Newsletter September 2015
Margarida Sampaio @
Sssh – can you hear it yet? That is the sound of a collective sigh going across the Algarve as we move into September and we get the place back to ourselves again!
This is not to say that nobody appreciates the thousands of people who come to the Algarve during August (we really do!), just that after four weeks, we want our parking space back again, and our seat at the coffee shop, and to not be faced by apocalyptic-esque scenes every time we head to the supermarket (honestly, do nine people really need to accompany one trolley when all you have gone to buy is some bread?).
I know that if you have kids in school that you need to come over during the holiday time but I really do urge anyone who can be flexible to give September a try in Carvoeiro – the beaches are less crowded, the restaurants all have a table and the weather is still gorgeous, which is probably why for lots of people Carvoeiro and the Algarve is at it very best this month.
BYE BYE SUMMER
While the temperatures are still in the 30s and the local kids are still off school (they don’t go back until September 21 – 14 weeks for summer holidays here in Carvoeiro!!) it is now autumn and Carvoeiro waved goodbye to the summer in style this year with a massive beach party on the last Saturday of the month.
Following the success of the Black and White Night beach party and the appetite for everyone around to dance like a loon on the beach in the dark, the Bye Bye Summer party proved to be another great night for the town with the beach filling up for the evening and into the early hours.
There was a worry that the event may not be as popular as it could be because Loulé had brought back their White Night which was taking place on the same night but who wants to drive all that way when you have a party on the beach on your doorstop? And the best part of it all was that it was for free!
There was a bar on the beach serving drinks or you could pay to go into the Bote club to watch the action from above, but a good few people had the forethought to bring their cool boxes down with their own beverages making it an evening that everyone could enjoy – whatever their budget
BLESSING OF THE SEA
Those who still had the energy and the rest who had not stayed on the beach until 3am were out on the last Sunday of the month to watch the annual blessing of the sea procession which was followed by music in the square and then a fireworks display.
The procession was due to start at 7pm (one year it actually did!) and by nearly 7.45pm they were making their way down the hill and through the town.
This is a beautiful procession involving the church, the maritime scouts and members of the local community. I don’t think you have to have even a religious inkling to be able to appreciate this and the statue that is adorned with flowers and is paraded through the streets accompanied by the marching band is a sombre yet beautiful sight.
I love to watch the faces of holiday makers who are quietly enjoying a beer in a café as they suddenly see the statue bobbing along the road – bemused probably best sums it up!
After the procession it was business as usual in the square with some live entertainment from an unlikely duo who managed to get the crowd going with their cheery euro-pop 80s beats before it was then on to the fireworks display which was supposed to begin at midnight but I think the organisers had borrowed the watch of the leader of the procession.
As the music stopped on the stage hundreds of people went down on to the beach, where it was still warm, and waiting for the show to start which began with the customary ear splitting crackers. The display was a good 15 minutes in total and began on the western side of the cliffs before culminating in a finale which say the fireworks being launched from both sides – something we haven’t seen in Carvoeiro since the good old days when there was some money about!
I know that the fireworks aren’t a hit with animals or lots of people who think our hard earned taxes should be directed into other avenues but if you were sat on the beach for those few minutes I can assure you, it seemed like the best idea in the world at the time (like that last drink). Let’s hope they can pull it out of the bag again next year, and if you couldn’t be there this time then be sure to mark the last Sunday of August in your diary for 2016.
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TAKE IN THE VIEW
I can’t count the number of times I have been panting up the hills on either side of the cliffs in Carvoeiro and seen someone jump over the wall to get a better view for their picture (if you hadn’t noticed these cliffs are pretty unstable!) – hopefully this will become a thing of the past because Carvoeiro now has its very own shiny view point!
Now everyone can take selfies, wave their phones around and admire the view across the beach at the view point which is located on top of the toilet block to the left of the beach.
Until recently this was just a dead space but it has been used as a spot for the DJs at the beach parties over the past couple of years and now everyone has the chance to enjoy the view.
So far we have some decking and glass walls and we hope that they will be installing some benches and perhaps even a spot of shade at some point in the future.
This really is a lovely spot and makes the town look like it is a little more prepared to welcome visitors keen to get a good look at the beach. The direction of the view point also makes it the perfect place to watch the sunset behind the cliffs so it should be popular all year round.
The only downside (there is always one) is that its close proximity to the toilets means that there is occasionally an unfavourable whiff that seeps upwards…
I try not to highlight the negative aspects of the local area in my newsletters but every now and then it is important to draw attention to certain issues that affect both residents and visitors to our beautiful town.
Since the tolls appeared on the A22 motorway, the EN125 has slowly been reverting back into the most dangerous road in Europe and during the month of August it is at its very worst.
Very sadly, last month two people dies on the EN125 near to the Sanipina garden centre between Lagoa and the International School, with police saying they had been trying to do a u-turn on this seriously busy stretch of road.
More people also died on the EN125 in other areas of the Algarve including the very tragic death of three young people near to Loulé and these cases are a further reminder of how important it is to take real care on this road.
I know paying the tolls on the A22 is unfair and quite honestly it is a pain to do if you don’t have the transponder, but when it is so busy on the roads it is a really good idea to consider paying that little bit extra to avoid the EN125 and all of the confusion there.
That being said we have a fair few accidents on the minor roads too, with one at the Poço Partido junction during August which luckily caused no serious injury, however a gentleman was run over on Rua dos Pescadores near to the Jomar café by a car reversing and not looking out for pedestrians – so I guess we all just need to take extra care.
COMING UP THIS MONTH
On to lighter things, the summer may be officially over but there is still plenty going on in and around Carvoeiro this month.
Firstly we have the live music in the square which continues (weather permitting) until the end of the month while the bars and restaurants in the town still have a packed programme of entertainment with everything from karaoke, to live bands and everything in between.
Football fans will be pleased to hear that they can go an watch our local team Carvoeiro United once again after the summer break with a friendly match against Sale FC, taking place at the home ground in Estombar on September 10 from 9.30pm.
There have been a few changes to the team and the management this season but I hope as many people as possible will be cheering for Carvoeiro again this year and let’s hope they move up the table with all of our support.
If you are a food fan then head off between September 4 and October 11 to discover the Rota do Petisco (tapas route) around Portimão, Silves, Ferragudo and the local area. Pick from over 150 eateries and then sample their chosen savoury dish and drink for €3 or try their desert option and drink for €2 and fill in your tapas route passport for a chance to win a prize!
Finally, we have the second international guitar festival of Lagoa with concerts throughout September and October for those who are looking for a little bit of cultural entertainment.
The Algarve in September sees the return of all those silly shirts and group of guys who are out for some golf, so for this month’s question on the forum I am asking your advice about the best courses, locally and a little further afield – let us know which ones are worth the money and which are all hype and no golf balls!
Until next month