Newsletter July 2012
Margarida Sampaio @
Well June in Carvoeiro seemed to be a very busy month for everyone, largely due to the Euro 2012 football championships combined with the start of summer and the usual increase in people mooching around the town.
We have had some amazing weather with our own mini heat wave at the end of the month that saw some high cloud roll in but the temperatures push up towards 40ºC.
Good weather, warm evenings and the start of live music both on the square and twice a week on Rua do Barranco (opposite Oasis Restaurant) has seen everyone's mood improve - even if the football didn't quite go the way people were expecting!
Every bar in Carvoeiro was more than ready for the Euro 2012 championships to finally begin in June with televisions going up left, right and centre and enough bunting to almost circle the entire globe going up all around the town.
A football tournament is a sure way to see people coming out of their houses, apartments and villas and heading for the bars and cafes to cheer on their teams which is not only great for business but also helps to create a more vibrant atmosphere around the place.
The first few games of the tournament were pretty quiet, especially the first England match which nobody actually thought they would do anything in and so didn't really bother to watch to find out. As the tournament went on though there were more and more people coming out to support their teams.
A little part of the O Farol became a small corner of Holland for a couple of days as Maximes, Carvoeiro Bar and Boa Vida got into the spirit of the tournament and brought back out all the orange flags and T-shirts and at one point there was even a hog roasting in the parking spaces outside!
It was a shame to see the Dutch go out so early because they really had got into the spirit of things as had the Irish who suffered a similar early dismissal from the competition but were enthusiastic supporters until the end!
After the initial stages it was down to the Portuguese, English and German fans in the town. The Bier Garten in Porches hosted some busy nights with German fans heading down to support their team while the popular British bars in town were quick to fill up with the England fans.
When it came to the Portugal games the town became like a carnival scene with beeping horns, flags flying, music playing and general partying in the streets - until they got knocked out that is!
Generally the Euro 2012 competition was a great boost to Carvoeiro and showed anyone who hadn't been here before just how multinational and tolerant everyone here is with no fighting, trouble or problems relating to the football at all.
Apart from the football the biggest thing going on in Carvoeiro this month has had to be the introduction of paid parking to the centre of the town.
I wrote about the possibility of introducing the paid parking over a year ago but almost overnight in June the parking signs were put up and then the meters unwrapped.
The paid parking section of Carvoeiro runs from the junction to Monte Dourado on Rua do Barranco (by A Vela Restaurant) up until by the bins on the same road. The parking meters and paid parking applies to both sides of the street and there are machines also on both sides for you to be able to purchase a ticket.
The rates for parking are set pretty low, starting at 20 cents for 15 minutes and then rising to a maximum of €3.20 for the entire day.
The paid parking applies in this area between 8am and 8pm, Monday - Saturday and is not applicable on Sundays and Bank Holidays.
Anyone who lives in this area is also able to apply for a permit to allow extended parking for free - you just have to visit the Junta (and pay 20 cents to park outside!) then prove your address to be able to apply for a permit.
So far the parking system has seen the spaces included being empty for a lot of the day with all the cars simply moving up the road a bit, however it does seem to be working for people who are wanting to go to the post office, or the bank quickly and are more than happy to pay 20 cents to be able to park without fear of clamping - there has been a lot of that around lately!
The wisest way to use the area is to park up at around 7.30pm and to pay for half an hour to take you until 8pm when the parking is then free!
Anyone who comes to Carvoeiro on a regular bass knows that parking in the town during the summer season is very difficult and new measures do need tp be brought in to try and combat this. It is really important that visitors to the town are able to find a space - especially if they are more than happy to pay for that space. Lets see if they will continue with this scheme in the winter months though when I am quite sure it will stand empty for months at a time.
The parking and traffic offences always seem very high on the police agenda at this time of year and we have seen a large increase in clamping so beware if you think about parking on pavements or in non parking areas as you will face a fine! However, the Algarve have been pledged extra police forces for the summer months with many coming down to help the local police of the Algarve from July 1.
