Jo’s Monday walk : Boa viagem!

Everywhere has memories, doesn’t it? I still remember the very first time I laid eyes on Cacela Velha, and the wonder I felt. So when I was thinking of a good walk to say goodbye to some lovely friends, this one came immediately to mind. Walks are memorable for different reasons, and I have to confess that for most of this one my camera stayed idle. I was too busy chatting!

Hilary and Mel have been part of the fabric of our life in Tavira for the longest time. Back in the Striders days, Mel’s long legs would carry him effortlessly up hills, while Hilary strode determinedly alongside. They scorned the Strollers level walks! Call that exercise? But still, friendships flourished between the two groups, and we all were agreed that some distant day we might become Strollers too. In their search for the Algarve idyll, Hilary and Mel moved out of Tavira to the village of Santo Estêvão. Hilary always had vision and enjoyed a project, while Mel was the practical guy with the willing hands to make it happen. ‘He likes to be kept busy’, Hilary would often declare, though Mel wasn’t always so sure. Between them they turned a rather ramshackle cottage into a dream home, weathering all the ups and downs that came along. They are kind hearted people, always quick to lend a hand if one is needed, and famously generous with their hospitality. An invitation to Hilary’s guarantees good company and wonderful food. The lady can cook!

What happened next came as a bit of a surprise. Despite loving peace and quiet in her life- aside from Mel’s hammering in his man cave- Hilary loves the bright lights of Lisbon and Porto, and they are regular concert goers. Couple that with an inability to tolerate the heat of Algarve summers, and it wasn’t long after their home was complete that Hilary started to look elsewhere. The west coast appealed and, after several exploratory journeys north, they settled on the area around Óbidos. With cooling summer breezes, and within striking distance of both Lisbon and Porto, it sits above a beautiful lagoon which, for me, is reminiscent of Cacela Velha. It just remained to find the right property, at an affordable price. Partly we were elated for them when this finally happened. Partly we were sad. But friendships are not so easily broken. We are assured that 3 hours of driving will take us to their new doorstep. And when it’s too chilly up there, they’ll be visiting us!

And so, to the walk! Our start point was the village of Conceição, just off the E125, in the Eastern Algarve. Threading between a few villas, we took a back lane out of the village and headed east. The lane runs parallel with the busy E125 but, for most of its length, feels like a different world. A pretty farmhouse advertises honey for sale and the surrounding fields overflow with orange trees. Purple columbine twines through the hedges and, in January, the almond blossom is already starting to bloom.

Over a level crossing, we continued on gravelled path, with ample shade from the trees. After a while a golf course is visible between them, and before long we are sandwiched between two, both with big ‘keep out’ fences. Not being welcomed in didn’t make them a less pleasant backdrop, but soon we turned right, towards the tiny village of Fábrica. Past a couple of substantial villas, a rough track leads towards the sea, sparkling on the horizon. A steep bank winds down between the houses, into the western end of the village, and the lagoon opens out before you. Conversation forgotten, out comes the camera.

A kiosk sits behind the low stone wall, and often we have nursed a coffee, or a small plastic glass of wine as we gaze across the water. At most times of year a ferry putters across the lagoon to the beach. In high season 2 or 3 compete for custom. Between times the ferrymen mull over the latest news with the kiosk owner. We were disappointed to find him closed on this quiet day, but the empty benches beckoned and a short rest was warranted. The day was warm and still, and natural beauty filled our vision.

Breaking the spell, we left the village, walking along the shoreline. The tide was on the turn, but it’s only a short distance along the water’s edge to the steps that lead up to Cacela Velha. A huge flock of gulls were wheeling around over the boats, moored in the shallow water. We stopped and stared, never having seen so many take to the skies at once.

But then, there was no avoiding those steps. Up and up they go. More often we would do this part of the walk in reverse, so that we descend, but that still leaves a hill to climb. The lanterna is a soft and pretty mix of pink and yellow, climbing beside us. Later in the year, the crimson oleander will outshine it. And it’s always worth the climb.

