Algarvean Daze

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

Get Out Of This One, Madam Mayor

Sometimes things go amiss in the Algarve.

The Mayor of Silves Câmara and her cronies regularly deny any responsibility for what goes on in the county, be it bad roads, Dale Farm-ish encampments of camper-vans on public land or corruption within the administration.

Try as they may, they will find it difficult (although I'm certain they will attempt) to distance themselves in the matter of the quality of the domestic water running from our taps over the last 48 hours (and repetitively in the past), supplied by and billed for by the Câmara.

Maybe their campaign motto could be "We washed our hands. It's not our fault they didn't come clean"

Travel Tip: General Strike Thursday 24 November

The anticipated general strike planned for Thursday 24 November will cause travel chaos. If you have travel plans for Thursday contact your travel operator or airline to confirm the impact on your flights.

"ANA, Portuguese Airports, advises all passengers with flights scheduled between 10pm on Wednesday and midnight Friday, departing from any Portuguese airport, to contact your airline or travel agent before departing for the airport, to check the state of your flight."

Casting The First Stone

Ever since it was announced that Iceland, the UK frozen food chain, would be opening a store in the Algarve I have followed, on the many forums aimed at expats, the frequently heated debate about the desirability of such a commercial endeavour. While I will not be a frequent shopper I will be an occasional one, in the same manner that I occasionally shop at a number of different Algarve establishments. OK, that's my position. But now about the furore.

There is a small but extremely vocal group of people who would like to restrict my choice, your choice, our choice of where we shop because they can not understand why people who have relocated their homes, their families, their lives to the Algarve would want to maintain ties to the UK and it's produce. These proponents in the 'Buy Portuguese' camp seem to have cut their dietary ties with Blighty, and while I have a degree of empathy with their argument to buy locally, the hypocrisy latent in their arguments leaves me cold.

If integration into the local community is paramount to this band of naysayers, why are they posting, in English, on expat forums aimed at non-Portuguese? Have all of these pro-Portugal opponents of free choice taken up official residency and converted their driving licences? And forgive me if I'm wrong, but are they, by any chance, watching UK television via Sky, Freesat and the internet?

If the philosophy of Iceland's detractors is that of 'When In Rome, do as the Romans do', surely their credibility would be enhanced if they said so in Italian.

What Rhymes With Banker?

This is not my tale. The events chronicled here happened not to me, but to a friend. I have no doubt as to the veracity of his account, so I pass it on to you without reservation.

My friend, we'll call him Dave, found himself in a situation where he could no longer use his bank card because it had expired. Never having encountered this before, as the bank had always posted his new card in a timely manner, he visited his local branch of a bank we'll call - since we have to call it something - Millennium BCP.

The conversation then goes something like this -

Dave: I haven't received my replacement card.

MBCP: We posted it to you but it was returned here as undeliverable.

Dave: What address did you send the card to?

MBCP: To your house, of course.

Dave: But I don't receive post at my house. I have a post office box. You send my statements to it.

MBCP: We don't send cards to post office boxes. We only send them to where you live.

Dave: Ok, if the card was returned to you here, may I have it now please?

MBCP: No, we always cancel all returned cards. We'll have to apply for a new card.

Dave: Where will it be sent?

MBCP: To your house.

Dave: I told you I can't receive post at my house. Why can't you send it to my post office box?

MBCP: (Exasperated response) - Because ... you ... don't ... live ... in ... the ... post ... office ...

Dave: (After a period of incredulous silence) - OK, have the card delivered here to the bank, and I'll collect it here.

MBCP: We can't do that.

Dave: Why?

MBCP: Because ... you ... don't ... live ... in ... the ... bank ...

Fast forward a couple of weeks. Dave returns to his local branch and closes his accounts, as his new bank has sent his bank cards to his post office box. When the manager overhears him closing his accounts Dave is offered the facility to receive his cards at the branch.

A most magnanimous offer, one which he however declines.

DIY, Algarve Style

This is not a recent phenomenon. My first encounter was a few years ago when I sent an anonymous email to a well established - but according to the management, struggling - Algarve tourist resort where I have a managed property. This email asked what was to me, a simple question about rates and facilities. When, after more than a week, I received a reply, I was advised that the information I required could be found on their website. That was it. No direct answer to my direct question.

