This Algarve blog is intended to keep you in touch with the latest in Algarve affairs. Now that I'm living here,
I'm trying to keep you
updated with what's going on in the Algarve (on Portugal's
southern coast) and around those wonderful beaches.
So, here's my regular take on occurrences in what used to be my favourite vacation spot...
but is now my favourite place to live.
As part of the 'slow cities' (cidades lentas) movement
that is being embraced in Portugal's Algarve,
there are plans afoot to preserve a calmer, more measured
pace of life in some parts of the Algarve.
Locations to have opted into the movement's aims include
(west to east): Lagos, Silves, Sao Bras de Alportel and Tavira.
Originally an idea that sprang up in Italy, in the form
of a movement promoting 'slow food' as an antidote to fast
food, it has been expanded to encompass the way things are
done within an area.
The idea is to preserve a city's traditional gastronomic
traits and other aspects of its history. It's seen as a way
of countering the creeping 'globalisation' that sees replica
outlets for the huge corporate fast-food chains taking over
city centres in most modern economies.
There are various criteria that must be satisfied before
cities can qualify, so it's good news for the Algarve that
four of its applicants have cleared the bar, so to speak.
The four mentioned above have much patrimony and cultural
heritage to protect, so let's wish them well in their
More news when there are further achievements to relate.
Monday 26 January 2009
Big Plans for Portimão
The latest plans for Portimao have even involved some 'north
American consultants', so that means the proposals are bound
to be larger-than-life. They certainly sound ambitious, if
what I've seen and read recently is anywhere near the
The riverside zone is due to see big changes that are
aimed at making the area the biggest tourist attraction in
the Algarve 'after the beaches and the Forteleza at Sagres'.
Attractions under discussion include a medium-size aquarium,
an 'insectarium', a multimedia centre (provisionally named 'Planetario
Blackbox'), a new tourist centre and lots of new riverside
restaurants, since the amount of riverside space available
will have been increased considerably.
The photographic plan that I saw looked like a lot of
work to complete and, indeed, due to the global credit
crunch, might not be completely in service until 2015. I
assume that's because the funding required will be obtained
over a longer period.
Whatever the timescale, it looks like good news for Portimao.
I'm not convinced the region needs another oceanarium, but
then, I'm not trailing small children around on vacation, so
perhaps my perspective's a bit off on that one!
Tuesday 20 January 2009
Hooray for Algarve Golf
Yet another example of how golf in the Algarve benefits
This time it's down to the Vigia Group, who manage the Parque
da Floresta Golf and Leisure Resort. A Charity Fund
Weekend was held, and a massive 93,000 euros was distributed
to charities throughout the Algarve.
The most fortunate beneficiary was the NECI in Praia da
Luz (a centre for Special Needs children), which got the
biggest cheque towards helping construct a new building to
house those it helps.
I'm reminded to mention that the same venue hosted, in
July 2008, the David Seaman 'Safe Hands' Charity Golf Classic,
which raised a reported £145,000 for the Bobby Moore Cancer
So, hooray again for Algarve
golf. More evidence, if needed, that enjoying your favourite sport need not be
Not as described
In Alcantarilha, the Rua das Palmeiras (Street of Palm
Trees) is to remain firmly palm-less. A report of August
2008 told of how a small palm had been planted among a low
collection of stones just outside a ruined building in this
road. The resident responsible told of how he thought it
would brighten up the general aspect.
But the authorities, in the form of some overall-clad
municipal workers, turned up and deconstructed his
conceptual Nature/Art piece. It apparently constituted an
'occupation of the public road'.
The creator argued that the road is not heavily
the spot was an eyesore and, moreover, that detailing the
four workers (and their wagon, diggers and other equipment)
to remove his efforts was a waste of public money, since
they would have been more gainfully employed elsewhere.
Needless to say, those wags in the local authority are
currently working on a witty riposte to the criticism. When
I hear what it is, I'll pass it on.
Monday 12 January 2009
Go to Florida...
... if you're after a Florida vacation. That's the simple
advice offered by those who are opposing plans to build a
huge new resort that will 'turn the Algarve into Europe's
It's rumoured to be heading for Alvor, and many of the
locals are girding their loins to join the struggle to stop
it happening. they argue that Alvor has developed as far as
it can while still retaining some original character. Their
worry is that the area will be transformed into some form of
And they argue that the plans are misguided since, with
airfares still seeing huge discount deals, those who hanker
after a Florida vacation can simply fly there and experience
the real thing.
After all, they're not planning to turn Florida into
America's Algarve - are they?
Thursday 8 January 2009
I'm off the hook!
It wasn't me this time... I got back from my Christmas /
New Year's trip to UK to find husband Nev suffering from a
Usually, it's folk coming back from colder climes that
transport the bugs, but he was already gasping for air as I
landed - so that's me off the blame list.
He went out with friends for New Year's; meal, drinks,
silly party hats, paper ribbons being thrown everywhere, and
- on the stroke of midnight and immediately thereafter -
plenty of handshaking and cheek-kissing and wishing one
And that's where it must have happened since, less than
48 hours later, he had noticed the onset of symptoms.
He was still strong enough (just) to drive to the airport
to welcome me back and take me home. But no welcome kiss, no
I'm probably immune to the germs, since I'd taken the
back-end of a cold (in the form of a dry, hacking cough)
over to UK with me, but we're not taking any chances.
Probably because he's worried that, if I got ill again, I
might be too weak to cook!
The new year starts not with a bang, or a whimper, but
with a snuffling, sorry-for-himself husband to care for.
C'est la vie!
Sunday 4 January 2009
In Vino Veritas
Yes, it's true. From 2010, you will be able to spend your
entire Algarve vacation immersed in vinho!
A Spanish property consortium has announced that it is to
go ahead with plans to build a 'vinotherapeutic' spa near
Tavira in eastern Algarve. In spite of the thermal spa at
Caldas de Monchique, it is claimed to be the only entity of
its kind in Iberia - and I can quite believe it.
In addition to exfoliation with treated grape skins,
massage with oil of grape seeds, treatment with products
based on grape nectar, you can be immersed in wine!
I'm guessing that the sessions will be a little more
exclusive than the Japanese version shown here, which looks
more like some game show out-take...
And why should it end there? How about a Merlot
massage, followed by a Champagne shower? Or if
you're intent on staying 'national' with your tipple, opt
for an Alentejano anointment, or a Douro
The centre will be built at Perogil, near Tavira, and
wonderful sea views (unless you're submerged in wine),
and construction is set to cost some 3.5 million euros. It will take the
form of an aparthotel, with three blocks containing one- and
I'm not sure about the name, though: Algarve Wine Spa
doesn't have much of a ring to it, though I'm sure that,
once the vinho has penetrated your pores, you won't
be caring much what it's called!
If it proves successful, we may just run a competition on
Algarve Beach Life to win a luxury weekend
having your tummy tickled with vinho tinto...
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