Jo’s Monday walk : above the Guadiana

The river beach at Alcoutim is a pleasant spot to begin and end a walk. Following the path alongside the Guadiana river, a left turn will bring you to the cafe and a few facilities. At this time of year it will be deserted, but in summer, hot and probably noisy. Or you can do as we did recently and walk around the back of town to reach the hills beyond. I had never previously paid attention to this wall. How could I have missed it, the quotes mingled with the life of these parts, told in azulejos?

The view beyond the wall is across to Sanlucar de Guadiana, on the opposite bank of the river, in Spain. Hotel d’Alcoutim sits in a quiet spot, overlooking the river from our side, and behind it a rough path leads upwards. The views down to the river easily take your mind off the climb, especially when the blossom lingers.

On up and around the hill you climb, the grass in sparse clumps, dotted with leggy asphodels and pretty yellow lupins. A ruin bides its time for a new owner, while a cat looks down in none too welcoming fashion.

A last sight of the river before we turn inland, much admiring the large white faces of the rock cistus that thrive in these hills.

Light clouds scud across the sky as we follow the dusty trail. An unexpected pool of water is home to a number of frogs, who leap hastily away at the tread of human foot. Tortured tree limbs arrest the eye.

Until a couple of weeks ago rain had been a scarce commodity. Dry river beds, for me, have an undefinable mystery. Pebbles crunch together with larger stones, worn smooth by the action of water. Striations of shale are beautiful to see. The sun barely crests the top of the hill, its rays spreading gently through the shadows.

Sheep range freely in these hills, but a watchful shepherd will arrive with his gun at the first suggestion of danger to his flock. In such a peaceful landscape it’s a shock when a shot rings out. We are warned never to venture into the hills on Sundays and Thursdays in the hunting season.

Wonderful to see the last of the blossom as we emerge from the valley, heading back towards Alcoutim.

High above the village, the castle that crowns Sanlucar de Guadiana on the far shore is visible in the distance.

The path brings us gently around the village, bypassing a few more sheep, and back to the river beach. And surely it’s time for a little refreshment? Like this very delicious chocolate profiterole cake…

The walk was a little under 9 kms, but if you’re feeling ambitious you could add on a visit to Castelo Velho de Alcoutim. It’s barely a kilometre beyond the village, but in a somewhat upward direction.

Drake has a pretty good idea of what works for me :

Recognisable

Pretty blue harbingers of Spring, beautifully captured by Rupali :

Crocuses aren’t supposed to go unnoticed

Doesn’t Teresa live in a fabulous place?

Being a Tourist in My own City…

A lovely, accessible riverside walk, with Shazza :

Keswick Railway Walk

NiNa discusses the health benefits of walking :

Take that walk!

But Sarah is high above the canopy. What a wonderful world!

Hanging bridges and butterflies

A bit of amazing cave action and rock art with Berto and Corna- a couple new to me, so please say hi!

Hiking at Cederberg Park Kromrivier- 2

And you may not know Kelly. Fancy a workout, anybody?

The Tracy Hill Trail, Red Bay, NFLD

Of course, you know Mel- she’s good at walking and talking, and planning too :

A Wee Wander in the Wilderness, Wellington, Central West NSW

Tackling the Great North Walk – 16 Days walking through the Aussie Bush and ‘Burbs

Alison is a little more relaxed, and I always enjoy a good garden :

Enjoying Essex – Hyde Hall Gardens, Chelmsford

Speaking of gardens, let Margaret take you along to the Valley Gardens on a lovely English Spring day :

Don’t take selfies! Enjoy the flowers!

Next weekend I’ll be back in England, quite briefly. The long awaited house purchase is finally happening and I can’t wait to see my son and his future home. You can be sure I’ll report back. Meanwhile, take good care of yourselves.

107 thoughts on “Jo’s Monday walk : above the Guadiana

    • Hi Atreyee! How’s life treating you? Exhausted at this end after a lightening visit to Leeds, to see our son’s new home and help with floor sanding, etc. Really excited for him. We’re off for a bit of sightseeing in Braga and parts north next weekend, and really looking forward to that too.

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      • Life is good here. I’ve been slowly exploring some parts of the desert in southwestern US. Happy to hear you were able to help out your son in his new home. Enjoy Braga. I’m excited to see your walks from there.

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  1. oh so much beauty you captured with blooms, trees, hills, and skies – even a cat! haha
    and I bet it is quite startling to hear shots ring out – breaks up the tranquil vibe.
    and with our church – during the early covid days the pastor (Rob) recorded a short sermon from his house and Jo, it was actually quite funny because you could hear a shot gun going off from somewhere in back of his house (they live in the country)

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    • Rabbit scarers? We’re just leaving the city of Leeds, where it’s distressing to find people sleeping on the streets after we’ve just witnessed our son take happy possession of his first home. Such an unequal world we live in πŸ™„πŸ’Ÿ

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      • Hi Jo
        I think his neighbor’s were target shooting
        And congrats to your son with his new homr and wow – what a joy!
        Also – you are right abiut the distress of the homeless and less fortunate –
        We tru to help
        In small ways when we can —
        Also, it can stir uo gratitude in us. For example, my hubs read a great
        book called ” shantaram” and he shared parts with me – at one point the character was sleeping in India – under the train area in a small room – lying side by side with people – oh the poverty! It sure shakes one uo to appreciate

        Liked by 1 person

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  4. Beautiful images, it all looks very inviting. That ruin would make a great project, a definite fixer-upper! And ended perfectly with that delicious looking cake.

