Jo’s Monday walk : Santa Luzia

The patron saint of the village

The patron saint of the village

I could wander around Santa Luzia all day and every day.  So many of the houses are clothed in beautiful azulejo tiles.  Just 2 km west of Tavira, this fishing village has an identity all of its own. Modern housing has been added, and a new seafront promenade since my first visit, more than 10 years ago.  Yet somehow this village is timeless and defies outsiders to change its true nature. Would you like to share it with me?  We’ll take just a slow walk today.  There’s plenty of time.

The waterfront is where I usually start

The waterfront is where I usually start

It's an easy place to spend time

It’s an easy place to spend time

The palm trees don’t provide much shade, but there are plenty of cafes lining the waterfront.  It’s a place where you could idle away many an hour, just watching and wondering.  Avenida Duarte Pacheco is the village’s main street and behind it there are only a handful of others. Getting lost really isn’t an option, but you’re welcome to try.

A typical house on Duarte Pacheco, next to a cafe

A typical house on Duarte Pacheco, next to a cafe

 

Isn't this just beautiful?

Isn’t this just beautiful?

I’m going to be a very lazy tour guide today and simply let you wander.  The details that appeal to each of us are different, aren’t they?  I think you should have time to choose where to linger.

The whole seems to me to blend together.  The locals go about their business, paying little heed to the tourists.  I always venture a smile and ‘Bom dia’ and without fail there is a response.

I’m going to be just a little naughty now.  You remember my fondness for boats?  For just 3 or 4 months in Summer a ferry runs from Santa Luzia across to the ilha, Tavira Island.  It’s only a 10 minute crossing, so just about time to get comfortable.  One of the nice things, though, is the opportunity it gives you to observe Santa Luzia from the water.  Would you like to see?  And if you’re full of energy, you can have a swift stride down the beach.  I’ll be right with you!

Not so bad, was it?  Just one last look at Santa Luzia and you’ll want to eat.  Casa do Polvo, at the eastern end of the front, is great if you’re an octopus fan.  On some evenings you can listen to fado there too, and even join in and sing a little if the fancy takes you.  Away from the front there are a number of small restaurants.  Most will feed you well.  It’s just a matter of taste.

I’m hoping you enjoyed this week’s walk.  Not too strenuous, was it?  And the Eastern Algarve is easy on the eye, I always think?

Next week will be an English walk and very different.  I’m going to my daughter’s in Nottingham next weekend and will be travelling back on the Monday.  I’m going to attempt to schedule a walk.  I’ve never done that before but am hoping it’s easy.  If all else fails, I will be home by teatime and will post the walk then.  Wish me luck!

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Wow!  What a week!  So many fantastic entries.  You’re definitely going to need a cuppa, or even two, to read your way through.  I’m off to put the kettle back on.  Thank you so much, everybody, for joining Jo’s Monday walk.  The details are in my logo.

I simply love Drake’s Beatles walk!  :

Let it be

The Botanical Garden in Zagreb is beautiful!  Thanks for sharing, Paula  :

Monday Walk in the Botanical Garden

And, in case you missed it, atmospheric castle ruins near Bratislava, also in Paula’s delightful company  :

A walk around Devin Castle 

Meg tackled a tricky one this week.  All in a good cause!  :

On Nerrigundah Ridge

My lovable friend Cathy is finding her way around Nanning in China.  Go and say ‘hi’ please?  :

A Monday morning walk on Campus

A water lily from Israel!  And incredibly beautiful, thanks, Cardinal  :

Water Lily Porn

Gardens!  Gardens!  And more lovely gardens!  Thanks, Jude  :

Garden Portrait : Westonbury Mill Water Gardens

Garden Portrait : Sezincote

Fabulous, aren’t they?  And wait till you see Amy’s playful walk beside the river!  :

Walking along the river

A town with less than 1000 residents but lots of history is Yvette’s contribution  :

A walk in Scotsville, VA

And from California, please give a warm welcome to Elena  :

Big Bear Lake

With a destination that keeps getting higher on my ‘must see’ list, Debbie’s sharing a real beauty! Treat yourself- say ‘hello’  :

Walking on Top of the World in Marseille

And in this topsy turvy world of ours, Pauline is  beautifully immersed in Spring.  Don’t miss it!

