Newsletter May 2014
Margarida Sampaio @
Well the wooly jumpers and anoraks have all been packed away because it looks like summer has arrived and it is here to stay – yipee!
There are times during the depths of winter when it can sometimes be a little different to see why we live here as the rain pours down and we sit shivering in our apartments that were built for heat waves and are unable to maintain a temperature above about nine degrees but the thermals are all but a distant memory now!
FLOODS AND HEATWAVES
I don’t like to band about the tem heat wave in a region that boasts over 300 days a year of sunshine (I think we have used up our 60 days of rain quote already for 2014) but the end of April and into May has been absolutely scorching with temperatures hovering around the 30 degree mark day after day. It actually got to the point over one weekend where is was collectively decided that it was too hot to go to the beach - I can hear you all feeling really sorry for us right now!
As ever, just because it is a heat wave doesn’t mean that everyone feels like it is summer yet. I remember being forced into my summer uniform at school as soon as the Easter holidays were over with my mother not caring if it was blowing an arctic gale outside. The winter uniform was only allowed back on (as was the heating) after the October half term and it seems a few people feel the same way here and are refusing to remove their woolen boots, thick jumpers and leather jackets even when the rest of us are in shorts and flip flops. There are mutters of “it’s not summer yet” and “it’s only April” but that hasn’t stopped the thermometer from rising dramatically and the ned for at least two of the seven layers of clothing to be removed.
The hot weather is a far cry from the total downpours we had at the start of the month. It had been muted that perhaps the pictures appearing on Facebook of Rua dos Pescadores under water were an April Fool’s joke but I can assure you that they weren’t!
The rain came down in a torrential style and caused the entire road to resemble a river once again. There was even a mini tornado in Vilamoura and the whole term “April Showers” took on an entirely new meaning. Luckily for us this seems to be a thing of the past now and hopefully we can look forward to months of uninterrupted sunshine and high temperatures now!
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It was great that the weather was so good over Easter and I have to say that Carvoeiro looked and felt very busy over the holidays with more than a few new red and sweaty faces making an appearance and the beach filling up nicely during the day.
You know that it is summer when you have to drive around the town three times to find a space nearer to your home than your original destination and there were a couple of times I found myself almost in Intermarche before I finally got to a parking space.
This Easter there was the Easter fair once again in the little square in front of the Soares shop in the centre of the town. There were a good few stalls selling the usual selection of arts, crafts, cheese and cake and only on one of the days, Easter Sunday itself, was the weather bad and caused the stalls to shut up shop early.
The rest of the time there were a good few folks always passing through and keeping the town looking busy so well done to all those who gave their time for the fair and who helped to organize the event – I am looking out for the next excuse for us all to have a bit of a party.
The Easter holidays soon rolled in to the bank holiday for April 25 and then it was quickly on for May bank holiday which has pleased the local children no end as they have got rather used to a three day week!
Lots of the bank holidays in Portugal were cut when the bailout came in a bid to save some money and stimulate the economy but all I have noticed is that even if the bank holiday has been cancelled half the town is closed anyway because everyone seems to have simply ignored the change in the calendar.
April 25 still remains a legitimate holiday and this year the local area celebrated the 40th anniversary of the carnation revolution in Portugal with entertainment in Ferragudo in the square.
We had a visit from the new president of the Câmara to the celebrations in Ferragudo and carnations were handed out as we watched local children and adults from various dance schools including our very own Stars Dance School based at the tennis club in Carvoeiro, take to the stage for some great performances in the sunshine.
It was a shame to return to Carvoeiro where there was absolutely nothing to mark the day, let’s hope that perhaps next year there will be something in the square similar to that in Ferragudo because it really was a great way to remember the day and also helped to explain to people why we were having yet another bank holiday.
NEW BUSINESSES AND OPENINGS
As is now very usual in Carvoeiro we had more new businesses opening this month we a bit of a stir being caused by the opening of The Wolf Bar & Grill. The Wolf is in the building that used to be the Black Stove up on the O Farol and is no longer a bar and is far more of a restaurant.
