Newsletter November 2011

Margarida Sampaio @  

I thought that a preoccupation with the weather was a singularly British ailment however it turns out that the more nationalities I discover, the more people I find who are equally obsessed with what's going on outside their windows.

The last couple of weeks however have stirred even the most nonchalant of weather watchers into turning on the news to see the weather report or logging on to the internet for some updates and it is easy to see why.


So last month it was unseasonably hot but winter has arrived rather rudely in the Algarve as anyone who has arrived or departed from Faro airport recently will be able to tell you!

Bad weather had been predicted but I don't think that anyone was expecting quite such a storm on Monday October 24 with Faro airport falling victim to winds and rain which left parts of the roof being blown off. (Photos of the damage here:

Thankfully, apart from the hundreds of passengers stranded at the airport with no information about what was going on, nobody else seemed to notice the destruction as the works at Faro airport continue and many just thought this was part of these ongoing “improvements”!

Now those at the airport expect it to take between 10 and 12 weeks to put right the damage to the roof and control tower but all seems to be back on schedule again at the airport.  The other works at the airport will however be taking up to four months to finish and this means that parking, pick ups and rental car hire has all been affected so leave a little extra time for arrivals and departures if you are unsure about the new procedures.

Over in Carvoeiro the storm blew down its fair share of plants etc but generally everything stood up to the crashing waves, howling winds and torrential rains.

It seemed like Jorge Pardal had managed to mobilise a small army of workers to sweep up the sand which was all the way up to Smilers Bar and the debris that had washed down into the streets.  It must also be noted that the main streets in Carvoeiro were not flooded during these first rains of the season so it looks like the drainage problems in the town may finally be under control.

I myself went out to look at the amazing waves that were crashing in along the coast on the Tuesday morning, the results of which you can see below

There would have been more pictures but I ended up waiting for 25 minutes in a very painful squat position to try and capture a huge wave coming over Algar Seco.  The photo didn't really work though as I landed up on my bottom in the mud and then skulked home in a mood, cursing my artistic desires.  You know when you are waiting for something to come and you know its going to happen but it still takes you by surprise and you end up screaming like a little girl as you get splattered by a massive wave...well that's what happened to me!

The weather then perked up the following weekend, ending up with a fair few burnt noses around the town as people hurried to enjoy the last few days of great weather before once again it turned to winter here in the Algarve.

Now the skies are grey once again and the rain is making a mess of my balcony and ruining my washing rota but I am sure there will be plenty more sunshine throughout the month and at least it isn't too cold yet!


Although I am not really sure that everyone over here fully understands it (me included) Carvoeiro got its spook on for Halloween on October 31 with many of the bars in the town getting into the spirit of things.

As always Talvez Bar was decked out as an incredible haunted grotto and Rachel and Sergio slipped on their fangs to host the clients while over the road in Havana Bar Craig, Jen and Sarah also looked amazing as they celebrated their seventh annual Halloween party.

Brady's Bar had live music and plenty of atmosphere with the smoke machine while Carvoeiro bar parked up a rickshaw outside and the staff were all dressed to distress.

Across in Mungo's Bar Dan, Daniel and Carmen didn't scrimp on the fake blood while down in Sully's there were some very provocative looking vampires and devils.  Hemingways had probably the best prizes for the trick or treaters and the boys in Innside café looked especially scary, Oficina Bar brought in a DJ for the night and Rascals Bar had “loads of great food” (you cant go wrong with a free buffet to attract the Halloween gannets!)

Halloween in Carvoeiro is still a pretty innocent affair and there was none of the nastiness associated with this holiday in other parts of the world as children as young as two ran up and down the street begging for sweets while the more mature trick or treaters were in search of something more liquid in refreshment.

Well done to all the bars who took the time to deck the walls with cobwebs and get dressed up for the night which was as fun for those taking part and as it was for those who sat back and laughed at the ridiculous outfits.    