Totally immersed in the splendour of Spring

That’s it for now, folks.  Have a very splendid week and happy walking!

Six word Saturday

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 The tents were up- show time!

The row of white tents transform the riverside

The row of white tents transform the riverside

Whenever there’s a fair or an event, a sea of little white tents mushroom along the riverside at Tavira.  Usually it’s confined to one bank of the river, alongside the gardens.  When I saw tents lining both river banks, I knew something big was happening.  The second Mediterranean Diet Fair had come to town!

Time to eat healthy!

Time to eat healthy!

Some of the products on display didn’t quite fit with my idea of healthy eating, but it’s all about selling as much as you can of locally produced goods.  You’ll see what I mean.

With a sweet thing or two

Anyone got a sweet tooth?

As the sun goes down the atmosphere builds

As the sun goes down the atmosphere builds

It’s not just food.  There are all kinds of things to buy.  Owls, for instance!

Anyone have a weakness for owls?

Anyone have a weakness for owls?

The cork was used for larger products too

The cork was used for larger products too

And some strange things!

And there were some rather strange things!

The local shopkeepers are not always so keen on these events.  They take away precious customers.  But most people are happy to browse a little.

Casa das Portas is ever popular

Casa das Portas is ever popular

 

I hope you enjoyed your Saturday browse round the shops and stalls.  The fair was accompanied by entertainment every evening too.  What a treat!  The Eastern Algarve usually is, I find.

Don’t forget to play Six word Saturday will you?  Cate at Show My Face is our hostess and will tell you the ‘rules’.  Have a happy weekend!

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Fun with the Monkeys

No guesses where?

No guesses where?

Have you ever been clouted around the head by a monkey?  No?  I hadn’t either, until last week on Gibraltar.  It wasn’t a deliberate act on the monkey’s part. At least, I don’t think so!  I had read the advice on not interacting with them and just letting them get on with their lives.  We’re the intruders, after all.  I was happy to just take a couple of shots and move on.

The problem arose when I leaned over the wall, holding tight to my camera, to take a shot of a mother and youngster just below me.  Mum was busy with her fruit and the youngster desperate to get in on the act.  As he squirmed about, I tried to get a good shot.  Suddenly- smack!  Two medium sized monkeys had galloped along the wall and straight over my head.  Serves me right for leaving it in such a vulnerable place!  The good news is that I didn’t drop the camera down the face of the Rock.  Now that would have been a disaster!  Here’s the shot I was striving for.

Not so great, is it?

Not so great, is it?

So, that’s me and monkeys!  Shall I tell you about the rest of the trip?  It was a pre-dawn start and a four and a half hour bus ride from the Eastern Algarve.  Some foolish folks at Lagos, in the western end, had boarded at 4.20am!  I’m fine once I’m on board and rolling.  A new panorama unfolding outside my window is always a buzz for me.  I watched the sun coming up through the umbrella pines in perfect contentment.

Over the Spanish border and just past Lepe, sudden thick fog descended and I had a moment of panic.  I had left the Algarve sunshine for this? Somewhere south of Seville it began to clear and my nose was then pressed hard against the window.  I hadn’t been prepared for the lovely lakeside scenery around Los Barrios, when finally, there it was, up ahead- the unmistakable shape of The Rock.

It was midday and melting hot.  Pedro, our affable tour guide, had arranged for minibuses to whisk us up to the heights.  Truth be known, there wasn’t much whisking going on!  Traffic in Gibraltar was gridlocked due to some power failure or whim of its own.  It’s that kind of place!  A very smiley Moroccan eventually manoeuvered us onto his minibus and we set off.  Some of the Brits on the bus were very offended by the German audio commentary.  I just dissolved into giggles!  A comedy of errors it definitely was.  It was a relief to be free of the traffic and allowed off the bus at Europa Point.

Trinity Lighthouse.  Isn't it a good-looker?

Trinity Lighthouse. Isn’t it a good-looker?

