Travelling “My Way”

Don’t worry, I’m not about to burst into song.  Well, I might, but you won’t have to listen.  This is simply my entry for the Travel Your Way photography competition being hosted by Rhino Carhire.  Lovely Lucy nominated me.  She’s on holiday in Portugal right now, recovering from her honeymoon.

I have to post four shots (or more!) depicting travel by air, sea, road and rail.



I have to admit to being one of those people who sit with their nose pressed to the window on a flight.  Kindles and iPads are wasted on me, though I could do with a large map upon my knee.  I’m forever trying to work out which bit of coastline or land mass I’m flying over, while all around me people snore or follow the plot of the latest thriller.  The balls of fluff below and the occasional snowclad peak are all the thrill I need.

The photo above is one of many taken on the journey back to the UK from the Algarve.  Well- you recognised it, didn’t you?  The sun was just setting, touching the lakes with flame.

Traditional barcos rabelos at Peso da Regua

Azulejo panel of traditional barcos rabelos at Peso da Regua

Impossible to capture the boating experience on Portugal’s beautiful Douro with just one photo.  The traditional way of transporting the barrels of port, the winding and weaving river, the terraces of vines- all combined to give me the experience of a lifetime on board with Tomasz do Douro.

Plying a different trade now.

Plying a different trade now.

Yet still remembered on our dining room wall

Yet still remembered on our dining room wall

And culminating in beautiful Porto.

And culminating in beautiful Porto.

Road trips for me usually mean a few days outing from our Algarve home, and always, always result in a lot of walking.  One of my favourite places, ever, was the Spanish city of Cordoba.  We started off on the embankment with this alluring view.

The sky was mean and moody but the sun shone

The sky was mean and moody but the sun shone

A place to rest the feet- the lovely gardens of the Alcazhar.

A place to rest the feet- the lovely gardens of the Alcazhar.

I love everything about travelling by rail, from the clickety-clack of the tracks to a belch of steam on the North York Moors.  I thought that I would probably post a shot of the wonderfully restored and nurtured steam engines, idling on the platform at Grosmont or Goathland.  But in the end I opted for a tram shot.  Nothing quite beats the thrill of these sleek beauties, chugging up and down inclines in Lisbon, and probably my favourite ride- along the shoreline of the Foz do Douro in Porto.

The tram trundles past Foz do Douro

The tram trundles past Foz do Douro

Fortunately for me the deadline on this competition was extended to 31st October or I would never have made the cut, so many thanks to Rhino Carhire for that.  It just remains for me to nominate 5 people who could use a spare £1000 for travel.  And quickly!

Bespoke Traveler has some great tales to tell, and some great shots to go with them.

Hope, the happy hugger – how lovely a name is that?  I’ve just been looking at some stunning bougainvilea shots on her page.

My guilty pleasures  Viveka?  Well you ALL know what a treasure she is.  She’s already got me singing on this grey English day.

Dear Bliary has been one of my favourite blogs for a long time.  Innovation is Gemma’s middle name.  Or was it Marie?

Janalines world journey is a terrific read.  I just hope she has time to take part.

You don’t need a nomination to join in, so if I’ve missed anyone who was desperate to be there, please don’t hesitate.

Hope you enjoyed travelling along with me.  Did you sing?

N is for “não faz mal”

404322_287595227969825_100001580503329_842365_806400363_nIt seems ages since I was in Portugal, though in fact it was only in July.  In the words of a little Portuguese phrase, “não faz mal”- it doesn’t really matter.  Não faz mal is a bit like de nada in Spanish, but said with a Portuguese shrug of the shoulders, meaning “It’s ok!”

Portugal will still be there waiting for me, but I can’t help feeling a bit regretful.  Autumn is a lovely time to be there.  My walking group will be back in action after the Summer heat.  So many things I miss.

Liquid gold skies on our rooftop

Like the liquid gold skies on our rooftop

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My mind drifts back over times and places I’ve shared with you, and maybe some I haven’t.  Like my favourite island Armona.

Não faz mal!  It really doesn’t matter. Click on a photo to see the gallery.  I’m nostalgic today but who knows what tomorrow might bring?

Evening falls on Fabrica

Fabrica as the evening falls

Grateful thanks to Julie Dawn Fox for inspiring my Personal A-Z series, and to Frizz, who always welcomes people to his world.  The links will take you there.


