It seems to me that nature has a host of them up her sleeve.  Let’s tumble in, shall we?





Get creative Paula said.  I wasn’t very creative.  I just surrounded myself with a Multitude of flowers.  How will you express “multitude”?

If you’re looking for something Special, just click on the icon below.


Jo’s Monday walk : Loulé Uncovered

Nossa Senhora

Nossa Senhora da Piedade

Perched high on a hill, overlooking the Algarve, Nossa Senhora da Piedade at Loulé is one of those places I’d always meant to visit.  When I finally did, it had a wonderful surprise in store.

A ‘scramble’ of a market town, Loulé dates back at least till Roman times.  We’ll have a wander through the historic centre shortly, but first I want to take you up to the heights with me.

It's a long way up!

Looking down from the Chapel

The original Chapel of our Lady of Mercy (Nossa Senhora da Piedade) was built in 1553, but was partially destroyed in the earthquake of 1755.  Driving along the A22 motorway past Loulé, the modern dome is clearly visible above the town.  I had often wondered how it looked in close up.

The dome

The dome in close up, with alarmingly grey skies

Looking up to the bell tower

Looking up to the bell tower

On Easter Sunday a huge celebration begins here, Festa da Mãe Soberana (the feast of the Sovereign Mother).  A statue of the patron saint is carried from her resting place, in the Sanctuary, down the hill to the Church of San Francisco, on Festa Pequena.(Small Feast)  Two weeks later, on Festa Grande, she is returned to her home on the holy mountain, with full ceremony, prayers and fireworks.  I would love to see the spectacle of the procession.  For now I have to content myself with a look at Mãe Soberana, quietly waiting.

The statue, resting inside the Sanctuary

The statue, resting inside the Sanctuary

From afar the domed building appears to be the entirety of the church, so I was delighted to find the chapel restoration alongside. Known as the ‘House of Candles’, the tiny space is exquisite. Ceiling paintings dating from 1760 had been damaged by smoke from the candle offerings but were restored when the modern building was constructed.  The wall panels depicting the Passion of Christ are from a later date.

Ceiling paintings from 1760

Ceiling paintings from 1760



I love the contrast of old and new.  Time to come back down to earth and begin our stroll.  I would not recommend climbing the steps to Nossa Senhora. Doing so carrying the saint must be quite an ordeal.  Unless it’s Easter, there’s ample parking up there.

Leaving the Sanctuary behind

Leaving the Sanctuary behind

The streets below are made for strolling.  Tile patterns beneath your feet enhance your wander.

The pedestrianised streets of the centre

The pedestrianised streets of the centre

The excellent website  Loulé Uncovered will guide you around Loulé better than I could ever hope to do.  There you will find a map and suggestions of what you can hope to see.  On Saturday mornings the market will be in full swing. At most other times you will still be treated to the splendour of the Arabian style market hall.  Poke your nose inside. The sights and smells will capture your senses.

The main street and the Arabian market

The main street and the Arabian market

Loulé Castle dates from 13th century and still retains its imposing walls and a keep. Artisans practise their crafts in the surrounding streets.  Follow them through to the Largo da Matriz and the main church of Loulé, Igreja de S. Clemente.  The procession will pass by here on Festa Grande.  A small garden, Jardim dos Amuados (Garden of Sulks) nestles behind the church. The view sweeps out across the valley and there on the hill, Nossa Senhora da Piedade.

Click on the gallery and we’ll stroll


I hope that you found Loulé interesting.  I was so glad I finally made it up that hill.  My L is for Loule has a few more details, including some lively Carnival scenes.

Next week my walk will bring me nearer home.  I would love it if you could join me there.

walking logo

How to join in with the walks?  Click on the logo or my Jo’s Monday walk page for the details. Thank you so much to all my contributors.  You brighten up my Mondays.  Let’s get that kettle on and settle back for a good read, shall we?


Sit beside the fire in a cosy armchair with Drake.  Or party at magnificent St. George Hall!  :

Beyond the Frontage

Debbie’s found another intriguing canal in the city(with street art!) :

Vienna’s Arty Canal

I asked Esther for a walking song and this is what I got!  Applaud the lady!

Walk with a Crocodile

Amy has such fun on her Sunday walks.  You have to join her!

The Final Race

Geoff’s been checking up on street art too, including the famous Stik :

Dulwich Street Art 

What can you say about Yvette?  A heart of gold comes to mind :

Florida and B & W Day 3 

Please welcome Becky everybody.  She likes to spend some of her Winter on the Algarve, and enjoys bird watching :

Ludo and Lago de Sao Lourenco

Not so fortunate, Violet Sky joins us again with some seriously depressing weather  :

Expect delays

Japan has a culture all its own, and I’m enjoying learning about it with the Eternal Traveller  :

Do you speak English?

