Newsletter March 2012
Margarida Sampaio @
And still the sun shines on! Being of a very British disposition I am always the first to have a moan about the weather but even I have had to keep my lips tightly shut this past month as the amazing warm weather continues.
It is looking like we could be on for some water shortages this summer if it doesn't rain soon but the clear blue skies and warm temperatures are just what the doctor ordered and make the long winter seem much shorter than usual.
With the good weather we have seen many places reopen for 2012 including Piu on the beachfront, Maximes restaurant, Ele & Ela and the ice cream shops. This has helped to inject some life back into Carvoeiro after the winter and there really does seem to be more people about which has inevitably led to the age old problem of not being able to park anywhere (I tried not to moan but it didn't take me long!)
February was an interesting month in Carvoeiro with some highs and lows in the town but I think the general consensus is that it was a positive month for most businesses who did better than they expected during these tough times.
I had hoped to be able to bring you a full report of the carnival activities but unfortunately things did not go quite as planned this year.
I had tried to let as many people know as possible by posting the notice here on Carvoeiro.com about the cancellation of the carnival but it seems not everyone got the message so there were some disappointed faces over the carnival weekend when it became obvious that there really was nothing going to happen.
The reason for the cancellation of the carnival came from many different factors and it had been hoped that some sort of celebration could take place. However, without any one person directly leading the planning it became an impossible task to get all the groups together still to put on a full parade.
Despite the lack of an official parade on the Sunday and the Tuesday the local school children from the crèche, pre school and primary school all dressed up on the Friday and did a parade around the town complete with all that sticky paper confetti that lingers on the pavements for weeks afterwards.
The youngest children dressed as Robin Hoods, Smurfs and Bumble Bees, the pre school children dressed as film characters and the primary school children followed the theme of the environment with a whole host of animals, plants and trees taking to the streets for a mini parade.
It may not have been the carnival that everyone was hoping for but it did mean that the local children were able to do the carnival thing in Carvoeiro this year and the parade was well supported by local businesses and passersby who all offered encouragement as the children went through the streets.
The weather was also great for the day with many of the children taking to the beach after the parade and giving a holiday feel in time for the unofficial bank holiday that everyone took despite it now no longer being on the calendar.
ON YOUR BIKE
Despite the carnival being off the local bikers put up a small tent in the centre of the town (you could see it from the webcam) and from this cool beers and hot pork sandwiches were served on the Sunday to the appreciative crowd who had gathered in the town for the Volta ao Algarve cycle race that passed through the town all day (unless they were still mistakenly there for the carnival).
On Sunday the whole town and surrounding area had numerous roads cut off and traffic diverted for the final stage of the Volta ao Algarve.
Some people had been sent letters to warn them that they would not be able to get in or out of their homes for the duration of the race but clearly the word had not got out to everyone and spectators watched on as random cars tried to go down the closed roads with police chasing them as they narrowly avoided collisions with the unwitting cyclists.
There was a good crowd in Carvoerio and also in Sesmarias with many cheering on local cyclist Tomas Metcalfe Swift from Carvoeiro who was racing for the Tavira team. This year he managed to finish the race and was also one of the top finishers in the mountain section of the race so congratulations to Tom – someone to look out for again next year.
While the beer and pig sandwiches were flowing in Carvoerio, up in Sesmarias there was some monkey business going on with one local bar owner donning a full gorilla suit and running along beside the cyclists as they came up to the water tower. The gorilla raised a few smiles for the cyclists and the teams and there was a party feel which helped to replace the lack of carnival in the town.
Each year the race has become more popular with spectators locally and it was great to see so many people supporting the event which was televised for those who were unable to see it live in the sunshine.
I have been assured that the cancellation of carnival this year was a one-off due to personal circumstances within the Junta and that it will all be back on again next year - fingers crossed.
Meanwhile, Vozes Intensas are planning another Easter party in the town which should be the next big public event to take place this year – more details will follow when I have them.
As usual, each month we have news of the changes in business and bar owners and new shops opening in Carvoeiro and this month is no exception.
I spoke about the cork and leather shop which looked liked opening on Rua dos Pescadores next to the sportswear shop and the shop has now opened selling lots of items made of – you guessed it – cork and leather!
This is not the usual tourist souvenirs and it is good to see the traditional crafts being promoted in Carvoeiro alongside the beach towels and pottery figurines.
There are also new folks in Carvoeiro Bar now with an official opening party taking place on March 1 in the evening.
Alfredo and Elvira have come from Holland to run the bar with Portuguese Alfredo (who describes himself as more Dutch than Portuguese after spending most of his life there) and Elvira putting on some live music for the party and hoping to see some new faces in the bar.
The couple are lovely people and have put together a very reasonable price list of drinks so we wish them well.
Although Tia Ilda has been open for years, the restaurant on the coastal road up past the ice cream shop, the team have now introduced a new sushi menu.
I think (I may be wrong here so please let me know!) this is currently the only place in the town that is serving a full sushi menu and it appears to be going well. The restaurant has brought in a trained sushi chef, originally from Nepal but trained int he art of cold fish and rice and they now serve up different sushi menus wither for those in the restaurant or as a take away service. The take away service is free locally and could be the answer for anyone looking to impress at a dinner party without having to actually do anything – just remember to throw away the packaging before the guests arrive.
If you are looking for nightlife then you will pleased to know that the infamous Monday night sessions at the Jazz club in Monte Carvoeiro are back in full swing every week.
If you have never been to the club then you will be in for a great surprise as faces old and new of all ages and nationalities get together to enjoy live music and jamming sessions in the historic little bar.
According to the owner the bar has up to ten musicians each Monday night who play a mixture of different musical genres and the nights are drawing a good crowd – just remember that this is always a late one and not advised for anyone wanting to look alert on Tuesday morning.
Looking ahead at some the events taking place in the region this month we have the return of the Algarve Cup – World Women's Football competition. Games are being played until March 7 at various stadiums across the Algarve including at the Belavista stadium in Parchal.
This year we have teams from Germany, Sweden, Iceland, China, USA, Japan, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, Ireland, Wales and Hungary.
A great home nations clash will be taking place on March 2 at the sports park in Albufeira with Wales v Ireland from 6pm or another god match looks like being Portugal v Ireland at the Algarve Stadium from 5.15pm on March 5.
For full details of all the matches and tickets then visit www.fpf.pt
The Algarve will also be welcoming some top class drivers this month with the World Rally Championship between March 29 and April 1. Teams will be based at the Algarve Stadium near Faro but will be taking part in routes through the hills of the Algarve where you can get as close as you like to the action. For further information visit www.rallydeportugal.pt .
Alternatively, you could look to the skies on March 3, 10 and 17 and watch as people hurl themselves from planes in the Parachuting Portugal Cup.
The skydivers will be taking off from the Aerodrome in Alvor from 10am on each of the mornings and if the weather is clear you will be able to see them competing from miles away.
Finally I would like to wish two local bar personalities of Carvoeiro a very happy birthday.
Happy birthday to Aaron from Safari bar who turns 40 on March 1 and also to Daniel from Mungos who has hit the big 30....I can only imagine how it must feel to be so old...
If you see lots of slightly worse for wear people staggering around Carvoerio then it will probably be linked to one of these birthdays over the first weekend of March – you have been warned!
Have a great March and lets hope the weather holds out for another month,