More recently I have have been interested in multiple items that were advertised in private sales on a number of the good Algarve expat forums. Good descriptions, good prices - but where are the goods available to be seen? A direct question to the sellers, one that would allow me to determine whether it was viable for me to travel from my Central Algarve home to: Vale de Telha, to Vila Real de Santo Antonio, to Odeceixe, to Alcoutim? Where are the goods located? Simples! The typical response received from the sellers required me to phone, to email, to send private messages in order to be advised of the location.

In some of the cases where items were being sold, the reason for selling was a failed commercial venture. Commercial ventures that relied on the general public for success. Is it any wonder that such ventures failed, if the response provided to customers' queries was anywhere akin to that which was provided during the everything must go sale?

Is it just me, or does anyone else share my frustration in having to beg sellers, commercial or private, for information that may ultimately end up in my putting money in their hands?

I'm tired of doing other peoples' work. An email answer that provides ONLY a link to a website (a response without a thank you for your enquiry, we'll get back to you ASAP but in the meantime why not look at our website, etc) will not get my custom.

'The customer is an interruption of our days' work' may be your motto, Mr Businessman. It's not mine. So please respond quickly to my emails asking the location of your Going Out Of Business sale.

Algarve Rain

With the arrival of fairly consistent rain, which is genuinely now needed in the Algarve, I now have more time to ruminate about - what else - the weather. Not, however, statistics about hours of sun, minimum and maximum temperatures and frequency and depth of autumn rainfalls. No, my thoughts about rain lean toward what rain delivers, not what rain is.

The onset of rain provides many chances for reflection, and not just in the puddles. Some of my observations, in no particular order, are -

- The ability to find the leak in the roof that needed to be repaired before the rainy season arrived, but which was elusive during the dry season due to lack of, uh, rain.

- The bizarre set of circumstances surrounding umbrellas. Umbrellas which are rarely in the same location as their owners when rain commences, umbrellas which, if in the possession of their owners, are only infrequently required due to their ability to cause rain to fall elsewhere when in their owners' possession. Umbrellas which, if in possession as mentioned above, will frequently be abandoned when their owner departs, leading to the situation first alluded to.

- Pets love rain, and this love affair bubbles over into their relationship with their owners. When your dog or cat feels good about themselves due to an extended frolic in the showers, their greatest desire is to share their enthusiasm by entering into lap-snuggle mode.

- A sudden shower will immediately identify to the driver which of the windscreen wipers has perished in the summer sun and needs replacing. This is normally, but not always, the driver's side one.

- 'Brain Training' on your Nintendo DS is not required provided thunderstorms are sufficient in their ferocity. Your ability to navigate through your home in the total darkness occasioned by a night-time, storm-induced power cut, to the location of the candles and matches, will provide the necessary cerebral massage. The massage of your shins after their encounter with the coffee table will further assist your grey cells in their Pavlovian ability to remember small things. Like the location of the coffee table.

With rain-induced benefits such as these, why would we ever want a return to sunshine? That's rhetorical, by the way...

Cafévourite: Il Cappuccino Café Restaurant

I can not believe that after only one visit I feel inclined to add Il Cappuccino to the Algarvean Daze list of Cafévourites. But here it is, our second cafévourite.

For some months now friends of ours have been suggesting that we join them for a meal at an Albufeira eatery where, they insisted, a tasty three course meal with wine and coffee was on offer for the less-than-princely sum of 6.50€. Eventually we could no longer dodge the invites, so earlier this week six of us - four 'regulars' and we two neophytes - descended on Il Cappuccino.

I can say without much hesitation that I don't normally rate Formica and flourescents as being the height of restaurant chic. Had I stumbled upon this place I would have walked straight past, not straight in. However, as our friends had booked a table (In a café?? My mind boggled!) it would have been a bit churlish to walk away at the last minute.

