Algarvean Daze

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

Holidays Up In Smoke?

As if logic needed to apply to having a holiday in the Algarve, my politically incorrect thoughts today revolve around the cost benefit that is available to UK smokers visiting for a week in the sun.

Firstly, I neither condone nor disapprove of your decision to smoke. That's up to you. I don't smoke. I used to smoke. I've been in both camps. However, if you do smoke, you could use the money to be saved by buying cigarettes in Portugal to offset the cost of your holiday here. As an example, and based on prices confirmed within the last week - A carton (200) of Silk Cut purchased in the UK cost £55. The same amount bought in the Algarve was €38.50. At the time the exchange rate was running at about €1.15 to £1.00, but for simplicity sake I'll use €1.10 to £1.00.

£55 would buy you just over €60, which would in turn buy you 311 cigarettes. More than 50% extra for the same amount of money. So lets say that you smoke 20 cigarettes per day. The daily saving on smoking those 20, were they bought in the Algarve, would be £2.15. In a week, £15, a month £60, 6 months £360.

A quick check of the Thomas Cook website showed that even in late July, a self catering apartment in Albufeira could be rented for seven days for under £400. This means that a light smoker could have flights and holiday accommodation in the Algarve paid for based on the savings gained by buying their smokes here. 20 cartons of cigarettes, more than a 6 month supply based on 20 per day, will weigh about 20 kilos, but if more than one of you is traveling and the weight is divided you should be able to pack the swimsuit and take back the goods without worrying about overweight luggage.

The choice is yours. If you're going to continue to smoke, why not do it in a way that at least gives your family a holiday they can remember you by?

Upcoming Event: Allgarve Jazz 09

The long awaited season of jazz commences at the end of June, with jazz in the Algarve heard at venues across the region. Allgarve 09 brings together a diverse selection of jazz and big band performances, cool enough to take on the hot summer nights.



30 June, 10 pm, Faro
Chico Pinheiro and Brad Mehldau with Fleurine and Luciana Alves
Teatro das Figuras
Horta das Figuras, Estrada Nacional 125, Faro
Tickets - At the concert venue | Information | Map



10 July, 10 pm, Lagoa
Esperanza Spalding
Sítio das Fontes
Tickets and at FNAC, Worten and Agências Abreu | Map



11 July, 10 pm, Portimão
Madeleine Peyroux
TEMPO - Teatro Municipal de Portimão,
Tickets and at FNAC, Worten and Agências Abreu and at the concert venue | Information



16 July, 10 pm, Lagoa-Portimão
Glenn Miller Orchestra
Centro de Congressos do Arade
Lagoa-Portimão
Tickets1 Tickets2 and at FNAC, Worten and Agências Abreu and at the concert venue | Information | Map



17 July, 9:30 pm, Portimão
Branford Marsalis and Metropolitan Orchestra of Lisbon
TEMPO - Teatro Municipal de Portimão
Tickets - at the concert venue | Information | Map


These events make up the first half of the Allgarve Jazz Season. The Loule Jazz Festival keeps the ball rolling, with details soon to be published.

For information about other events occuring in the Algarve, CLICK HERE

Upcoming Event: International CSI 3* Showjumping at Vilamoura

Following on from the Concurso de Saltos Internacional 4**** event of the previous week at Portimao, the Centro Hípico de Vilamoura, located in Estalagem da Cegonha, will host a CSI 3*** Showjumping event on 26, 27 and 28 June 2009.

This elite equestrian event continues to remain elite, with valid information as difficult to come by as a clear round. Faults abound with details which should be available on the Equi Events website, but which are hidden neatly away behind some boring web failure message.

The main Federação Equestre Portuguesa website is functioning, but provides little information without going to the abovementioned, unhelpful link.

The Centro Hípico de Vilamoura website at least has contact details listed, which may be of use in gaining further information.

For information about other events occuring in the Algarve, CLICK HERE

Corn Flaked

The season has now commenced. Although some tourist establishments are still preaching doom and gloom, a business report published a few days ago stated that hotel occupancy in the Algarve was, for the previous week, running at 80%. That's not too bad for a recession.

As more people arrive and migrate toward the coast, we will now migrate more toward the north side of the 125. The visitors don't need to be tripping over us in Modelo. And vice versa.

