Newsletter September 2018

Can you hear that sound?  It is a collective sigh coming from across the Algarve as we wave goodbye to the masses and begin to venture out once again now that it is September!

If you speak to anyone who lives in the Algarve you will know that September is one of the favourite months for the locals, and it is not hard not hard to see why, with the beaches all becoming less busy, parking becoming possible and food now being stocked on the shelves of the supermarket.

I kid you not, things were feeling slightly Soviet Block pre 1989 in Aldi during August.  On several occasions there were no eggs, no bread, no bananas (wot no bananas?) and I won’t even begin to bore you with the wine situation in there as the staff found it impossible to keep up with demand for value food and drinks.  Usually I can nip into an Aldi and enjoy the pleasure of being the only customer in there –  but during August they had to open every till – and not everybody knows the Aldi shop etiquette of speed bagging (go over the moat to Apolonia if you want help with your bags!).

We all understand that lots of people really enjoy coming to the Algarve in August and for lots of other people there really is no other option than to come at this very busy time of the year.  We are all also very appreciative of the much needed trade and custom that comes from all the visitors in August as this really does help us all get through the winter, yet you will find that while a Brit can’t help but moan about the weather, an Algarvian can’t help but moan about the August influx!

FIRES AND FIREWORKS

In my last newsletter I spoke about the fires that were raging in Monchique and you may have read about the fires in the British papers thanks to Philip Schofield Instagramming photos of the smoke cloud.  While Phil and friends were over in Quinta do Lago and only really became aware of the fires once it blocked out the sun for an afternoon, over on our side of the Algarve things really were quite different.

In Carvoeiro we had days of ash falling from the skies and smoke in the air, which was nothing compared to the devastation that took place around Monchique and Silves.  Thankfully there was no loss of life and very few properties were completely destroyed, however the whole area has taken a beating not only because of the loss of land and woods but also because during August many tourists no longer wanted to head up in to the hills – which is understandable of course.

If you are coming to the Algarve in the next few months then please consider a visit to the areas affected by the fires and help out by simply having lunch, a coffee or buying something from a local vendor.  Up there trade is massively down and as we moan down here about the hoards of tourists – up there they are wishing the same was true.

It is not all doom and gloom though as there were some massive positives to the entire situation and what became very clear was the willingness of the expat community here to get stuck in and help out.  From people offering their homes to those who were evacuated to food and clothing supplies for the Bombeiros being gathered and funds coming in from around the world through expat networks.  Everyone who helped out really deserves our full appreciation.  I honestly had a tear in my eye as I saw the expats helping to man the car parks at the Silves Medieval fair, to make sure that no single Bombeiros had to stand out there to collect the money, it really did make me proud to be part of a community who is so willing to give back.

Because of the fires, we sadly had to forego the fireworks displays in Carvoeiro in August.  We were due to have fireworks accompanying the Algarve Jazz Orchestra in a concert on the beach on the 15th and while the concert took place the fireworks were rightfully cancelled.

The local council made sure that everyone knew about the lack of fireworks on the 15th with a press release coming out and posts across social media and the local media.  It was not however communicated well that we would not be having the fireworks on the last Sunday of the month for the traditional blessing of the sea celebrations.

After checking the website and the Facebook page about the event I saw that on the Saturday night everything was as planned for the fireworks at midnight… turns out I should have checked that evening when a post was put out saying nothing was not going to be fireworks!

So I was one of the very many people who went down to the beach to see the fireworks and then left in a mood at around 1am when it became clear that this was far more than just Portuguese timing.

I always try to bring you information about what is going on in the local area and I cannot tell you how hard this is to do even only a couple of weeks in advance but this one really got me mad – come on local council – please try to let everyone know what is happening in Carvoeiro!

EVENT SUCCESSES

Rant over about never knowing what is going on because actually this year we had some fantastic events in the Algarve once again in August and I have to say they appeared to be better organized than ever.

I have been a busy bee this month and tried to get to lots of the events in an attempt to actually enjoy the Algarve during August rather than purely bemoan the fact that there are too many people here.

First off we had the Portimão sardine festival.  I haven’t been to this one in years, possibly due to the fact that I had a bad experience with a sardine there many a year ago and have never dared to venture back.  This year we managed to work out to park at the back of the event near to the Portimão arena and then walked along the riverfront until we found what was going on.  The main attraction was the huge stage almost under the old bridge, where we watched a very enthusiastic band do their thing after eating a couple of sardines.  What was particularly nice about this one was walking all the way along the river front, taking in the park, the cafes in the square with the fountains and then on to a temporary exhibition about trees (better than it sounds I promise).  It was then into the temporary book fair where I had great fun opening “adult” books to rude pages and embarrassing teenagers before visiting the little fun fair at the very end.

Things really are changing in Portimão and there are some great new restaurants, cafes and bars all popping up around the main shopping area and this is somewhere I will definitely be returning to very soon.

I was then off to Silves for the Medieval festival.  They have managed to sort out the ticket office to make it easy to get your entry but sadly the jousting show had sold out for the 8pnm showing, so next year we will arrive a little earlier.

I am not sure if there were a lot less people there (which may have been due to the fires the previous week) but the streets were far less crowded this year which meant there were no long queues for food and drinks and we were able to watch the street performances easily.  I wasn’t sure about the depiction of the “slaves” which include the simulated whipping of women, the cutting off of a boy’s hand and a very small man being kept in a cage but everything was great fun!

As the month went on I was getting decidedly more tired but it was then off to Fatacil in Lagoa.  Wow, what a difference.  My main joy was at the parking which this year had been organized perfectly with no dodgy street parking making it a life and death journey between the showground and the out road.  We also had handy barriers to help with queues for the ticket office and in general it all seemed far better organized with all of the usual stands, animals, shows and horses.  I can’t believe I’m actually saying this but I will have to admit I enjoyed going to the Fatacil.

Finally, we came to the end of the month with the Bye Bye Summer Beach party on Carvoeiro beach.  This has grown over the past couple of years into being a fantastic event.  It is not nearly as busy as the Black and White beach party but we had some great DJs and the atmosphere was really family friendly and lots of fun until the early hours.

Well done to all of the organisers of the events, they really did help to make August a great one in the Algarve and I hope as many of you as possible got to go to some of the events that I am still recovering from now!


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AND FOR SEPTEMBER

Things have calmed down a lot in the Algarve this month but we still have some good events to go to with the highlights having to be the Portugal Masters and the World Superbikes.

The Portugal Masters will be welcoming back top players from around Europe to take place in the tournament which is being held at the Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course in Vilamoura between 20th and 23rd September.  You can buy your tickets on the gate but be sure to get there early if you want to find a parking space!

Head over to the Autodromo do Algarve bear to Portimão for the FIM Superbike World Championship being held between 14th and 16th September.  Ticket prices start from just €15 and I am not sure you can find cheaper ones many places else in Europe!  Sunday is the finals day and the best one to see all the action on this incredible track – if you have never visited before then this is a great excuse!

AND FINALLY…

If you are used to visiting Carvoeiro and the Algarve during the summer, then perhaps our new article giving you 7 Luxurious Reasons To Visit Carvoeiro For Less in the Winter will make you think again!  We have put together a list of all the great activities and benefits of coming to the Algarve between November and March and you may be surprised about all of the luxurious things you can be doing in the local area once you save money not having to pay premium prices during the summer.

Take a look at our list and if you have any other great suggestions on how best to enjoy the Algarve and Carvoeiro during the winter then let us know – we are always happy to hear your feedback!

Well I’m of for a well-earned sleep, please don’t wake me up until October

Until later

Margarida