And lastly, a riverside walk beside the Exe, with lovely Gilly (and her dogs)  :

Strolling Route 2

I’m nearly ready to head off out now.  Hope you all have a wonderful week and can make time for a walk or two.

Six word Saturday


Fresh as a buttercup, or daisy?





The Weekly Photo Challenge asks for Fresh images this week.  Or even a little chilly?

I hope it’s warming up nicely wherever you are.  Have a happy week and don’t forget to pop over to Cate at Show My Face to share your six words.


In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Fresh.”

A bench for all seasons

Trainspotting, anyone?

Trainspotting, anyone?

There's one!

There’s one!

Such a blue sky! Yes, it is England.

Blue skies! It’s an English Summer.

Delving deep into my archives, I’ve concluded that I don’t take many photos of benches.

But I do like to get out into the countryside

But I do like to get out into the countryside

Coastal footpaths are great places for a bench or two.

Especially if you have to climb up there

Especially if you have to climb up there

Ahhh, that's better!

Ahhh, that’s better!

In Giverny, at the Monet Garden, I tried to capture a very cute butterfly and her sister.

Got the bench, but not the butterfly!

Got the bench, but the butterfly nearly got away!

It was such a lovely place! Spot the bench?

It was such a lovely place, with just an occasional free bench

Wasn't it Patrick's Day this week?

It’s not every day you find a bench for St Patrick’s!

Spring has been quite unpredictable too this year.  Walking has brought a few surprises.

No sitting on this one!

No sitting on this one!

Or this!

Or this!

I can’t wait for those sunny days to get here so I can begin hunting for benches in earnest.  Have you joined Jude’s Bench Challenge yet?  Come with me!  You don’t want to miss it.

Explore the Elements

I’ve left it ‘oh, so late’ to enter the Explore the Elements competition hosted by Thomas Cook. I was tagged just a couple of days ago by Becky at Hidden Delights of Olhao.  The prizes are so nice, but looking at the entries I already know I stand no chance!  What finally decided me to enter was this shot, which I took yesterday.



I wasn’t thinking about the competition, but was drawn to the water, as I always am, even on a dull day beside the River Tees. Formless.  Emotional.  Magnetic.  Water holds me in its spell.



In complete contrast, this blaze in the dark of a Paris night seemed to me to have all the crackle and energy of fire. Shooting upwards it brought a glow of admiration to my face.



A wind farm off the north east coast of England stirs the air with vigour.  You can climb the Vertical Pier at Redcar to be a little closer to the elements and the swirling motion of the clouds.

Beneath the towering giants


Gravity defying, the red cliffs of the Algarve stubbornly persist, despite the insidious forces of erosion.  The earth here awes and yet is the same substance that binds us all together.

These are my impressions of the elements.  In order to enter the competition I have to nominate 5 bloggers.  At this late stage it is of no benefit to them, but had it been possible I would have loved to see the impressions of Rommel at Sophomore Slump, Debbie at Travel with Intent, Lucile de Godoy, Sylvia at Another Day in Paradise and Sherri Matthews.  Sorry guys- I guess the prizes have gone!




Jo’s Monday walk : Just boats!

A sea of boats at Santa Luzia

A sea of boats, at Santa Luzia

Today’s walk is going to be pure self indulgence, so I apologise in advance if you’re not a lover of boats.  I’ve taken you to the Algarve’s Santa Luzia before, and we’ve loitered in the tiled bliss of the back streets.  One of the walks I did with my Stroller friends this past holiday was in territory very familiar to me.  We started at a cafe (of course) in Santa Luzia, and walked across to Barril (remember the Anchor Graveyard?) on Tavira Island.

I was busy chatting and ‘catching up’ with people, so I forgot to wield the camera until we began to walk back.  We headed through the holiday village Pedras d’el Rei and turned right, down a path I didn’t know, and suddenly I began to take notice.

Walking with the group doesn’t really work well for photographs, especially once they get the bit between their teeth and are headed for lunch.  We emerged on a back lane in Santa Luzia and bundled into the restaurant “Moura”. Plentiful food and wine was consumed, but then I was eager to get back into the sunshine.  I deposited my husband on a bench, gazing at the salt marshes through half closed eyes, and I was off, camera in hand.

Mick's view!

Mick’s view!

Not a bad place to sit, is it?  But I prefer to wander.


I’m content to amble up and down the gangways, admiring the boats from every angle.  Nobody seems to mind, and the few people not lazing after lunch simply nod and smile.  The fishermen are too busy discussing the day’s catch to care, and I am careful to step over the coils of rope.




Are your eyes beginning to glaze over?  I should have warned you that I can look at boats for hours.  I expect Mick’s asleep on his bench by now.  Not too many more and then I’ll head back.



Thank you so much for your patience.  I enjoyed the indulgence.  It was easy to sit in my armchair and turn the clock back.  I hope you didn’t mind ambling in the sunshine.  Or you could join me in the back streets of Santa Luzia?

