Algarvean Daze

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

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?

Algarvation

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

Cafévourites

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.