Newsletter March 2003


by: Nigel Anteney Hoare

Things really started warming up in Carvoeiro in early February. The days were fantastic - cold nights, crisp clear blue mornings and very warm afternoons. Fabulous - just like the Carvoeiro early springs I remember from years ago.

The same time as the warmth was opening the flowers and almond blossom, the bars, restaurants and other businesses started opening their doors after their winter breaks, repairs and redecorations.

The Round up Saloon was still closed and rumour had it that Big Will had taken the opportunity to visit Brasil to rest up, get some new ideas and tan that body! Is there THAT much sun in Brasil?

The Lanterna opened on 1st February as promised with the usual team in control but a new chef. The bar has disappeared up top and it is now all restaurant. The previous chef has opened up in Ele and Ella I hear. Hope he turns out good food there like he did in the Lanterna. Yours truly sampled Lanterna the second night and it was just as good as ever, especially as they are offering some special deals on weekends - how they serve it for the money I can't work out! Miss the girls serving though! Guess they will be called upon when it gets busier.

There is a new Chinese restaurant (Restauarante Da China) opening up in the new shops on the first floor above Tess boutique just up Estrada do Farol from the Carvoeiro Sol. I must say even though being an old time Carvoeiro-ite and not really liking much change, those shops do look well and have tidied up a scruffy bit of central Carvoeiro.

I see that some alterations are underway at the outside patio of Piu. Looks like an upstairs part is going in. Should be good especially for those summer nights with the music in the square to listen to.

Smilers cranked up again with Geraldine back fresh from her exertions as Prince Charming in the Algarveans panto "Cinderella".

Primavera opened again and from personal experience on 1st March - as good as ever!

Rascals reopened with Kevin helping out in the evenings and once again makes a nice watering hole just up from the square.

The Round Up Saloon reopened on Friday the 28th and Big Will doesn't seem to have caught that Brazilian sun. The winter diet hasn't succeeded either but he is back with the Round Up as fun as ever. Dave the resident musicians voicebox has not improved for the winter break and bets are on as to whether it will make it through to September! The other question is, where is Hartmann the Karaoke man? Will there be a new Karaoke DJ this year?

Carvoeiro Bar was still closed at time of writing but looks nearly ready to roll.

On the 18th February the beautiful weather broke with some much needed rain. That night we had a big storm and though the next morning was clear you could here the sea pounding the cliffs from a long way off. That clear morning was misleading as the weather continued mostly gloomy with much rain until the end of the month culminating in lightning and thunder to see the month of February out.

There was great local excitement when the motorway section from Alcantarilha to Lagoa opened 11 days earlier than planned. The link to Silves opened at the same time and it was fascinating to get a new view of things travelling along both sections. The opening made an immediate difference to the traffic snarl ups on the EN125 in Lagoa and we look forward to the extension to Lagos which will be completed before summer.

AS I write it is Carnival weekend and the weather is kind again. Tuesday the 4th will be a bank holiday - Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day, Mardia Gras call it what you will and plenty of visitors are taking advantage of the Portuguese habit of making a "ponte" or "bridge" between the weekend and Tuesday by taking the Monday off. There seem to be plenty of foreign tourists with children around too taking an extended half term holiday? In fact the place is fairly buzzing! On the afternoon of Sunday 2nd there was some lively music in the square with kids and adults enjoying Carnival by dressing up in fancy costumes. I even saw Luis "Biafra" in a rastafarian wig! Not sure if it was an improvement or not!

That's all for now apart from the interview which is a feature I hope to repeat most months with questions put to some interesting local people. This month it is Mariana Santos of Rocha Brava.

All the best!