J is for João and “javali”

It’s not often that my A-Z’s run parallel but, in trying to “patch the gaps” in the alphabet, I find that I’ve arrived at the letter J on both my Polish and my Portuguese challenges.  Well, “J is for Jo”, so, let’s try not to disappoint.

Javali means “wild boar” in English.

Wild boarNot always the most adventurous of eaters, I’m happy to say that I can quite happily trough away at wild boar.  It is delicious!  I first experienced it at the end of a morning’s walking with my group in the Algarve.  The reward for our walks is usually a restaurant, known to one of the group as being very good value. (us Brits like a bargain!)  The “wild boar” restaurant was the occasion of a 60th birthday so it was a bit special.  The meat arrived in huge pans and had obviously been slow cooked for hours.

The occasion ended in rather a traumatic fashion, as the partner of the lady who was 60 keeled over and an ambulance had to be summoned!  He suffers from low blood pressure.  The medics stepped in and would you believe it, another member of the party collapsed with heatstroke!  Both were fixed up, and nobody blamed the wild boar.  If by any chance you’re reading this, Jeff and Anne, very best wishes to you both.

João is the Portuguese form of the name John.  According to Wikipedia the diminutive is Joãozinho, but I’ve never heard it used.  I understood diminutives to be short forms, but it doesn’t surprise me that in Portuguese, it’s longer.  The feminine form, however, is Joana, and that’s me!

And now for the history lesson.  There have been six ruling King João’s in Portugal. To see them in context, click on the Wikipedia link.

The wedding of King João 1, February 11th, 1387- from Wikipedia

The wedding of King João 1, February 11th, 1387- from Wikipedia

João 1 was King of Portugal and the Algarves from 1385 to 1433.  He came to the throne after a 2 year period of political anarchy, when Castile was laying claim to much of Portugal.  The overthrow of Castile and their French allies was accomplished with the aid of English troops.  When João married Philippa of Lancaster, daughter of John of Gaunt, in 1387, an Anglo-Portuguese alliance was secured which exists to this day.

Dom João I, Lisbon

Dom João I statue, in Lisbon 

João II (reigned 1481-1495) was known as the Perfect Prince.  His chief priority was continuing the exploration of the African coast, hoping to discover a maritime route to India and the spice trade.

João III (reigned 1521-1557) has been referred to as the Grocer King.  He extended Portuguese possessions in Asia and the New World, securing the spice trade in cloves and nutmeg.  Brazil was colonised and the Portuguese became the first Europeans to establish contact with China (under the Ming dynasty) and Japan.

João IV (reigned 1640-1656)  The Portuguese Empire reached its zenith, totalling 12,000,000 km by his death.  He was a patron of music and the arts, amassing one of the largest libraries in the world.  Sadly it was destroyed in the Lisbon earthquake of 1755.

Dom João IV at Vila Vicosa

Dom João IV at Vila Vicosa, where he was born

João V (reigned 1707-1750) was nicknamed “The Magnanimous”.  He ruled at a time of enormous wealth for Portugal, with gold and diamonds from Brazilian mines filling the coffers.  Money was no object, and the Royal Palace at Mafra was built as a rival to Versailles.

João VI (reigned 1816-1826) had something of a turbulent time.  His kingdom included sovreignty of Brazil until independence was declared in 1825, and he had to flee there when Napoleon’s troops invaded Portugal.  He stayed in Brazil for 13 years, establishing a court and growing to love the place.  The loss of Brazil had an enormous effect on the Portuguese economy, and João was constantly embattled and plotted against on his return home.  His eventual death was believed to be as a result of poisoning.

Phew!  I hope you are not too exhausted by my tale of six Johns.  I’m linking this post to Julie Dawn Fox’s A-Z Personal Challenge and to Frizz’s A-Z.  You can follow their challenges through the links.  Many thanks for staying with me.


Thank you, Paula

"Sunshine on the water makes me happy"

“Sunshine on the water makes me happy”

A litttle while ago, Frizztext, whom I’m sure most of you will know and admire, placed this video in my Comments box and gladdened my heart.  It’s John Denver singing “Sunshine on my shoulders”, a song that always brings a lump to my throat.

Beautiful, isn’t it?  I thought I might follow it up with a few shots that always make me smile.

A lazy day when the umbrella was needed to keep the sun at bay

A lazy Tavira day when the umbrella was needed to keep the sun at bay

I love the angle of this boat on the water

A little boat to sail away on.