 

But the best bit was Morocco, beyond the shimmering sea

But the best part was the sight of Morocco, lying in a shimmering haze

Normally I research a destination to death before I set foot in it, but I hadn’t been sure that Gibraltar would be an option, so I arrived equipped only with a few preconceptions.  Back on the minibus, I was in for a very pleasant surprise.  Have you heard of St. Michael’s Cave?  A natural grotto, it was apparently used during World War II as a hospital.  Currently it stages a beautiful light show.  There is an auditorium too for private events.

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I’m not fond of caves but it had me entranced for a little while.  The views from the top of The Rock were pretty impressive too.  I would have loved to whizz down on the cable car but the minibus returned us to shore level.  With not a lot of time to spare, I headed for the Tourist Information Office in Casements Square to pick up a map.

Looking out from The Rock

Looking out from The Rock

A tree with style but not many leaves!

A tree with style but not many leaves!

I might have liked a wander through the town, but the main sights had been pointed out on our way down and my next priority had to be boats. There are two marinas, one of which (Queensway) seemed to include a rather nice bathing area.  No time for that, so I headed to Ocean Village, which was also in the direction of the border where I had been dropped off. Yes, it was a little glitzy and fake, but I am a complete sucker for any kind of marina.  The bars and restaurants were full of happy, smiling faces- endless cocktail hour, apparently.  And boats!

Just a small one- please!

Just a small one- please!

Boat heaven!

Boat heaven!

There was just time to linger for a wrap and a glass of wine, while the misters on the corners of the umbrellas sprayed us, and the food, at regular intervals!  Pedro had warned us to allow plenty of time to return from the town and pass through the border controls.  There was a no.5 bus but it seemed far more adventurous to walk back across the airport runway.  I had hoped to see a plane landing and I was in luck.  Barely had I crossed the runway than sirens sounded and the barriers came down.  Such an air of anticipation!  I shuffled my feet and gazed expectantly with the rest of the crowd.  Ten or fifteen minutes passed.  I awaited the heavy drone of engines and a rush of wings.

Eventually there was a tiny humming sound.  My vision is not the very best and I had to peer quite hard to see the incoming flight.  I barely just caught it on camera.

Can you spot it?

Can you spot it?

I’m sure that I missed lots, but I got a flavour of the place, which is all that a visit like this can give.  Was it what I expected?  Mostly, yes.  A little crazy, but with a certain charm.

Jo’s Monday walk : Ilha da Culatra

Shall we start with a ferry ride?

Shall we start with a ferry ride?

This week’s walk is on the island of Culatra, so you’ll have the added bonus of a ferry ride- always irresistible to me.  But for those of you who are poor sailors, let me assure you of gentle, calm waters.  I referred briefly to Culatra in my I is for Ilhas (islands) post and I thought it might be time to take a closer look. I think you might like it.

Departure points for the ilha are from the city of Faro, the Algarve’s capital, or from the nearby fishing town,  Olhão.  It’s a short 30 minute sailing from the latter.  The ferries depart at 9.00, 11.00, 15.00 and 17.00, so what are we waiting for?  Don’t forget your sunscreen, and flip-flops will be just fine for this trip.

Is this water flat enough for you?

Is this water flat enough for you?

There's always someone who likes to make waves!

There’s always someone who likes a little fun!

The first port of call

Here we are, at the first port of call already!

The ferry docks first at the eastern end of the island, with a busy little marina, the church and a couple of restaurants.  If you like you can get off here and walk along to Farol, but I like to stay on till the second stop, 10 minutes later.  As the ferry chugs alongside the island, the lighthouse for which the settlement is named looms larger.  Often your flight path into the Algarve will carry you over the islands and you have an aerial view of Farol.

Almost there...

Almost there…

Ok, so you’ve indulged me the watery stuff.  Thank you!  Now it’s time to stroll a little.  You’ve probably guessed what we’ll be going to see, haven’t you?

 

But eventually you come face to face!

But eventually you come face to face!

The lighthouse is situated on a rocky headland, above a small beach, crowded with locals on a weekend.  Continue past that and you have seemingly endless sand.  Off with those flip-flops and away you paddle!

A good situation?

A good situation?