The entire place has had a facelift both inside and out and now it is possible to sit upstairs on the roof terrace to enjoy the sunshine as you dig into a steak.
I have not yet managed to get there for a steak but I have been told by a couple of different people that the meat is fantastic – even if it is a little more expensive than other restaurants and steak houses in the town. So good luck to all those involved and let’s hope it will be a great success.
A little further up the O Farol in the old Barclays Bank we now have a new Spa supermarket, a great addition to anyone who is up that end of the town, especially as the Bom Dia supermarket is still yet to open leaving everyone with not much choice in the town when it comes to buying a few bits and bobs. A quick browse around the Spa and I was shocked to see that many of the items are very reasonably priced, although if they are like other local supermarkets the prices are sure to shoot up in the summer months!
We also have a new shop that has opened at the start of Rua do Barranco next to the 3 Jotas. The shop is called Ti Tereza and sells knick knacks and pretty little things to put on your mantelpiece while there have also been a lot of works done in the shop that is the fish foot spa and this is now much larger and already open for the summer.
In the square O Barco has reopened this month after it was badly damaged during the storms in January. With the great weather they managed to open just in time to get some of the Easter trade and you will never forget the name of the place again as they have added an enormous blue sign to the roof that you can probably see in Lagoa if you squint.
Finally, we have the opening of the new Tasquinha restaurant in Monte Carvoeiro in what was once Phoenix Nites. The owners are those who have the really successful Tasquinha restaurant in Lagoa behind the market and have worked really hard to make the space their own. There was a pre opening with nibbles and bites to give people a chance to be nosy and see what was going on in there and from all accounts they are doing really well at the moment.
As always it is great to see new businesses in the town and to see people investing in Carvoeiro, it makes a real difference to have bright and shiny shops and restaurants replacing places that were old and tired or even closed down so let’s hope that everyone who comes to visit us in the summer enjoys these welcome new editions to the town.
And we have some progress on the boardwalk front as the first half of the boardwalk is now open for people to walk along. You can get onto the boardwalk next to the church on the cliff tops and walk along halfway to the path down to escadinhas where you then have to get off again as the rest of the route along to Algar Seco is not yet complete.
It is a bit disappointing to see that there are steps in parts of the boardwalk which means it is not exactly easy for wheelchair users or pushchairs but it is still a massive improvement and a great place to take a few photos.
The part you can walk on it still not complete and resembles some sort of health and safety nightmare so be careful when you go along it and perhaps consider attaching your children to yourself with some rope or something to stop them from hurtling off the edge of the cliff.
With summer getting underway there are plenty of events planned for the coming months with one of the most exciting being the upcoming Carvoeiro Night “Black & White” which is going to take place through the streets of the town on June 21 to mark the summer solstice.
There are still only a few details about the event available but so far we know that there will be fire dancing, live DJs and Kiss FM will also be there on the evening which is due to start at 8.30pm and carry on through the night until 3am!
As the name implies it looks like you will be encouraged to wear either black or white for the night or you could take inspiration from the zebra and go in a combination of the two if you prefer.
This one sounds like a really great idea and a great way to encourage people into Carvoeiro for something a little different so if you haven’t booked your flights yet then make sure you bear this one in mind before you do so!
And if you are wanting to really get involved in the night then you can practice your fire eating, juggling and dancing every Saturday from May 19th until June 21 at the Centro Cultural D. Dinis in Porches where there are lessons from 10.30am until 1.30pm with Mónica Pereira – never say I don’t let you know about the widest variety of things going on in the area!
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I couldn’t sign off my newsletter for this month without referring to the possible closure of Carvoeiro and other local beaches this summer to allow for sand replenishment. You will be shocked to hear this but words fail me at this point (almost unheard of). I don’t know if anyone has let the authorities know that the beaches can get a little busy in the summer months…perhaps I should send them an email?
I’m off now to top up my tan while there is still a beach to sit on, until next month
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