Algarvean Daze

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

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?

Phoenix

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.