Wednesday Wander – Praia da Falesia, Portugal

So, where have I wandered to today? You might be forgiven for thinking these are the red sands of outback Australia or the Arizona desert, or even some sort of Martian landscape. In fact, I’m only a couple of hours (by plane) from home this week – this is Praia Da Falesia on the Algarve, Portugal.

Praia Da Falesia is one of the longest beaches in Portugal, stretching over six kilometres from Vilamoura in the west to Olhos de Agua in the east. Falesia means ‘cliff’ in Portuguese, and these wind and water sculpted shapes are a dramatic backdrop to blue water and sunbathing.

The Algarve has been attracting travellers for millennia, with Roman and Moorish ruins along the coast testament to the civilisations who came and went. It’s the southernmost region of continental Portugal and the name Algarve comes from the Arabic Gharb Al-Andalus, which denotes its position west of the Iberian Peninsula.

The sands really are those magnificent shades of orange, ranging from almost cream to dark umber, brilliant against the blue sky. The photos almost don’t do the colours justice – it was breathtaking to see for the first time. We spent several days on the beach collecting shells, swimming and relaxing, our hotel just a short walk away. Portugal was a place of orange blossom and warmth, delicious seafood and friendly people, and history stretching back for thousands of years. I loved it, and look forward to going back for another visit one day.

Thanks for coming on another Wednesday Wander with me – see you next time!

If you enjoyed this post and want to read more, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJFacebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon. Visit my Amazon Author Page to see more.



Thursday Doors – Faded Glory

img_0405These two attractive green doors are in the town of Silves, Portugal.

I use the word ‘attractive’ because I love the tiles, the cobbles, the ornate metal balconies and the old doors with curved frames, traditional style hearkening back to when the building was originally constructed.

However, I don’t love the unsightly (and dangerous-looking) tangle of wires, the clunky air conditioning unit and the metal post plonked into the old cobbles. Don’t get me wrong – there is much to love about modern design and the convenience it brings. However, in this instance, all these ‘conveniences’ have done is to detract from what was a rather nice building facade.

Sometimes I think that, as a species, we are so keen to ‘modernise’ that we overlook that which is already in place. Only once the damage is done, the old things lost, do we realise.

This was my response to the Thursday Doors Challenge, courtesy of Norm 2.0. For more doors, or to add one of your own, head over to Norm’s site and click the link.

If you enjoyed this post and want to read more, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJ,  Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon.


Thursday Doors – Silves, Portugal

img_0370This lovely little door is set into a wall on an ancient street, directly across from a twelfth century cathedral that may have even earlier origins, in the town of Silves, Portugal.

The street is sloping, as you can see from the line of the cobbles, and there is a view across red-tiled roofs to green hills beyond, the scent of blossom in the air. This little door has a history and age to it, but its story remains a secret for now. I wonder who holds the key?

This is my entry for the Thursday Doors Challenge, courtesy of Norm 2.0. For more doors, or to add one of your own, visit Norm’s site and click the link.

Thursday Doors, Silves Cathedral, Portugal

IMG_0371This is the main entrance to Silves Cathedral, Silves, Portugal. Originally built as a mosque during the period of Moorish rule, it was converted to a cathedral after Reconquista, with further architectural work completed over several centuries. This doorway was constructed in 1470, and is in a traditional Romanesque style. The doors themselves look rather like bars of chocolate, I think!

The Cathedral is located at one of the highest points in Silves, just below the Castle, and the road slopes quite dramatically out front, hence the slightly odd angle of the shot. It is a beautiful building, and I imagine, could the walls speak, it would have quite a story to tell.

This is my entry to Norm 2.0’s Thursday Doors Challenge. For more doors, or to add one of your own, visit Norm’s site and click the links.

Thursday Doors – Silves, Portugal

IMG_0376This week’s door photograph was taken in the town of Silves, Portugal. Carved wood and curved metalwork make this quite an ornate door, yet the flyers casually shoved underneath add a prosaic touch, as do the jumble of wires overhead.

Located in the south of Portugal, Silves was a Caliphate from the 8th to 13th century,  and one of the most important cities in the region. Now it is still a prosperous town, with shops, cafes, and one of the best preserved Moorish castles in the country. Winding streets slope towards a curving river – you can see the slope of the street in the door photo, cobbles descending while the doorstep is set straight into the wall.



One of the cobbled streets, flaking paint and soft colours adding to the texture of this ancient town.

IMG_0383A view from the 8th century city wall, looking over the rooftops.

This is my entry for this week’s Thursday Doors, courtesy of Norm 2.0. Head on over to his blog and see more doors, or add one of your own!

Wednesday Wander – Silves Castle, Silves, Portugal

Today has been icy cold, a real change from the springtime promise of earlier this week. So, as a little escape from the cold and grey, my Wednesday Wander this week is to Silves Castle, one of the best-preserved Moorish castles in Portugal.


The castle was constructed between the 8th and 13th century, when Silves was a Caliphate under Moorish rule, and one of the most important cities in the area. When the Moors were finally overthrown, it was by a fleet coming up the winding river from the sea – when you look out from the high battlements across the town, it’s easy to imagine how it would have been, seeing the boats coming closer and closer…


The castle has been restored and excavated, with the remains of bathhouses and rooms now exposed. The pinkish domed shape under the tree at the rear is the roof of the giant water cistern – you can go down inside it, as it’s empty now, but it was used to supply water to the town until as recently as 1920. Apparently people used to swim in it when it was full, which I think would be quite an eerie experience as it is several stories deep with stone pillars throughout. The domed roof echoes as you walk down the stairs, pale light bouncing off the painted interior from windows set high above.


As you can see, walking the battlements is a bit of a challenge if you’re not a fan of heights (and I’m not). There are guiderails only at the highest points, and the fall from the other side is quite steep. Still, I managed to capture this shot hanging over the side, showing the remains what was once an aqueduct.


The town of Silves is a lovely place to visit, with nice cafes, shopping and an interesting museum, where you can walk down inside an 8th century well as well as along the top of the ancient city walls. Herons were nesting on many of the rooftops, and we stood for quite a while watching them come and go, riding the air currents and tending to their young.


And that’s my Wednesday Wander for this week, a small slice of summer on a cold February day. Thanks for joining me 🙂