Newsletter December 2013

Margarida Sampaio @

Wow, you know you are getting old when you start saying things like “It only seems like yesterday we were celebrating Christmas” and “Christmas comes round earlier every year” – so I guess I must be old now because it really does feel like this year has flown by!

I can’t really believe that we are already in December but it is hard to tell what month it is when you have glorious sunshine outside your window and beautiful blue skies.  Just as long as you keep your coat on and don’t open the door then it could be August out there – until the sun drops and it suddenly feels like we have been dropped in the Arctic.


We have been really lucky so far this winter with the weather we have had and during November three were only a couple of weekends where the rain poured but even then it wasn’t all that bad and was over quickly with the sun coming out and making us forget it ever rained at all.

It may be beautiful and sunny but that doesn’t actually mean that it is all that warm (sssh don’t tell the tourist board!).  OK, during the day there are brave people on the beach in their shorts and I even spotted a few in the sea this month and they weren’t even wearing wetsuits, but on the whole it is pretty chilly, especially during the evenings when you need to put at least a couple of logs onto the fire to keep things cosy and warm.

I am told that the sea is actually quite warm for this time of year and feels very pleasant because the water and the air temperature are about the same – if anyone fancies letting me know if the theory is correct then let me know!


I love November in the Algarve because it is usually still lovely and sunny but is starting to feel like winter and one of my favourite events of the year has to be the St Martins fair that is held in Portimão for 10 days.

We don’t get to celebrate Bonfire night here really (one visitor from the UK asked me why this was the other day – answers on a postcard) so the St Martins fair is what I think of as being the start of the winter events.

This year we opted to go on the last day of the fair and I managed to pad myself and the rest of the family out in enough puffa jackets it became difficult for the smallest members to be able to walk or bend their arms. With hats, coats, scarves and wooly boots on we ventured out into the cold only to find that the notoriously cold and windy fairground was actually warm and without a breath of air – it wasn’t even freezing on the big wheel.

This was a lovely surprise but did mean that I spent the entire evening carrying enough stuff to fill an outdoor living shop and was another example of how at this year dressing for the weather can be very tricky.

There were also celebrations for St Martin’s day held in the square in Carvoeiro with freshly roasted chestnuts and little plastic cups filled with dubious smelling wine being given out by the Scouts for a small donation.  ON this occasion I had taken a more summery approach to my wardrobe choice which meant I spent the afternoon chasing the sunshine as it moved around the square.

I was however, never quite cold enough to join in with the Zumba demonstration.  I did not feel the need to embarrass myself in front of the entire town as I attempted to follow the steps while slender ladies with lovely bottoms wiggled away to the beat – this proved to be even more of an attraction on the day than the free wine!

We also had some live music for the event which ended up with some local ladies failing to find any men to dance with and stepping out together and finally culminated in a surreal scene involving a conga line and organ music – I guess you had to be there.


And when I talk of sports here I am not talking about the ones that necessarily involve a lot of running about but they do usually involve blood sweat and tears!

Firstly we have the darts which have got underway in the town which to be honest has to be a good thing because the nights in Carvoeiro are now pretty quiet!  At least everyone knows that on a Friday night there are a few people in many of the bars who take part in the tournaments so if you are looking for a bit  of atmosphere then head down on a Friday night from 9pmish to one of the participating bars – you never know, you may even be called on to lend a hand!

We also have to give a big congratulations to the Carvoeiro ladies netball team who won their first match in November!  The ladies and a few men who had been coerced into taking part, played a friendly game at Carvoeiro Clube de Ténis and managed to come away victorious – congratulations.

Anyone wanting to join the number one netball team in the Algarve (OK, so there aren’t actually any others!) should turn up at the moment to the municipal courts near the Mirachoro hotel on Thursday evenings from 6.30pm.  The team will be training again at the tennis club but only when flood lights have been sorted out and players of all levels and experience are welcome to come and join in and participate in some drinks afterwards!


If you have been about in Carvoeiro recently you will have noticed that the road system has been a little strange with the priority on Rua do Casino seeming to change on a daily basis.

The coastal road down to the village has been closed on many days because of the works going on at Tia Ilda (not sure there is actually anything left of it now!) but I am told that the council are considering changing the one way system up and down the town in the near future.  This would be a most welcome change for many of us who are increasingly infuriated by having to drive miles around the village to get from one side to the other, I suppose I could walk but what would I have to moan about if I did!


While it may not feel very much like Christmas thanks to their being no lights, decorations or even the slightest hint of snow the day is nearly upon us.

Some of us braved the masses at the Continente supermarket in November to buy up half price toys and if you still have managed to maintain a glimmer of festive spirit after wrestling parents for the last Monster High doll there is actually plenty going on in and around Carvoeiro to celebrate the season.

If you don’t fancy soaking your own salted cod for several days and then serving it up with some chick peas and cabbage then you could always instead go out for your Christmas lunch this year.

There are several places open on Christmas day for lunch including Vimar at the top of the hill, Ma-Ja’s and at the higher end of the scale we have the Bon Bon who will be doing their own Christmas lunch.  I am sure there are plenty of other places that will be open on the day but remember that here in Portugal the Portuguese generally do their big celebrations on December 24 so lots of local places will be closed on that evening.


It wouldn’t be Christmas in the Algarve without the obligatory Christmas fairs which seem to have multiplied in the past few years like a glittery Christmas plague.

The International School of the Algarve located on the EN 125 at Porches will hold its annual Christmas Fair on Saturday 30th November from 10am- 4pm featuring a fabulous Santa's grotto and a host of Xmas gift ideas and stalls. All monies raised donated to local Portuguese childrens home. Easy parking. All welcome. For info and bookings call Alan on 914952299

In Carvoeiro we have a Christmas fair at Taste restaurant on December 22 in the afternoon with live music, entertainment for the children and lots of goodies to eat.

Head to Ferragudo over the weekend of December 14 and 15 for the Arte Nata fair down by the waterside.  This is a lovely little fair with a great atmosphere and live music and a few stalls to pick up the usual goodies.

There will also be a fair at the Fatacil in lagoa on December 6, 7 and 8 with lots of stall and things for the festive season if you still have the energy to look at more Christmas items!


If you are going to go to one Christmas fair this month then make sure you support our local Carvoeiro Christmas fair taking place in the town on December 20, 21 and 22.

Once again the fair is being organised by the local business association Vozes Intensas in association with the local Lagoa and Carvoeiro council.

Local children from the pre and primary schools are being invited to come down to meet with father Christmas on the 21st and 22nd and anyone wanting to get into the spirit of things is invited to put on their Santa outfit – if you don’t have one (and why wouldn’t you?) then slip on a Santa hat – available at the Chinese shops for about a euro – and join in the fun!


I would love to be able to give you information at this point about what will or will not be happening in Carvoeiro for New Year’s Eve but we have no change here in as much as nobody is ever given any information about pretty much anything until the day before!  I would not expect fireworks in Carvoeiro this year from the council as we are still struggling through financially but look out for news about private functions and for information about events in Albufeira and Portimão where the big displays usually are.


This newsletter marks the third anniversary of my ramblings to you all about the goings on in and around Carvoeiro.  Thank you to you all for your support and for continuing to read my updates.

I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and hope to see many of you here in 2014,