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      • We are currently looking at fixer uppers in Germany, Mr THLs army years are coming to a close so the next adventure beckons. I am terrible for pushing the limits of what we can realistically take on. Note to self- I am not Sarah Beeny and watching DIY SOS does not make me qualified.

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    • I live in a lovely part of the world. Thanks for your visit. I tried to repay the compliment but couldn’t manage to leave a comment. Sounds like you’ve found your perfect match. Wishing you many more happy years together.

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  5. Oh my, Jo! That cake looks incredible. It always amazes me when you can be in one country and see another over the river. Not something we can do here. Best wishes to your son for his new home and enjoy your special time in England.

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  6. What a beautiful place to live in- so much to explore. The walls with the quotes are lovely and the cake looks delicious. ‘Gun shot’ sounds scary. Loved the picture of the flowers. Have a great trip to England. Enjoy!

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  7. How beautiful! Your comment about the hunting reminds me of where my s-I-l lives in France. In hunting season, beware! I think WP is up to something because although it says I’m following you, I don’t see your posts in my Reader. πŸ™. I keep missing them.

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  8. I’ve enjoyed many of your walks Jo but this one really hit my sweet spot. Honestly, it could be packaged into a beautiful little brochure to draw people to the area. But then it would lose it’s serenity so best to keep it between us! Congrats to your son, enjoy your visit!

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  9. A lovely walk. What a blessing to have frequent blue skies. I’m not familiar with rock cistus. It’s a beautiful little flower.

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    • Hi, Nicki! Lovely to have you here. Those rock cistus cover the hillsides at this time of year. Mostly white ones, but some rose pink too. The weather is distinctly moody at present, but you’re right- blue skies are seldom far away here.

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  10. I love how you absorb everything around you as you walk, Jo. I try to do the same, but sometimes it is an effort to stay ‘present’ when my brain wants to dive down every rabbit hole chasing random thoughts. When I do manage to stay present, I am always rewarded. Rocks, trees and flowers – there is beauty in them all. Thanks for the links and enjoy your UK time. Melx

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  11. Another walk that exudes charm and warmth, excepting the gun noise. That wall was exceptional, and the cake, too. Thanks for taking all of us along. Have safe travels.

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    • Hi Babsje! It is quite unsettling to come on a man with a gun, but thankfully he didn’t point it at us. It is, as you can see, a beautiful part of the world, but I’m looking forward to a trip ‘home’. Thank you!

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  13. Wow, what an incredibly gorgeous walk, Jo! The beach, the sky’s puffy clouds, the green hills, the tree blooms, oh my, just does my soul good to walk with you. Isn’t it strange to hear that random gunshot ringing through the hills? We have something similar but it’s skeet shooting we hear. Kind of a cool sound. Thought I’d share my Friday Fitness post where I share more about my WOTY “walk.” https://secondwindleisure.com/2022/03/25/fitness-friday-five-popular-ways-to-track-your-fitness-progress/

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    • Hiya, Terri! It was a hectic weekend here and I’m just catching up so I’ll be with you in a little while. I love the area along the Guadiana. It’s so peaceful- except for that gunshot! We think the shepherd was probably after a fox, or possibly even a lynx but they are pretty rare.

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  14. What lovely views you had on this walk! A beautiful wall to admire at the start and then some lovely views over a river and pretty flowers … for me, this would be the perfect walk (oh, and of course, all of this happening in sunny weather while enjoying a piece of decadent chocolate cake) ☺️.
    Thanks for the mention in your post – those caves and rock art were indeed spectacular.

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    • The river bed fascinated me, Frank. Actually I walked off around the bend and then heard the gunshot. For a horrible moment I thought my husband was being shot at, and of course he thought the same of me. All’s well that ends well!

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  16. Wonderful walk Jo, so peaceful apart from the gunshots! Love the murals, always a treat to see a lovely mural. Have a great time in the UK and thanks for linking me 😊

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  17. Another of your so pretty walks! And that wall is fantastic πŸ™‚ Nice to see Berto and Corna joining in, they’re great walkers πŸ™‚

    I hope to have a walk for you later in the week. I see you’re heading back to Blighty for a short visit. How short I wonder? I was on the verge of messaging you as we’re heading in your direction in a week or so and I thought a ‘cake date’ might be feasible, but it seems we may be timing it badly!

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