Newsletter March 2015
Margarida Sampaio @
Ahh, the feeling of the warm sunshine on my face – spring has sprung and Carvoeiro is looking all the cheerier for the blue skies and sunny days!
As a hug fan of Carvoeiro, I do of course love every time of year in the town but to be honest I find the little white houses and cobbled streets look all the more inviting in the sunshine than in the rain.
If you read my newsletters regularly you will have noticed that I am now trying to encourage a little bit of debate on the forum with a question being posed each month. Last month I asked about what your favourite time of year in Carvoeiro was (mine is September in case you were wondering) and it was great to see such a good response.
The forum is a fantastic place for people who love Carvoeiro to share information, news and stories about the local area while for those new to the area if you need to find something out then there really is no better place to go!
This month I am asking for some hints and tips about your favourite places off the beaten track in the Algarve. Where do you take people to see something a little different, to drink medronho in the hills, to fish from the cliffs or to eat authentic food? We would love to hear from you and if you want to see my top tip then have a look at the forum now and share yours too!
We can hardly move into the month of March without a rundown of one of the biggest social events of the year in Carvoeiro – Carnival!
If you have never been in Portugal on Shrove Tuesday you may wonder what all the fuss is about – you can still get your pancakes of course if you are that way inclined but beware they will be more crepe like and usually covered in Nutella – however in Portugal they don’t really go for the whole pancake day thing and instead have Carnival.
In the Algarve the biggest parade for Carnival takes place the weekend before and on the Tuesday in Loulé. Here you will find a good few ladies wearing nothing more than body paint, a string like piece of material to protect their modesty and a cheery smile as they dance to the sounds of samba music. In Carvoeiro it is not exactly the same.
But it’s still great!
And this year the local people of Carvoeiro were out in force with their floats, costumes, unending dancing and good cheer (in no small way fuelled by piggy sandwiches and the odd “warm win” or cold beer or two).
There were not as many floats in the parade which took place on the Sunday and on fat Tuesday itself as last year but the enthusiasm levels of all involved were as high as usual, ranging from over excitable to totally unimpressed (these were mainly the children).
We had some very energetic Oompa Lumpas and a surly one on a bicycle as well as a float covered in oversized sweets, then there was the political satire with the float designed to look like the prison housing former prime minister Jose Socrates followed by inmates and prison guards and we also had an ode to Valentine’s Day float sporting a semi naked young man (a different one for each parade) being tended to by little love cherubs which looked more appropriate when these were not eight year old children and were adults instead.
There were some worries on the Sunday as local legend Danny had failed to appear but all was well on the main day as he led the parade in another outlandish outfit while terrified/bored/ecstatic children looked on. The bikers also came out on Tuesday and we were treated to the site of the coolest and calmest dog on ear in full costume riding on motorbike with his master.
You couldn’t make it up.
So, it wasn’t Rio (it rained there!) and the weather wasn’t brilliant and there weren’t so many floats and many of the costumes were dubious but it wouldn’t be carnival in Carvoeiro unless it was like this and if you can arrange to be in the town for this time of the year it really is well worth it!
Congratulations to all those who got involved and let’s hope we have more floats and participants next year to bring some cheer to a dreary February afternoon or two!
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As is customary every month there is something new changing in Carvoeiro and this month is no different.
We have seen the opening of Kula Bar on the O Farol, in what used to be the Talvez cocktail bar, sandwiched between Brady’s Irish pub and Casa Algarvia. The bar has been taken over by the team at Havana cocktail bar just slightly down the road near to the Indian.
The bar has a totally new look and a relaxed atmosphere and if they do half as well here as they do at Havana then they are on to a winner!
We also have more works taking place on Rua do Barranco with another of the small traditional houses being knocked down completely to make way for a new building. The one in question was up opposite Sandoskas and was a favourite of mine thanks to its delightfully Hobbit like doorway with the number seven above it (I always thought this was perhaps the maximum age to be able to fit inside). Now it is a hole in the wall and if you are trying to get through the town, especially in the morning when you are late for work, be aware that Rua do Barranco is often closed for short periods as they deliver off cement and other bits in huge lorries – you have been warned!
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
Why do women need to have a special day just for them? I was asked recently…answers on a postcard please.
International Women’s Day takes place each year on March 8 and certainly in the Algarve, this is something that is taken pretty seriously as a night when the women escape the home and hit the town.
Lots of the restaurants and bars offer flowers to women on this day or put on special menus or offers for groups of women and it is generally accepted that this is ladies night – again you have been warned.
While for many International Women’s Day is an excuse to let your hair down it also has a very serious side and in Carvoeiro cancers that specifically affect women will be being discussed in the square on March 8 between 3pm and 5pm. Basically this will involve the SOS Oncology charity distributing leaflets and information to anyone interested about ovarian, breast and cervical cancer from the square so if you are looking for information then this is a great place to start.
It has been a tough few weeks for our local FCCU Carvoeiro United football team with a string of losses, red cards and injuries depleting the team but they have managed to bounce back and it looks like the team are back on track to complete the season not at the bottom of the table.
A great local derby at the end of February saw them take on Lagoa at home. Being as it was a local derby there was even more pressure on the team than usual but to be honest most fans were not expecting miracles, especially after Carvoeiro United lost so emphatically to Lagoa the last two times they met.
However, some great play, a wonderful goal keeping error by Lagoa, a fair referee and some amazing crowd support saw FCCU hold their own and finish the game at 1-1.
Congratulations to all involved for keeping their heads held high and also to all the fans who continue to show their support – there are now at least two songs for the team as well as the megaphone, oversized flag and Carvoeiro Ultra hard core fan club and a conga line through the stands after the equalising goal against Lagoa had to be a highlight for any football fan!
Carvoeiro United play every other Saturday at home in Estombar (pitch needs must) but if you are looking for more live football to watch then this month we have the Algarve Cup coming to our doorstep.
This is an international women’s football tournament featuring some of the best teams in the world and four games are to be played at the Bela Vista stadium in Parchal just down the road between Lagoa and Portimão.
There will be a 2.30pm game between Japan and Denmark and then a 6pm game of Portugal against France on March 4, while on March 9 japan will face France at 2.30pm followed by Brazil taking on Germany at 5.30pm. Entry to the games is free so why not go along and cheer your favourites.
EASTER IN CARVOEIRO
Easter falls really early this year, over the weekend of April 3-5 which means I have no information at all about if there will once again be an Easter fair in Carvoeiro as nothing has been put out there about it yet!
When a final decision is made, then look out for information from the local Junta which you can see on Facebook and hopefully we will once again have something to fill the sunny afternoons over the Easter period.
Now that the sun and warm weather has returned to Carvoeiro, the town appears to have sprung back into life so look out for all your favourite bars, restaurants and businesses reopening for the season and we hope to see you here soon!
I am off to pretend to do some work while sitting in the sunshine with a glass of wine…it’s a hard life