Algarvean Daze

Events & Activities - mainly during the daytime - across the Algarve

Twilight Time

It's not like the Algarve ever really shuts down, but there is a noticeable change that occurs as we move from August into September, akin to the change of day moving into night.

The chaos that typified a visit to the supermarkets will now revert to simply being a required chore, no longer something to be avoided at all costs. We do appreciate that even visitors have to eat, but sometimes the sight of a store full of cloned sets of Mom, Dad and 2.4 kids, all trying to read the cornflakes box in Portuguese, gets too much for even the stalwart shopper.

The traffic on the EN125 will now thin out, and parking at Algarve Forum and Algarve Shopping will again be possible. It will even soon be possible to park within walking distance of the beaches.

The temperatures are already moving to a level of greater stability, with less swing between the heat of the day and the cool of the night. Rain may well show itself after it's own summer holidays, which I believe it took in the UK this year.

As heralded by the twilight of our picture, we are now moving into a different time, a calmer, cooler and more relaxing time. Resident friends who have been in exile will now return, as will, we anticipate, normality.

Upcoming: International Algarve Fair

Don't say you haven't been warned! On the weekend of September 20th and 21st, the International Algarve Fair will be held at the Fatacil, in Lagoa.

This will be two days of music, games, competitions, bouncy castles, stunt performers, clowns, and bizarrely, human football. Teams can still be put together, so if you're ready at having a go at capturing the tin, you can register your interest on 968 410 914 and put your 5 man team into the running. The entry fee is €50 per team, which will go to the Lagoa Bombeiros. (That's the volunteer fire department, for those of you who are still not conversant with the linga Portuguesa)

Live music on Saturday will be performed by White Crow during the day and in the evening by the band Klonakilty. On Sunday the bands are Cristina Afonso and her trio, and Hexavox.

Entrance is €3 per adult. Gates will open at 11h00

Move To Portugal - The Other Side

While we continue to wax lyrical about the beauty and benefits of living in the Algarve, we have found a site that deals with what we now consider normal, from the perspective of someone who has not yet taken the plunge.

When we planned to relocate to Portugal we pushed ourselves a bit, took odd jobs to build up a tiny surplus of cash, made a few good investments and re-mortgaged our UK home. We never, however, were quite as organised and focused as the people writing the blog, Move To Portugal.

As we continue to write about life and lifestyle in the Algarve, it is our intention not only to extol the virtues of the southern Portuguese countryside, but also to look at the real cost benefit that one derives from living here.

We have frequently agreed that were we still in the UK, our standard of living would be far below what it is now. Our ultimate conclusion is that had we remained in Blighty, there is no way we could survive without drawing down the funds from the investment pot. In the Algarve, however, particularly north of the EN125, we have a material lifestyle equivalent to that which we had when we were both working, and an emotional lifestyle we had only dreamed of.

Now we are both professionally unemployed, and a good 15 years ahead of the game. And that's just fine by us.

Almond Leaves, Autumn Leaves

September isn't too far away and I was noticing as we drove back from lunch with friends today, that the almond trees were turning already, some to the extent that they were brown, not just dirty green.

Our own almond tree is obviously a slow starter, as it is just beginning to shed it's leaves. This is nature's way of telling me that not only is the tourist season ending, but so is summer. Soon, and hopefully, we will begin to see some rain. I know that must sound ridiculous to those of you who have suffered for months with summer deluges, but here we haven't seen a drop since, if my memory serves me well, April.

The early demise of the almond's foliage is not altogether a bad thing. The trees will be barren for only a couple of months, then will be festooned with flowers in late December and will re-coup their leaves in January while the ground around will be covered in pink-white snowy blossoms.

While many other climes will be in the midst of mid-winter, our almond will be heralding the arrival of the always early spring. A myriad of other plants will then follow closely behind. The pallet of colours that will be on display then will be shown here, but for now we must get ready for those few months where some of our flora is just beginning to hibernate, and other is just now beginning to prepare for the autumn winter flowering season.