After a while you will see a sign board pointing inland and a boardwalk.  This is your cue to put the flip-flops back on and follow it, over some low dunes.  You will see the first port where the ferry docked ahead in the distance.  Arguably the best bit of the walk starts now.  As you approach the village the path becomes lined with an array of beach houses and their gardens.  All shapes and colours are represented- some tasteful, others… well, let’s say interesting.

Now you’re back at the marina, with its host of little fishing vessels.  There are several small bars and restaurants where you can blend in with the locals while you await your return ferry.  The ticket office only opens 10 minutes before the boat is due, but you might well have bought a return- ide e volta.  The ferry will stop again at Farol so you can do this walk in either direction, or both ways if you’re keen!

 

The church is at this end of the island, too

The church is at this end of the island, too

Watched over by Our Lady of Fatima

Watched over by Our Lady of Fatima

Then it's farewell Culatra

Then it’s farewell to Culatra

And hello Olhao!

And hello Olhao!

I hope you didn’t mind the boat ride too much?  One of my favourite things about the Algarve is the number of ferry rides I can take. My husband rather meanly keeps count and sometimes I’m rationed!  There were 8 boat rides this visit. (that’s there and back, of course)

Many thanks for your time and your company.  Will you join me next week on a Monday walk? The details are on my walks page or just click on the logo below.

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Now for the good stuff!  Time to put the kettle on and read my ‘shares’.

I didn’t have Alesund on my ‘list’ till I saw this post.  I do now!  Thank you, Cardinal  :

The City Center of Alesund

Show me a walk by a river?  I’m hooked!  Thanks, Drake  :

Other side of the river

Pauline keeps revealing interesting facets of Canberra  :

Inner city chic : I’m loving Canberra

If you’re a lover of tranquility you can’t fail to love Amy’s garden  :

Portland Japanese Garden

You’ll love this walk with Jude too.  It’s on level ground for one thing!  :

Wild Rye

One last nostalgic stroll with Sylvia…  But, don’t worry- she’ll be back to visit family.  Here’s to new beginnings, Ad!  :

One last nostalgic walk before we leave this paradise

And now, meet Ana.  I’m sure she’s known to many of you and I’m so happy she has joined us this week  :

A guided history walk of Guildford

And last but never, ever least, Yvette is back!  Have you been to West Point, Virginia?  You’ll enjoy this visit.  :

West Point, VA

Thanks again to all my contributors.  Have a happy week!

Six word Saturday

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I’m back, but where to start?

Maybe with where I've just been?

Maybe with where I’ve just been?

You recognise it, of course!

You recognise it, of course!

And a bridge you must have seen before

With a bridge you must have seen before

And its companion, the Military Bridge

And its companion, the Military Bridge

Now sporting a love lock or two

Now sporting a love lock or two

So pretty at sunset!

So pretty at sunset!

With a caipirinha, maybe?

With a caipirinha, maybe?

In the Praca da Republica

In the Praca da Republica

Or a meal at my favourite restaurant, 'A Taska'

Or a meal at my favourite restaurant, ‘A Taska’

Some fine entertainment in the square

Some fine entertainment in the square

And a whirlwind of folk dance!

And a whirlwind of folk dance!

Followed by a stroll home in the moonlight

Followed by a stroll home in the moonlight

And that’s just a beginning!  I hope you will excuse me but I have so much catching up to do this weekend, along with my normal chores.  I should just about be ready for our Monday walk.

Have a happy weekend, won’t you?  I’ll be round as soon as possible.  Meantime, are you playing Six word Saturday?  Visit Cate at Show My Face to see how it’s done.

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Jo’s Monday walk : Captain Cook’s Monument

Captain James Cook on the village green at Great Ayton

Captain James Cook on the village green at Great Ayton

I still have Paris stories to tell and photos to share, but life moves on, doesn’t it?  Late Summer is the most beautiful time of year on the North York Moors and I’ve been there several times in the past few weeks.  I wish I’d had blue skies like the one above for this week’s walk, but we’ll have to settle for ‘head in the clouds’.

‘Where do you want to go?’ asked the long suffering other half, last Monday.  ‘Somewhere with heather.  Lots of heather!’ I replied.  And where do you find the most heather?  On the very tops of the Moors, of course.  So, strong legs needed this week, but I’m in the Algarve next week so you can all have a lovely rest.  Are you ready?  Come on, then!

