville’s Real Alcazar

I’m not the only one who made it to a light show this winter. Follow Jude to the Eden Project for a beautiful spectacle :

Eden Lights

And who should I find in my Reader this morning? Cady’s back, with a bit of sunshine!

Vigeland, the Sculptor’s Park

Hope you all had a great Christmas, and didn’t over indulge at New Year. Alas, I’m a bad example! See you soon!

104 thoughts on “Jo’s Monday walk : would you believe it?

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  5. What a lovely sunshiney walk! The cats look really sweet and I love that blue framed window with the matching blue pot on the sill – gorgeous! A shame about the profiteroles but it’s good to have an reason to go back to somewhere this pretty ๐Ÿ™‚

    No walk from me this week as I’ve got myself tied up in my series of ‘favourites from 2021’ posts for Lens Artists, but I’m lining up a nice warm one for next week ๐Ÿ™‚

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  6. Ah sunshine, so good to see your walk. Such a beautiful place, Jo!
    Profiteroles are worth going back to and I am imagining it to be in one of your future posts. Have a great New Year!

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  7. The Algarve is beautiful as always! I love the bewildering numbers of sheep. Glad to see you’re still walking and exploring. I wondered if your new blog might be going in a different direction. But it seems, at least with this post, you are still good at doing you, as you say! ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • It was the part I didn’t want to drop, Cathy, but I wanted out of the challenges. It’s not as varied as I might like, but life is satisfyingly busy and I don’t want to lose a life on here. I might not have that much left!

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      • Hopefully you have a lot of life left. If you keep up with those long walks, you surely will live a long time. I’ve watched my poor dad, who stopped being active in any way years ago, slowly decline especially in the past year. He can hardly move at all now and can’t do anything for himself. I think it’s essential to keep moving! And being curious and lively, as you are. ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes, I know about challenges, but it looks like you’re still posting other people’s walks. You have way more energy for all that than I do. Keep enjoying life, Jo! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  8. Jo, you must have felt so lucky to have spent the holidays with your family and then returned safely to this beautiful, sunny place. What a walk! Sorry about the dessert but seriously, the whole day looks stupendous. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    • We spend so many lovely days in these hills, Lynn! I’m just starting to plan for visitors later this year. Chatting to some UK friends who are desperate to come and see it for themselves.

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  9. Lovely, sunny walk, Jo. It reminds me I must get my hiking shoes on again soon. I’m glad you had a great family visit and are now enjoying the warmer climes of Portugal.

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  10. Thatโ€™s a long, but beautiful walk Jo. You take as many pictures as I would. ๐Ÿ˜ Plenty to see and those blue framed windows really catch the eye. Glad you had a great Christmas with family. Happy New Year!

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    • It didn’t seem long at the time, but I did forget to mention a coffee stop about half way. No cake, though! We restrained ourselves on account of lunch. Thanks a lot, hon, and a happy new year ahead for you too!

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  11. To get back to the sunshine and the beautiful scenery after the short stay in UK must have reinforced the reason you chose to make the Algarve your home Jo. I imagine it would be perfection if the whole family could come over to live with you. As always an interesting and photogenic walk. We are in the grip of cyclonic winds today.

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  12. It’s so nice to hear that you had a lovely time with your family for Christmas. It must be hard to leave when travel uncertainties remain, but we’re all going to hope the new year gives us more flexibility and potential than we’ve experienced over the last two years! Your return to the Algarve was indeed welcoming, and I’m glad you shared such lovely sunshine. I really find my eye pulled toward some of the rocky outcrops, and wish I could join you on a walk, Jo. Thank you for sharing, though. I do enjoy vicariously enjoying your walks. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • I do feel that I had the most perfect ending to the year, Debbie. And then some great news from my son, that I don’t want to share in case it doesn’t happen. It’s time they had a bit of luck. I feel like I’ve had more than my share sometimes, not least with the beautiful places I get to walk in. It’s a pleasure to take you along, hon.

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  13. Ahh how lovely. Every walk you show us makes me think how it would be if I’d find a group to walk like this around here. And then I remember that my feet complain if I walk a lot. You had a glorious day. I laughed at the “tragedy” at the end. You’ll be back. ๐Ÿ˜€ To many lovely walks in the sun!

