This Algarve blog is intended to keep you in touch with the latest in Algarve affairs. Now that I'm going to be living there, I'll be able to keep you right up-to-date with what's going on in the Algarve and around those gorgeous beaches.
Here's my regular take on occurrences in my favourite vacation spot...
Sabores do Mundo?
I read that Albufeira Marina is to have a sushi bar-cum-restaurant, so those of you who hanker after colourful pieces of raw fish need pine no longer.
Apart from the sushi, the restaurant will also offer flavours of the world (as per my headline). This allegedly extends to a choice of waters from all corners of the globe
Now, unless my taste buds have been deceiving me for lo, these many years, water doesnt have a taste (except when its been deliberately flavoured)!
I suppose it serves me right for reading editorial puffs in a newspaper while expecting the words to make sense.
Lets just hope the sushi varieties are more varied in flavour than all the designer waters, or this may prove to be another culinary flash in the pan. (Except, I suppose, that sushi shouldnt involve pans
Whatever, you have been alerted.
Tuesday 27 February 2007
I just cant get this climate change thing straight. Neither, it seems, can the worlds politicians. And its no different here in Portugal.
One the one hand, the EU has called for a slashing in the allowable rate of CO2 emissions from cars, yet has sanctioned four years of work on Lisbon airport, at a cost of hundreds of millions of Euros. The work will result in increased capacity at the airport, leading to more flights and unless the arithmetic is somehow more complicated than I think it is more carbon emissions!
So, is it me, or is this stuff really not very joined-up thinking? As a regular driver and a reasonably frequent flyer, Id like to know before its too late
Sunday 25 February 2007
The Bullet Bit...
Having decided that the only way we could light a fire under our Algarve house purchase was to be over here permanently, we finally cut the cord and made the move. Scary!
So here we are, in an echo-ey, semi-furnished villa, no telephone line, no Internet access, no end in sight of a farewell to our settling in woes... But, at least I should find it easier to find stuff to keep this blog more up to date.
My main problem is going to be getting enough Internet access for long enough to upload the pages I produce!
But I will be trying, so watch this space for news of the Spring carnivals I'm currently attending.
Tuesday 20 February 2007
Still in the UK and still finding it difficult to get enough Internet access to keep this site updated.
It's driving me nuts, waiting for our house purchase to be completed! It was supposed to be finished in May, for goodness' sake! Everything seems to take place in slow motion in Algarve. An attractive proposition when you live there, but so frustrating when you want things (like a house sale) to be finished and over...
On a more upbeat note, I received an Algarve Best communication from Aristedes, in Salt Lake City, USA which cheered me somewhat. He wrote:
Hello. I am glad I found your website, because I like the Algarve and I appreciate your enthusiasm for the beauty of the Algarve and its beaches.
I was in Faro a few years ago and I love that city. I don't know the rest of Algarve but I want to return again and see more.
I'm planning to move to Algarve, hopefully next year, and to have a nice home on a hill near the beach. I want to hear the ocean waves at night and view the stars, things I couldn't do from my apartment in New York.
I'm currently in Salt Lake City studying Massage Therapy and after I graduate, I can't wait to return to Algarve!
Wishing you unlimited success and joy,
What a lovely sentiment. I hope Aristides won't mind me sharing it here, and I'm sure you'll join me in wishing him the best of luck in his aim to have an Algarve home. Perhaps the detailed advice I'll be posting on the website once our own purchase is finally complete will help him and others avoid the pitfalls that we have encountered.
Wednesday 18 October 2006
Good Ol' Blighty?
I'm back in the UK for some more of that much-needed R&R after my struggles with the new house.
And how's this for contrast... I'm spending time with husband Nev in his Aberdeen apartment, up in north east Scotland! To be fair, the weather since I've been here has been unusually mild, but I brought plenty of warm clothing just in case, believe me.
Trouble is, I'm still not able to access the Internet easily, so keeping this website updated and answering emails is proving as much of a pain as it was since I moved to Algarve in mid-April.
And now it's time to come up with another newsletter, and my mind's an absolute blank.
My suntan reminded Nev of the climate he's been missing since July, and he wanted an Algarve vacation in September, but it looks like things are conspiring to make that impossible for him, poor dear.
I'm off to visit friends in Norway the first week in October and he'd be hopeless in Algarve on his own. I'd probably come back to a skeleton! So it looks like it'll be mid-October before we can enjoy some more Algarve sun together and take some dips in our lovely new pool.
What's that saying? 'A pleasure delayed is a pleasure enhanced'... I do so hope it's correct.
Friday 8 September 2006
Out of the Frying Pan...
The awful news about raging fires in Spain and Greece recently reminded me of the bravery and dedication of the Algarve Bombeiros (firemen). Some of these hardy souls turn out without enough proper protective clothing and kit to fight huge blazes and to keep the rest of us safe and sound.
So I was glad to learn of the fund-raising activities of the Lions Clube de Loulé which have resulted in much specialised clothing being donated to the local Bombeiros over the last couple of years.
Just recently, three further protective suits were presented to the firemen. That's great to hear, since I wouldn't like to turn out to fight raging fires even if I had every bit of protective kit known to man!
If you'd like to help with such big-hearted efforts (and have some fun into the bargain) the next event to raise funds will be held in Almancil's Centro Comunitário (community centre) on the 17th of September, which is a Sunday. There'll be lots of stuff to rummage through and even buy, and admission is free. It runs from 0930 to 1200.
Why not check it out if you'll be in Algarve then? It's all in a good cause, and you can still spend the afternoon on your favourite beach...
