Newsletter June 2005

  by: Nigel Anteney Hoare

The proverbial April showers never came and the beginning of May remained hot and dry. The second week saw a change however with clouds from the west bringing the promise of rain. Sure enough during the second week various parts of the Algarve saw some decent downfalls. Carvoeiro itself had little though which was probably not a bad thing as otherwise the drainage works would have been affected and the whole place generally turned into a mud bath.

At the beginning of the month we had a two day visit by a work colleague from Gibraltar. We frequently get people over from Gibraltar/Spain and they always seem to enjoy coming to Portugal and to Carvoeiro in particular. The drive from Gibraltar is now almost all via motorway and can be done in about four and a half hours so it is no big deal really.

His visit gave us the opportunity to entertain and we met early on the Tuesday evening in HEMINGWAYS to have a drink, meet some friends and watch the Chelsea v Liverpool Champions League semi final on the television. We expected a full house but surprisingly it was fairly quiet. To be sure of getting dinner after the match we had booked at ELE E ELLA and managed to get in there right after the game for “last orders”. Very good food as usual and not that big a bill when you consider the quality.

During the second week we had some friends over from the Isle of Man staying with us and whilst they were not impressed with the change in weather, they generally had a good time. This gave us another excuse/opportunity to get out a bit and we sampled the food in Julios, China Town and Primavera. We even got our “passports” out and visited O Teodosio in Guia for chicken piri piri! Packed as usual and still good tasty chicken although the chickens are so small it is no use ordering one portion per person unless you have the appetite of a gnat! PRIMAVERA continues to lead the way in terms of presentation and quality I feel.

We also paid a few visits to the HAVANA BAR. This seems to have a new lease of life and has built up a clientele of a few regular locals. It is nice to see the young couple running it making a go of it.

Following our dinner in Julios we hit the town to have a last one in HEMINGWAYS but were promptly redirected to THE JAILHOUSE where MURRAY and HAZEL of Hemingways and some others had gone to see a prize giving for a local football team. Good atmosphere on arrival with a large crowd being entertained with the live music. A great time but too much to drink led to a fuzzy head the next day!

Monday 16th started off very cloudy with a short downpour of rain in the early morning which cleared rapidly to make another fine day.

The PLUS supermarket I mentioned in the last Newsletter was steadily nearing completion and the old Lagoa Bombeiros had been totally flattened and taken away to leave a clear site for the construction of the INTERMARCHE owned supermarket “NETTO”. There will soon be as many supermarkets as bars and restaurants!

The drainage work was causing some confusion as, although the workmen were doing their best to keep roads open, it inevitably meant temporary closure of some and it was becoming difficult to find a route from Carvoeiro to the Sesmarias area without encountering a road block!

Saturday we decided to head a little down the coast to the beach at EVARISTA. This is past the Armaçao and Galé beaches and reached by continuing down the coast road from Galé. It is a slightly “trendy” beach where you tend to find well-heeled young Portuguese people sunning themselves. Plenty of Louis Vuitton and Gucci on display (real or false I don’t know!) and quality cars in the car park. The beach bar is really a full blown smart restaurant but they also do good snacks from a separate bar area. If you are fortunate enough in summer to pass along the coast in your million euro boat and moor up they will send a small boat out to you to bring you ashore for lunch. Very civilized!! Late afternoon the brisk wind coming off the sea drove us away. It seems that the wind often springs up in the afternoon and the sea also roughens up - the morning is often the better time for sunbathing on our coast.

The weather seemed to have settled now and had a real summer feel to it. I became aware that we were almost half way through the year and wondered what had happened to the first half. I guess I can read the back number Newsletters to remind myself!

On Thursday 19th I had to go up to Lisbon to see a colleague. Such an easy trip now. Lisbon was HOT with that city stickiness you always seem to get. Nice though with a very pleasant business lunch at BICA DO SAPATO right by the Tagus river. Returning to the Algarve the car temperature gauge showed 32º in the Alentejo with the heat shimmering on the flat golden landscape. Having seen enough motorway for one day I decided to peel off through Messines and as I approached Silves I could hear the wailing of the Bombeiros siren calling the volunteers in to deal with an emergency. Scanning the sky I could already see smoke coming from behind Silves from one of the first forest fires of the summer.

Trying to get some sun before a trip to the UK at the end of the month it was off to the beach again on Saturday. This time to Praia Grande just beyond Armação. Let me say now that I have nothing against Carvoeiros beautiful beaches but it is good to have a change now and then! Anyway it was a glorious day and arriving at about midday there was not a soul to be seen on the beach. Carlos, owner of the fine beach bar there was sitting with his chin on his hand looking a bit disconsolate or perhaps just contemplating the start of another busy summer session. By late afternoon another large fire could clearly be seen, this time some where along the Silves/Monchique road with helicopters hovering over head. This looked to be a big one with the smoke heading south west and blotting out the sun. It doesn’t look good for the summer does it?

It was that time for the F1 Power boat racing in Portimão again. We decided not to go this year but I understand it was quite an exciting race with several changes in the leadership - the usual Italian world champion triumphing again.

In Lagoa the week long “gastronomic” festival had opened and this tied in with an equestrian 3 day event held on the flat land where the gipsy Sunday markets take place. Thursday 26th was a Bank Holiday – Corpus Christi and dropping my dog off at Jan Coghlans kennels at O CARAVANSERAI at Vale d’el Rei, she told me she was getting ready to take part in a dressage event that day, riders coming from near and far to compete. This horse show gets bigger every year with various displays and demonstrations as well as the trials and is well worth a look if you are around at that time. As soon as it is over the council will start preparing for the huge Fatacil show held on the same grounds.

At this time the PLUS supermarket in Lagoa opened with “amazing” bargains advertised, huge crowds, cars everywhere trying to get into their car park and general chaos and confusion. A new roundabout had sprung up at the fork junction where the roads go to either Carvoeiro or Sesmarias and this added to the fun and games. PLUS seems to be a LIDL type outlet – stack it high and sell it cheap but I haven’t had time (or strength of will!) to pay a visit yet.

Leaving for the UK on at the end of the month for a 10 day trip we wondered if by the time we returned the summer explosion would have started as June is usually the month where we see the start of real tourism and the very hot weather.

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