Newsletter August 2011
Margarida Sampaio @
After the overwhelming heat of July, the rain on August 1 was actually quite refreshing, not to mention useful as the dust was washed off my very dirty car saving me at least two euros at the car wash!
We all know that August is the busiest month of the year and as I speak, the cars packed full of families from Lisbon and further afield, pull up for the month while the shiny silver hire cars are multiplying by the hour.
July was however also a very busy month in Carvoerio with nobody appearing to be put off by the temperatures that tipped 40 degrees on many days.
Up and down the village, all day and through the night until at least midnight, there has been the summer hustle and bustle of people as they enjoy an ice cream or the live music in the square.
With everyone bemoaning the financial climate in Portugal you would think that all the restaurants would be empty and the bars quiet, however a quick climb up the O Farol shows that many places are full to bursting, although how much money is being spent is said to be down by most.
It is encouraging to see that many regular visitors to the Algarve are back again for the summer and as much as those of us who live here grumble about all the people who come here and make it such a busy place, I think this year the majority are just pleased to see that people are still coming on holiday and choosing Carvoeiro – So thank you everyone!
As always in Carvoeiro there have been a fair few changes with businesses opening, closing and changing hands.
Firstly we have The Salon, which has moved from its base at the Carvoeiro Tennis Club down into the main town and is now in a location on the our road (Rua do Barranco) on the left hand side just past Harrys Bar.
The team at The Salon have transformed the unit, which was new and had never been put into use since being finished around two years ago, and offer all the usual suspects when it comes to beauty treatments plus a few others.
Also new for the town is another branch of the Gelados e Companhia ice cream shop. The first shop, which has grown in popularity over the past few seasons, is located on the in road near the cut through but the team have now gutted the shop that was Sillis estate agency and turned it into a new shop complete with tables and chairs inside and out. So far the business appears to be doing well with a constant queue for crepes and ice cream treats.
Other businesses in Carvoeiro seem to have changed hands, we have Bar Charly, over looking the beach near to the GNR station, which is now being run by Silvino who has the water sports stuff (banana boats etc) on the beach. He told me that he had no plans to change anything in the bar at the moment but did intend to start opening the bar earlier (currently opens at 6pm) and that he would be providing snack food in the near future with the usual toasties and sandwiches on the menu.
Vila Medici, the Italian restaurant at the top of the O Farol almost opposite the Mirachoro Hotel, is under new management. Here again the new manager has chosen to stick with the menu and price list but has instead opened up the back of the restaurant to create an area he hopes will become a lounge type bar. The garden area was not yet quite finished when I visited but all they had to do was add the soft furnishings and a couple of finishing touches and this could be a great area to sit and relax with a glass of wine or two.
Meanwhile, I have heard it on the grapevine that Rascals (up past Sullys on the coastal road) is due to reopen and while there was a lot of work going on a couple of weeks ago things seemed to have slowed up a little now, but we will wait and see what happens there – it would be great to be able to sit on that terrace again!
July saw the return of the legendary foam parties at the Bote club on the beach and the foam nights are set to continue throughout August every Wednesday night.
Back in the old days everyone basically got in for free, drank nothing (far to pricy so we all drank before we arrived) and then left after having a great time.
Now pretty much everyone has to pay to get in (€10) and while the majority pay up and go and have fun in the foam, there is always a few on the steps groaning about it being overpricedand asking to seak to Paulo. Personally, I have seen the prices they charge to get in to other foam parties at clubs in the Algarve and think that the money you save on a taxi all the way to one of the big clubs is more than enough to make €10 affordable if this is your sort of party.
€10 is also a small price to pay for one of the most amusing evenings of people watching ever – there is nothing better than watching the make up start to melt down the face, the people slipping in the subs, try to navigate the stairs and emerging from the foam looking like summer versions of a snowman!
If you are not so keen on donning a bikini at 2am and sliding around in the foam the perhaps the next summer party in Carvoeiro would be more your thing!
Following the success of the inaugural summer party the good people at Vozes Intensas have been working away to put on another night of fun on the beach for everyone.
This time the party is due to take place on August 12 and with a few tweaks here and there the organisers hope that it will prove to be even more successful than the first beach party.
This event really is for everyone and you are as likely to see an 80 year old lady dancing on the beach as an eight month old baby and everything else in between.
They say that the party will start at 8pm but if you want the dancing on the beach aspect then wait until after midnight for it all to start.
The only real complaint last time about the beach party was that the music could have been better and this time the organisers have gone out of their way to track down a very popular and well known DJ, DJ China to come and provide the tunes...it should be a good one!
What didn't run so smoothly for the organisers was the first Algarve Night held on July 23. The idea was to have traditional groups parade through the town in the style of the Marchas which are held all across the country and especially in Lisbon.
Lots of the bars got into the spirit of the occasion and put out the bunting and waited for the parades, however due to a death which affected one of the groups and stopped them from taking part and further problems, that really were not the fault of Vozes Intensas, the evening did not go quite as planned.
There was a parade and many people came out to watch but I have been assured that in future things will be very different. I am sure that the organisers seem to have aged by at least ten years in the last few months as they work (in their spare time) to put all these events together and I would like to thank them for all their efforts which extend far beyond what we all see.
One of the organisers told me that they had been so desperate to replace the missing group that she had spent from 8am until midnight calling everyone and anyone she could think of to ask them to step in, but with no joy this time.
If you want to see just how hard they all work then turn up on Carvoeiro beach at 5am in the morning after the beach party this month where you will see them picking up all the rubbish – for free. Thank you Vozes Intensas!
Its August so it must mean that it is time to fight the crowds and head off to Fatacil in Lagoa. Every year I go and buy another wooden spoon from the man who sits there whittling all day, some gorgeous smelly cheese and presunto sandwiches and piles of cakes.
If you have never been before then it is worth taking a trip down to see this country fair come trade exhibition come everything else in between with all the animals, food, crafts and music that makes this one of the busiest places you will see this summer.
Usually there is a good line up of acts taking part in the Fatacil as live shows but this year the list is less than inspiring unless you are really into Portuguese music, in which case you will be spoilt for choice.
This year Fatacil is taking place between August 19 and 28 with some of the more diverse acts being Aurea and Rita Redshoes who are playing on August 23, Pedro Abrunhosa on August 20 and a tribute to U2 on August 24.
To find out more about Fatacil then visit the Lagoa Câmara website at www.cm-lagoa.pt (only available in Portuguese).
The tolls, the tolls. What can I say, we seem to be two steps closer to having the tolls introduced onto the A22 and then one step back but what does look certain is that the tolls will be coming in and probably sooner rather than later.
The entire process of the tolls is hugely confusing mainly because nobody really seems to be able to give any concrete answers in relation to any of the questions.
I would suggest that anyone concerned about this issue keeps an eye out in the local English language press (Algarve Resident, The Portugal News) for updates and if further advice is needed then perhaps a call to afpop would be wise (www.afpop.com) .
I will be spending the rest of this month enjoying Carvoeiro and pretending that I am on holiday too. Somebody once told me that people pay lots of money to come on holiday here so instead of grumbling about all the people, I am going to embrace it, buy another ice cream, leave the car in the garage and enjoy promenading up and down the streets through August.
See you in September