With so many more people about the extra police are a welcome sight, especially in the evenings when there can be large groups out and about usually suffering from the effects of a couple too many cocktails and bottles of Cristal.
Already we have seen the police being proactive in Carvoeiro with raids on a number of bars in the town at the end of the month and some people being taken in to custody on suspicion of drugs offences.
I welcome the police in Carvoeiro to remind anyone who is thinking that just because they are in a small town they can get away with crimes they would not usually consider in other places.
The police may have a bad name here if you are a car owner but they do important work to keep Carvoeiro a safe place for everyone and should be supported in their efforts. If you find yourself in a bar that is being raided by the police then simply keep calm and show them your ID - everyone should have identification on them at all times in Portugal. The police work quickly and the bar owners cooperate with them so show your support for Carvoeiro and the businesses here by working with the authorities.
Apart from those new parking meters on Rua do Barranco this month we also saw the opening of a new shop come cafe in Monte Carvoeiro.
Kiosk Azul has opened almost opposite Mama Mias pizzeria and it is hard to miss as it lives up to its name of being blue! The shop sells bits and pieces for the beach, general provisions and also has a light, bright terrace to be able to enjoy a drink or two.
It is great to see some investment in Monte Carvoeiro, this area used to be buzzing in the summer but has fallen by the wayside with a general lack of investment. It would be wonderful to see this area back to what it was once again, particularly because there are so many new resorts and developments on this side of Carvoeiro that would benefit from Monte Carvoeiro having a little more life.
We also have the building works that are taking place on the road between Carvoeiro and Lagoa to build a "retail" area.
Rumours have been bouncing around as to who will be taking this space and for a long time it was presumed it was going to be Intermarche who would be moving along the road - however the Algarve Resident have dispelled this and said that the Câmara are unable to let anyone know who is develop the area.
This does seem to me that they perhaps do not have a definite answer about who is actually coming into this area but no it seems that the rumours are pointing to it being a new Aldi. Whatever it is going to be it does seem strange to build an entire retail area on a piece of land that flood every single year when the rains come and no amount of tinkering with the drainage seems to have solved this problem.
It has now been announced that Carvoeiro is to have a larger beach in the next three years as part of a sand replenishment programme in the Algarve.
The coastal erosion of the Algarve coast means that many of our most beloved beaches are getting smaller by the day and to protect the beaches and the tourism that they encourage the government is investing in sand replenishments for many including Carvoeiro beach.
The first beach to have more sand put on it (similar to works in Albufeira and in the Golden Triangle) will be Praia Dona Ana in Lagos but the attention will then hopefully turn to Carvoeiro
In total, 2.5 million Euros will be given for works on Carvoeiro beach, Praia Nova and Cova Redonda with the works to be undertaken in the next three years.
More beach in Carvoeiro can only be a good thing!
While the beaches may be getting bigger the likelihood of a beach party taking place in Carvoeiro this summer is looking very slim.
I spoke with members of the organising group Vozes Intensas and they told me that it will be almost impossible for a beach party to take place at all in Carvoeiro this year as they are unable to get the licenses that they need for this.
This is a real shame as the beach parties last year really brought everyone together and were seen as a great success for the entire town but the problems with noise, rubbish and business conflicts looks like they will get in the way of any parties this year.
Sometimes the paperwork in Portugal has a lot to answer for.
Every month I bring you this update about what has been going on in and around Carvoeiro for the month but we are also working to update many other areas of carvoeiro.com and this month I have added some information for anyone looking to get on a boat trip from Carvoeiro beach this summer while there is also new information about the Sardine Festival which takes place in August in Portimão. Please also see the new page with photos and details of a walk down the Escadinhas - the scenery is outstanding!
I like to be able to let people know about events that are going on in Carvoeiro but also around the Algarve when they are some of the big ones so to keep everyone in the know about the events in the Algarve this summer have a look at the Algarve Events update which gives you an outline of what you can expect and where to find more information about all the events in the region.
With all of this information you should be able to keep yourself more than occupied during July and through the summer, although if you are like me you will have booked a place on a sun bed by a pool for the foreseeable future....
Until next month,