I'm so pleased we didn't do that runner! Firstly, we went to the only table already laid for six (in fact, the only table laid) where were greeted by the owner, Nelson, who ascertained our drinks order. A good, prioritised start. Then he advised us of the specials of the day and gave us time to ponder the menu. Our friends then told us that for the set price we could have either the daily options or chose from the menu. No tourist menu, no yesterday's overstocks, but al a carte at a fixed price.

The food was plentiful and tasty, the wine, albeit of the jug variety, abundant and drinkable, the service efficient and Nelson and his wife Gabriella, the most convivial of hosts. How long they will be able to continue to produce a board of fare at such a price is anybody's guess.

Locating Il Cappuccino is not that hard, from the worms roundabout head north 50 metres to the next roundabout (Pingo Doce), turn right, follow the road past the library (on your left) 100 metres. Il Cappuccino is on the right. Google Earth puts it here - 37.096144 -8.230702

A final word - if you plan on dining after 8pm, make a booking. Within 30-45 minutes of our arrival there was not a table to be had. It seems like quite a few people like value for money!

The Hidden Side Of Retirement Planning

Aren't you lucky? If I've heard those words once I've heard them more times than the remaining hairs on my head. The reference is, however erroneous, about our retiring to the Algarve.

First, luck had nothing to do with it. We didn't win the lottery, nor did we derive any sort of windfall from the untimely demise of some unknown reclusive relative with a mattress stuffed full of thousand dollar/pound/euro notes. Second, retirement, early or not, comes with it's own baggage.

Yes, we were prepared for the physical aspects of professional unemployment. Our home in the sun was unencumbered by loans, it was furnished, we had transport and we had an income stream capable of allowing us a lifestyle at least akin to that which we were used to during our working lives. And we had time.

Endless hours of time. Time which used to frequently be spent apart, due to the nature of our jobs. Time which now juxtaposes us 24/7. This was the unplanned entry in our financial model. What do you do, what do you say to your partner during the eighteen daily waking hours that you now have at you disposal? When we worked, we exchanged our stories in the evenings or, depending on travel for work, only at weekends. The time allotted to our sharing of events was proportionate to what we actually had to say.

Now we are together almost every waking moment, and managing this closeness is probably the hardest work we have ever done. However, counsel on how best to survive the emotional aspects of shared retirement has fortunately already been written, not by me, but by Kahlil Gibran.

"...let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another, but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow."

Damn, I wish I would have put that variable into my retirement planning!

Tempus Fugit

A few years ago we had flyscreens installed to shelter us from the annual Algarve autumn onslaught of the annoying little beasties. I'm pleased to say that this was a total success, and our home is now a wonderful fly-free zone. That should mean that I'm no longer bothered by the malevolent moscas, but this hasn't been the reality this weekend.

During the previous week we had a neighbouring olive tree pruned, one close to our kitchen wall with branches draped over our kitchen roof. This work also exposed the kitchen wall, a wall that hasn't seen paint for ages. So, with an exposed wall in need of paint, good weather, paint, rollers and brushes in the shed - I headed out with the best of intentions to tackle what should have been a quick job. I didn't count on the flies.

As soon as I had wedged myself between the wall and the trunk of the olive tree, someone, somewhere sounded the call to arms for every able-bodied fly to muster and prepare for attack.

Ill prepared, wearing shorts and a t-shirt and armed only with a paint-laden roller, I fought a losing battle. With each passing minute I swatted madly with brushes and rollers, resulting in very little paint applied to the wall, gallons on myself, with only the occasional bugger sent to oblivion. Fighting the annoying little blighters turned the time which should have passed quickly into one that which dragged endlessly on.

I think I now know what is implied by the phrase 'time flies'.

Happy Anniversary

This one snuck up on me - as of this month it's been ten years since we moved to the Algarve. The upside must be that in spite of the upheaval we have managed to slot ourselves into the country, and to some extent it's customs, the downside may just have something to do with being ten years older.

There has been much written lately about expats abandoning the 'dream' and returning 'home'. If we wanted, we wouldn't, we couldn't do that, as Portugal, the Algarve, is now home. We never really had a dream, but we did have a plan. When we left the UK (not my country of birth) we pretty much cut our ties and now I'm not sure that we could afford to get back on the property ladder, to live there. It may not be as cheap to live in Portugal as it once was, but I really do believe that all told, Portugal is still less expensive than the UK.

