Have you seen any lovely leaves lately? This is an Autumn challenge I discovered just last week. Rather nice, isn’t it? Just click on the link to start those leaves falling. I was out kicking the English leaves about today. Just as beautiful! Join me next week and see.
Having a home in Tavira, in the Eastern Algarve, I don’t normally devote space to local hotel reviews. But there’s always an exception, isn’t there, and this is it.
I was leafing through the East Algarve Magazine when an article on Tavira House Hotel caught my eye. I didn’t recollect seeing it and no address was supplied, but it was stated to be within the old castle walls of the town. It looked very beautiful and my curiosity was piqued. A stroll through Tavira is never a hardship, especially one with a purpose, and the hotel wasn’t too very difficult to find.
The front door was closed and I stood gazing up at the balcony, trying to get some impression of the inside. Rather taking me by surprise, a young man appeared at the window. “Would you like to come up?” he enquired. I couldn’t have been more delighted!
Casa Alice, as the house was originally called, was built in 1860 for a high-ranking Portuguese army officer. It was a maze of corridors and false walls, allegedly for hiding his many mistresses. When it was purchased by the present owner it had been uninhabited for 20 years and was in a poor state of repair. By 2006 permission had been obtained to renovate this listed and protected building. The work, over 8 years, was laborious but the finished result is a triumph.
Nuno Reis, the young hotel manager, was extremely pleasant and happy for me to look around and take photos. The only exception was the bedrooms, because the hotel was fully occupied, but an offer was extended for me to come and view one the following week. The Mediterranean Diet Fair was in full swing in the town, and the 9 bedrooms were all needed.
Being fully engaged in the fair, I never managed a return, but the website gives a very good impression of the bedrooms, and I’m sure they’ll be of a standard with the rest of this immaculate building. They are named for flowers that grow locally and range from a small double, accented in gold, the Mimosa, to the Geranium suite at the top of the house. Beamed ceilings and a view over the rooftops of Tavira makes the latter rather special.
Spend a little time on the website. It will tell you about the preservation of the Algarvian arched walls and the painstaking reconstruction of the unique ballroom ceiling. In the ‘Explore Tavira’ section, there’s also a link to an engaging Daily Telegraph article about the town. You don’t just have to take my word for it- it’s a beautiful place! And I would be more than happy to stay at Tavira House Hotel.
You’re probably thinking that lack of sunshine has gone to my head! No, I’m not planning a sky walk this week. What I would like to do is to take you up Sutton Bank, on the Yorkshire Moors, to the glider school. I actually took this walk a couple of weeks ago when I was out searching for purple heather on the moors. A road diversion had us approaching from the wrong direction, and by a very roundabout route, so that I was in despair of finding any blooming heather. What I did find, though, was gliders! I guess it’s an ok substitute.
The heather has already bloomed and waned, but the gliders still fly high. You won’t need to do any climbing to see them. I hope you’re game to come with me?
We parked at the Visitor Centre on Sutton Bank, properly known as Roulston Scar. When I spotted a sign- ‘The finest view in England’- my expectations were pretty high. At the viewing platform binoculars were clasped in several hands, but the day was heavily overcast. I admit, I was a little disappointed. Still, you couldn’t fault the other half’s enterprise in bringing me here. Perhaps the clouds would lift?
And so, the White Horse it was to be. Sound more promising to you? The trouble is, The White Horse is better seen from afar. Never mind. I’ll do my best! In the meantime, I was approaching the glider station. Surely there wouldn’t be much to see from up there on a day like today?
The path is level and it’s just as well because you’re constantly stopping and gazing skyward. There’s a low drone as the plane tows the glider past you and in seconds they’re airborne. Soaring out over the cliffs, it’s a heart stopping moment as the plane leads the glider ever higher and then releases into a thermal or rising air current.
Back at ground level, the path continues on. The White Horse of Kilburn is not far away. I’m not sure what kind of view of it I will have, as it lies on the cliff face below me.
