Newsletter January 2015
Margarida Sampaio @
Something appears to have changed in the Algarve regarding Christmas and New year, because for the first time in a very long time it actually looked like people cared about the holidays and a good deal of effort was put in by businesses, residents and local councils to make this a season to remember in the Algarve.
All over the region we had endless Christmas markets, with the enormous nativity scene down in Vila real do Santo António, the ice skating rink at Forum Algarve in Faro, the Christmas village at Lagos Zoo and a good few Christmas lights and decorations dotted about the place to let everyone know it was Christmas time.
In recent years Christmas has passed by in Carvoeiro without much of a song and a dance but this year was very different – mainly because we even had four Christmas lights up in the square!
The appearance of the Christmas lights caused quite a stir among the residents, unused to the bright lights and festive cheer in our beautiful little town, so I suppose it was a good thing that one of the neon Christmas tree lights stopped working after a couple of days – I am not sure we could have taken much more excitement after all!
In all fairness it was great to see that Carvoeiro had not been forgotten again this year. The nativity scene and lights on the roundabouts in Lagoa had returned again and we thought the budget may not stretch but it turns out I was being all too pessimistic after all – yay!
The Christmas fairs also returned to Ferragudo, Lagoa and Carvoeiro during December with the Arte Nata fair in Ferragudo receiving a lot of praise, while the fair in Lagoa not so much – mainly because the advertised giant tree with a bar beneath it was actually a metal frame without a bar and was closed off anyway due to cold weather.
Of course I may be biased but the fair in Carvoeiro was a great success with more stalls than ever this year and extending throughout the main part of the square and into the small extra area in front of the Soares shop.
We had the usual mixture of local arts and crafts as well as a stall from the local pre-schools of Carvoeiro and Porches with parents and children selling cakes to raise money to pay for a bus for a school trip and many visitors to the fair were very generous in their donations to help the local kids.
The council had put on a free bouncy castle for the children so parents weren’t robbed of hundreds of euros in loose change to pay for jumping children and the council also put on plenty of live entertainment with everything from live music to panto type performances for the children to watch – all made far more entertaining thanks to the never ending supplies of reasonably priced mulled wine.
All in all a great success and big thanks have to go out to all those who took part and supported the event which really helped to get everyone in the mood for Christmas
NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS
We may have finally got our Christmas lights but there was no way Carvoeiro was going to also get some fireworks for New Year again which is a real shame as I believe it would encourage many more people to come into the town to celebrate the New Year if we could all once again run down to the square to see the display at midnight.
There were still a good few bars and restaurants open for the evening to welcome in 2015 with many putting on live music including Bistro 72, Harrys Bar and the Jailhouse which is proving to be a very popular late night music spot for residents and visitors.
If you did want to see fireworks at midnight you didn’t have to travel far as many of the local resorts put on their own little displays while a trip down to Ferragudo would have allowed you to see the fireworks in Praia da Rocha and also from the Centro Congreso do Arade which held a late night DJ session but started off proceedings with an impressive fireworks display.
It was reported that the Algarve had record numbers of people staying for new year this year and a quick look around Carvoeiro shows that there really are many more people about than usual for this time of the year and luckily many places have been open to accommodate the mini boom in the town.
NEW YEAR, NEW START
Regular users of the Carvoeiro.com forum have already noticed some changes to how things are being run there, with the main change being the Chit Chat section replaced by "The Coffee Shop" and a fresh start.
For many years I have enjoyed reading the forum to hear what people think about what is going on in Carvoeiro and to ask questions about the local areas but I have never taken an active role before, however as the forum evolves I felt it was high time to join in and start some new discussions in this area.
I know there are some users of the forum who have loads to offer when it comes to giving advice, making recommendations and passing on information and I think it would be great to encourage new and seasoned users to try to share their knowledge and opinions about Carvoeiro with everyone out there so to help this along I will be posting each month a topic or question I would love everyone to get involved with.
This month, being as it is the start of 2015, the topic I have posted in the forum is “What would you like to see in Carvoeiro in 2015?”
I can’t personally force any changes to happen in Carvoeiro but the forum has long been a respected source of information for local businesses and residents so if we let people know what would make Carvoeiro better for 2015 then perhaps through the forum we can pass this message on!
I hope that everyone who has benefited from Carvoeiro.com and has found the information it provides over the years to be useful will join me in supporting the forum.
OUT AND ABOUT
January may be one of the least lively months of the year but with all this fantastic weather we have in the Algarve there is no excuse to sit in the house eating chocolate off the Christmas tree when we could be out and about!
This month there is not exactly lots going on in the local area but we have the usual darts matches in bars around the town taking place on Friday nights for anyone who is looking to find a bit of a crowd of an evening. We also have the weekly football matches from Carvoeiro United, held every other week at the home stadium in Estombar – if you have any questions then head down to Hemingways to find out all the details about games, times and anything else you might want to know about the team.
If you fancy a little bit of culture this month then Lagoa is hosting the Al-Mutamid music festival again with what is described as a fusion of flamenco with arab-andalusian music (I think you have to see it in person to fully understand) on January 23 at the auditorium in Lagoa.
There will also be a New Year concert from the Algarve Jazz Orchestra on January 10, also at the auditorium in Lagoa from 9.30pm which promises to be a great event as usual with all the big band favourites being played.
A little further afield we have the Querença Sausage fair taking place in the hills behind Loulé on January 18 where you can pick up some of the best examples of tasty Chouriças sausages while sampling local brews and specialities from the rural Algarve.
SUNCREAM AND CENTRAL HEATING
So far this year we have had some incredible weather and a quick look at the webcam most days will show you blue skies and people walking about in shorts and t-shirts during the day while at night you will see arctic protection being worn as we swing from highs in the mod twenties down to lows hovering around freezing.
For the first time living in Carvoeiro I actually saw people taking ice off their windscreens in the morning, something I never thought would happen!
Dropping down to freezing may not be cold for most of Europe in January but us poor souls here with tiled floors, ill fitting windows and only a wafer heater or fire that burns tonnes of wood but never seems to give out any heat have been struggling with the cold!
I am sure I will not be garnering much sympathy as during the day we frolic on the beach but if you are planning on coming over in the near future be prepared to pack the sun cream and your thermals – you have been warned!
UNTL NEXT TIME…
I am off to throw another log on the fire and then out to the pub where it is cheaper to sit and drink wine in the warmth than it is to heat my house – the wine also seems to help!
Until next month