Newsletter March 2017
Margarida Sampaio @
Nothing feels quite as good as heading to the beach in the winter and then posting a very self-satisfied photo on social media and we have been lucky enough over the past few weeks to be able to flood your news feeds with sunny beach photos! However it is still winter here and for as many of those sunny days we have had, we have also had a good few grey and even cold days – we just don’t tend to show them as often!
The biggest thing to happen in the village during February had to be carnival, which took place at the end of the month.
On the Friday there was a parade from the local children of the crèche, pre-school and primary school with lots of little kings and queens taking to the streets and walking for miles o those little legs. Congratulations to all the children who made it round the entire route – and also to the parents of the smallest participants who demonstrated impressive upper body strength as they carried their little ones around the village a few times.
The main days for carnival are the Sunday and the Tuesday and on the Sunday we had incredible weather helping to boost the party atmosphere which was fuelled by piggy sandwiches and a good few plastic glasses of beer. Tuesday did not have quite such warm weather and we were left in the tricky situation of needing a big coat for half the time and sunglasses and shorts for the other half.
This year we had a good number of floats in Carvoeiro and those who dressed up put in a great effort with their themes which had a nautical theme and included a good few mermaids as well as some pirates.
Carnival heralds the end of the winter months in general in the Algarve – even if the weather is not of the same mind, and it is great to see so many people coming out to offer their support and to create a party atmosphere in general.
To be honest there were not nearly as many people for the parade this year as in recent years but this could have a lot to do with the fact that down in Armação de Pêra RTP1 television were broadcasting live for the day on national television. The lure of fame saw many people choosing to spend the day down the coast rather than in Carvoeiro itself but hopefully we will see the usual crowds return again next year to enjoy carnival back in Carvoeiro.
WORKS, WORKS AND MORE WORKS
Election time is on the way, so it is customary at this time of the electoral calendar to push the boat out and complete a huge amount of works in the local area and anyone who has been in the Algarve recently will have noticed a boom in activity.
One of the worst areas in Carvoeiro had to be up in Monte Carvoeiro where we have had the “is it a roundabout” saga continuing for months. While I’m not exactly sure the saga is actually over we do now have a drivable road surface up in Monte Carvoeiro now and the enormous blue roundabout does not seem easier to get around – if you have not driven up past Paraiso beach recently then look out for the surprise at the top of the hill as you come around the blind bend!
There are works continuing to go on at the entrance to the village – which may explain where the boat has gone – it doesn’t however really explain why we have gone to great lengths to create a path that leads to nowhere…
And if you are planning on travelling anywhere along the EN125 then be prepared for some pretty hefty delays as they have restarted the works here in earnest – especially between Vilamoura and Albufeira where there are now traffic lights to control the traffic as the bridges are repaired and roads resurfaced. If you are travelling at peak times then it is a good idea to take the A22 unless you have plenty of time to kill.
SUMMER IS COMING
Carnival always feels like the summer season, and while everyone is expecting 2017 to be a great year for tourism there is no denying that we are actually a long way off the summer actually starting again – despite some great weather and warm temperatures. While the crowds may not yet be here we are seeing lots of the local businesses reopening their doors this month with one of the main changes being the reopening of the Glamour strip club. Over the winter months the club, located below Casa Algarvia (the restaurant that had a chimney fire at the start of March), was transformed into a jazz club with regular performances from Beto and his band at the weekend. I am not sure what was behind the decision but the jazz club is being reverted back into a Gentleman’s (ahem) club again.
Smilers has been open for a little while now but the other big places, Mungo’s, Round-up etc are all due to reopen again during March and hopefully by the time it comes to Easter in mid April there will be enough people about to create a lively atmosphere again in Carvoeiro.
The strange bike stand that has been in the main square in Carvoeiro for weeks now finally has some bikes in it!
We watched with excitement as the bikes were all unloaded into the stands and then watched as everyone just looked at them and wondered how on earth anyone was going to be able to use these fantastic electric bikes (great for those of us who don’t fancy putting in the pedal power to get up the hills in Carvoeiro!).
It turns out that these bikes are actually pretty clever and you can rent them by the hour, the day or take out a monthly subscription which gives you the first 30 minutes of each rental for free. Prices start at €5 for an hour or €18 for a day pass and there is even a special offer for residents who are keen to try out the system.
Basically you can use the bikes by downloading an app on to your phone and then becoming a member of the scheme or you can become a member by accessing the information through their website (available in English and Portuguese) and then wait for your membership card to come through the post to then use the bikes. It all comes across as a little confusing to begin with on the website but once you have registered yourself then it is simple to get on your bike and explore the local area!
There are bikes available in Ferragudo, Carvoeiro and also in Sra da Rocha – so you should always be able to find some charged up and ready to hit the road.
Visit www.bewegen.pt for the free trial subscription available for residents until April 2017 or to register as a member of the shared bike scheme
We may not have the stage up in the square yet or much in the way of live music in many of the bars but there are things going on in the Algarve still – I promise! At this time of the year you just have to look a little harder for what is going on and be prepared to perhaps jump into the car for some of the bigger events.
If you want to see what is happening for the entire month or just are interested in knowing when the local markets are on then click on this link http://visitalgarve.pt/pressroom.file.php?lang=pt&fileID=228&file=guiaalgarve_marco_web.pdf for the Visit Algarve guide for march and you can get all the information that you need in one place – these guides are also available from tourist information points and in most hotels and resorts where you should be able to get other useful information about the local area too.
Don’t forget to look out for updates about what will be going on in and around Carvoeiro over the Easter holidays. Usually we have a little fair in Carvoeiro and there are also usually many great offers on accommodation in the local resorts and hotels – let’s see if the Tivoli will be open in time!
Until next time…