Newsletter August 2005

  by: Nigel Anteney Hoare

Alright! I know it’s late! In fact this newsletter may seem a bit sketchy this month due to a 10 day absence in the early part of the month swapping the delights of Carvoeiro for those of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic where we had booked a cheapo last minute deal to coincide with my wifes birthday (a “big” one!). Until a few years ago, despite the fact that for generations the Portuguese were always known as great travellers and adventurers, you would rarely find a Portuguese person “going abroad” for their holiday. The traditional holiday destination was either down to the Algarve in August or day trips to the local beaches around Lisbon and Porto. Now, the cheap all-inclusive type holiday has won them round and we joined mobs of Portuguese people queuing at Lisbons Portela airport heading for the popular holiday destinations of Brazil, Cuba or the Dominican Republic.
We had gone by train from Tunes to Lisbons Oriente station and my wife, never having travelled on a train in Portugal, was amazed at the level of comfort and cleanliness on board. Compared to the UK rail network which she has used a lot recently, it is a revelation. Lisbon from Tunes is a 3 hour journey on the Inter-Cidade service or about 2 and ½ if you choose the infrequent Alfa Pendular high speed train. We had expected to buy tickets at Tunes but the ticket office only opens for a few hours each day and you then buy on the train. We felt sure that they would have a MultiBanco/Visa facility as on aircraft but the ticket collector sadly shook his head! Having opted for First Class (well we were on holiday!) the tickets for 3 adults and one junior cost about 70 euros. Scratching around our pockets and purses we managed about 67 but the ticket collector was completely unphased by this saying that he would be pleased to escort us to the ticket office in Lisbon Oriente station and we could pay there! This must surely be the best way to travel to Lisbon.


Prior to going away, the first weekend of July saw the very hot weather continue. We had friends and relatives here on holiday from Norfolk and before they returned 12 of us ate at VILA MEDICI, the new Italian restaurant at the top of Estrada do Farol, just before Restaurant Primavera. It looks as if plenty of cash has been injected into this building, which many years ago housed Restaurant Farol run by some people from Finland but which has lain almost derelict for years. The whole aspect of the place is very attractive with a delightful walled courtyard area at the rear for el fresco dining. We enjoyed a good meal served by attentive staff. We did feel however that the final bill was enough money when we more or less all had pasta and the kids pizza.
On the subject of Italian restaurants I understand that the Indian restaurant at CLUBE ATLANTICO, Alfanzina was sold and has now reopened as an Italian and is owned by the residents association there. Haven’t been there yet nor do I know of anyone who has so can’t report back yet.

Following our 10 days away, we were ready for the long overnight flight back home to Lisbon and train back down south to Tunes. Entering Carvoeiro, courtesy of José Manuels taxi, it was pleasing to see that the first building you meet on the left as you enter was finally being painted. This has looked really scruffy for some time now and was not a good advert for Carvoeiro so it is good to see it happening now.

More friends and relatives had arrived in Carvoeiro in our absence so it was another large table at the Lanterna Velha for dinner and then down to the square for coffee, drinks and ice cream at PIU/GRAND CAFÉ and listening to ILZE belting it out on the stage. Plenty of people down there enjoying the music, dancing and the general summer atmosphere. The dancers included Brazilian DANI SILVA, a long time, well known Carvoeiro character who was whisking a young lady round the square in alarming fashion. I tried to get a picture with my mobile but the result was not as good as I wished!

With my children home from boarding school I was persuaded by my son to take him to VALE DO MILHO golf course to take advantage of their “twilight” price of 20 euros “play as much as you like”. We managed 25 holes before I had to head to ANDYS clubhouse bar for a refreshing ale. That day was my birthday so we had arranged dinner at KOH SAMUI the Thai restaurant which has become one of my firm favourites. Not having been there for some time it was good to see the place busy and Raul the owner taking some money at last to reward himself for his investment. Great food and a reasonable bill at just under 25 Euros a head.

The 25th dawned largely cloudy which was to herald a few days with a big change in our weather. The cloud brought some welcome relief from the hot sun and did some holidaymakers a favour as I had seen plenty of very red skins around the place! The sun-blackened alfarrobas (carob beans) were now starting to fall from the trees a sure sign of summers progress and in readiness for their August harvest

I read of a meeting of all the Algarve mayors to discuss the worsening drought situation and of the possible cuts we might suffer. On the one hand the water company have been saying that there should not be cuts but perhaps reduced pressure at peak times and on the other hand some of the mayors were forecasting cuts before the end of the summer. Certainly there is a big campaign to urge people to conserve water during this busy tourist period.

Tuesday was very murky indeed! We had to go down to Spain and Gibraltar for a couple of days on business and whilst Gibraltar was intolerably hot on the Wednesday, I was surprised to receive a text from my daughter in Carvoeiro saying that it was “quite cold and raining”. I can’t prove it, but as I always remember my birthdays, I have found that invariably there is a change in the weather at about this time. I recall my 40th birthday, when I had a big party at BUBBLES pool bar, then under the careful stewardship of LARRY and his lady SERENA, it was actually cold and rained. I never appreciated the ducking in the pool I got at all that day!

We travelled back to Carvoeiro on Thursday arriving mid afternoon and lo and behold the rain was falling steadily, not hard but steady. A weird sight as the holiday makers skipped about in shorts and tee shirts avoiding it!

My wife had got a nasty insect bite on her hand whilst staying with friends at SotoGrande and by the time we got back to Carvoeiro it was looking very dodgy indeed and was painful. She had visited a pharmacy in Spain but they had recommended she saw a doctor so she went to the German doctor above SMILERS, who opened up shop especially for her. The bite was from an infected insect he thought and performed minor surgery to cut away dead skin and other nasties before disinfecting it and bandaging. My wife was very impressed with his service and the reasonable cost of 60 Euros he charged. I guess any insect bite that starts turning an odd colour and giving pain should be looked at immediately to avoid bigger problems later.

Work on the new effluent pumping station close to restaurant RAFAIOL was well under way and I understand that the main treatment plant at BOA VISTA also well advanced. Presumably the implementation of this sewage plan will figure in the forthcoming municipal elections to be held on 9 October. One side saying “haven’t we done well” and the opposition saying that it should have been done sooner! Already huge large posters of some of the candidates are appearing by the roadside. The main man leading the socialist effort to wrest Lagoa Town Hall from PSD Mayor, José Inaçio, is local Lagoa lawyer João Aurelio Marcos, who no doubt some Carvoeiro property owners will know of.

By the last Friday of the month the good weather had returned, the old place was more or less packed and we were simply hoping to survive August!

Até proximo mês