Shopping is a pastime I can agreeably do without. So to be obligated to share the necessary time in a supermarket with ANYBODY else other than my shopping partner and the checkout staff really gets right up my nose. It's not just the crowds. It's the action of the crowds.

As an example - these two blurred images were shamelessly nicked from the websites of Kelloggs UK and Kelloggs Portugal. They are different. They are written in two different languages. But really, people, is it necessary to have a family conference in the cereal aisle, with Mom, Dad, 2.4 children, associated pushchairs and an askew trolley to decide if this is what you normally have for breakfast?

The company name is the same. The rooster is the same. 'Corn Flakes' are the same words in both languages. You do not read Portuguese. Turning the box over, examining all sides, passing it from parent to child and back again will not facilitate your decision making process. You belong on the beach. You do not want to spend your holiday in a grocery store. PUT the box in your abandonned, sideways cart and move along. If your first instinct tells you that the product is the same, go with it.

And PLEASE, do not get out the calculator and determine the cost difference before you make the decision to buy. Even if it's double what you would normally pay, buy it. Failure to buy the product you know requires you reading the cartons of products you have never heard of!

Keep it simple. You're on holiday. You're worth it, regardless of the cost! And I'm trying to get to the Cheerios!

Catastrophe

When I wrote some time ago about our Portuguese neighbour's cat being likely to present us with a litter of fur-squirm, this was done based upon the fact that as it was the neighbour's cat, should she drop multiple bundles of joy somewhere in my shed, I could ultimately devolve responsibility for the furry felines, and pass the parcel back to the neighbour. As it happened, the anticipated event never took place, albeit not for the lack of trying on behalf of the aforementioned kitty. Twice she has now aborted part-term, so maybe it will turn out that she never does become a problem of the type I wrote about.

Not all cats fare equally. Recently, a friend took pity on five kittens, unceremoniously dumped on the day of their birth, and has lovingly and successfully hand-reared the entire litter from wet, blind, scrambling fur into a sibling menagerie of home-seeking purr-fur.


They are now at the age where they are ready to adopt new humans. Reluctant as my friend may be, she needs now to allow them to grace the homes and lives of others. At the time of writing this, it appears that two of the five are already spoken for. The remaining three are here now for you. It's a sad fact of Algarvean life that animals are so frequently abandoned at birth. The sanctuaries, normally so willing to assist in situation such as this, are currently unable to provide temporary shelter, and my friend finds herself in a position where she really must find proper homes for the kitties, and soon.

You can help. Maybe you want to share your love with a new pet. Maybe you know someone else who would happily take on a new lodger. However it pans out, please help us help the little guys. Drop an email to kittens@algarveandaze.com and help us re-home the remaining furballs.

C'mon, look at the picture. How can you say no?

Upcoming Event: Kite Masters World Tour & Kiteboard Course Racing World Tour 2009

Praia de Alvor, Portimao plays host again to the Professional Kiteboard Riders Association (PKRA) Kite Masters World Tour 2009, commencing on Wednesday, June 24. Sixteen world class freestyle riders and four top Portuguese kiteboarders will compete in the freestyle events.

In addition to those freestyle events, the third annual Kiteboard Course Racing World Tour 2009 will showcase the best kiteboard racers taking part in a series of events designed to take kiteboard racing to the extreme, with a variety of course formats.

Activities continue through Sunday, June 28. The full race schedule and registration details are available HERE.

For information about other events occurring in the Algarve, CLICK HERE

The Ever-So-Excellent Algarvean Daze Around The World In 24 Hours Challenge

Today I thought that I would ask the readers of Algarvean Daze to help me in a small test. It's an easy test, there are no questions to answer, you can't fail the test unless you don't participate and you will help spread the Algarvean Daze message throughout the world. And it will all happen in a marathon 24 hours.

There is no real blog entry today, no story, no upcoming event. But, if you need your daily fix before you proceed, why not read about another Algarve Friday, a previous Friday HERE, then when you're done come back and help me out.

OK. What I want to do is see how many new people can be welcomed into the Algarvean Daze family in a single 24 hour period. I have started by publishing this at just after midnight my time (GMT) and will stop counting at midnight tomorrow.

Your part in all of this is simple. Send the link to this page (see below for a suggested email that already contains a short link to this page) to two friends, and ask, beg, plead and implore them to read the entry and then immediately if not sooner, to send the link to two of their friends, and so on down the line. At the stroke of midnight on Saturday their local time, stop. No more emails.

