With it being the weekend, we decided to extend our daily stroll just a little bit beyond the immediate Montes Mourinhos area. Though we live in a very pretty area, it does become slightly tedious walking and running the same routes seven days a week.
On Friday, our permitted exercise took us on a mid-afternoon stroll down the hill to the outskirts of Armação de Pêra, where we were surprised to see just how many people were also out and about. Certainly far more than before lockdown when we often felt like we were the only people who ever travelled on foot in our neighbourhood. If one good thing comes out of the pandemic perhaps it will be the Portuguese embracing walking as a national pastime (as the Spanish have).
Not wishing to return to Armação and with my favourite Salgados temporarily out of bounds, we decided to head west to Porches and walk down the beautiful valley towards Praia do Barranco. For five days over Easter, this route wouldn’t have been possible as it crosses the Silves-Lagoa border which is very close to our home. Thankfully, now Easter is behind us, we are once again permitted to wander a little more freely to take our daily exercise (it goes without saying that everyone observes social distancing).
During our last two walks, I’ve been purposefully photographing items of the same colour. I stole the idea from a former running club friend who’s been posting some amazing colour-themed photographs on her Facebook page. I thought this was a wonderful idea. Keeping one’s eyes peeled for something which fitted the day’s brief necessarily meant slowing down and focusing on present-moment experiences rather than worrying about what the future may or may not hold.
For my first colour-themed outing, I’d chosen pink and purple, reasoning these seemed to be the predominant colours of the flowers right now. The only problem was I couldn’t find anything pink or purple to photograph other than flowers. In desperation, I grabbed a snap of a purple-ish villa (and yes, it looks as gross as it sounds) and Harri’s burgundy tee-shirt (he reckons it is purple).
I mightily enjoyed the experiment so on Friday I decided to repeat it. Yellow was a little more successful in terms finding non-plant objects to photograph; however, Harri was getting a little bit frustrated about how much my new project was slowing us (well me) down.
He couldn’t disguise his impatience when I rushed across the (deserted) road to photograph a doggie waste bin (it was yellow!) or when I spent several minutes capturing some well-spotted yellow and black barriers in Continente’s car park.
Coincidentally, a Facebook group I’ve just joined – Algarve Amateur Photography Group – asked people to post photographs with a yellow subject the other day. This time I chose a picture taken in Sines in September.
Such was Harri’s chagrin about my obsessive colour-coordinated photography that I’d decided NOT to choose a colour for our weekend walk. When I mentioned this to my friend, she suggested I chose orange, simply because it seemed unlikely I would stumble upon too many orange objects when we were out and about. I’m not sure about that! I even spotted two orange jumpers while we were out, both of which were photographed by yours truly.
Joking aside, injecting a photographic theme into your daily stroll is a brilliant idea. When I’ve run out of colours I’m thinking of introducing topics like architecture, walls, cats and dogs (always a good one as there are dogs everywhere here), chimneys, graffiti, gates, mailboxes … the list is endless. And for someone whose mind naturally darts around endlessly – Harri claims I’m the master of the non-sequitur (though hopefully nowhere close to Donald Trump, who has raised illogical ramblings to a whole other level) – I’ve found it helpful to be more in the moment.
One of the highlights of our ‘orange’ walk was bumping into a very nice Irish man who I first encountered when I was out walking on my own in normal times (so a lifetime ago now) and had got a little bit disorientated. After chatting for a while Ray pointed me in the right direction. I’d known Ray’s beautiful house overlooked the valley leading down to Praia do Barranco, but what I hadn’t realised was the well-defined footpath runs across the lower part of his land. He’s perfectly happy for walkers and cyclists to enjoy his land, but told us the Portuguese woman who owns the adjacent property-less land plans to erect a fence to stop all access to the valley. I sincerely hope she doesn’t go ahead with this, not least because I’ve created a Walking World route through the valley.
As we’re unsure of the current status of coastal paths (beaches are off limits), we climbed out of the valley before we reached the beach and walked instead along wide deserted roads past vast empty apartment blocks. Though none were orange, I took lots of photographs so we could one day look back on these strange times when we’re dodging cars to cross the roads.
It’s raining today; however, next time I go out walking, I think I’ll focus on photographing blue things. Given the proximity of the Atlantic Ocean that would once have been a simple and highly enjoyable task. Now I’m not so sure.