This is our start point

This is our start point

I’m starting out from the free car park at Gribdale Gate, just beyond the village of Little Ayton. You have several choices from this point but they’re all in an upwards direction.

This is ours!

This is ours!

That's the target! The little spike above the tree line

That’s the target- the little spike above the tree line!

Always on the Moors you are aware of nature

Always on the Moors you are aware of nature

Beneath our feet the bracken fades

While beneath our feet the bracken fades

You're following a woodland trail and steadily you will gain height

You’re following a woodland trail and steadily you will gain height

There are occasional diversions on the edges of the path

With occasional diversions on the edges of the path

Your first reward- Roseberry Topping on the horizon

Your first reward- Roseberry Topping on the horizon

Roseberry Topping is an iconic landmark in these parts.  The combination of geological fault and a mining collapse in 1912 created its distinctive shape.  The link will take you to the National Trust website with lots of spectacular views.  Joe Cornish is one of my favourite photographers.

Looking back you can see the moorland trail you have followed

Looking back you can see the moorland trail you have followed

A memorial beside the path

A memorial beside the path

Ahead, the Monument

Ahead, the Monument

Captain Cook’s Monument is a 16 metre high obelisk, located on Easby Moor and visible for miles around.  It was constructed of local sandstone and has stood on this spot since 1827.  It bears an inscription celebrating Captain James Cook, who was born locally at Marton- “a man of nautical knowledge inferior to none”.

The heather stretches for miles

The heather stretches for miles

And miles!

And miles!

It is the most glorious sight at this time of year, and well worth the climb, which can be taken slowly, with frequent pauses to look back.  Many families with quite young children were making the pilgrimage, so how hard can it be?  I wasn’t so sure about this next activity though.

Getting the heart rate going is one thing, but.....

Getting the heart rate going is one thing, but…..

He made it- thank goodness!

He made it- thank goodness!

The Monument and Roseberry Topping in the same frame

The Monument and Roseberry Topping in the same frame

You can continue on across the Moors and down into Kildale in the next valley.  The total distance is only 2 and a half miles, but you would then have to make the return journey.  I was content to simply descend the hill, much more rapidly than my ascent!

There is a railway station at Little Ayton, on the Esk Valley Line, but I’m assuming you arrived by car.  It’s all downhill back to the main village of Great Ayton, where James Cook spent many of his boyhood years.  It’s a very attractive village, with the river running through it, and a good pub, the ‘Royal Oak’, on the village green.

You could visit Captain Cook’s Schoolroom Museum if you have the time.  I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t managed it yet.  I’d better make that a project for the winter.  I apologise for the sullen skies but the heather is only at it’s purple best for a few weeks.  As we drove home the sky began to clear, of course, and I leapt nimbly out of the car to frolic with the sheep.

He's giving me a very suspicious look!

He’s giving me a very suspicious look!

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As I mentioned at the start of this walk, I’m going to the Algarve today and won’t be around to post a walk next Monday.  I’ll be back the following one, 15th September, so if you have any walks you’d like to share, feel free to leave them in the Comments as usual.  I’ll feature them the following week.  Any doubts, click on my logo above.  It explains how I run Jo’s Monday walks. Till then, happy walking!  I’m off to put the kettle on and visit all these lovely people.

My first walk this week is from a lady you might not know?  Say ‘hello’ to Jill, at Jill’s Scene  :

Breckenridge, Minnesota

Drake takes us to lovely Ribe in Denmark, and climbs a tower, too!  Energetic, like me  :

Step back time

Amy has the BEST photo of a cross mother swan in this post  :

Zilker Park, Austin

I’ve always enjoyed ’tilting at windmills’.  Jude has the most beautiful one I’ve seen in a while  :

Tilting at Windmills

Some fabulous footage of the Azores from Cardinal Guzman, also joining us for the first time  :

Horta- Azorean Islands

Take care and ‘bye for now!

