Newsletter May 2015
Margarida Sampaio @
Can it possibly be May already? It only seems like yesterday that we were lamenting about the lack of people in the town and the cold weather and now we are already struggling to find a parking space and fighting to the front of the queue for an ice cream!
May has to be one of my favourite times of the year in Carvoeiro, especially when the weather is warm. There are enough people about for there to be a lively atmosphere wherever you go but the crowds are yet to arrive and you can easily find a space to park your towel on any beach in the area.
I am a little later than usual with this month’s newsletter because I was taking the time to enjoy the long bank holiday weekend in Portugal and we have been treated to some amazing weather that has left me some rather interesting patterns of white and bright red all over my body thanks to some slapdash sun cream application.
May 1 is the workers bank holiday and really the last chance for people to get together in the Algarve before the onset of the summer season and the seven day working weeks.
It is traditional for everyone to come together on May 1 and head out either to the beach or into the countryside to enjoy a picnic with family and friends on this day and this year the sunshine brought out the crowds in force.
If you are about this month and missed out on the May 1 picnic then be sure to seek out some snails if you are looking for a traditional snack, as this is the best time of the year to enjoy them. I am not talking about those enormous ones that require jaws of steel to be able to chew through but instead the little snails cooked in plenty of garlic and best enjoyed with a cool bottle of beer or a glass of green wine.
There are a few places in Carvoeiro that serve up snails and one of the best has to be Doce Mar, just beside the Post Office – why not give them a go and don’t think that these are just for adults either, kids generally love them and have less of an issue about their dubious, slightly snotty appearance – a treat for all the family!
We may have Zoomarine down the road but if you are looking for dolphins in their natural environment then just take a look out to sea at this time of the year when you are often likely to spot a few as they play in the waves.
There have been many dolphin sightings along the coast in the past couple of weeks and this is a great excuse for anyone wanting to sit in a beach bar all day long (if you need one that is).
If you don’t spot any dolphins from the land while you are here in the Algarve then there are a number of boat trips that advertise wild dolphin watching in the Algarve, with many boasting a 90% chance of seeing dolphins on any given day and even some offering a refund if you don’t see any.
Carvoeiro is known for the boat trips from the beach to go and explore the beautiful caves of the area but it is worth considering a dolphin watching boat trip if you are out here and looking for something a little different to do.
Those who prefer to stay on dry land for their entertainment will be pleased to know that the beloved tourist train has returned to Carvoeiro for the summer season and can be found parked up in the square ready for rides around the local area and of course the weekly trips down to Ferragudo.
Those who are regular visitors to Carvoeiro will be all too aware of the tourist train. Anyone with small children will have probably spent many hours circling Carvoeiro repetitively while those with a car will know the joy you feel as you come round the corner to find the tailback of traffic all stuck behind the train on a very hot August day when you are in a hurry and the air conditioning is broken.
If you have not been to Carvoeiro before then this is actually a rally helpful little tour of the local area and a great way to get some perspective about distances between the resorts, the beaches and the town. Kids also love the tourist train and you can be sure of a wave from me as you go by!
There is always something going on in Carvoeiro, even if most of the time it looks like nothing ever changes!
This month we have seen the very exciting painting of Taste restaurant, which is now an unmissable yellow and purple combination, we also have Joker Bar under new management with Cesar now in charge and offering a new feel to the little bar that has to be the perfect place to hide while you pretend you have gone to book a table for dinner but require a quick beverage before returning.
The new Apolonia supermarket is still under construction and is so big it obliterates all views of Lagoa from Carvoeiro but it looks like they are making good progress here.
We also have the news that the family who run O Barco in the square are going to be taking over the management of O Boteco, the restaurant perched above Paraiso beach. Still unsure of the opening date but this really is a gorgeous spot and some new life being brought to this area of Carvoeiro can only be a great thing.
The introduction of the tolls onto the A22 motorway was not exactly welcomed by anyone in the region, with nobody happy about having to pay to use a road we all thought the good people of Europe had basically funded for us?! However the reality of the tolls is that more and more people are using the EN125 road instead and with more traffic, there have been more accidents.
There have been many reports in the local press about the EN125 and the crashes that occur all too regularly all along this stretch of road. I would love to say that all you have to do is drive carefully and all is fine but in reality this road is becoming increasingly dangerous and is quickly reverting back to being one of the most dangerous roads in Portugal. So please take care, leave good distances and be aware of others on the roads if you have to use this road and if you have to travel some distance then I would suggest that it may be worth paying the tolls.
While we are on serious issues it also has to be mentioned that the Lagoa area made the national news in the past few weeks because of the cases of extreme animal cruelty that had been uncovered here, namely dogs being thrown off cliffs with bricks tied around their necks.
I don’t think you need to be an animal love to also find these acts truly disgusting and thankfully such extreme acts are usually rare but sadly do continue to occur.
What we can be proud of in Carvoeiro is the amazing work done by VillaPet vets, the vets located on Rua do Barranco in front of Harrys Bar. It was the vets here who helped out the dogs thrown off the cliffs and they do a huge amount of work for local animals in Carvoeiro without any charge.
If you want to show your support for their work then they have a collection pot in their surgery that you can add to.
On to happier subjects and as we move nearer to the summer the amount of live entertainment about is also increasing. We still have no news as yet about when the music on the square will be up and running again but if it is like previous years, then this should take place from June – so look out for info!
Many of the local bars and restaurants are already putting on entertainment including in Mungos, Round Up, Taste, Rascals and in the Jailhouse but if you are looking for something a little different then Lagoa is welcoming back choral week between May 16 and 23 with various performances planned and details available from the Junta.
It seems the local councils are saving their entertainment budgets for the peak summer season so there are not all that many big events happening this month across the region but you can be sure of plenty for June, including the return on the Superbikes between June 5-7 at the Autodromo do Algarve near Portimão.
Last month I asked you all to share some of your weirdest experiences in the Algarve on the forum and thank you very much to those of you who shared with us all – there were some crackers!
This month I have started a new thread on the forum and I am asking “Where do you take visitors when they come to Carvoeiro?” Let us know about the best restaurants, beaches and hidden spots that are a “must” for anyone coming to Carvoeiro for the first time! I have added in my top place to take visitors in Carvoeiro and I am sure you have loads to add to the list – I look forward to reading them throughout the month.
I am off to finish off another plate of snails and to try and mask my shameful sunburn which is looking like peeling rather than turning golden brown…