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 Walk Across Europe

2003-04-25 - Trip 1 - Leg 10

Portugal, Algarve West

Boliqueime to Loule

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10.6 km today.
142 km this trip.
142 km from start.
25 metres minimum height.
98 metres maximum height.
100 metres ascent.
92 metres descent.
 Track Log: Reconstruction.
 Travel: Taxi out. Train home..

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Country lanes.

We took a taxi to Boliqueime as it was a national holiday, 25th April commemorating the revolution and there were fewer trains than usual. We could have set off earlier but as Mini had been unwell the previous day we wanted to see how she was before setting off. We asked to be dropped at the roundabout where we turned off to go to the station. This way we didn't need to retrace our steps. We then took the main road to Loulé, and took the first right using the convenient press-button traffic light to get across the road. Portugal is much more pedestrian friendly than most countries.

Along this track, there were gypsy families living in tents or make-shift houses. We also passed a dog asleep in the middle of the road who failed to stir as we passed him. We crossed over some crossroads (15 minutes) and stayed on our track enjoying the view of the sea to the right. Then at two T junctions close together, we turned right and then left. Soon afterwards, we turned right near two big carobs (20 minutes).

Each time we passed a house, we could hear the same television or radio programme. Was this an address to the nation or some other traditional celebratory event? We carried on headed south now through orchards and wild areas. Unusually, we haven't heard a cuckoo or seen any bee-eaters. Are birds reducing in numbers here too? We continued along here ignoring two left turns and turning left at another T junction (35 minutes). We reached a village and here, at a T junction, we turned right and then took the first left and turned left again before the railway track.

We now had the extraordinary view of a telephone mast thinly disguised as a Norfolk Island tree. We called it a palma telefonica. We enjoyed walking on the cobbled pavements. These are much kinder on the feet than concrete or tiles if you are going any distance. By 11.30 the programme seemed to be over. We came to a crossroads, and turned right to head uphill (straight ahead here was signed to Restaurante O Museo)(55 minutes). We carried on through meadows interspersed by little hamlets and villages, often having no idea what they were called as they didn't feature on our maps and had no signs up. We see some quarries on our left. We then came to a T junction. where we turned right and then immediately left towards Casa do Monte (1 hour 10 minutes).

On our left is a machine which looks like a coal mine wheel but which has to be a water pump. On our right is an iris garden which is quite stunning plus one pink iris. Is this new to science? We pass Casa do Monte on our right and go through the village. One of the houses has Estebeira on it so, unusually, we know where we are. We are also delighted because we have found a way through which was not indicated on the map. Our delight was short-lived, however, as the track soon came to an end (1 hour 25 minutes). We headed down a goat path on the left following a wall. There were bee hives on the hillside. We could hear the train passing in the distance. It was the one we called Donkyula because its hooter had degenerated into a bray. We realised then that yesterday's train was not Donkyula because this was the real thing. Our goat path paid off and emerged at a T junction with a wider track where we turned right (1 hour 40 minutes).

It was idyllic in here. We soon came to a cross-roads where we turned left and then bore right, not going over the bridge. We had lunch here in a meadow with a stream, agaves, almonds, carobs, olives and figs. What could be better? After lunch, we carried on to a T junction where we turned right towards the railway line. Then at a cross-roads, we turned left to walk along next to the track (1 hour 55 minutes). . Here we saw a big gecko but he was too lively for us to get a photo of him. We came to a right turn (2 hours 5 minutes) which we tried but it was a dead end so we carried on straight ahead uphill to a cross-roads where we were able to turn right and go back downhill to Vale Judeo station (2 hours 15 minutes).

We continued parallel with the railway line again. At this point there was a track on each side of it. As our track began to swing away, we crossed the line and turned left along the other side (2 hours 20 minutes). There were swallows here. On the left was a pump similar to the one we had seen earlier but much closer so we could see the little buckets which lifted the water. At a staggered cross-roads, we turned right and then left still following the railway line. The driver of a passing train hoots to greet us as he passes. We pass a small hill on our left and can see a larger one ahead which is close to Loulé. We saw a rabbit in an orchard on our left, a slide and splash on our right and hang gliders above who were taking off from the Loulé hill. These must be fairly unusual as a lady in a village pointed them out to us (3 hours). The main track swings right but carried on along the railway, then we crossed the line and headed for some buildings ahead of us. We soon got to a road and here we turned right. There were two brown dogs ahead of us running ever so fast to Istanbul. They will get there first. We got to a four way junction where we turned right and soon arrived at Loulé station (3 hours 25 minutes).