This hibiscus is planted outside our house and welcomes us back each trip.

This hibiscus is planted outside our house and welcomes us back each trip.

Everything that makes me smile about the island of Armona

Everything makes me smile about the island of Armona.

The storks in Faro old town

The storks in Faro old town

Endearing scenes from the Folk Festival

Those tents by the river always mean something good's happening.

Those tents by the river always mean something good is happening.

My rooftop, too!

From earliest morning, I love each of my days.

Not possible to leave out that bridge, is it?

Impossible to leave out my bridge, isn’t it? Like this angle?

Irresistibly drawn back to that beach.

But I’m irresistibly drawn back to that beach.

Flowers, ever present, in every season.

Flowers, ever present, in every season.

Paula, who is always Lost in Translation, asked what inspires you.  This is my offering, with thanks to Paula and the inimitable Frizz.


Weekly Photo Challenge : Carefree

Flying high in the Algarve.

Flying high in the Algarve.

I struggled a bit to find carefree this week.  It’s not always gifted to us, is it?  But if there’s anywhere I can find it, you might know it would be in my beloved Algarve.  Click on the gallery below and maybe lighten your spirits.

I’m feeling better already.  Have you entered the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge yet?  Hoping this finds you in a carefree frame of mind.

Six word Saturday


Challenges and Awards- part of blogging?

When you started blogging, did you have any idea what you were getting into?  I know I didn’t.  I simply wanted a vehicle to communicate my delight in the world, and if I’m honest, an audience.  I hadn’t at all realised that there were hoops to jump through, or how addictive these would be.

But it wasn’t too long before I happened upon my first challenge- Six word Saturday.  Though I have soundly abused it, I liked the notion, and when I started out, I really intended exactly that- just six words, with a few photographs, so you wouldn’t get bored.  Since then we’ve wandered the globe together, and taken a lot of words with us.

Remember the fountains in the Rynek in Wroclaw?

Remember the fountains in Wroclaw’s Rynek?  Click on the photo to see the post

Six word Saturday brought me a lot of new friends, and introduced me to a fascinating world beyond that of my travel addiction.  Writers, poets, photographers, cooks, craftmakers of kinds I didn’t even know existed- they’re all out there.  I discovered any number of A-Z Challenges, and used one of them to pin both my Portuguese and Polish sagas to.

When I found Jakesprinter’s Sunday Post, I was astounded at what he could do with graphics.  More than that, Jake gave me a peg to hang my photos and stories on.   And my addiction to photography and challenges began.

A Turkish gulet gliding across the bay

A Turkish gulet at sunset- again, the photo will take you to the post

I became aware of more and more Challenges out there, many of them photographic, and the quality of some of the photographs is staggering.  Off I went in hot pursuit, until my week was overflowing. Here are just a few I’ve taken part in.  Click on the photo to see the post.

Porta da Vila, Obidos

Porta da Vila, Obidos- from Thursday: Lingering look at windows

The boardwalk in Cabanas- from CBBH Photo Challenge

The boardwalk in Cabanas- from CBBH Photo Challenge

Flowerhead in the rain

Flowerhead in the rain- from Sonel’s Black and White photo challenge : Abstract

I've rarely seen a more extravagant door knocker

A door knocker in Silves- from Cee’s Fun Foto challenge

Old gold plays on Medieval architecture

Medieval architecture in Wroclaw- Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge : Colours

I have loved every second of compiling my posts, but occasionally I tire of being led around by the nose.  Rebellion strikes and I think “no, I don’t want to write about ‘rhubarb’ this week”.  I want to follow my own muse. (if you can call the unlucky lady that)  And so I do.

But I owe a debt of gratitude to the people who launch and host these challenges.  They provide huge inspiration as well as introductions to other blogs, and require a major commitment of time and effort.  So a big thank you to all those whose challenges I have participated in.

You’re wondering where Awards come into this, aren’t you?  Many times I have used Six word Saturday to introduce and appreciate new awards, and this week is no exception.  I have an Awards page and kind people out there keep bestowing them, but it just isn’t possible to keep up and still do all the things you want to do.  So I’ll simply say many thanks to Opalla for giving me Inner Peace, and to Colline, for a Super Sweet Blogger Award.  There’s a link to each of their great blogs in the logos below.