My night was made after I saw one local resident dressed as Darth Maul lurking in a corner and waiting for children to come by at which point he would jump out and then watch as the children would then run up the street screaming – classic Halloween shenanigans.


Each month I like to let everyone of the new businesses that have opened in the town but I have to confess that sometimes I can be a little late off the mark with some of them.  So this month I am doing a little bit of a back track as I let those of you who don't already know that Frasers Pizzas has opened again.

Lynn and Fraser had rented out their restaurant at the bottom of Rua do Casino which was taken over and run as an Indian restaurant but now Fraser is back with his famous pizzas, much to the delight of many residents who had been yearning for one of his specials.

The other snippet that I didn't manage to squeeze into the last newsletter is that Oficina Bar, located on the "in road" almost opposite the pottery market, is now under new management with João and the team trying to bring the bar back to its former glory by booking live acts and Djs for every weekend.  So far we have had the great singer Kat Blu and DJ Mike Fish from No Solo Agua in the bar and it looks like its going to be a great spot for anyone looking for something during the long winter nights in Carvoeiro.   

If you know of anywhere that has recently opened or is under new management in Carvoeiro then let me know and I will add it to the newsletter so we can spread the word! (@Margarida Sampaio).


Last month I was a little downbeat about everything political over here but this month I am feeling far more optimistic and this is in no small part down to our Junta president Jorge Pardal.  I asked Jorge about what was happening in regards to the suggested closure of Carvoeiro junta and it looks like he won't be going down without a fight!

It is great to see that despite his financial constraints and the may other difficulties facing him as being the head of the parish council, Jorge Pardal remains committed to doing whatever he can to protect Carvoeiro from central government cuts.

A draft green paper proposal from the government has asked for all local Juntas that do not meet certain population levels or are within a short distance from the municipal centre, in this case Lagoa, are shut down to save costs.

In the Algarve there are 20 parish councils under threat and Carvoeiro is one of these on this list but this is what Jorge Pardal had to say about the proposals:

“The Portuguese government is aiming to drastically reduce costs and part of this is to eliminate hundreds of Juntas from around the country.  We should all be aware of this situation and try to safeguard Juntas which should not be closed randomly and without taking into account the special circumstances surrounding each Junta.

“Nobody is able to understand why Carvoeiro Junta should be closed because Carvoiro has an enormous importance on a regional and national level in regards to tourism and because of this the government must see the key role Carvoeiro plays in the economy.”

 However, Jorge Pardal does not actually believe that the Junta in Carvoeiro will be closed down at all and if it was, the act of closure should be regarded as “a betrayal of the people and a set back in democracy”.

He added: “We believe that this reform will not hit us but we must be vigilant and people need to mobilise and express their opinions to defend what cost us all so much to win.”


Will the tolls ever come in? We keep on being told that they will be coming in yet nothing seems to be happening. I feel like I am back at school again, sat outside the headmasters office waiting to be told off – I know its coming and would rather I didn't have to wait any longer to find out what the punishment could be.

So the end of October has come (and gone) and still there is no more news on when the tolls will actually be brought in and there is no more information available now than there was last month.

A government meeting to discuss the introduction of the tolls was held on October 28 but they ran out of time to be able to discuss all the issues and left the meeting without finalising a date for the tolls to be introduced. Now we have to wait for another meeting to be rescheduled and hope that those involved don't mind staying on a little longer to make sure that they do finish the meeting and make a decision.

Perhaps the tolls will be brought in as a Christmas present to us all instead?


I am off to batten down the hatches and secure all washing to my balcony again but for those of you who are around in the area this coming weekend there will be a Grand Night of Variety taking place on November 5 at the auditorium in Lagoa. This year funds are being raised to help a local two year old girl who needs specialist equipment to help her live with Cerebral Palsy.

The show starts at 8pm and there really is something for everyone including a much hyped performance of “Grandad” by Clive Dunn (words fail me here!).

I love November in Carvoeiro, the town that commercialisation forgot...Christmas...not a sign of it here and lets hope that lasts for many more weeks!