Six word Saturday

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Five places to go back to

The light cascades down over you

Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

I was invited a while ago by Booked.net to take part in their promotion and maybe have the chance to win myself an iPhone6.  All I had to do was write a post about 5 places I would be happy to go back to.  It’s a tempting idea and it just happens to work well with my Six word Saturday.

Barcelona had to be on my list.  Gaudi’s work left me speechless (and you should know, that’s not easy to do!) and I would be more than happy to revisit Parc Guell.  The main reason for going back would have to be to observe the progress of the incredible Sagrada Familia.  It’s not due for completion for a number of years yet so I shall postpone my revisit a while.

Especially with the swimming pool!

The lovely location of The Vintage Hotel on the banks of the Douro

Somewhere far more serene than Barcelona, the Douro region of Portugal made a lasting impression on me.  Using Porto as a base, I had only a couple of days to explore the natural beauty of this landscape.  The highlight for me was cruising back from Peso da Regua along the Douro River, the vineyards rolling away on either shore.  I am quite determined to return some day and stay in one of the hillside villages where I can savour the pure, clear air. (and maybe sample the grape)  Springtime, with the blossom all around me, would be ideal.  Or Autumn, when all those vines turn wine red!

The frocks shimmered in the dark and then began to change colour

Shimmering frocks at Lumiere 2013, in Durham Cathedral

The city of Durham is right on my doorstep, and I return to it again and again.  The University and student population make it a lively place and there’s always an event of some kind going on. Currently the Cathedral is fund raising via their Buy a Lego Brick campaign.  I did, of course, and it’s fun to return and see the project grow.

If you really want to see something special, you should time your visit for Lumiere.  This event only takes place once every two years, the next being November 2015.  It’s a long way off, but put it in your diary.  I’ll be there!

Theview from the cafe in magnificent Musee d'Orsay

The view from the cafe in magnificent Musee d’Orsay, Paris

How could I not include my new love, Paris, in my list?  I wandered far and wide around the city and found nothing to disappoint. Even sitting on the top deck of an open top bus with the rain streaming down my neck didn’t seem so bad in Paris!  The wonders of Versailles and Monet’s incredible garden at Giverny will stay with me forever but I would love to go back.  I don’t really think it matters how or when.

A place where the spirit soars

The Algarve, a place where my spirit soars

My last choice won’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows me, and I’m returning there on Monday.  The Algarve is where I am at peace with the world.  I have spent endless hours wandering on its beaches, and hope to spend many more.  Tavira feels like home to me, and that’s always a reason for going back.  It’s time for another glass or two of port in this beautiful riverside setting.  I’d love it if you could join me there some day.

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I won’t be around for Six Word Saturday next week.  I’ll be wandering on one of those beaches!  But I hope you’ll still join Cate at Show My Face.

One of the entry conditions of the Booked.net promotions was to name 5 other bloggers to participate.  I’m not sure if we’re out of time but my nominations would be Le chic en Roselolawi, Behind the Story, Stranger in USA and Hey Jude.

Booked.netTop Destinations to Go There

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Impressed by Versailles

Water babies at Versailles

Water babies at Versailles

As the sea of humanity surged past me up the platform, I had to wonder just how much I was going to enjoy the experience of Versailles .  The 7 million yearly visitors couldn’t all be wrong, but I’d had the impression that at least half of them had been on the train with me!

I had crisscrossed Paris to join the RER train to Versailles-Rive Gauche on line C5, at Javel Metro station.  Standing on the platform, with a twitch of anticipation, I could see the Eiffel Tower looming in the distance as I watched for the approach of my double decker train.  This was to have been a first- a ride upstairs on a train- but it was not to be!  When the train pulled in, it was already full to sufficiency, and I had to spend the journey leaning up against a swaying wall.  Just a little deflated, I had 30 minutes in which to wonder whether Versailles could possibly hold this volume of people.

Arriving at the palace gates, I felt hugely relieved that I ‘d had the foresight to book tickets for the gardens online.  The queues were immense, but following the signs to the right, I slipped peacefully past the ticket barrier and into the empty gardens.  No queue!  This might not be so bad, after all.  The day was rather overcast, but I had 20 minutes to explore before the fountains were turned on at 11.00am.

