Newsletter September 2013
Margarida Sampaio @
Every year August seems to sneak up on us from nowhere. One minute we are all mooching about the town without a care in the world while the next it is more of a question of fighting for a parking space, jostling with push chairs down the street and trying to squeeze onto the space inch of sand that is left on the beach but we can all breathe a sigh of relief now because August has passed and we have managed to come out of the other side unscathed!
It is a bit of a local past time in Carvoeiro to moan about August even though we actually all love having people about and the influx of revenue is more than appreciated but it is a little overwhelming to try and drive through the crowds by the beach each night while the parking situation is one that I hope to conveniently forget as quickly as possible!
After speaking to a number of different business owners in Carvoeiro over the past few weeks it seems that this year has been much better and it looks as if the bad years of the global economic downturn seem to be slipping into the past now.
The crowds of people that have been absent in the past couple of years in Carvoeiro appear to have returned and there were once again a large number of French and Spanish plated cars back in the town.
Perhaps there were fewer Portuguese visitors from the north of the country in the town this August but the number of British and Irish back in Carvoeiro seems to have compensated for this and from a quick straw poll around the town business is looking better than it has done for several years in Carvoeiro.
This is great news for everyone in the town and let’s hope that the summer season continues on for a few more months with the return of the golfing groups and couples this month helping to ease the pressure of the long winter months.
But now we are into September and we can enjoy all the best bits of the Algarve including some fantastic weather (fingers crossed) but without all the crowds and queues!
He may not be everyone’s cup of tea (or wine) but Sir Cliff can certainly still draw the crowds that’s for sure and if you happened to stumble into Intermarché at the start of August you may have been left wondering what was going on!
Sir Cliff Richard came down to the supermarket on August 2 to sign boxes and bottles of his Vida Nova wine from the Adega do Cantor winery in Guia and fans of all ages queued patiently to meet the man himself who was met with a load cheer as he walked in.
I am not sure if placing him by the fish counter was a great idea but it did mean that there was plenty of space for the eager fans to wait while looking at beach balls, cardboard cutouts of Sir Cliff and dodging irate shoppers who had “only popped in for a loaf of bread and some cheese”.
You have to give it to Sir Cliff – he really knows how to sign bottles of wine at speed and he managed to plough his way through hundreds in a n hour while also smiling for photos and having a quick chat with fans – one of which had brought her own poster which read “Cliff is hotter than Robbie”.
I have not seen so much excitement in Intermarché since they put in those new fancy fridges and it was great to see so many local faces coming down to see what all the fuss was about – even if they did claim to be “only passing by” – Come on!
As if the excitement of Sir Cliff wasn’t enough we also had Fatacil to contend with in August and once again we had hoards of people doing some of the world’s worst, best and most inventive parking to avoid paying the €2 fee for the official car park.
Personally I would have paid another €2 to avoid the rather strong smell of horse urine near the car park but I suppose that is half the fun of the Fatacil!
After the obligatory smelly cheese and Presunto sandwich it was off for a look around the stalls and it was great to see many more back this year after the rather poor turnout in 2012.
There were some good deals to be had on many items and the food and wine area was a nice addition – if not a little too close to the animals for my liking (it is not fair for a piggy to see its future as a lump of Presunto up so close and personal).
I am not sure where all the thousands of people come from who attend the Fatacil each year but it was great to see it as popular as ever and brining people to the Lagoa and Carvoeiro areas once again.
One of the highlights of August has to be the annual Carvoeiro party which is held on the last Sunday of the month and this year was as great as ever.
Last year we were all shocked when the procession started dead on time so I ran up the hill for 7pm to get myself lodged in a comfy spot only to find myself waiting for the customary Portuguese 20 minutes – however it was well worth the wait as once again members of the local community carried an icon of Nossa Senhora de Encarnação down the hill past the GNR then through the town, through the cut through near Hemingways and then back along the road and up to the church again.
The members of the local scouts did themselves proud with carrying the flags and marching through the town and I only heard one child of about six years old starting to moan as he went back up the hill to the church “This is difficult – my legs don’t like going up hills!”
The marching band that accompanied the procession played beautifully, especially considering the hill climb, and the entire parade was a very moving sight although there were certainly fewer people lining the streets this year than last year. This could perhaps be put down to the fact that Benfica were playing their first match of the season and every male member of the community was glued to the television with those in the procession craning their necks for a glimpse of the score on the way around!
There were a few faces in the procession that were met with a little skepticism from the regulars in the parade and if these people were hoping to garner some favourable votes in the upcoming election then perhaps this was not the time or the place to do it…
Politics may not be high on the agenda of everyone in Carvoeiro but there is no avoiding the fact that the local elections for the area are coming up at the end of the month.
All the billboards with smiling faces have been erected and now we can see the faces of the people who are promising to make life better for us all for the next few years.
Foreign residents are eligible to vote in the local elections - but if you want to vote you needed to have registered at the Junta with your name and address to say that you are a resident before the end of July.
If you did not register then you will not be able to vote this time but it is a good idea to go along and register anyway so you are prepared for the next time!
There are predictions about who will win in the elections but we will just have to wait and see what the results are and more importantly we will have to see just how life changes after the elections and how well people stick to their manifestos.
Back to matters of a more entertaining nature and although the busy month of August is now behind us it doesn’t mean that Carvoeiro has closed for the winter – far from it!
The live entertainment in the square by the beach will continue for the rest of the month as will live music near to Imprevisto and Hemingways on Rua do Barranco and up near Mungos and Colibri and with the nights still lovely and warm this is the perfect time to get out and enjoy the best of Carvoeiro.
BEACHES AND SHARKS
The bathing season is also still in full flow which means that there are lifeguards on the beaches until the end of the month and the sun loungers and restaurants are still as busy as ever.
You may have heard in the local Portuguese press that there have been sharks spotted off the coast of Carvoeiro and if the reports are true Hammerhead sharks have been seen close to Carvoeiro, Albufeira, Sagres and Portimão in recent weeks.
The reason for the sharks coming so close to the shore is the increase in water temperature which is averaging 25ºc.
I went into the sea this weekend and I can assure you it felt nowhere near as balmy as 25ºc in the water – after all this is the Atlantic we are talking about!!
So I wouldn’t worry too much about sharks in the water and anyway, hammerhead sharks don’t eat humans in a Jaws movie type way – they much prefer the odd mackerel and keep away from us as much as possible.
It may seem a long time off but things are already getting prepared for the next annual edition of the Better Living in Portugal Exhibition –AKA BLiP.
BLiP will be back on October 5th and 6th at the Portimão arena (the one that looks like a slug) with exhibitors from all across the Algarve.
This is a great place to come if you are new to the Algarve and want to find out more or if you want to find out the latest information and offers as a resident. Make a date in your diary for BLiP this year!
You didn’t think that you could get through an entire newsletter without a mention and a moan about the weather did you?
It has been over the scale hot here in the Algarve over the past month and apart from the mandatory rainy day at the end of the month we have all been melting in 40ºc plus temperatures so I am off now to seek some shade and watch the world go by with a glass of something long and cool!
Until next month