Wednesday 23 August 2006
Duel in the Sun
After undergoing the trauma of surface construction works that lingered well into the tourist season, there may be more woe in store for the residents of Albufeira, I learn.
It seems that Albufeira's very success as a tourist hot-spot might compromise its ability to offer the requisite standard of comforts (at least, those that are electrically-powered).
Since more and more visitors flock to Albufeira every year, there are fears that the antiquated electricity supply might fail catastrophically - and quite soon! The supplier of the dubious voltage, EDP, has proposed a new substation to ease the load on the existing facility. Unfortunately, local residents near Brejos, where the proposed new edifice would be built, have objected. It seems that, while everyone enjoys the solar radiation in Algarve, electro-magnetic radiation from a large substation is not so popular!
As is the way of these things, construction had already been underway for a year when work was halted. That means that a partially-finished, less-than-attractive building site will be on view until a hastily-convened tribunal reaches its decision.
I couldn't help thinking that the best time to consult the locals was before the first hole was dug. Or is that too logical?
Presumably, what we have here is the Algarvean equivalent of a 'Mexican stand-off'...
Watch this space for more news.
PS - I noticed during my July visit to Albufeira that they have, in fact, put up another stepped performance area in the Old Town's square. So maybe they're not nuts after all. Of course, it wasn't fully finished and you could trip over loose paving and break your neck - but that's all part of the fun, I guess?
Tuesday 22 August 2006
Anyone for Tennis?
Now that I'm back in Algarve, I'm looking around seriously to find out where tennis is played. Nev's coming over from Scotland this week and I know he'll want a game some time during his visit.
In addition to discovering where the best clubs are for residents, I'll also be checking out the places that are happy to include those visiting Algarve on vacation.
So watch this blog and my dedicated page about Algarve tennis for the best info should you fancy a game of tennis during your next Algarve stay.
Monday 10 July 2006
"If you go down to the beach today, you'd just better use your eyes.
If you go down to the beach today, you're in for a big surprise..."
(All to the the tune of Teddy Bear's Picnic)
Whenever I'm feeling sorry for myself about the time it's taken to finish off my new Algarve home, I check out progress of municipal works in Albufeira...
...It doesn't make me feel any better, but at least I know I'm not the only one suffering.
They've been messing about there in one of Algarve's tourist hot-spots since the beginning of the year. And the works are still not complete, even though we're right smack in the middle of peak tourist time.
What a shambles! When I wrote 'messing' back there, I wasn't kidding. It's a mess.
For one thing, they've levelled the entire area in Largo Eng. Duarte Pacheco, where there used to be a raised area (shown in this now redundant pic.) for free performances of live music and other performing arts.
How nuts is that?
Also, if you are taking a young family to Albufeira soon, be aware that some parts of the old town are pretty dangerous for pedestrians. There are many areas where paving has not been finished yet, and uneven sandy areas of bare earth are there to be negotiated.
Baby buggy pushers beware. And if you're wheelchair-bound, forget it! You'll need to take so many hilly detours, it'll feel like you're in training for the Paralympics.
What a daft way to conduct business. Come on Albufeira Câmara - get a grip!
Monday 26 June 2006
Mac the Mouth
I'm hoping to see some of the Vale do Lobo tennis this year. And guess who will be taking part once more in the Grand Champions Millennium BCP Tournament?
That's right! Old Motormouth himself, John McEnroe! The ex enfant terrible of the ATP Grand Prix circuit (and, of course, Wimbledon) won the Vale do Lobo title in 2005 and will be back to defend it.
So, if you fancy seeing how well tennis can be played by a 47-year-old legend, watch out for the posters when they go up. The tournament will be held from the 8th to the 11th of August, so things should be hot, even if the Mac behaves himself for a change!
Thursday 15 June 2006
There's increasing talk and speculation about what climate change and natural disasters might mean for Algarve's future.
Some folk who should know are expressing concern about the pace of change within the region. One subject is the very success of Algarve as a tourist trap, which has seen the increasing desertion of the countryside (and of agriculture in particular) by Algarveans attracted to the seaside towns - with all the increased employment opportunities, not to mention the variety of recreational choice during off-duty hours!
Of course, the abandonment of the agricultural areas has had impacts on production of traditional crops, like almonds, figs and carobs. Supermarkets don't care, since they tend to offer non-home-grown products and modern convenience foods instead.
Needless to say, 2003's widespread forest fires have posed a problem, in that a substantial replanting exercise has yet to take place. Lack of forestation encourages more soil loss in the hills and mountains, leading to more barren areas. Loss of habitat threatens native species of Algarve fauna. In the meantime, there are less trees to replenish the atmosphere, which is increasingly polluted by the upsurge of motorised transport - and the inevitable incoming flights carrying beach-bound tourists!
In case it sounds like doom and gloom and all is lost, there are some encouraging initiatives underway to rescue rural Algarve from the effects of creeping urbanisation.
Volunteers are helping clearing and replanting efforts in the Monchique area, which was particularly hard hit during the 2003 fires. This is something with which I intend to become involved, once I'm a settled-in Algarvean homebody! The mountain areas are very beautiful, and provide such a striking contrast to Algarve's coastal attractions that they simply cannot be allowed to remain uncared-for.
If you'd like to do your bit during your next Algarve vacation, why not make the time to visit the inland areas and, even if you can't lend a hand, do your tourist bit and contribute to the local economies of these areas. You can also visit and patronise the numerous farmers' markets throughout the region. That way, you'll help to maintain that wonderful Algarve diversity that I bang on about so often!
Tuesday 13 June 2006
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