The Ria Formosa is spread out before you, as far as the eye can see. In the near distance Fábrica juts gently into the water.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve looked down on this scene, but I’m never disappointed. A quick look at the church and the well, still decorated in its Christmas finery, and then we turned right, out of the village, and headed back in the direction of Conceição. I had an urgent appointment with a chunk of cake.

Overall the walk is about 12km. We had a table booked with Rosalia, in Conceição, for our celebration. She always does us proud and I wasn’t slow to put my hand up for the Chantilly cake. It just remains to wish Mel and Hilary all the luck in the world in their new home. I admire them for making the move. Boa viagem- safe travels! – until we meet again.

To Mel and Hilary!
walking logo

Drake has a fondness for Aarhus, from his student days :

Crossing the old trail

I enjoyed Emma’s thoughtful comments on rewilding, as well as her walk :

Knepp Castle loop from Shipley Windmill : 11.3miles or 18km

Love the light in this one from Denzil :

The Royal Walk in the Geographical Arboretum

Teresa loves to share family and friends, always with a smile :

Roadtrip

Nothing wrong with doing simple things

While Rupali makes snow look very beautiful indeed :

Weekend 128: A winter walk (Pre-covid)

And Terri walks us through all the seasons of the year :

Sunday Stills: 2021 In the Rear-View Mirror, Nothing like the Present, the Future is Ours

Like Janet, I absolutely adore Chihuly. Easy to see why!

Monday walk….in a forest of beauty

Sarah shares more of the culture of Kerala, and some wonderful insights :

A walk In Fort Kochi, Kerala

But I can’t resist a canal walk with Ali. Even in the rain!

London Canal Walks – Limehouse Cut

A very different concept, from Lindy :

Walking with Eagles

And finally, don’t miss the glorious colours in this hike with Strafari :

A day trip from Strasbourg: hiking in Le Hohwald

Yesterday we managed another walk with Faro a Andar. Good to support a community based enterprise. I’ll be sharing it with you in 2 weeks time. Take good care, and enjoy life, till then.

117 thoughts on “Jo’s Monday walk : Boa viagem!

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  4. The views from the top are magnificent Jo – such pretty flowers and blue skies too 🙂 It’s hard when special friends move away but hopefully the drive is not too far and you will be able to still visit each other, take care xx 🙂

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    • I know there are people who love snow, Christie. I’ve never been one of them , though I admit it can look very beautiful. It’s early Spring in our part of the world and the blossom is looking lovely. Believe me, I know how lucky that makes me!

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  8. I want to live there, Jo. I see you found me a little air-conditioned place – not quite move-in-ready but Vince is handy with a hammer and saw. The views are gorgeous especially sunset on the ocean. I notice you left me a little bite to eat. LOL

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  9. This time I followed you closely on google maps – that was fun! I’m glad you were specific enough for me to do that. I admire your stamina, Jo! 12 km is a long walk, especially in the sun, but the company was great and so was the cake, right? 😉

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    • It depends on my focus whether I include directions, Lynn. Sometimes I’m a bit ‘airy fairy’! The first part of this walk is not especially photogenic but I couldn’t resist when I got to the coast. It’s not hot at this time of year- between 16 and 20C- which makes it ideal for walking, and when you’re chatting the miles go swiftly by. We had a superb day together.

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  10. Hello my friend, what a gorgeous walk! My apologies for my absence, for some reason you were no longer showing up in my reader which I don’t really understand! Anyhoo, saw your post on Facebook & thing I have now remedied it!

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  11. What a lovely walk Jo. Your descriptions are so evocative I feel I’m there. And makes me wish even more that a visit to Portugal was on the near horizon. For now, your beautifully described walk will suffice.
    All the best to Mel and Hillary on their new adventures.

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  12. I love these coastal views. I remember flying over the Ria Formosa when I landed in Faro a few years ago and being astounded by it all! And you have blossom out already – so jealous!!

    It’s always a shame when good friends move away but you have an excuse now to visit their part of the country 🙂 Meanwhile I’m taking you back to Kerala but a very different part: https://www.toonsarah-travels.blog/gallery-a-stroll-through-a-kerala-village/

    By the way, I love how all your walks seem to end with cake 😍🍰

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  15. I can see why you like that walk, Jo. Good weather and a lovely variety of views. I hope you get to see your friends from time to time, though obviously not as often as if they were nearby, These things o happen though.

