Newsletter September 2016
Margarida Sampaio @
“Thank goodness it’s September”, “I’m so pleased August has gone”, “Now thing’s will be a lot better” – all phrases I have heard people uttering over the past couple of days – and oh how wrong they have been!
This past August has been a record breaking one in the Algarve with crazy high temperatures and so many people descending into the region I am unsure how the Algarve didn’t just snap off into the Atlantic. And now we are in September, strangely there has been no magic button to send everyone home or to turn down the heat at all (I’m quite sure someone has left the oven door open).
As with most things we appear to always have some vague rose tinted memory of how the summer is but I for one have been more than happy to enjoy August in Carvoeiro and it has been brilliant to see the town so full of life and people, even though it is of course really hard for the workers on the front line!
I would like to say that we have been experiencing a heat wave over August that appears to have slid effortlessly into September but I’m not sure it can be counted as a wave when it appears to last for months at a time.
Every day is over 30 degrees and that cool breeze that forces you to bring out your cardigan “just in case” during the evening has been nowhere to be found. We have actually had the mercury tipping the 40 degree mark at times and while we all like a lovely sunny day we can probably agree that temperatures more akin to the desert are not exactly what we are looking for.
Thank goodness for air conditioning and the one blessing we have had is that while the air temperature has risen, so too has the sea temperature so it has actually been possible to venture into the Atlantic without suffering a mild attack of severe cold as you dip in your toes. The water temperature along the coast has actually been up to around 24 degrees most days – I can’t imagine this being a positive thing for the environment but it has made it very pleasant for a paddle.
The high temperatures have also meant that during August we have experienced some terrible fires in Portugal and the Algarve, pretty much on a daily basis. Stats showed that of all the fires in Europe over the past month, half of them occurred in Portugal and if you have been in the region recently you are sure to have spotted the smoke in the sky at some point or have seen the flames across the Monchique mountains as it burnt through the night. Sadly many of the fires appear to have been cases of arson, which makes the mind boggle. A huge thank you to our brave Bombeiros who have worked tirelessly this summer to keep us all safe, and when we think that this is a voluntary service then it is easy to see why these men and women are held in such high esteem in Portugal.
While August has been hot and busy it has also been a whole lot of fun in Carvoeiro and the Algarve with plenty for visitors and residents to do.
The beaches have been pretty busy and with some exceptionally high tides during the month you were lucky at times to be able to even find a beach at Vale Centeanes at times. If you are not a fan of the beach during the day then you may have enjoyed it during the evenings during August. With live music on in the square every evening and a bouncy castle to keep the little ones entertained Carvoeiro beach was busy well into the evenings most nights with the busiest being the end of summer farewell party held at the end of August.
Anyone who is from northern Europe will appreciate that while the temperatures are still above 10 degrees it in no way feels like the end of summer, may have found it difficult to understand the concept of an end of summer party in August, on the beach. But the party was held on the same weekend as the Nossa Senhora de Encranação celebrations in Carvoeiro, the local religious festival that is held on the last weekend of August each year.
As usual the main parade took place on the Sunday and as usual it was about an hour late in starting but with such high temperatures it was perhaps a good thing to let the sun set a little before the guys had to carry the huge and clearly very heavy statue down the hill, around the town and back up again to the church.
After the sombre parade, which actually saw surprisingly few people turning out to watch it, there was then some live music which got everyone at least tapping their toes a little to the jolly beats, excess stage smoke and dancers.
At midnight on the Sunday it was all down to the beach for the traditional fireworks, which started a little slowly but soon built up with fireworks being fired from both sides of the cliff to great effect. What was not as great were the ones that seemed to drop a little early on to the beach…
The night before Cristian F, a well known local DJ, took to the decks for a beach party into the small hours in celebration of the end of summer and between the two events, there really was something for everyone to enjoy in Carvoeiro to mark the end of the month.
Anyone who has been to the Algarve this year will have noticed that the place has been pretty busy compared to recent years and the popularity of the Algarve has been acknowledged with the award for the Best European Beach Destination at the World Travel Awards 2016.
According to a report by the Lusa news agency, Portugal’s position as a top tourist destination “has been consolidated in a sustained manner” and this is confirmed by the prizes awarded “by the most prestigious tourism entities in the world” Turismo de Portugal said.
While the Algarve has taken one of the very top prizes at the awards, the country has picked up some 24 prizes in total. Turismo de Portugal was commenting on the prizes Portugal won at the World Travel Awards 2016 in the European tourism categories, 10 more than in 2015, and “more than ever before", they said.
While we may have been told that the summer is over it isn’t really feeling much like it and there is still plenty going on in the Algarve if you fancy getting out and about.
While in Carvoeiro itself we have the live music still in the square and in the usual haunts, there are also things to do outside the town if you fancy exploring a little.
In Lagoa we have the 3rd International Guitar festival taking place between 11th September and the end of October, there are posters dotted up all over the place to find out more about the individual events that make up the festival if you want to watch.
If you are a fan of opera then on September 23rd there is an opera night being held at the Lagoa auditorium from 9.30pm. Tickets cost €8 per person and the night has been put on by the local Ideaias de Levante cultural association and is a great introduction for those new to opera.
It may not be everyones idea of a great day out but the micro safari is still on at the Centro congress do Arade (between Parchal and Ferragudo) until the end of September. Here you can view lots of spiders, bugs and general creepy crawlies and even purchase some non-living samples if you looking for something a little different to bring back from your holidays…
Anyone looking to sample some of the local food without having to fork out for a full meal will be pleased to hear that the Rota do Petisco “Tapas Route” is back again in the Portimão area with over 100 different establishments taking part. It costs €3 to enjoy a tapas dish and a drink or €2 for a regional sweet in the participating restaurants and cafes and is a great way to try out new places you may never have otherwise stumbled upon. If you want to see the full list of the places taking part the have a look at their website www.rotadopetisco.com
Please don’t let all this talk of crowds of people and high temperatures put you off a visit this month to Carvoeiro…there is still plenty of space to lay your towel on one of the many local beaches and a table to sit at to watch the world go by with a cool drink – what more could you ask for in September!
Until next time