Hopefully, after 24 hours my blog ramblings will have reached new readers - a fact that will make it all seem worthwile for me and my RSI! In return, I will soon after (Saturday, probably after a good night's sleep) make everybody aware of how many people read the blog, and from which countries. And each of you can live long and peaceful lives, knowing that you have helped me with my quest to preach the Algarve gospel to the widest possible audience.

The final thing I would ask of you is be selective in the two friends that you send this to. They really should be the sort of people who are likely to participate willingly and enthusiastically in such unbridled tomfoolery.

NOTE to email users - Please send a fresh email to your two friends, not one simply forwarding the previous one. Nobody pays any real attention to emails that start FW Fw fw.... If you can't think of what to say, feel free to copy this -

Hi Firstfriend and Secondfriend
I'm sending you this as a part of a 24 hour world tour of the internet on behalf of Algarvean Daze. All I'm asking is that you quickly have a look here - http://tinyurl.com/lw4bdh - and then do what I'm doing right now. You'll understand when you read it. If you get this on or after Saturday 11 June 2009, ignore all this silliness and have a great day!

NOTE to Twitter users - You can equally participate via Twitter using the #followfriday hashtag, using something like this - @firstfriend @secondfriend - Read this as soon as you possibly can! Really! - http://tinyurl.com/lw4bdh #followfriday

My thanx to all of you, both for reading this far, and if you have forwarded the message, for your active participation. Obrigado!

Upcoming Event: Lagoa Jazz Festival 2009

June 19, 20 and 21 2009 sees the seventh annual Lagoa Jazz Festival return to the Sitio das Fontes in Estombar, near Lagoa.

Starting nightly at 21:30, Friday sees the Jeremy Pelt Quintet on stage, Saturday Louis Winsberg's Jaleo and Sunday, Portugal's OGRE.

More details about Lagoa Jazz 2009, from the Camara Lagoa website HERE (Portuguese)

For information about other events occurring in the Algarve, CLICK HERE

Óbidos and Óbidon'ts - Part Three


Climbing for the final time, up the hill to the pousada, it was almost impossible to imagine that just a few hours previous, this pavement had been awash with tourists swarming over the wares displayed in the gift shops, chatting noisily, and in the case of the planeload of Japanese visitors we encountered, clicking repetitively and animatedly at things both stationary and human. Now deserted, it felt as if we were walking through alien territory, a feeling enhanced by the glow of amber lighting upon whitewashed houses, shops and churches. The drizzle of but a few hours before had not yet dried on the calcada, making the vertical trek as treacherous as it was eerie.

Settling in for the last time in our 'rooms' at the pousada, we became aware of a distant droning sound, a sound we attributed to housekeeping machinery, possibly a washing machine or dishwasher. However, as the night dragged on the sound never ceased, never even altered in pitch as one might expect of a machine cycling through it's cleansing rituals. If this unwelcome interloper was preventing our night's sleep, surely it must be doing likewise to our neighbours in the adjoining suite.

Pondering on that fact, we then realised that while we had quite easily heard sounds from the adjoining room on the previous night, tonight there was no obvious sound of human occupancy. When this thought was twinned with what happened next, we knew we had found the source of the unwanted noise.

My other half had climbed down from our loft to use the toilet, and when she switched on the lights, the extractor fan burst into it's song, in complete and unwavering harmony with the other unseen but definitely heard musician.

A 3am phone call to reception ascertained that the neighbouring room was in fact unoccupied. Our request to have someone check the room was agreed to immediately and in under a minute the sound of the machine was joined by the sound of feet scurrying across the parapets. The groan of a door opening was instantly improved upon by the cessation of the drone. The door closed, the footsteps faded into the distance, we fell asleep...

...to be awoken by the return of pousada staff, this time in multiples, to examine the scene of the crime and to hold lively discussions, seemingly about the events which led to our complaining about the noise in the first place. The interesting fact which came to light, both figuratively and physically, was that the thin wall which had been erected to divide what may have been a reasonable sized suite in to two monks cells had ceiling-high air bricks for ventilation - between the two rooms. Turning the light on in one room cast a cozy glow in the other. Sound, working to the same physics, acted similarly.

