Newsletter April 2015
Margarida Sampaio @
It feels like summer has already arrived in Carvoeiro and while the heat wave is not set to continue, it has been good to feel the sun again and to dare to reveal some (not all) parts of the body that have been hidden through the winter months! The arrival of the warmer weather in the Algarve has also heralded the arrival of all things summery and ready for the visitors, some good, while others not quite so welcome.
The eternal question about how to fit all the cars that want to park in Carvoeiro into the little streets continues to remain largely, unsolved with no plans being put forward to answer it in the near future. What we have seen in recent years is the introduction of paid parking along Rua do Barranco, between the junction by A Vela restaurant and up until the bins, just before Taste Restaurant.
The paid parking is back in force now in Carvoeiro after the signs and machines were wrapped up for the winter in the highly effective yet not so aesthetically appealing black bin liners. Over the winter months you can park along here for free but now we are expecting the legions of hire cars to return we have to pay for the privilege of being able to park up here.
To be fair, the prices for an entire day are very reasonable compared to many other places in the world but for many the introduction of the paid parking comes very early in the year. Because while we are seeing people pour into Carvoeiro over Easter, they all just as swiftly leave without any real amount of visitors expected until late May.
It is very frustrating to see the empty spaces along the road, not being used by those who would rather not pay but I guess it is better that at least the parking is not all year around!
Easter marks the start of the summer season again in the Algarve and Carvoeiro is no different with the restaurants, bars and ice cream shops all opening their doors again as the weather warms up.
Pretty much all of the businesses in the town are now open after winter breaks including the ever popular Round Up Saloon for those of you eager to check out if Big Will has a new pair of clogs and the ice cream shops around the town for anyone keen to sample some of the new flavours (the mint choc chip is clearly still the ultimate though!).
Carvoeiro will be holding its annual little Easter fair again this year in the little square in front of the Soares shop, with a selection of stalls featuring 14 different artisans selling everything from local liqueurs to photos of the local area.
The event will be taking place between April 3 and April 5 in the little square between 10am and 6pm each day and is a great place to pick up interesting and unique bits and pieces while also supporting local people who put their time into crafting the local products.
There also promises to be some entertainment put on each day, so grab a cool drink in one of the local establishments and relax in the Easter sunshine!
WINE IN LAGOA
Also taking place over the Easter weekend is the first ever Lagoa Wine Show, which is running from April 2 until April 4, although it is not actually in Lagoa but in Parchal at the Centro Congressos do Arade.
This is a new event and one worth checking out if you are about, offering visitors the chance to sample some of the wines of the region while also providing guests with a chance to take part in debates and lectures.
The focus of the event is clearly going to be wine and the €5 entry fee will also provide you with a glass for your tastings, but there is also a focus on food and entertainment, making this a good one for all ages and even for those who are not so keen on wine!
You can watch cooking shows during the event but if you want to attend the concerts then you do have to pay an extra €10 for the pleasure and if you are not sure if you are a fan or not of Pedro Abrunhosa, DJ Poppy or Ana Moura, then it may be worth having a listen to some of their stuff before shelling out.
SUNSHINE AND RAIN
The start of April has seen a heat wave with the last few days of March seeing the mercury rising right up to the 30 degree mark, but as is usual at this time of the year we have had our fair share of rain too.
Anyone who was about in Carvoeiro at this time last year will remember the storms that we had with Rua dos Pescadores turning into a white water river and it seems the problems with drainage have not been resolved yet as again we see the water levels rising as soon as it starts to rain.
Rain is of course necessary in the Algarve but I do feel for those who came in mid March and spent the entire week dodging the puddles while the next week the temperatures were up into the mid twenties.
It never fails to astonish me that despite the fact that it does rain regularly in the winter months in the Algarve, that nothing is ever done to make life easier when it does pour down.
A trip to the Aqua shopping centre in Portimáo during one particularly heavy downpour left me contemplating the sanity of a shopping centre designer who made all the escalators stand out without cover? This left a queue of more than 50 waiting to try and get into a lift, another 80 or so standing watching the rain and trying not to get wet under the little cover there was and then a couple of mad foreigners dragging their kids up the escalator in a torrential rain storm, determined to get to McDonalds before the rain stopped.
I won’t get started on the attitude of some drivers in the rain, except to note that a driver in their twenties was sadly killed on the EN125 near Almancil during this rainy week.
I guess my point (yes I am getting there!) is that if the Algarve is to combat seasonality as the government is so keen to push, then perhaps they should remember that the sun only shines for 300 days a year in the Algarve and usually those other 65 days involve rainstorms of biblical proportions.
APOLONIA AND THE ROUNDABOUT
So daily trips up to Lagoa mean that I have been able to carefully monitor the progress of the new Apolonia supermarket being built next to the Aldi just before you reach Lagoa. I am pleased to report that progress is going well (putting on my engineering hat here) and they have put in some stair cases and are using cranes to great effect.
But this is far from the most exciting element of the new supermarket – that would have to be the roundabout!
I took issue with the tiny roundabout that was built on the Carvoeiro side of Aldi when it was first built, mainly because I left Carvoeiro in the morning to return under the cover of darkness (I prefer it that way) to drive straight into an unlit, half-finished tiny roundabout.
Since then I have watched as buses struggle to get round, cars appear to tip onto two wheels as they screech round the tight corners and drivers unaware of its construction basically drive into it.
But we have progress! The roundabout has been enlarged, after weeks of driving through pot holes of unknown depth filled with rainwater, the tarmac is down, calçada being finished off and there was even a mini digger adding the hugely important gravel and features required for every roundabout in Portugal it seems - success!
Over the last couple of months I have been posting up some topics on the forum and we have had some brilliant replies that I have really enjoyed reading! This month I have created another new topic that I hope will show the funnier side to the Algarve and I am asking “What is the weirdest experience you have had in the Algarve?”
For me, there are perhaps too many to recount but in the interest of fairness, mine involves a tale including a man dressed all in white, a mosquito plague and a deserted island…have a look at the forum to read more and to share your own weird Algarve stories with us all!
UNTIL NEXT MONTH…
I am off now to catch the last rays of sunshine before the inevitable April showers return and to log on to the forum to read some of your weird Algarve stories!