Newsletter October 2014

Margarida Sampaio @

Summer came to an abrupt end in September with the usually long warm evenings and gorgeous days being rudely interrupted by heavy down pours, thunder and lightning.  So now as we move into October it is already starting to feel like it may well be a very long winter if this bad weather keeps up.

Usually September in Carvoeiro is one of the best months of the year.  The crowds have gone and the snow bird residents start to return home for the winter but sadly the horrible weather has really put a dampener on things!
This is not to say that we have not had a few good days of weather over the month, we of course have had some really hot days too but just not as many as we would have liked to be able to enjoy the quieter beaches and less crowded restaurants.
While it may have been pretty miserable here in the Algarve we do have to think of those in other parts of Portugal who had it far worse than us down here.  Up in Lisbon there were flash floods leading to the closure of parts of the metro system and damaging buildings across the city.  In other areas of Portugal schools were closed and the wet weather has left farmers across the country struggling with their crops – and all this while the UK has the driest September in memory!

The weather may not have been great but we still have plenty of people about in Carvoeiro as we swap the families with children for groups of golfers and couples looking to get away from it all and enjoy a round or two in the sunshine (when it is about).
Entertainment across Carvoeiro continues through September and while the main stage activities are coming to an end in the square the bars up and down the town all continue to put on their weekly quizzes (on Mondays in Hemingways and Wednesdays in Harrys) live music and Karaoke (in Bistro 72, Mungo’s, Round-Up, the Jailhouse and plenty more) and are now back into showing all the sports at the weekend which can help to keep you busy on a damp day in town!
There may be less people out and about but this does not seem to have had an adverse effect on the restaurants in town which appear to be as busy as ever during September both during lunch and dinner sittings.  It really does feel like we are over the worst of the crisis and that things are getting back on track.

As the recession starts to ease up a little it is also noticeable the number of properties that are moving on the market in Carvoeiro.  Not only do we have new faces coming to live in the town and surrounding area (of many different nationalities) I am also hearing from the real estate agents in town that things are on the up.
There was a time when it was virtually impossible to even give away a property the market was so bad but not it seems to have levelled off and prices are more realistic for buyers looking to invest in Carvoeiro.
Villas, apartments and plots of land are all now being sold on a regular basis which can only be a good thing for Carvoeiro as a whole and proves that this still remains a sought after location for a second home or to permanently relocate to in the sunshine – anyone who has stayed in Carvoeiro will be able to testify to that!

The return of confidence to buyers coming to Carvoeiro is certainly being reflected in the actions of the local council who continue to invest in the town and in improving the amenities and facilities.
I have been writing this newsletter for some time now and I have never known a period before this when I have actually had so many council initiatives to report on.  I don’t think that it matters what your political affiliations are, the new council have shown their commitment to Carvoeiro and to improving things here both for residents and visitors already.
Last month we had the new mural and the boat at the entrance to the town to improve the first impressions and now we have the announcement of a new amphitheatre to be constructed behind the church on the cliff tops.
A large billboard went up in September showing computer generated images of how the amphitheatre is going to look and letting us know that this is going to be constructed at a cost of 110,771 euros (very specific!).
The playground next to the church is to be moved to an empty piece of land next to the school to open up the area around the church and to give better access to the new amphitheatre and to really make the most of this wonderful viewpoint with gardens and seating areas.
Creating this open air theatre will add an extra dimension to Carvoeiro and will also provide a much needed area to stage shows and entertainment without having to block the view of the sea with the stage in the square – although this will continue I am sure in the summer months. 
Anyone who was in the square during the height of the summer at one of the big events such as the orchestra would have seen the lack of space for the performers and also for the audience to be able to see what is going on and hopefully this will sort out these problems.

Anyone who has been over and had the chance to have a walk along our lovely new boardwalk will have noticed that is great during the day but not so wonderful at night due to a lack of lighting.  So great news for those evening walkers as there are plans to install lighting along the floor of the path that will provide a dim presence light in the dark, they may not be very strong lights but this is because they will be solar powered to save money and protect the environment and it is also better not to cause any ore light pollution along our wonderful cliff tops.
There are also plans being talked about to build a second boardwalk from Algar Seco to vale Covo in the east to increase the access along this spectacular piece of coastline.  Preliminary studies are underway to assess the viability of the project which will be almost twice the length of the existing one at just over a kilometre in length.
A further walkway linking Marinha beach and Vale Centeanes is also being discussed but is still very much being seen as a hypothetical – although I would love to see it be done!

Those of us who pay our taxes here will have noticed that the recession really hit everyone very hard.  Rates have increased, water bills and electricity bills are rocketing and it is sometimes hard to see where all these funds are going.
For many years there seemed to be Lagoa/Carvoeiro divide with a lot of complaints being thrown at the fact that other areas of the municipality seemed to be getting a considerably better deal than us folk down in Carvoeiro but the tides do seem to be turning in our favour.
It can be hard to be really happy about a new lick of paint on buildings and a wooden walk way when you see the deprivation that continues in the local area for many but pulling us out of the problems is going to take efforts on all sides and I think in general we have to see the improvements being made in Carvoeiro as a positive step to recovery.
The better Carvoeiro looks, the more it has to do and the nicer a place it is to live in can only help us all.  Even if you do not work in tourism if you have a property here then it can help the price to go back up – this really is a time to look on the bright side.

There have not been so many new businesses opening up in the past month which may indicate that things are finally settling down (as much as they ever can in Carvoeiro where things seem to change by the week!).  So far this month all I have to report is that Rascals Bar (up the hill past Sullys behind Grande Café) is now under new management.  Sandra and Chris and the family have now taken over the bar and have lots of plans for events and promotions so pop in and say hello for a drink on the terrace and to find out what they have planned!

It’s October so it must mean that Halloween is on the way (yay my favourite excuse to pull out all my goth clothes and put on far too much black eyeliner).
As with any event that seems to take place here I have no details about this because it is more than two days before the date itself, however, I am going to go along te lines that it is very likely that similar activities to those that have taken place over the past five years are going to continue in Carvoeiro!
We usually have a little parade by the school children from the pre school that takes place on the day in the morning and involves them looking very cute and then threatening you with flour in your face unless you give them lots of sweets (they mean it too!)
In the early evening we have a few trick or treaters heading out to take the sweets you find on the side of your coffee from the restaurants and then it is on to the adults who hit the bars.
Havana bar have a tradition of coming up with some of the best costumes and decorations but Boa Vida bar (celebrating one year under new management this month on October 2) have shown they like to get into the spirit of things while you can always rely on Hemingways, Smilers Bar and Sullys to do something for the night.
If you are not too tired from dragging yourself up and down the street zombie fashion then it is off to Mungos bar for some Monster mashing until the early hours – now what could be better than that for entertainment in Carvoeiro!

If you are looking for some local events this month then don’t forget the Better Living in Portugal exhibition taking place at Portimão arena on October 4 and 5 or the Obrigado Portugal festival at the Fontes in Estombar over the same weekend.
We also have the Portuguese Masters golf tournament in Vilmamoura on the Victoria Course between October 9th and 12th and the Algarve Classic Festival at the autodrome near Portimão from October 17th to 19th.
I am off now to prepare my porridge and glue mixture to pour over my face to scare the children and then it will be time to prepare my Halloween costume…
NEW ARTICLE in the Financial sectionNew law on tourism rentals October 1st 2014