Newsletter October 2005

  by: Nigel Anteney Hoare

The beginning of September to me always signals the beginning of autumn here in the Algarve, still plenty of visitors but fewer youngsters with the schools having started the new term. Cooler mornings and evenings, occasional mistiness but very often hot sunny days. It is a very pleasant time to be in Carvoeiro.

With the local elections to be held on Sunday 9th October, the usual rash of large billboards showing the smiling faces of the various candidates has sprung up. Each poster is accompanied by a brief slogan or résumé of policy. The voting for the Carvoeiro Freguesia (Parish Council) is usually a two horse race between the Socialist party (PS) or the Social Democrats (PSD). This year Jorge Pardal the present PS President of Carvoeiro Parish Council is standing for re-election and being challenged by José Viegas, the PSD man.

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Often as part of the electioneering process the incumbent party will point out the various improvements made to local infrastructure during their term. I don’t want to seem cynical but I wonder if this might be the reason for the sudden increase in subterranean recycling bins (Eco-pontes) which have sprung up in Carvoeiro? We now have them installed by the Farmacia, new ones next to the existing set just above the taxi rank, another on the road from O CANTINHO towards ALGAR SECO, two more sited along the road going out of town near MITCHS, which incidentally is up for sale if any of you fancy a move! They certainly are an improvement over the old freestanding bottle recycling bins that we have had up until now.

Another noticeable difference has been the gradual replacement of the present white light street lighting lamps with yellow sodium ones which make the streets as bright as day. This is a big improvement.

The increase in the Eco-pontes is only matched by the building “boom” which seems to have hit Carvoeiro and surrounding areas. In addition to the many individual villas being constructed, a major residential project by a company called IMOCOM is well underway at Mato Serrão close to the religious monument where the Sesmarias-Carvoeiro road meets the Boa Vista-Lagoa road. The same firm is also developing a large two storey “touristic village” on the road just past Quinta do Paraiso. This is to be finished by August 2008. Another development by a different firm is beginning on land between MONTE CARVOEIRO and the road on the west side of Carvoeiro, and a development of perhaps apartments or maybe a small hotel is underway on land behind COLINA VILAGE where you can see two tall tower cranes working.


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The drainage work on the road past Boa Vista where the new sewage treatment station is being built is concluded and the road repaired and asphalted

Our last visitors this summer were a couple of friends from Bristol with their daughter. They had one week at ROCHA BRAVA which they enjoyed very much and a second week with us. They are all vegetarian in varying degrees and it was pleasing that they managed to find enough variety amongst the restaurants in Carvoeiro to satisfy them for the week. They particularly liked KOH SAMUI and VIA ITALIA where several veggie dishes are on offer. This would have been tricky a few years ago when it was fish or meat with every dish. I recall one vegetarian holiday maker years ago who was appalled to find a fat lump of chouriço at the bottom of their bowl of vegetable soup!

On their last night we went to CHEFE ANTÓNIO where we enjoyed a very nice meal. This place has come under fire a little on the Forum but we enjoyed good food at reasonable price. António himself was in good form which always adds to the atmosphere!

A colleague of mine arrived from Spain on his way to visit the Alentejo to view and sample some wine he is having made under the expert guidance of Australian winemaker David Baverstock whom you may have read of in local publications and who is the man responsible for producing the excellent Esporão wines and in part I believe to the general interest in the Alentejo as a prime wine making area. He had a tour of the Herdade do Esporão winery near Reguengos de Monsaraz and a chance to sample some of their fine reds. This is a fantastic wine estate producing top quality wine and olive oil. They have a shop, wine bar, top notch restaurant and tasting room and organize tours every day at noon, 3pm and 4,30pm. If you are in that area it is well worth stopping off.

Despite a fabulous first weekend Monday 5th began cloudy and with a few spots of rain. Was this a promise of more to come? No, and by late afternoon the sun broke through to make a beautiful evening! Tuesday and Wednesday were very dull however which did not please our friend Beverly Bear who had arrived for an impromptu 10 day stay to soak up some sun. The night she arrived we ate at the VILA NOVA restaurant which had been well recommended to us and which has often been praised on the Restaurant Forum. I must say it was very good indeed and with a most reasonable bill at the end of it.

PAULA, a well known local resident Irish girl, had by now taken over the reins at the ANTEAK BAR and was running it very successfully. It has become a favourite watering hole for many foreign residents. We met some friends there one evening enjoying a very pleasant hour or so before heading off for something to eat choosing Chefe Antónios again where António recommended we tried his fish baked in the oven. It was delicious! Incidentally the Anteak Bar is doing very nice lunchtime meals and snacks at a very reasonable price as well!

On the 8th, Lagoas Municipal bank holiday, the cloud disappeared and the sun returned much to my relief as I was being personally blamed for the poor weather by our friend who had to console herself on the dull days by flexing her “plastic” at the shoe shops at Guia Shopping.

That evening we went to the CAFÉ INGLES in Silves, on the steps by the Cathedral, for an evening of live music. It was a modern jazz 3 piece combo with a guest saxophonist and whilst modern jazz is not my favourite it was good to sit out under the stars in the garden at the back of the Café in the shadow of the castle walls listening to some very well executed live music. This was the last in a series of similar events held there and the owners promise further initiatives during the winter and next year. It’s good – give it a try.

Saturday morning was spent hunting for a second hand jeep to replace our existing one. There are so many car sales sites around now it made me recall the early 80’s when there were virtually none except for a few in Faro. With very little trade in new cars and no credit for car purchase everybody was running around in old cars and holding on to them. Saturday evening it was out with our friend for a meal and then on to BAR HAVANA for some of their great cocktails, the ROUNDUP SALOON and a finish at THE ANGEL, the small bar in the shopping centre below the Chinese restaurant GRANDE MURALHA. We thought that AARON the barman/owner looks more like Al Murray the pub landlord comic than Al Murray himself – very entertaining!

Monday 12th brought a very cold north wind at dawn but with the day turning bright and sunny. Monday night it was over to KAZY in Silves at the request of our friend who can’t miss a trip to the Algarve without at least one meal of chicken piri-piri. Excellent as usual – pity there isn’t a similar place in Carvoeiro to save us the journey to either Guia or Silves.

The following day the cold wind had dropped and it was back to wall to wall sunshine! That wasn’t to last very long however and by late afternoon on Wednesday 14th dark clouds had started to roll towards the coast from the south east. Peals of thunder could be heard out to sea and these gradually became louder. By about 7pm the first large raindrops fell followed by a torrential downpour although fairly short-lived. As the storm began to clear it left us with a vivid red sunset. I calculate this is the first real rain we have had for about 10 months! More fell in the night and the next day was mixed with sun and showers. According to the meteorological forecasters real rain isn’t forecast until November!

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One day we enjoyed a bite of lunch at BOM BORDO in Estrada do Farol just before THE INDIAN restaurant. This is the second time we have eaten there although we often use its “sister” restaurant CAFÉ CICLO in Lagoa. We enjoyed our meal very much. Good plain food at good plain prices – give it a try.

It was full moon on Sunday the 18th but no change in the weather as sometimes seems to happen. The sun continued to shine each day, extending the summer beyond our expectations and pleasing the late holiday makers no end. The hot weather was not so welcome however when we visited Lisbon just before the end of the month. With the traffic gridlock that now symbolises Lisbon and the sticky, city heat we were happy to travel back down to breathe the cooler, fresh Algarve air.

Até logo!