So! The dilemma! Our last night, close to the airport for an early start, or a beguiling monastery, not too far away? When we rang the bell pull at dusk, and the narrow grill rolled slowly back, we could have been forgiven for wondering if we’d made the right choice. A small door in the hefty green one was swung creakily back to admit us. Were we spending the night in a cell?
Vila Franca do Campo was full of surprises. On our bed, at Convento de Sáo Francisco, a glossy magazine, open at a feature… are you familiar with Bom Jesus at Braga, on mainland Portugal? The image was something similar, but on a smaller scale. Definitely an expedition for the morning.
On a bright blue day, yet another amiable taxi driver arrived to wind us up, and up, and up the hillside to Senhora da Paz. (and he would collect us at six for the airport, the following morning, still smiling ) Breakfast of island cheeses, boiled eggs, fresh pineapple and wonderful local bread and honey had set us up for the day. Nothing to do but start at the top, and amble slowly, back down the hillside.
The views down upon Vila Franca do Campo, with its offshore islet, were simply beautiful, the subtle stripes of the ocean stretching to infinity. The azulejo panels tell the story of Our Lady of Peace, whose image was discovered nearby, in a simple grotto.
Reluctantly I tore myself away to begin the descent. Mingled with the ever present hydrangeas, starry bursts of delicate agapanthus.
Did you notice the islet, on the horizon? I didn’t manage to get there in the short time we had, but the ferries leaving the marina seemed popular. But I’m jumping ahead of myself. We wound our way down a tree-lined avenue until we were back in the town. The houses had interesting adornments to delay our progress, and one garden was full of ripening bananas. Most noticeable, though, were the coloured hoops across the streets. A festival of some kind was set to happen, connected to the Senhora, I could only surmise.
Eventually the twists and turns brought us to a central square, and thirst led us from there to the marina. A hot and lively place from which to observe the business of boats. Something I’m able to do for hours!
A seawall led out around the marina, protecting it from an ocean mild as milk on this particular day. We stopped to watch some youngsters bringing home their tiny craft, the instructor bellowing at them intimidatingly. I was glad that I was ashore.
So many fascinating jobs to be done. But not everybody loves boats, and it was time to follow the shoreline and head back up to our monastery/hotel. Evidence here that someone loves cars too!
Through a very attractive square, whose church door was temptingly open. And past the prettiest bandstand ever!
I think this may be a good place to leave this walk, though I hear anguished cries of ‘what about the cake?’ You can have too much of a good thing?
I’m still in the UK till late Wednesday. So much has happened since we were in the Azores! I’m in transit to Nottingham tomorrow, and as some of you may realise, I’ve just hit Publish rather than Preview! So you have a Jo’s Monday walk on a Saturday. Whatever next? I hope you’ll excuse me. There will be a brief follow up on Monday.
Meanwhile, Cathy has been trekking, and trekking, on her spiritual journey :
And Sandra has been enjoying the great outdoors :
I always enjoy a step back in time. Thanks, Irene :
Meet Elina from Finland! She has some wonderful sights to show you :
And guess what? Drake’s….
And he has full permission to walk on a day that’s not Monday
While Rupali, after a break, is…
And Ulli takes us on a majestic tour of the Austrian Alps :
Funnily enough, Suzanne, the Travelbunny, just featured a spectacular walk in Austria that I’d love to do :
And Debbie takes us to ever more exotic and interesting places. I can’t keep up!
I’m sure she’d enjoy some of the street art in Cheryl’s walk, too :
Another newcomer to the walks- please give a warm welcome to Nandini :
And in case you’ve forgotten Nadine, something that made me feel very restless :
And I almost missed Margaret, but here she is!
It’s great that you’ve all continued to walk with me. Comments were closed for a while, but I guess I’m back in business now. I’ve loved my family time in the UK but I think it will be good to be home again.