I guess I’ve exhausted my six words for this week, don’t you think?  You’d better follow the link to Cate at Show My Face to see exactly how the game should be played.  Many thanks for your patience.  Feel free to tell me about your favourite challenges and awards.

Thursday: Lingering look at windows, week 29

Canvas portraits of windows in Casa das Portas

Canvas portraits of windows in Casa das Portas.

I’m focusing on a very particular group of windows this week.  Don’t be fooled by the dilapidated appearance of the wall above.  It’s part of a real and well deserved success story in Tavira, in the Eastern Algarve.  The shop, Casa das Portas (House of Doors), features the work of local artist Jane Gibbin.  Like myself, Jane fell in love with Tavira, spending hours photographing the local doors and windows.

The photos always seem to create a talking point.  As you’ve probably seen from some of my posts, Tavira has a delightfully down at heel look and is a great subject to work with.  Ten years ago, looking for something distinctive, but not too expensive, for the bare walls in our Tavira home, I was much taken with Jane’s doors and windows.  Poster form was the cheapest, so we selected three, had them framed, and today they have pride of place in our living room.

You can barely just see two of the framed posters here

You can barely just see two of the framed posters here

Jane started out with a market stall selling her photographs then, as interest grew, progressed to a shop in the warren of back streets.  As well as the photographs and posters there’s an eclectic mix of objects for the home, and pretty jewellery pieces.  I often stick my nose in and the assistant is unfailingly polite, even though I seldom buy.

In July 2011 success was confirmed when Jane opened a second shop, right beside Ponte Romana; a prime target for tourists.  The ideas continue to flow and at my last visit there were some lovely small canvases with paintings of the doors.  I was very tempted, as was Cathy who was staying with me at the time.  Her luggage was already overflowing, so she dived into a colourful heap of scarves instead.

My photos aren’t the best as I had one or two distractions that night (yes, Cathy!), but I’ve wanted to tell the story of the shops for a while.  For a clearer idea of them you might visit the Casa das Portas Facebook page.

I hope Dawn doesn’t mind a slightly different style of lingering at my windows (and doors) this week.  Please visit her at Lingering Visions to see the other entries, and maybe add one of your own.

Six word Saturday


Holiday over and back to “normal”.

"Sunshine on trhe water makes me happy" - John Denver

“Sunshine on the water makes me happy” – John Denver

Except it isn’t really normal at all!  I can’t remember the last time we had a whole July’s worth of sunshine.  No complaints, then.

I love that little stretch of water from Cabanas to the Ilha.

I love that little stretch of water from Cabanas to the Ilha.

But I can’t seem to shake the Algarve completely out of my head.  Maybe if I post another photo or two?

The good life?

The good life?  I think so.

The Carmo Church was having its yearly celebration

The Carmo Church was having its yearly celebration

By evening time it was spectacularly lit

By evening time it was spectacularly lit

And then there was the procession

And then there was the procession of Nossa Senhora

And a moonlight wander afterwards.

And a moonlight wander homewards.

That’s me done dreaming for this week.  Feet firmly back on the ground tomorrow?  Meantime I need to thank Cate at Show My Face for her unending patience in hosting this challenge.  The link or the header will take you there.

How was your week?  Put it in six words and join in?  The button below takes you to all my previous Six word saturdays. (yes, all of them!)


Thursday : Lingering look at windows, week 28

The Camara or Council Offices in Tavira. I love the fountains.

The Camara or Council Offices in Tavira. I love these fountains at night.

Well, where else would it be this week?  The Algarve, of course.  In Tavira alone I gazed at lots of windows.  Linger with me?

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I collected a few more on my wanderings last trip.  Here are just a couple.  I’ll save some for a rainy day (hush, don’t mention that word!)

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I’m lowering the lights with Tavira, and off to check out Dawn’s and the other entries for this week’s Lingering look at Windows.  See you there?

Romantic by evening

Romantic by evening

The Golden Hour

The Military Bridge, Tavira

The Military Bridge, Tavira

Seen from the quayside

Seen from the quayside

And I guess you all know this one?  Ponte Romana.

And I guess you all know this one? Ponte Romana.

But this is my favourite. The umbrellas look like ghosts.

But this is my favourite. The umbrellas look like ghosts.

I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist being drawn into this week’s photo challenge.  As soon as I saw the theme I was back on that riverbank in my head.  Hope you like the results.

Who wouldn’t want to take photos at this delectable time of day?  Check out the numerous wonderful entries at The Golden Hour.