We are still working to the weekly budget we set ten years ago, and in fact have not increased the total amount. Yes, the way that money was allocated has changed, with more on dining out and less on groceries, but the bottom line remains the same. In respect of annual expenditure, we still feel that we are ahead on rates, TV and heating, but maybe paying a bit more for insurance and communications. But the scales are still tipped in our favour.

Will we stay in Portugal forever? I don't know. But I do know that it's unlikely we'll be going back to any place we have already lived before. So Happy Anniversary to us, and to all the other expats who see the benefit of riding out the storm. Parabéns!

Incomplete By Design

Yesterday I took down the shade sail that has for the last few months provided our kitchen patio welcome respite from the Algarve's endless summer sunshine. Although the installation and removal of our canvas canopy is an annual event, I am still amazed when suddenly I regain the ability, upon exiting the kitchen, to see the sky, the vapour trail of planes still conveying visitors to and fro from Faro and stars, the amazing amount of stars visible in an Algarve sky when there are no streetlights within hundreds of metres.

The return into the light is both physical and symbolic. Just as the physical barrier between ourselves and the firmament has now been removed, our personal, invisible ceiling on how we plan our time and what tasks and activities we feel comfortable in taking on has likewise disolved. Unlike the summer, when remedial work is routinely postponed so as not to conflict with the need to socialise, to be accommodating toward friends & visitors, there is now nothing stopping me, no restrictions.

Except, of course, my penchant toward laziness!

The Lazy Approach To Blogging

I have lost all track of time. By yesterday at the latest I should have penned the blog entry for today. No, I allowed events to entice me into spending far too much time with friends, selfishly ignoring my readers. Even now, I'm rushing into this because I'm about to exit the computer for another Algarvean lunch.

So, I'm taking the easy way out. Having had a look at what archived Algarvean Daze blogs get read the most, I thought I'd re-introduce some of them here for the benefit of those of you who may not have been following me from the start. Hopefully these articles will be of some interest to you.


When we first moved to the Algarve a decade ago, weekends were frequently taken up with long drives through the mountains or to western coastal areas not so popular with visitors. My significant other half, a quite accomplished photographer, would punctuate what I desired to be non-stop travel with request after request to stop, go back, park and wait while a diminutive wildflower or a vista disappearing into infinity was (as if nature needed this) immortalised.

VKB 2011

Then fuel became more expensive, our circle of friends grew and weekends ceased to be cause to venture into the hinterlands. The time reserved for exploration had become time utilised in socialising, in partaking and imbibing, often in amounts far greater than those deemed sensible. Nature had to take a back seat, and that in a car that wasn't going anywhere.

Things are going to change. Our plan is to get back into discovering much more of the country we have adopted, and sharing some of those discoveries here. The car is fuelled and ready to depart for roads never travelled under our stewardship. Autumn awaits us, and it would be churlish not to heed its call. So, we're off, returning hopefully with new stories, images and insights.

That's assuming the social secretary has nothing else planned for the weekend!

Summer Departs, Autumn Leaves

Less traffic, parking spaces closer to our destination, shorter queues in the supermarkets. Favourite waiters at frequented restaurants missing in action, off finally on their well deserved breaks. 'Stock Out' end of season sales where merchants get that final seasonal burst of income required to keep them ticking over until the next influx of visitors. All indications that summer is drawing to a close.

Temperatures moderating, less of a gap between the highs and lows, a bit less light, a few cloudy hours creeping into some of the days - Autumn is approaching.

I enjoy the changing of the seasons, but there is something I find lacking in the Algarvean cycle. With the exception of our almond trees, there is little indication of senescence, of leaves dying and trees going into dormancy. The colour, the reds, yellows and browns, the harbinger of the colder (OK, in Algarve, cooler) weather that will eventually become winter is noticeable in it's absence. And this displeases my sense of what Autumn is - or rather should be. Would I, however, live anywhere else just in order to experience that which I find missing, would I abandon the Algarve for the Perthsire highlands of Scotland or leafy Vermont, both resplendent in Autumn?