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  16. Such a beautiful day! I’m sure that you’ll keep in touch with these wonderful friends, but it’s always a little bittersweet in the parting! I’m guessing they’ll be wanting to visit Tavira from time to time, as well. It’s just gloriously inviting. 🙂

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    • They are part of our small WhatsApp walking group, Debbie, so we always know where each other are and what’s happening in our world. We’ve supported each other through the ups and downs and we won’t lose touch now.

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  17. What a lovely way to farewell good friends and now you have options when it gets to hot in summer…Beautiful photos as always taking me along with you Jo. Did you get all the drama about Novak on your news?

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    • Hello, darlin! We visited Obidos once, in the early days of our coming here, and I’ll be very happy to have an excuse to go back. Yes, I followed the Novak episode. A shame for all concerned. I’m glad to just focus on the tennis, though it obviously opens it up for the other players. I don’t suppose Rafa is really sorry that Novak’s gone.

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  18. Glad you didn’t keep your camera in your pocket all the time, Jo. Your images are so lovely, especially that white boat against the deep blue sky – and the one of the Ria Formosa. But 12 kl? I can’t recall when I could last do such a walk but i’m pleased you are there to do it for me and bring back the pictures. Glad you had a chance to make such lovely memories.

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    • That’s the trouble with group walks, Mari. You often want to talk to the people more than take the photos. Many of these walks are repeats so there is less urgency to take the shots, but I can never resist this lagoon. Thanks so much for keeping me company. I occasionally wish I was an armchair walker, but the day will surely come and I will be very hard to live with when it does.

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  19. As much as I’m sure you wish your friends well, Jo, even 3 hours away is still a little sad. Moving away from friends is never easy and I acutely miss my two besties that lived nearby in my former Sacramento home. Between our weekly walks and monthly lunch/shopping dates, we sure had some fun. Both friends have visited us here in Washington proving that friendships can last the bounds of distance. Thank you for the shout-out and the lovely walk. I LOVE that opening image! A fitting “see you later” to your friends. Have a great week!

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    • Thanks a lot, Terri. We’ve made some great friendships through the walking groups, and many of them come and go throughout the year. I’m fairly sure we’ll stay in touch but no, it won’t be the same. Life moves on, sadly sometimes.

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  20. Do the Strollers and Striders still exist? I remember you talking about these walking groups a few years ago. Strollers is definitely my preference, I’d feel rather inadequate trying to keep up with the Striders! Plus I am a dawdler, forever stopping to get the perfect photograph. Talking of which have you have been messing around with filters on some of these images? They look awfully foggy to me! A good walk with good friends and lunch at the end. What more can you ask for? But has Brexit affected many of your friends who aren’t permanent residents of Portugal?

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    • Watching Rafa, chuck! The good old days 🤣💕 No, they don’t exist in the old format but that’s where many of the friendships began. You wouldn’t have been a Stroller. A Loner, more like. Walking isn’t really about photography, is it?
      Yes, I quite like the filters sometimes, if the light and details aren’t working. Brexit? Trouble for everyone, really, but they just need to choose carefully where and when. 🤔💕

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      • You must have Eurosport then. They seem to have the monopoly on the Australian Open. 😕 I have actually considered joining the Ramblers, but it’s not really me and besides there are too many awkward stiles in Cornwall 😅

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    • Yes, Eurosport. The Oz Open is the only one I actually get to watch, and half of it takes place at night. The others are all on Amazon Prime or Tennis.TV these days so I have to make the most of this one.

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  21. Wonderful vistas and good memories, Jo – wish I could visit some day and walk with you! But I don’t know if I could keep your pace…stroller you know…Hopefully you will meet up more often than you think, with your friends.

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    • We already have a walk planned, at Peniche, which is very close to them, Margaret. Not sure quite when we’ll get there, though. We actually did this walk with Mel and Hilary for the first time last year and they loved it, so I thought it was a good one to repeat.

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