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    • Some people really don’t like walking in a group, Manja, and I have to admit it detracts from the scenery. I’m less inclined to stop and take the shots when someone is talking to me, so I do hang back sometimes. And I like to listen to the birds and just look at how beautiful my world is. But you can’t have it all- especially when it comes to cake! We did make up for it on today’s walk though.

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  15. Happy New Year Jo, I can’t believe you’re already back in Portugal, that really was a quick few days. This looks like a lovely walk and the blue skies are gorgeous – something I could do with at the moment, locally at least.

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    • Thanks, Eunice! No, there wasn’t much hanging about, and that mostly worked to our advantage. Winter is never our favourite time in the UK but Christmas is special and the two days we spent with them was totally worth the effort. Happy ’22, hon!

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  16. What a marvelous walk,Jo, and profiteroles at the end elevates it even more. Iโ€™m happy you had such a good time in England as well and made it back without the delays which are plaguing travelers here

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  17. I’m glad your holidays were wonderful, Jo! Your walk among the warm Mediterranean landscape was a balm for my soul and I hoped we would be enjoying San Diego and Arizona after the holidays. Some of those images look just like San Diego does this time of year! Too much snow for driving and no rooms at the “inns” (families’ homes). Maybe this spring. I took a walk down memory lane of 2021 with my significant events and photos. Hope you enjoy and here is my link! https://secondwindleisure.com/2022/01/02/sunday-stills-2021-in-the-rear-view-mirror-nothing-like-the-present-the-future-is-ours/

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  18. Being at peace with the world is a very good place to be. And sunshine, too? You know I was sorry to read about the desserts situation. I look forward to your return trip.

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  19. 10.4 km is a hefty walk. Well done! A variety of sights on this walk. I like the section along the river. Regardless of the wagging tail, I also get uneasy with a charging barking dog. Did the restaurant tell you they were out of desserts when you were seated? Conditions like that is messing with fire!

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    • You rarely know what is for dessert when you sit down, Frank, but we did see some luscious things pass us by. Luckily I’m not always one for dessert and my pork in a port wine sauce was ample sufficiency ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ’•

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  20. Your post was a ray of sunshine, Jo. Enjoyed the walk with you in sunny Algarve and learnt a few things too. โ€˜Day of the kingsโ€™ and profiteroles were new for me. Googled them both. Iโ€™m strangely feeling hungry now.๐Ÿ˜Š

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  21. So pleased you managed to get back to the UK for Christmas Jo! What a delightful walk (before your trip) – it looks such a lovely winter’s day in the sunshine ๐Ÿ™‚ I think the cats are very cute albeit they don’t sound as if they were too friendly! Hope you’ve had a lovely New year and all the best for 2022 xx ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Not long home from another lovely walk and lunch, Rosemay. The temperature is around 21C in the afternoon. Perfect for the time of year and already the blossom is budding. Happy ’22 to you! ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿ’Ÿ๐Ÿ’Ÿ

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      • Sounds perfect Jo, a walk and lunch – 21 degrees is good for winter! We do get up to that in July too (which would be our Down Under equivalent month). It can get very chilly at night though and in the mornings but you can always rug up ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy 2022 as well to you! xx ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • It varies, Rosemay. Weather is supposed to do that, isn’t it? Just back from t’ai chi and I’ve pulled the sun screen over as it’s really hot on the patio but much cooler at the beach, obviously. ๐Ÿค—โ›ฑ๏ธ๐Ÿ’•

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      • I actually love winters here but I know it’s all relative! Winter sunshine is always lovely. Heating up here again – it was warm down by the beach at 8am when I met my friend for a walk so now sitting upstairs in the air con. Enjoy rest of the weekl xx

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  22. With you every step of the way on this lovely walk, Jo. I love river-walks too, as they seem to give different things up every day whether it’s fish or something interesting floating by. This walk in particular seemed full of interest and I’m so glad your return to the Algarve was softened by good weather and sunshine. It does make a difference when one has left family, solace for the soul! Glad too, that Leeds was worth that quick dash home.

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    • Absolutely worth the effort of going back to the UK, Mari. I loved it. On our way out on another walk this morning. Blue skies, of course! Lovely to have your company, darlin ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿ’•

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