Bestaurant: Fonte Pequena Inn, Alte

Head inland to the hills and on to the village of Alte, which has roots back to the period of the Roman occupation. Alte is frequently, and rightly so, referred to as the village most typical of the Algarve.

In Alte, following the river upstream one can walk along a paved garden area which is dedicated to Alte's famous poet, Cândido Guerreiro, and reach at the far end, the Fonte Pequena Inn.

This restaurant is massive on the inside and frequently provides sustenance and shelter from the sun to the clients of the numerous jeep safaris that roam the Algarvean hills. Outside, the rustic tables are tucked away beneath Lime - not the fruit lime but the Tilia / Linden variety - trees.

The Fonte Pequena Inn is one of the special group of restaurants (our term is bestaurants) which we believe to be the best combination of venue, quality and value in the Algarve. As our blog develops, we will be adding links, with directions to all of our favourites. Bom appetite!

Good Men Well Honoured

Taking the old road to Lisbon from Monchique in the direction of the village of Nave Redonda, one travels along a twisty road heading up into the mountains. The work that must have gone into the creation of this route can only be guessed at. The road often finds itself clinging to the edge of the mountainside, carved by men and machine, one can imagine frequently at great risk.

Between Monchique and Nave Redonda there is a fountain, nestled within the trees, a relaxing venue where one can take the fresh flowing spring water and sit a while.

The fountain is called Fonte de Amoreira, the Fountain of the Mulberry Tree, which grow in abundance in the area.

The ceramic tiled inlays in and around the fountain are dedicated to the men who laboured building the roadway, and like the road have weathered reasonably well.

Traveling throughout the Algarve you are likely to find many such roadside fountains, many sadly in disrepair, but the spirit that this particular fountain conveys will always be with us on our travels.

The Algarvean Daze Experience

It was an early 80's holiday, a group of people renting a BIG villa, with staff on site to cook and clean, so all that was required of the guests was to have a good time. After two weeks of glorious excess it's a wonder that we ever considered leaving Portugal, but as we were being booted out of our villa, leave we did. Upon departure, we did resolve that to be fair we really should return, and this time, have a look further than the pool, the sea, the bars and the clubs.

So two years later we did return, alone, and put ourselves into an apartment in the centre of Carvoeiro. This time we would learn to fend for ourselves, to buy locally, to cook on the occassions when we didn't go to restaurants and to explore just a bit.

The first thing that really struck us was the friendliness of the locals we met. A friendliness that truly did seem to go beyond the common courtesy one anticipates in shops and restaurants. When our two weeks was over, we knew that we would have to make yet another visit. And so it continued, and by the late 80's we had taken the leap and purchased our first apartment.

We didn't move to the Algarve until 2001, but did come annually, often many times each year. It wasn't, however, until we made the move that we really began to explore and enjoy what the Algarve has to offer.

It's true that Algarve offers some of the world's best beaches along its almost 200 kilometer coastline, with many first rate establishments along that lovely sandy strip. But there is also an Algarve that exists north of the EN125, the coastal road that runs from Spain in the East to Sagres on the western coast. This northern part of the county is where we now live, and where many of our travels take us.

Our ramblings about our rambles in the Algarve will hopefully provide a balanced view of the fun and sunshine coast, and also the more majestic and serene inlands. Sometimes we will simply talk about the flora and fauna. Sometimes, people and places. And maybe sometimes, events.

Join us on our journey as we randomly wander in our Algarvean Daze.

It's more, really

When many people think of the Algarve, the image below of the beach at Ferragudo is probably a pretty accurate representation of how they view the area. While it's not a wrong assumption, it leaves out a much wider picture of life and lifestyle in this beautiful part of Portugal.

In the future I hope that I will be able to show, through my photographs and my words, not only the Algarve that many know, but also the Algarve that many may have missed.

Welcome to my Algarvean Daze.