Newsletter November 2013

Margarida Sampaio @

It suddenly seems to feel like autumn in the Algarve and this is probably because Carvoeiro has gone from feeling pretty busy at the start of October to feeling distinctly more ghost townish now we are in November.

Normally things start to calm down and the people leave from their holidays at the start of September but it feels like there have been more people about for a little longer this year which has been good news for the local businesses.


Actually having lots of people around has also meant that it almost seemed worth having the paid parking metres along Rua do Barranco until the end of the month this year.

Normally during October you see all the cars parked up by the vets with nobody in the paid spaces apart from the odd tourist who is willing to put a couple of euros into the machine.  But thanks to there actually being people around this year it seems it has been worth continuing with the metres for the extra few weeks.

You will be pleased to know though that the paid parking is now no longer in operation for the winter months meaning you can park where you like without needing to get a ticket for the rest of the year and up until Easter time.


As is normal at this time of the year we have seen the weather lurch from one extreme to another leaving us all needing to go out wearing a series of layers to be able to adjust clothing according to if the sun is shining or not.

When the sun has been out it has been very hot and right up until the end of October I have seen people sunbathing on the beach, tanning outside Smilers bar and even swimming in the sea – although I am not so sure if the last one seemed such a good idea.

Anyone who was lucky enough to be in Carvoeiro at the end of the month will have probably gone home with a bit of a tan but we did have one very bad week of weather which saw the storm drains being tested for the first real time this year.

In the middle of the month we had rain, thunder, lightning and a bit more rain and as usual Rua dos Pescadores between Casa do Pão and Jomar turned into a raging muddy river with nowhere for the water to go except increasingly close to the pavements.

The new drainage further down the road seemed to be holding up well for the storm but the sheer amount of rainfall in a very short time meant that we had some problems here. However the flooding in Carvoeiro was sort lived and soon enough we were left with just the traces of the storm and some gritty looking roads.

In Portimão the flooding had been much worse and in the morning some of the roads were virtually impossible to drive through (not that it stopped anyone from giving it a go in their Punto anyway).  Let´s hope that these storms were not an indication of what is to come later into the winter months and that all we get now is some light drizzle!

To be fair to the junta and the Câmara in Lagoa, only days after the storms we had people out on the roads lifting the drain covers and not only were they spraying to kill off those nasty little baratas but they were also clearing the mud and other debris out of the drains which should stop any problems later on in the winter – perhaps someone should have thought to do this a little earlier for next year?

While the storms were a good talking point for a few days the earthquakes were also a hot topic this past month.

The first earthquake we had was on October 19 and registered 4.2 on the Richter scale (this one I had to read about because I was obviously very busy when it happened and missed it).  The second earthquake happened on October 23 at around 3pm in the afternoon and this one was a little stronger at 4.5 on the Richter scale – the earth did move for me this time.

The last earthquake had its epicenter west of the Straits of Gibraltar and South west of Cape Saint Vincent which meant that the further west you were in the Algarve on this day the more likely you were to have felt something but people as far away as Faro felt the movement and a good few people I am sure ran out to check that the water was still in the swimming pool and hadn’t started to head down the valley thanks to a new crack.

Whenever we have another sizable earthquake here in the region the talks always turn back to the enormous earthquake that destroyed Lisbon and the number of views of tsunamis on YouTube seems to increase dramatically but remember that buildings in Portugal are supposed to conform to strict rules to make them more resistant to earthquakes so these small earthquakes usually pose no real problems for anyone and there was no record of injury or loss of life related to either of the earthquakes that occurred in October.


Carvoeiro is not known for being a hub of activity during October but it is the time of the year that lots of the local residents start to come out of hiding after a long and tiring summer and look forward to a bit of a party.

Halloween in Carvoeiro has grown from a few bars with a pumpkin outside into a full on fancy dress fest and this year there were more people than ever out on the streets in all their spooky attire.

Because Halloween fell on a Thursday many places actually celebrated both on Thursday and on Friday night for those who didn’t fancy going into work with remnants of fake blood and face paint all over their faces and a slightly dodgy feeling thanks to a few too many black vodka shots.

Pit Stop on Rua do Barranco had a live band for the night and some impressive decorations while the ladies in Hemmingways had pulled out all the stops and had amazing costumes and face paint.  Sullys bar put up some spiders webs and Smilers had their very own pumpkin on the bar top but it was up the O Farol where lots of effort had been put in with Boa Vida bar (now under new management with Dutch Harry and his girlfriend Jen and family in charge) and Carvoeiro bar both having loads of decorations and some great costumes – not sure who half the people in Carvoeiro bar actually were!!

Up in Bradys the ladies were dressed up for the night and ready with their sweets for trick or treat while Havana bar as always provided a great base for Halloween and all the staff looked fantastic.

A good few children were out on Halloween doing trick or treating with local expat children leading the way and tourists following while later on (in true Portuguese style) the Portuguese children also came out and showed off their impressive costumes while going around the bars getting sweets and treats.

On the Friday night lots of people seemed to be in Mungo’s bar for a party and there were some amazing costumes on display including one particularly scary looking mummy and a man in a box (you had to be there really!!).

It seems that Halloween was not only a chance to get dressed up and be a little silly but many people also saw it as the last big blow out before Christmas (yes I said the C word) – although I can’t believe nobody will be leaving the house until then anyway!


…And one of the main reasons you know that there will still be a little life in Carvoeiro over the winter is because the darts are making a return to the town on November 15.

Darts have become almost a way of life for many dedicated folk in the town during the long winter months and thee are matches held all around the town in various bars every Friday night from around 9pm (ish).

Pop into Harrys Bar, Hemmingways, Joker Bar, Sullys or many others to find out who is playing where and when and speak to bar owners if you fancy joining a team as they would be more than happy to see what you have to offer!

If you don’t want to be part of a team then you can always join in the open singles, doubles and triples tournaments that take place throughout the season – again just go into one of the bars with a dart board and see when the open matches are.  All you have to do on these nights is turn up and put your name down to be entered into the competition – you don’t have to be good, you mainly just have to be lucky in this town to win at darts so it is well worth a try!


Many people will know that on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month that many people observe two minutes silence to mark Armistice Day and here in the Algarve the silence is also observed by many businesses.

If you are over here and would like to buy a Poppy in Remembrance of members of the armed forced who have died in the line of duty then they are available in Harry’s Bar on Rua do Barranco as this bar does a lot of work to raise money for the Help for Heroes charity fund.

There will be a Remembrance Sunday service held in English at the convent in Lagoa on Sunday, November 10 from 10.45am and all are welcome to take part in this very moving and poignant service which involves former members of the armed forces.

I usually like to be light hearted in my newsletters but every now and then there are issues that I hold dear to my heart and this is something that I believe we all have two minutes of our day to take time to think about on November 11th.

On a lighter note, November 11th is known in Portugal for being Saint Martin’s day and this is when you will find people drinking a type of fortified wine known as agua pé and eating lots of roasted chestnut.  The chestnuts are usually available in the square on this day in Carvoeiro but if you can’t make it down then why not buy some from the supermarket and give it a go yourself – just remember to let them cool down a little before you try to open them out of the fire – I speak from experience here!


Now that the sun is shining again I am off down to the beach to take some pictures of me enjoying a cold drink in the warm sunshine which I will then post on Facebook to make everyone feel jealous!

Until next month,