There wasn’t any question that this place was built to impress, and impress it did!  I felt a thrill of excitement as the fountains began to trickle.  In a few moments my cherubs were magically clothed in a veil of water.

Holding hands!

Holding hands!

A gentleman with a large ‘key’ made his way around the gardens, in an unhurried fashion, turning on the fountains in sequence.  The race was on to visit as many of the garden rooms as possible before the fountains stopped again at 12.00.

Here we go!

Here we go!

Laying down on the job!

Laying down on the job?

Note the hooves

Note the hooves

Taking aim!

Taking aim!

Fountain of Apollo's Chariot with the Grand Canal in the background

Fountain of Apollo’s Chariot with the Grand Canal in the background

You might have noticed the odd umbrella in the background.  A light drizzle had started to fall.  With just a few minutes till the fountains ceased playing, it was time to consider food and shelter.  As the skies suddenly opened, instant decision was required and ‘La Flotille’ was the nearest port in a storm.  With my back to the burners and the rain pouring off the awning, a Grand Marnier crepe and a pichet of Bordeaux helped to pass the time rather nicely.

Half an hour later, the sun made a welcome appearance.  A  couple of rowers were out on the Grand Canal, but a gentle stroll to the Grand Trianon seemed a better bet.  Dappled sunshine and puddles- such a nice combination!

There were still more garden rooms to visit and I had my favourites.  The Ballroom was landscaped by Le Notre in 1680 and is decorated with millstones and shells brought back from the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea by the French Navy of that time.

The Mirror Fountain was commissioned by Louis XIV in 1702.  It currently performs to music at 10 minute intervals all day long- the only fountain to do so.

And the Mirror Fountain twirled all day long

Dancing to the music of Rameau and Lully

Climbing the steps back up to the Water Parterres, I could look down on the Orangerie in all its magnificence.  The clouds came and went but the beauty was endless.

The Orangerie, beautifully laid out

The Orangerie, beautifully laid out

And seen from above

Seen from above

And with moody skies

And with moody skies

850 hectares of parks and gardens means little to me, but I can tell you that it was huge, and absorbed all those people from my train with ease.  And many more!  The fountains play again from 15.30 to 17.00 and at 17.20 the grand finale of the Neptune Fountain.

On Saturday evenings throughout the Summer there is a Fountains Night Show.  What a spectacle that must be!  The Versailles website is a wealth of information and I could recommend a visit to anyone.  Because of the scale of the place a little disruption from renovation is inevitable and on my visit the Latona Parterre and Water Theatre Grove were unavailable.

The incomparable chateau

The incomparable chateau

Are you wondering about the Chateau?  I had made a conscious decision to limit my visit to the grounds.  I did not want to share the Hall of Mirrors and in August there would have been little choice.  Another day, maybe!

Versailles is chalk and cheese with my lovely Giverny, but there’s room for both in this world.  Don’t you think?

Jo’s Monday walk : the village of Giverny

Isn't this perfection?

Isn’t this perfection?

I took so many lovely images on my visit to the Monet garden in Giverny.  It was quite hard to leave.  But I had little idea of the other treats that lay in store for me in the village.  I thought that this Monday you might like to join me in a gentle stroll in the Normandy sunshine?  You won’t even need hiking boots!  Sound promising?

Shuttered windows peep from behind a Russian Vine covered hedge

Shuttered windows peep from behind a Russian Vine covered hedge

Claude Monet lived in the village of Giverny from 1883 to 1926 and there is no doubt that it has prospered hugely as a result of this. Still it remains a very charming place and it’s not difficult to see what drew Monet and his artist friends here.  There were only 300 people living in the village when Monet first spotted it from the window of a passing train and decided he wanted to live there.  Today Rue Claude Monet is the principal street of the village.

A legend among the ivy

A legend among the ivy

Normally I save food for the end of my walks but you may remember that I’d already travelled from Paris and spent a couple of hours at the Monet garden.  The Musee des Impressionismes has a very pleasant restaurant and gardens and is just a few steps further along Rue Claude Monet. We had a combined ticket with Monet’s garden, saving a few euros, but you didn’t need to enter the museum to eat in their restaurant, or to see the garden.