Not for all the leaves in the forest.

Câmara Antiga

As some of you know (as ALL of you should know) Algarvean Daze publishes current Algarve events under the auspices of it's sister site, Algarvean Daze on Facebook. Hint: If you didn't already know, you do now, and there's no excuse not to regularly visit!

A lot of the information that we publish has it's source in the official websites of the various councils which govern the Algarve, websites which cater for the social and cultural needs of the population as well as the daily administrative bureaucracy. And herein lies the problem. We at Algarvean Daze use social networking sites to collect the council information that we ultimately dispense, but some of the Algarve Concelhos do not - in 2011 - link to social networking sites. This means that the events they support are only known to those who visit the individual, official site of each council - at times quite a time-consuming task.

So, to the Presidents of Albufeira, Castro Marim, Lagos, Lagoa, Monchique, Olhão, São Brás de Alportel and Vila do Bispo Concelhos - get your act together. You spend time and scarce money to put on events for the people, then hide this information away from the wider population. Wake up!

We can't help you if you don't/won't help yourselves! And we would really like to help you.


Believe me, I had absolutely no intention of setting up another blog/website any time in the near future. Then some friends with an iPad rented a villa nearby and although they had enquired about internet access before making the booking, found themselves with a landlord-provided dongle and no USB port on the iPad which would have allowed the consummation of machine and web. To compound matters, the only solution I could suggest involved my home WiFi network and one bar I occasionally frequent.

Even a quick search online didn't resolve the problem. Local information was a bit rough and decidedly sketchy, and sites that provided slicker presentation didn't really cater too much for the Algarve region of Portugal. So I decided to do it myself.

I have no idea what the finished product will look like, but for the time being, information which is being collected is being presented simply at

But, it's not just about me providing information. You can help me help you. If you have an Algarvean business that offers free WiFi, or if you use a business in the Algarve that offers free WiFi, contact us HERE. Share the information with me, and I'll share the information with the Algarve. That's what the web is all about!

The Iceman Cometh

A few years ago, when I bought my first ice-making machine, I thought I was being clever. Best price in Algarve, 329€, best price in Spain, 169€. So I went to Spain. Twice. Once, to find that El Corte Ingles didn't regularly stock the machines, and once, a week later to collect the ordered equipment.

When, after 18 months it ceased to function, I made the decision not to make the additional two trips required to have it repaired under warranty, and it's subsequent collection , but consigned it instead to the Portuguese recycling system. By this time prices had fallen in Portugal, so a replacement was procured for 150€, from Radio Popular.

Fast forward almost two years. The machine, as it's predecessor did, dies. One year and three hundred and sixty-three days into the two year warranty period. Picture a very rapid trip back to Radio Popular.

Radio Popular was crewed, on that day, by a staff of one. After an extended conversation (not for here, the unexpurgated version is best kept for anecdotal drivel over the dinner table) I was informed that as the machine came from China, and would have to be returned there to be fixed, Radio Popular would not accept it for repair under the warranty. No way.

Just as I was about to execute my rant program, the assistant explained that as they couldn't/wouldn't repair the unit, I could have money back as a store credit. Her tone was that of a parent teaching a young child about some previously unencountered event, as she answered my question of 'How much credit?' by stating I would receive credit for the full purchase price.

As I was about to purchase a new washing machine from Radio Popular, it did not take me long to realise that this was probably as good as it gets. Two years free use of the machine, and as Radio Popular didn't have any in stock, I popped across the street to Makro, found a bigger, better one, and netting off all the costs, paid a 10€ premium for the new icemaker. Which now comes with a two year warranty.

I wonder, should this new one die near the end of it's warranty, will Makro be as customer-friendly as Radio Popular was?


Most things about the Algarve please me, and I've written often about them. To provide Ying to my Yang however, here are a few things, in reverse order, that annoy the holy bejesus out of me.

10. Expats who arrive without any real money, or a plan, then blame Portugal when it all goes ass-over-tits. Expats who arrive with more money than I did.

9. Visitors who forget that roads are for cars. Walking slowly, 6 abreast should be reserved for anti-A22 demonstrations, not seaside resorts.