So as to not be entirely negative about our days at the Pousada do Óbidos, let me conclude our journey, and it's tales, by saying that our final breakfast, served al fresco at a table high on the castle walls, overlooking the walled city of Óbidos was almost worth the difficulties we encountered at this particular venue.

Watching the city come to life, the morning clouds begin to burn off, replaced by breezy sunlight, sitting at a crisp linen draped table at the top of a castle, wrapped snugly in plush complimentary robes is an experience I can recommend without reservation. Even it it means having to do it at the Castelo do Óbidos.
_____________________________________
Other Stops Along Our Journey
Óbidos and Óbidon'ts - Part Two
Óbidos and Óbidon'ts - Part One
Whine By The Case
Seven Days Without Pizza Makes One Weak
Some Like It Hot

Upcoming Event: Festival Med June 24 - 28 2009

For the sixth year Loule will host the Festival MED, for 5 days between 24 June and 28 June 2009.

Joining Ojos de Brujo and Bajofondo at this year’s edition of one of the most highly-regarded World Music festivals to be held in Portugal will be names such as Orquestra Buena Vista Social Club ®, La Notte Della Taranta featuring Stewart Copeland and Horace Andy & Dub Asante.

Multiple stages will provide non-stop entertainment.

Official Festival MED website HERE

For information about other events occuring in the Algarve, CLICK HERE

When Only Second-Best Will Do

A long time ago, in a land far, far away, I scratched together enough to make ends meet, selling musical equipment. At the top end of our keyboard range sat the musician's temple of excelence, the Hammond Organ.

The biggest single obstacle I had to overcome in selling against other brands was the fact that the people selling those pretenders would insist that their product was far superior to any other in the marketplace. Including mine. OK, you would expect them to say this, and if they were working for me I would sack them if they didn't say it. But not everybody could be correct, and as they weren't selling the product I was, they were sadly mistaken.

The best tool I had in selling around other's misguided zeal was to ask the potential purchaser to enquire of competing salesmen as to which brand was second best. This rarely failed to gain universal almost-ran status for my product, and frequently clinched the deal on my behalf. Nobody agreed which was the best, but all were in agreement about which was a close runner-up.

Now, before you think that I've lost the Algarve plot, let me tell you about a website I found recently. Called Best Benidorm Holidays, the site exists to sell holidays in, would you believe, Benidorm. As Benidorm is not in the Algarve, or even Portugal, why do I mention it here?

Because at the time of writing this, 9 out of 10 comments made on the Benidorm website were about the quality of the holidays in the Algarve, particularly Albufeira.


So back to my Hammond Organ analogy. If the Algarve can play second-fiddle to sufficient Benidorm-type websites, we can forget about bookings being 30% down. And as for Benidorm, we will see a third series on ITV, later this year!

One Of Life's Mysteries Explained

Picture this. You're on holiday in the Algarve. You don't speak Portuguese. You're driving a rental car that is low on petrol. You see a petrol station ahead, with queues on either sides of the pumps. Cars behind you are also signaling to enter the station. You now need to pull in and get into the queue that will put the pump adjacent to the filler cap. But which side is it on?

You stop short of joining either queue. The car behind edges forward impatiently. You strain to look in the wing mirrors to see if the filler cap is visible. It isn't. You struggle against the seat belt to try to twist yourself out of the window to see if you can see the cap. You can't. The driver behind you has had enough, he veers rapidly around you shouting something that may either be advice about which side your filler cap is on, or a reference to your parentage. He now pushes in front of you. Your blood pressure begins to rise. Somewhere in your cranial cavity there is an artery with a very thin wall. Deciding enough is enough, it expands, balloon-like, then...

You wake up in the recovery room, muttering incoherently, without the use of one side of your body. And why? Because you were not aware of the hidden secret of one of life's mysteries. For years, neurosurgeons have successfully lobbied to prevent the widespread distribution of the information I am about to give you, freely, without even an iota of anticipation of being remembered in your will.

Look at the petrol gauge. See the tiny little pump? While the pump gives a pretty good indication that this gauge is about fuel, not water, this is not it's prime function. See the hose coming out of the pump? It might be on the right of the pump, or on the left. Is this just artistic licence on the part of the pump-icon designer? NO!

The secret is secret no longer. The filler cap is on the same side as the hose!

Pass this unto each successive generation. You will be held in high esteem and your wisdom will be revered. And I take back what I said about being remembered in your will!