Can you believe it’s a whole year since I started sharing walks? It all started here.  I’ve led you on a merry dance since then and can only be grateful that so many of you have stayed with me.

walking logo

Thank you again for all the lovely shares this week.  If any of you have a walk you’d like to share, the details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Just click on the logo or the link.  All comers welcome!  And now I really must put that kettle on.  Coffee, anyone?


Now, what have I got for you this week?

Drake first!  Don’t miss his incredibly spooky photo in an abandoned orphanage!

The World in one City 

Debbie’s on a mission to bring us canals.  And she does it in style!

Milan’s Grand Canal

Who would have thought a Tokyo suburb would be so interesting?  In like-minded company, of course.

Calling all Travellers 

Geoff takes us back to his old London haunts and a host of memories :

My Kinda Town 

Join Esther in the clouds.  You know you want to!

Walk in the Clouds

Amy and egrets!  A winning combination if ever I saw one :

Monday walk : A Race

And finally, please welcome Susan.  Beaches are always a hit with me :

Walkin’ Wednesday

It just remains to wish you all a happy week, and I hope it’s full of pleasant walks.

Six word Saturday


 Wake up and smell the hyacinths!






I’ve been playing again.  Can you tell?  It all started when Suzanne wrote a guest post for Thursday’s Special entitled Abstract.  Looking for a subject matter with which to create an abstract or two, I turned to the flowers I’d bought that day.  I have never seen hyacinths used as cut flowers before, but I think they work rather well alongside a purple iris or two.  And when I come downstairs on a morning, I have the wonderful fragrance of Spring.

I do have a tendency to get carried away though.  Remember Lunapic?


It hurts your eyes after a while, but isn’t it clever?  I used to love my kaleidoscope as a child, and what could be more abstract?

I hope you find something that makes you happy this weekend.  Why not share it, in six words, with Cate at Show My Face.  And Happy Mother’s Day to you ladies!


Street life in Olhão


Dario Silva isn’t a name that I knew until recently.  I’ve been seeing his handiwork around Olhão, in the Eastern Algarve, for a number of years, mostly on old and unloved buildings.  A prolific street artist, in 2009 he was forced to stop using spray paint.  The toxic fumes in the paint were damaging his liver.  But you can’t keep a good artist down.  “The street is my addiction”, he said.

In recovery, he turned to painting with a brush and water-based paints.  It’s a much slower medium but it enables him to continue to paint. His work might once have been regarded as vandalism, but now the commissions are coming in and even the local council have embraced him.  Many think that Olhão is a finer place for his intervention.

Vivenda Victoria is his best known work, in the main street of Olhão

Vivenda Victoria is his best known work

It’s virtually impossible to pass through Olhão without seeing Vivenda Victoria, in it’s abandoned state.  It sits on the E125, at the hub of the town’s shopping area.  Other works of art have started to mushroom in the most unlikely places, but you have to seek them out.



I had thought to include the street artworks in a Monday walk, but they straggle around some of the town’s less desirable parts, and that is surely the point.  At times I felt a little intrusive, wandering with my camera through the back streets of Olhão.

I had intended to link this post to Thursday’s Special, which this week is themed ‘Abstract’.  By definition abstract means divorced from reality.  My images are rather a reflection of sad reality, but I would urge you to visit Suzanne’s wonderful post.  It might set you thinking.

Do you have a favourite of these?  Mine is still the boy with sad eyes.

Jo’s Monday walk : Farms of Cacela

  An Algarve windmill

Phew!  Back to colour again!  For a person who hates grey skies, monochrome is very hard work. Fortunately for me, my recent visit to the Algarve had its fair share of blue sky.

We’re leaving the beach behind and heading inland a little way today, to Vila Nova da Cacela.  It’s quite an ordinary sort of place but I was inordinately pleased to be doing this walk.  It was a case of third time lucky, because twice before I’d attempted to find the start point for the walk, unsuccessfully!

Let me explain.  Often my Algarve walks are in the company of a group of walkers.  The meeting point is always a neighbourhood cafe, designated by email.  After all, who starts walking without a good cup of coffee first?  Vila Nova da Cacela is one of those small towns in the Eastern Algarve that you’d have to detour to visit.  The busy (by Algarve standards) E125 runs past it and many times I’ve whistled by without a care.  Except, of course, when trying to find the designated cafe.

The town is not big, but just big enough that you might have doubts.  The first time I and my husband tried to join the walk, ‘opposite the mercado’ seemed like clear instructions.  But there was no sign of the walkers that day.  I believe we gave up and went to the beach!  The second time was a different cafe, and once again, with time in hand, we combed the streets of Vila Nova but could not find the walkers.  It felt like some kind of conspiracy!  We set off to explore the neighbourhood, sure that we’d bump into them round some corner, but it was not to be.