8. Portuguese family reunions held in supermarket aisles. Tourist family meetings, held in the supermarket cereal aisle, to determine if the box with the rooster logo really is Corn Flakes. Their attempts to read the box just to make sure. Abandoned, sideways trolleys. Supermarkets.

7. Portuguese people who insist in responding to my attempts at speaking the language, in English.

6. English people who automatically assume that ALL Portuguese speak English, or that shouting somehow aids comprehension.

5. Paying 12€ for a bottle of Real Lavrador house wine. Paying 12€ for ANY bottle of house wine.

4. Restaurants that do not sell domestic bottled beer.

3. Loss of Sky TV during a rainstorm.

2. The (mainly) Portuguese people who will not neuter their animals but instead dump the unwanted litters into the garbage bins.

1. The state of the road between Algoz and SB Messines, Estradas de Portugal for not resurfacing it, the mayor of Silves (Ola, Sra Soares!) for not pressuring Estradas de Portugal into resurfacing it and the mid-road cavern that tore a thumb-sized hole in my tyre last week.

Right, I'm off now to buy a tyre. Até logo.

The A22 Dilemma

Asking friends, the universal answer to the question "In the pre-A22 days, would you have paid to get out of one of the frequent traffic jams to which the EN125 was so prone?" was a resounding and emphatic "YES!". So what has changed? It doesn't appear that the now almost unanimous opposition to turning the A22 into a toll road is one of cost.

Maybe it's the bizarre way that the tolls are to be collected, the ill-thought use of technology simply because the technology exists? Maybe it's the abject confusion that visitors to the Algarve will find themselves subjected? Maybe it's the bureaucratic nightmare that people renting cars will need to suffer? Maybe it's the inconvenience that real Post Office users will experience once the CTT becomes the payment terminal that should have been a tool booth from the inception?

Maybe it's all of the above?

If tolls are imposed on the A22, in the manner proposed, the ensuing chaos and frustration can only work against the Algarve in it's position of the chosen holiday destination for tens of thousands of money-spending guests.

Prior to this debacle, I had always thought of A 22 as a small calibre firearm. Without a doubt. I am now certain that the A22 is well and truly, a smoking gun.

Cafévourite: O'Grady's 12 Bar

If you didn't already know it existed, you would never have found O'Grady's 12 Bar. And that would have been an opportunity missed.

O'Grady's 12 Bar is one of those places that is as difficult to categorise as it is to find. Is it a restaurant? No. Does it serve food? Yes. At times. Is it a bar? Yes, but more than just a bar. O'Grady's 12 Bar is a venue. This is a place you visit, not just for the drink, but for the event.

The event may be, in reality, an event. Live music is the heart and soul of this hidden-away gem. Many times weekly, but normally Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, live music is accompanied by good, simple BBQ food, very reasonably priced. And if the music isn't being provided by visiting artists, the owners, accomplished musicians Kevin and Jackie O'Grady, will be the entertaining you, either indoors, among the musical memorabilia, or al-fresco, beneath massive rubber and pepper trees - depending on the weather.

O'Grady's 12 Bar is located a few kilometres off of the Silves - Algoz road, on the Agroturismo site at Quinta da Figueirinha. Google Earth tells me that this is 37°11'9.60"N 8°24'20.54"W, which is probably close enough. In any case, following the Agroturismo signs will get you there. And if you like what you see when you arrive, I won't object to you buying me a beer or two in thanks for the introduction!

UPDATE: O'Grady's 12 Bar offers it's patrons free WiFi


A few years ago Algarvean Daze introduced the concept of Bestaurants, Algarve restaurants which offered good food, reasonably priced, with great views or ambience. These have been reviewed on Algarvean Daze, with Google Earth links provided to their locations. Some of these reviews still, years on, take place in our top seven most popular weekly views.

Moving on from that, to eateries less salubrious, we will soon be regularly adding our reviews of venues where the view may not be great, but the food, service and price qualify the establishments for inclusion in our list of Cafévourites.

Watch this space. We don't think you'll be disappointed.

