Newsletter January 2016
Margarida Sampaio @
Happy New Year everyone! I guess I must be getting old because 2015 seemed to fly by and it is hard to believe that we are now into 2016.
While things are always changing in Carvoeiro, as the years go by what makes this little town such a special place always stays the same and I am quite sure that if you are coming to Carvoeiro this year, even if you haven’t been back for a decade or more, that you will love it just as much now as you did then.
Because it is not that Carvoeiro is the most beautiful place in the entire world (although it is right up there) or that it has the best facilities or amenities that make it the place the people return to year after year. For me it is the spirit of Carvoeiro and all of the people who live and visit, of all nationalities and backgrounds, that make this a truly unique place in the world and I hope as many of you as possible are able to join us at some point during 2016 in this very special little corner of the world.
Anyway, enough with all this sentimental stuff and on with the business of what has been going on in Carvoeiro over the past few weeks!
It would be impossible to talk about what has happened in Carvoeiro over the past month without referring to Christmas and the festive season.
We had been prepared for limited Christmas decorations around the place by the local council who had wisely decided to use the money they would have spent on lighting up Carvoeiro and Lagoa (well mainly Lagoa) on helping out those in the local area who most needed it with lots of Christmas hampers being sent out to families.
The square down by the sea in Carvoeiro actually did get some lights put up which helped to give a festive feel and of course lots of the bars, restaurants and local businesses all got into the spirit of the season with their own twinkly lights and decorations about the place.
The local school children got the season started with a Santa parade through the town on the last day of school with around 100 mini mother and father Christmases marching through the streets of Carvoeiro and handing out little pieces of paper to passers-by with Christmas wishes written on them.
Then it was on to the Carvoeiro Christmas market which has over the years grown to be a lovely little event with a mixture of stalls and live entertainment which this year took place on the big stage by the beach.
It was great to see so many people turning out for the market even though the weather was a little questionable at times. There was also a good selection of stalls from local crafts people and businesses as well as chances to support the local school by buying a couple of slices of cake (well it was for a good cause after all) and the opportunity to pick up a scarf, shirt or festive hat from Carvoeiro United.
This year we also had the inclusion of a giant snow globe that children were able to get inside of and play around in the fake snow – which turned out to be polystyrene balls (the sort you find in beanbags) and ended up in the ears, down the trousers and up the noses of every child that dared to enter. Needless to say, the children loved it, not so sure how great the idea was though as we watched thousands of little balls blow over the beach and into the sea as each child came out of the globe?
New year celebrations in Carvoeiro have never really been the same since the fireworks stopped but that didn’t stop lots of people heading out for a meal or to join the party in one of the bars or restaurants that was open.
Those that were looking for a bigger event headed off to the Centro Congresso do Arade in Parchal where there was a massive dinner and then fireworks and dancing but the biggest events were all in Albufeira – which had to clean itself up again after flooding – again – in the downtown area.
The cloudy weather on the night meant that it was difficult to see any of the fireworks but lots of people headed up to the boardwalk in Carvoeiro to get the best possible view of any fireworks as you can see all the way to Lagos on a clear day from up here.
I always like to keep everyone updated about the weather we are having here in Carvoeiro and I can safely say that we have had a very mixed bag over the past few weeks!
According to the Lusa news agency December 2015 was the second warmest over the past 84 years in Portugal, only coming second to the December of 1989. We did have glorious sunshine and it was warm enough to walk about without a coat up until Christmas but since then, things have taken a turn for the wetter and it feels like we may never see the sunshine again at the moment with high winds and a constant threat of rain always looming in the dark clouds on the horizon.
I know that it was five years ago that we had one of the longest and wettest winters I can ever remember, so I am hoping that this is not the return of the never ending damp and that the sun will make a welcome return very soon (fingers crossed). It is however not really very cold at all, with night temperatures often only falling to the 16 degrees mark so I guess we can’t complain too much – at least it is rain and not snow!
As always there are also new additions to Carvoeiro every month and this month is no different with the opening of Spot – formerly known as Pele’s or the Tres Irmaos – the little coffee shop opposite Happy’s and the Round-Up saloon and just around the corner from Mungo’s bar.
For years the coffee shop has been known for serving up late night drinks and very early pick me ups – often meaning that during the summer you can literally be out 24 hours a day if you plan your venues correctly (not that I would know anything about that of course).
The Spot now has a more contemporary feel to it and they have changed things about, as much as is possible in a place that you could possibly only swing a kitten and not even a cat in, given the place a lick of paint and have turned it more into a bar instead so good luck to all involved and I hope they are able to make the business a success – it certainly is great to have another place to choose from at this time of the year when so many of the bars, cafes and restaurants are closed.
Also on the what’s new front we have the works going on in the large building next to Vernon Real Estate (near to the taxi rank). All I have to say on this matter is that I have heard from several different people that the building has been bought by Sotherby’s who appear to be doing the entire building up. As yet nobody has been able to say whether it will be used as offices for Sotherby’s or if it is going to be sold on for use as something else and here the story ends.
I write about this here because the speculation about this building is driving me crazy still – so let’s just leave it a case of “wait and see” and we can all enjoy the surprise!
What we shan’t talk about though are the works going on in another location near to the square where one certain business has made considerable alterations to a property leading many (including local members of the council) to denounce the work as illegal to anyone who will listen! There have been many angry posts on Facebook about the situation but being as we can never be sure of all of the facts, I am reserving judgement – although it is true to say that it would be difficult to call the alterations “improvements” – See if you can spot the difference when you are next taking a walk down to Carvoeiro beach.
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While alterations to buildings, legal or not, are always a hot topic of conversation in Carvoeiro we also have more interesting news on the works front with things starting to happen up by the church in preparation for the new amphitheatre area to be constructed here.
The plans for the open air theatre area on the cliff tops in Carvoeiro were announced in 2014 and we have had a big sign promising something new for some time now in the location but finally it seems that the project is moving ahead – although we have no idea when the works will actually be completed.
If this project is anything like the boardwalk then it will push on quickly, if it is like any of thousands of other projects in the Algarve – we could be in for a long wait…let’s watch this space.
January is perhaps one of the more difficult months to get through but at least we have the knowledge that carnival is just around the corner and we will all have an excuse to get dressed up and look very special and forget the winter blues!
This year carnival lands on February 9, pretty early compared to normal so I would suggest picking a costume that is built for warmth and maybe leaving the nipple tassels for next year instead.
There are no details as yet about carnival in Carvoeiro but if all follows the usual plans there will be parades at the weekend and also on the Tuesday itself so make sure you are about for this one – it is always a great afternoon out and there is always lots of piggy sandwiches and the little beer truck to keep you amused as you wait for everyone to make their 11th lap of the town…