When we arrived on the third occasion (nobody can call us ‘quitters’) we were dumbfounded to find a traffic diversion bang smack in the centre of town.  The directions we were carefully following were no longer valid, and worse, behind us were 2 cars containing walkers we recognised , following us with the conviction that we knew where we were going!  Well, all’s well that ends well and we had at least found some walkers and, eventually, the cafe.  I bet you need another cup of coffee before we set off, don’t you?  I know I do!


As we left the town, the fields were a-tumble with yellow flowers, and an old well sat placidly looking on.  A left turn brought us onto a track and soon we were approaching a lofty windmill, it’s sails still intact- quite rare these days.


The view from the top of the steps

The view from the top of the steps

Wild flowers growing carelessly by

Wild flowers growing carelessly by

The windmill up close

The windmill up close

The walk is nothing special.  Just a meander around the country lanes surrounding Vila Nova da Cacela.  Even Wikipedia has next to nothing to say about the town.  Still, it’s a pleasant place to be on a sunny February day, with the blossom tickling the trees.

A gentle tickle of blossom

A gentle flourish of blossom

I was sad to learn, from one of the walkers, that almond production is no longer profitable in the Algarve.  Few new almond trees are being planted and the nuts are now widely imported.  This in a country where sweet almond treats appear in the tiniest and humblest of cafes and on market stalls everywhere.  I find it hard to understand.

Another 'find' in the hedgerows

Another ‘find’ in the hedgerows

We pass a few houses and a cafe or two, then we’re heading back into town.  Little separates town from country, a flock of nosy sheep reminding us of that.

It's goodbye to the orange trees

It’s goodbye to the orange trees

And hello to an inquisitive sheep

And hello to an inquisitive sheep

We’re heading back to ‘Cacela Mar’, our meeting place this morning.  Tables are set out on the grass and for just 11 euros we enjoy a 3 course meal with wine.  Our attention is caught by the glimmer of fungi in the grass. The waiter is quick to assure us that they’re not edible.

A gold-topped fungi

A gold-topped fungi

But I expect you'd rather have cake!

But I expect you’d rather have cake!

The walk took a couple of hours at a steady pace (and with a coffee stop thrown in).  It wasn’t at all taxing but I felt a huge sense of achievement afterwards.  I’d finally walked the ‘Farms of Cacela’!  Triumph!  I hope you enjoyed it too.

walking logo

Next, it’s time to thank everybody for their kind contributions and to share this week’s walks.  If you’d like to join in, the details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page, or you can just click on the logo above.  More coffee, before we start?


Jesh is first this week, with what sounds like my ideal wander.  Come and join us!

Tea Garden San Francisco

While Debbie has me California dreaming…

Walking the Grand Canal, California style

When you’re alone and life is making you lonely you can always go… to Esther!

Walk Downtown

Here’s Amy, talking to ducks again (smile)


Drake is hoping they’ll soon be singing ‘We are the Champions’ :

Never walk alone!

Somebody else who doesn’t like to walk alone!  Thanks, Geoff :

You’ll never walk alone, part 3 

Gilly doesn’t mind a bit of solitude, especially if the surrounds are beautiful :

A Warren Walk

But if you visit Minou, you could indulge in some clog dancing!

Marken- a world away in 40 minutes

Finally, Jill sets the scene for a serene and mystical experience :

Tak Bat in Luang Prabang

Superb, weren’t they?  You can have a fine walk and never leave your armchair.  Many thanks for joining me.  I wish you a happy week, and some good walking.


Black and White 5 day Challenge- Day 5

Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia, in black and white

Here I am at Day 5 of the Black and White 5 day Challenge and it’s the ‘big reveal’, though I gave the game away yesterday with my Day 4 photo.  You knew all along it was Barcelona, didn’t you?

And now, with the help of a little WordPress magic, you can see both colour and black and white versions of my photographs.  Which would you choose?  Colour, or black and white?

Day 1

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Day 2

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Day 3

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Day 4

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In spite of myself I did enjoy the challenge, and have to thank Pommepal and Wilbur’s Travels for nominating me. They would love a visit from you.

There are only two rules for this challenge:

1. On 5 consecutive days, create a post using either a past or recent photo in B&W.
2. Each day invite another blog friend to join in the fun.

My last nomination is Elaine at I used to be Indecisive.  We meet every week on Six word Saturday and share our love of Snoopy.  I have a great collection of Charlie Brown cartoons which I’ve acquired from her blog. (thanks, Elaine!)  I look forward to seeing her take on the challenge.

I’m going to finish with Sagrada Familia, in colour, of course.

Too glorious for words, isn't it?

Too glorious for words, isn’t it?

Hopefully see you tomorrow.  Don’t forget to bring your walking shoes.