Of course, we had to check out the paintings too, and then it was time to venture into the village. We wandered along, admiring the shuttered windows. They looked so French!

 

This artists gallery beckoned me inside

This artist’s gallery beckoned me inside

I stopped a little further along Rue de Claude Monet to peer inside a gallery.  “Come in, come in” beamed the proprietor (in French, of course), patting his head to indicate that I should keep mine low.  I would have loved to start snapping the sea of canvases in the tiny space, but it didn’t seem polite.  I had the impression that we could have become lifelong friends and that I’d take breakfast in the cafe next door.  Fortunately I was rescued by another customer descending the steps, and the ‘patting of head routine’.  A true show of French gallantry.

‘Le Coin des Artistes’ at no. 65 was first a grocery store, then a cafe-bar in Monet’s time, and is now a smart looking bed and breakfast. At no. 81, Hotel Baudy has been recently restored and was also a popular meeting place for artists . A few steps further, Eglise Sainte Radegonde dates from the Middle Ages and is the burial place of Monet and many of his family.

The village is long and slim and at the end you can turn down to Chemin du Roy to complete a circuit back to your beginnings.  I was much taken with the narrow interconnecting lanes, which reminded me a little of the Wynds in Yorkshire.  Following my nose led to Rue du Milieu (Middle St.) looking over garden walls as I go.  I do like to be nosy!

The prettiest of my 'Wynds'

The prettiest of my ‘Wynds’

Giverny lies on La Route Normandie Vexin, midway between Rouen and Paris, in the midst of chateau territory.  With the Seine on its doorstep, boat trips are also an option.  I took great delight in this village, which offered me far more than I had expected.  I hope you found it a lovely place to ramble, too.  Indulge me with a last few shots from the Monet garden?

What can you say?

What can you say?

 

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I enjoyed my time in France so much!  There may still be a post or two to come but I think that next week’s Monday walk will be back in the UK.  I try to keep them seasonal and the Yorkshire Moors are in full bloom at the moment.  I do hope that you’ll join me but I will have limited time to respond to you as I’ll be back in the Algarve by Monday evening.

There won’t be a Monday walk on 8th September, but I’ll remind you about that next week. Meanwhile, are you ready for a good read?

I think most of you will find Drake’s style much more relaxing than mine  :

Few steps, large atmosphere

While Paula shows us exquisite beauty in Istria  :

Macabre Fresco

I took the hint this week- no steps to  climb!  Here’s a lovely flat walk from Jude  :

A walk along the Dee

Does fun in the sun in Texas appeal?  It will if you join Amy!  :

Lake, river and trails in Austin

Or come and have a hug, and a little history, with Sue’s Mum  :

Canada’s Battle of Batoche-Louis Riel’s last stand

Finally a walk recommended to me by my dear friend Meg.  Have you been to Ethiopia?  :

Walkabout to the Blue Nile Falls

That’s it till next week.  Happy walking!

Six word Saturday

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Paris images that made me smile!

One of the delightful statues on Pont Alexandre III

One of the delightful statues on Pont Alexandre III

Doorknobs to die for!

Doorknobs to die for!

A shop window in Galerie Vivienne

A leaning Eiffel Tower or two in Galerie Vivienne

Rodin's wonderful sculpture garden

Rodin’s wonderful sculpture garden

Soupe a l'oignon

Soupe a l’oignon- to keep my strength up!

The clock at Musee d'Orsay

The clock at Musee d’Orsay

More door knobs!

More delicious door knobs!

More wedding album shots, while the world looks on

Wedding album shots, while the world looks on

Worshipping at the Louvre

Worshipping at the Louvre

The sparkling Seine by night

The sparkling Seine by night

A concert at Saint Chapelle

In concert at Saint Chapelle

A parting shot at Charles de Gaulle airport

My parting shot, at Charles de Gaulle airport

Sigh!  It’s wonderful to look back on.  I hope you enjoyed it too.  It’s a long Bank Holiday weekend here in England, so plenty to see and do.  I’ll still be walking on Monday so I’ll see you then.  Have fun, whatever you do, even if that’s nothing at all!

Cate at Show My Face would love you to play Six word Saturday, if you can find the time.

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