Self-Inflicted Injuries

I recently read that Algarve accommodation bookings were up 42% on last year. This is great news, particularly if your income is in some way dependent on tourism. On the other side of the coin, however, in my chatting to restaurant owners, takings are down, or at best equal to last year.

Self-catering a holiday is really no more expensive than being at home. At home one shops, prepares and eats. The cost of the ingredients is not a lot different, wherever you may be. Supermarkets benefit, restaurants suffer. It makes sense. But is it sensible?

A holiday should be a holiday. For everybody. Cooking shouldn't be a necessity when abroad, relaxation should.

So, is self-catering killing the restaurant trade? No. The restaurant trade is creating the self-catering mentality. Food along the coast is normally 2-3 times more expensive than equivalent food eaten north of the A22. Markups on house wine at the seaside is frequently 6-8-10 times the real cost of the bottle. This is unsustainable, the proof being the recognised lack of restaurant business in tourist areas.

It is time for restaurateurs to wake up and recognise their worst enemy. Themselves.

Last-Minute Bargain

Friends of ours have had a last-minute cancellation on their stunning townhouse, located at Vale do Milho, in Carvoeiro. Rather than allow it to sit unoccupied during the best part of the Algarve summer season, they have heavily discounted the rental for the period between 4pm on Saturday 30th July to 11am Saturday 6th August.

Full details about the property and contact information can be found HERE

The Pushmi-Pullyu Effect

In reading the various discussion forums aimed at Portugal and the Algarve, I've noticed trends developing that weren't apparent or that I missed in years past. People contemplating the move to Portugal now seem to be taking a more cautious approach and are spending time in rented accommodation prior to buying property.

In many cases, unswayed by the lure of a property market definitely biased toward the buyer, many potential new residents are trying the water before cutting their ties with their home countries. This must be a good thing, as the other side to this story is the increasing number of ex-pats who, unable to earn an income equivalent to that 'at home', are now trying to sell and return to their roots.

Portugal is a great place to live, but one still has to be able to afford to live here. A bit of research, and restraint, will pay dividends. And cheap property will probably be here for a year or two.

Tom Tom Too Much

For years I've toyed with the idea of getting that ideal automotive toy, Sat Nav. A couple of things have always put me off. Price, and price.

First, the price of the Sat Nav unit, and second, the price of the map updates. Both of those impediments have now been removed.

Using a netbook PC, in my case running Ubuntu instead of Windoze, with TangoGPS software, I can utilise maps from many different sources, including Google Maps and Google Earth. Maps from the Open Street Map project are frequently more up to date than anything available as a paid download from the Sat Nav suppliers. Data collected from using this type of GPS system can be uploaded by anyone to keep the maps current.

Considering the number of unidentified roads snaking through the Algarve, using the Google Earth overlays makes finding obscure locations far easier than just using a 2D map - a map which may not even have knowledge of the tracks visible on a satellite image.

The cost? Ubuntu - Free. TangoGPS - Free. Open Street Map & Google Maps - Free. In addition to a netbook PC, the only additional cost is an USB GPS dongle. Cost? €15.

I can just about afford that!

If Ryanair Rented Villas

Just like restaurants that charge €12 for a €2 bottle of house wine - because they can, I find the actions of some villa owners equally despicable.

Some recent browsing, comparing villa prices, has thrown up a disturbing trend. Villas renting at a £1000 peak-season premium, compared to their economy rates, seem to be adopting the attitude of no-frills airlines. As if the extra £1000 weekly income weren't enough, some owners are slapping on a surcharge of £100-200 per week for air conditioning.

What next? Charges to use the pool? To use the BBQ? To watch TV? To park your car? In an economic climate where people are increasingly money conscious, wouldn't it be better to give apparent value for money by stating an all-inclusive price, rather that extorting additional amounts for goods and services which are already effectively paid for in the rental premium?


Like the mythical bird, rising from the ashes, I hope to re-initiate Algarvean Daze in the style I had originally intended. More personal insight, less current affairs. I got a bit carried away with 'what's happening' and forgot about 'what's good'.

My goal is not to publish frequently, but to publish regularly. Will I be successful? The future will be my judge.