Steps lead down the cliff to a car park far below. I look back at my husband, who shrugs and turns to walk away. I start down the steps in search of a better view.
Unless you want a long descent down the steps, and then an aching clamber back up, this will have to do for now. You could, of course, be enterprising and drive to the car park below. I’m sorry to tell you that we didn’t. The clouds closed in again- that’s the nature of the moors- and it was time for a hasty retreat from a squall of rain.
I hope you enjoyed our walk? This link to Wikipedia will give you a few more details of the whereabouts and geology of the horse, and the village of Sutton-under-Whitestonecliffe, where I remember a rather nice pub.
I won’t be home till teatime today, but I’m hoping you will still have received this walk, which I scheduled. Early or late, I’ll definitely be there. Once again, I have some wonderful shares for you. Many thanks to all of you who take part.
My first walk this week is very fittingly titled but, more importantly, it’s full of wonderful photos. Thank you so much, Meg. This is beautiful!
The Cardinal took us to Petra in Jordan, for the sunniest of smiles :
Paula knows us Scorpios don’t mind water, or even occasionally…
If you haven’t seen any of Amy’s photography lately, you’re missing a treat. Goodbye Summer! :
Drake was back on Samsoe this week, with some Norwegian love :
Hands up those of you who’ve been to Odessa? No- I thought not! Jouena has a lovely share :
You can share a walk with me any day of the week. The details are all in my logo. Have a great week and happy walking!
Remember the lady with orange hair?
Yes, that IS an octopus fascinator and she calls him Ishmael. I will be in Loughborough at a coffee morning for the Macmillan Nurses when you’re reading this. Leo’s Dad died of cancer last year and his Mum is bravely hosting at her home. I foresee a little fun in my weekend, though I won’t be wearing an octopus any time soon.
I don’t know if I’ll be able to respond to any comments today but I hope you’ll all still be playing Six word Saturday. Cate at Show My Face hopes so too. I’m scheduling this post because I’m away all weekend. Catch up with you next week! Take care!
I love a bit of drama, and I rather think Paula does too, so I thought I’d post a couple of night time/evening shots from my recent Algarve visit. Every day is special in its own way, isn’t it?
I hope your Thursday is special too. You have the power to make it so. Paula thinks every Thursday’s Special. Visit her to see why.
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 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.
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!
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! :
The Botanical Garden in Zagreb is beautiful! Thanks for sharing, Paula :
And, in case you missed it, atmospheric castle ruins near Bratislava, also in Paula’s delightful company :
Meg tackled a tricky one this week. All in a good cause! :
My lovable friend Cathy is finding her way around Nanning in China. Go and say ‘hi’ please? :
A water lily from Israel! And incredibly beautiful, thanks, Cardinal :
Gardens! Gardens! And more lovely gardens! Thanks, Jude :
Fabulous, aren’t they? And wait till you see Amy’s playful walk beside the river! :
A town with less than 1000 residents but lots of history is Yvette’s contribution :
And from California, please give a warm welcome to Elena :
With a destination that keeps getting higher on my ‘must see’ list, Debbie’s sharing a real beauty! Treat yourself- say ‘hello’ :
And in this topsy turvy world of ours, Pauline is beautifully immersed in Spring. Don’t miss it!
That’s it for now, folks. Have a very splendid week and happy walking!
The tents were up- show time!
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!
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.
It’s not just food. There are all kinds of things to buy. Owls, for instance!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
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!
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.
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 :
Show me a walk by a river? I’m hooked! Thanks, Drake :
Pauline keeps revealing interesting facets of Canberra :
If you’re a lover of tranquility you can’t fail to love Amy’s garden :
You’ll love this walk with Jude too. It’s on level ground for one thing! :
One last nostalgic stroll with Sylvia… But, don’t worry- she’ll be back to visit family. Here’s to new beginnings, Ad! :
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 :
And last but never, ever least, Yvette is back! Have you been to West Point, Virginia? You’ll enjoy this visit. :
Thanks again to all my contributors. Have a happy week!
I’m back, but where to start?
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.