This Algarve blog is intended to keep you in touch with the latest in Algarve affairs. Now that I'm living here,
I'm attempting to keep you
updated with what's going on in the Algarve 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.
A Good Tourist Year...
... For Algarve, it seems. Tourist income (or should that be
income from tourism?) was up by some 9% on the previous
year. Even allowing for the dreaded inflation of prices,
that must mean that its popularity as a vacation destination
continues to increase.
Good ol' Algarve
Thursday 29 November 2007
... A Rock and a Hard Place
Yet another British couple had to be rescued from the
rocks at Albufeira's seafront recently. It seems to be a
peculiarly British pastime, as the last instance that I can
remember also involved Brits, and at the same location,
unless my memory serves me ill!
The problem seems to be a matter of moving between
Fishermen's Beach and Inatel Beach. When the tide comes in
quickly, the only way to go is up the cliff, which is fine
if you're a rock climber and have all your gear to hand.
When you're toting only beach kit, the ascent proves more
The sea is often too rough around those cliffs to allow
rescue by boat. This time, the unfortunate gentleman was
brought to safety using climbing gear, but the lady needed a
helicopter rescue. Time-consuming, expensive and, I
shouldn't wonder, perhaps a tad embarrassing.
So, if you're sunning yourself in Albufeira
soon, and you fancy a change of beaches, go the long way
round. It often works out to be the quickest route!
Tuesday 27 November 2007
Hold the Cataplana!
I read where Algarve University is carrying out seawater
pollution monitoring using some equipment nicknamed
All very well, but it would make me deeply suspicious of
a deep pot of cataplana (fish and seafood
stew). Who knows what might be nestling at the bottom!
Sunday 25 November 2007
As I pointed out further down this page, TAP, the
Portuguese airline has hiked its prices by adding 3 euros to
its fuel surcharge.
I thought this would make it even more uncompetitive, but
a recent headline suggests that it is winning awards for its
Friday 23 November 2007
If you're looking to visit, or stay in, Portimão
any time during the next eighteen months to two years, then
your route planning may require a little more effort than
The 'old' road bridge that serves the EN125 has been
closed to vehicular traffic while major repairs are carried
out - and even the optimists don't think it'll be quick.
Some remedial work was carried out in 2005/6, but further
engineering reports suggested that the piles and underwater
structures required major overhaul, muito depressa.
So, unless you plan to walk across the bridge, or cycle,
then it's out of bounds until further notice. Given that the
bridge is 131 years old, it's perhaps a tribute to its
constructors that it's lasted this long.
But the works will mean that the other routes that cross
the Rio Arade will need to carry the excess traffic
flow, unless the authorities come up with another solution
(and don't hold your breath on that one).
One construction company has claimed that a new bridge,
in the same place, would cost the same money and be finished
within a year!
Whatever may be decided, prepare for hold-ups and
frustration if you need to traverse Portimão any time in
the foreseeable future.
Monday 19 November 2007
They're At It Again
I'm not anti-EU. I even moved from a country that
probably is largely so, to a country that has embraced the
Euro currency and is an enthusiastic proponent of a
... But, sometimes, they make you just want to scream!
Here's the latest bit of "bureau-lunacy" that's
come to my attention:-
A Faro charity, Santa Case de Misericórdia, which
distributes food to needy locals has been told that it can
no longer prepare its provender along the (undeniably
healthy) lines of the Mediterranean diet. Instead, it must
buy, heat and serve only frozen, processed meals!
seems that ASAE, which is the Portuguese equivalent
of UK's Health and Safety Directorate, is worried that food
cooked from fresh local produce might not accord with the
rules from Brussels.
The cooks, probably all ladies who have successfully
raised hale and hearty families, are to be given training
from an expert chef (in how to heat frozen meals?) and must
wear hairnets and remove their wedding rings when at work.
Was this move occasioned by a spate of illnesses and
deaths caused by Misericórdia repasts? Apparently
not - it's a purely pre-emptive measure, meant to stave off
just such a calamity (pretty unlikely, but why let that get
in the way of interference?)
And this in a country where road deaths are a national
disgrace! Surely, the life-saving efforts of ASAE
might more usefully be directed at things that truly would
make a difference! They should be ashamed of themselves, but
I bet they're not.
Saturday 17 November 2007
You Know When You've Been Tango-ed!
As per my self-imposed resolution, I ensured that we made
it to Faro's Teatro Municipal (also known,
confusingly, as Teatro das Figuras). We went to see 'Tango
Argentino', as I'd mentioned on this month's
"What's On?" page.
And... I'm happy to relate that it was wonderful. There
were four dancers and five musicians. Instruments in use
were piano, accordion, double bass, cello and flute. Given
the amount that the flute featured, I'm guessing that the
flautist was the band leader!
The tunes were wonderfully evocative, and the
choreography superb. If I had to carp, I suppose I'd rather
have seen more dancing, since there were quite a few
music-only pieces. I recognised one tune, which I have on a
compilation called Mundo Latino.
As well as the friends with whom we attended, we even
encountered our Portuguese-language teacher, who had also
greatly enjoyed the proceedings.
One thing I learned is that, if you want to make a quick
getaway after the show, you need to park elsewhere than in
the theatre's dedicated parking area. We went for a stroll
while the throng of traffic slowly thinned, then had a
fairly easy time of exiting the area. Good job we weren't in
Wednesday 14 November 2007
Well, I Like It Here..
They've done another of those polls that make you wonder
about the results...
This one was about the best places to live, based on
criteria such as 'environment and social indicators'. I
believe it was conducted by, or on behalf of, that august
publication, Reader's Digest, which makes the outcome all
the more peculiar...
Portugal (and, by inference, the Algarve) came out well,
but top place went to Finland. Now, I've never been there
and I'm sure it's a lovely country, but... Finland?
If I were to carry out a survey of the best places to
live, one of my categories would be the level of
immigration. That's because immigrants tend to vote with
their feet. They decide where it would be best to live,
based on their own, rather more vital, criteria, then they go to all the trouble
of relocating, including lengthy separations from loved
Now, I've never heard that Finland has an immigration
problem, which suggests that there's no large contingent of humanity shuffling in that direction...
As to Portugal (and the Algarve) - well, it's a small
country and last year's figures suggest 400,000+ legal
immigrants. Enough said?
Wednesday 7 November 2007
Mid-air Hot Air
There was supposed to be a strike recently, involving
pilots and cabin crew of the Portuguese national airline, TAP.
As things turned out, it was called off to allow 'further
talks' to take place.
The problem seems to have been triggered by government
plans to increase the retirement age for pilots; plans which
are now likely to be the subject of some swift backtracking.
And, what was upsetting the cabin crews? Well, TAP had
recently bought the Portugalia airline and hadn't
evened up the salary structures, it seems. This meant that a
Portugalia worker who had lots of experience and seniority
could earn less than the basic salary offered to crew
members flying TAP.
Does any of this matter, you ask? Probably not, since I
found, whenever comparing ticket prices, that TAP came
bottom of the value-for-money stakes. Which means that,
whether they're flying or not, it's extremely unlikely that
I'll be taking up one of their seats.
There are so many better value Algarve
flights to be had that I'm amazed anyone flies with
them. Especially through Lisbon airport where, as well as
paying a high ticket price, you can also expect to enjoy
poor service regarding waiting times and baggage handling.
Monday 5 November 2007
Return from Algarve Blog to Home page
Back to top
Like what you've seen at Algarve Beach Life? Vote for it at TopicCraze... just click on that little flame symbol at left.
It's just a bit of fun, but Thanks!
if you do vote.
Jun 06-Feb 07