Don’t you just love the light through those clouds? I was high above Sáo Bartholomeu de Messines, looking down on this small Algarve town. Once again I had the opportunity to go hiking on the Via Algarviana with Grupo Coral Ossonoba. You might remember the wonderful day we had together, ending with a concert in the church at Alte? This time the performance was to take place in a local cinema, but first we needed to walk and earn our substantial lunch.
We started with a stiff uphill ascent, surrounded by cork trees, over slabs of rock worn smooth with age. It was good to get the climb out of the way. Already the first of the narcissi were in delicate bloom.
Back down into the valley, we skirted the edge of town and followed a dusty trail, for a short while bordering the railway lines. It was something of a surprise to turn a corner and be confronted with stepping stones, surrounded by water. I admit, I am far more adept at dry river beds.
This was not the last of the hazards, for the river ran beneath the railway lines and a sign pointed confidently towards the water. No boat in sight, we had to scramble up the side of the embankment and cautiously cross the tracks to slither back down the far side. Where there’s a will, there’s a way? The trail led gently uphill, and we followed, wondering if it might be time to pause for refreshments. And we did, in the perfect spot!
A picture of neglect, but what a picturesque place for a picnic… the ruins of Santa Ana church, on the site of a former battleground. The poignancy of the pulpit and the faded altar, a compelling setting for a brief photo shoot.
From a height you could see the fullness of the river. The trail wound gently down to meet it, sunlight brightening our path with each step. The ruined church almost seemed to be restored by distance.
And then we reached my idea of the perfect day, walking by the river, wisps of cloud and purest blue reflected in the water.
Another poetic ruin observed us, silently, and we left the river behind, trading it for two starkly contrasting pools.
The deep ochre of the soil here always comes as a surprise, no matter how often I see it. And then we’re headed through meadows lightly dusted with lemon flowers and youthful olive trees, towards the town. A church looks down from the hilltop, and another beauty adorns the centre.
Ossonoba need to eat and get ready for the concert. Having followed them through the town, we are pointed in the direction of Café do Largo da Pontinha, where we are treated to a fine array of food. Platters of meat, cheese and bread, then black pasta with prawns and pork in fig sauce are heaped on the table, with fresh fruit and pastries to finish. No, you don’t want to see! It’s only a small place and they can’t fit you all in. The venue for the concert is an old cinema, just around the corner. Very different from the beautiful church at Alte, but the choir are happy to perform.
Spotlight on the choir! A strange venue, but the same beautiful sound. It’s a long way to walk for some January Light, but worth it. Which leaves me to round off with a bit of street art. I seem to find this in the most unlikely places.
Just another day in the Algarve. I hope you enjoyed sharing it with me?
More walks for you! I’m always glad of a bit of company on Jo’s Monday walk. Join me here any time.
I could hug Margaret this week! Look where she’s taken me!
Or you could slide into the action with Sandra :
It’s rather a gloomy outlook with Drake :
But I think he’d enjoy hanging out with Alice :
Snow in the Grand Canyon is always going to be special. Thanks, Terri :
Janet’s indoors, escaping the weather, but she has some lovely distractions :
I think Colline will tell you that she’s won the jackpot with her Winter holiday :
It’s a little late (or early ) but I do love these Moorish (as in Yorkshire) colours :
And, by coincidence, Cathy is autumnal too!
Many thanks for your lovely presence! Wishing you all a great week ahead.