Sunday, February 10, 2013


Manipulating the Traffic

Portugal’s roads are becoming safer all the time, according to official figures.
The effects of drivers avoiding the SCUT toll motorways and using more dangerous single-width roads is lessening.
And this is down to a 15% reduction in the toll fees charged, it is claimed.
That’s the government’s view anyway, but the Portuguese motor associations beg to differ.
They point to a number of factors that the official figures seem to ignore, one of which is that fewer people are driving in cash-strapped Portugal. And, of course, cars are increasingly safer, which all gives you a slightly different picture to the ‘official line’.
And, as my recent photograph of the motorway suggests, even if a few more people used the A22 road that bisects the Algarve you could still count the cars visible in either direction on the fingers of two hands!
The likeliest place to spot the green shoots of Portugal’s recovery is growing through the tarmac of under-used toll roads!
Whether or not you drive on the A22 any time soon, read here about how to stay safe while driving in Portugal.

Sunday, December 23, 2012


End of World Postponed...

So, the Mayans got it wrong and the universe didn't implode this weekend. I was relieved, as I'd just been out and bought enough food to fill the freezer. Imagine the waste! But, all is not well with the world, as you'll learn below:

Horror of horrors! It seems that Brits who visit the Algarve (and Portugal generally) may have to do without their fix of home-grown TV... Pretty soon, the transmissions will switch to a new satellite service, which may mean that weaker, or even no, signals will be picked up from the ether. The Portuguese government, already in trouble with its finances, could do without a further reduction in Algarve vacations. Sounds like it's time they petitioned the BBC, ITV and Channels 4 and 5 to keep the soaps and reality shows coming, otherwise cash-strapped Britons might decide to stay at home and spend their money in Blighty instead.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Algarve Tourism Plans

Over the years, many illegal (and dubiously built) dwellings have sprung up on the islands in the Algarve's Ria Formosa Nature Reserve.
After much arguing and infighting, it's been decided that many of them will have to be demolished. As part of the Polis (the overall plan for the Reserve), families will be rehoused as their homes come under the bulldozer. One only hopes that the new homes will be in sensible locations for men who make a subsistence living from fishing.
And much of the reasoning behind this plan is to boost Algarve tourism. Personally, I'd rather see the rambling outlines of the present homes than a committee's idea of what a tourist attraction should be.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


Algarve on two wheels?

If that title is the question, then the answer must surely be: why not?

Let's face it, with a terrific climate and beautiful countryside, the Algarve is a great place to discover using just pedal power.

And, since the weather stays benign just about the whole year round, an off-season break when it's awful outside wherever you live could be 'just the ticket'.

I've done the research, written the page, and posted it on the 'Net...

... which means all you need to do is visit Algarve Cycling and plan your next vacation. There's even a tricycle option where you can explore Portimao and its locale.

And the next question must be: what are you waiting for?

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Sunday, September 28, 2008


Coastline Conundrum?

The news recently included information about the proposed new marina at Ferragudo.

Although it's really just a small fishing village, it's obviously smarting from the success of its rival-across-the-water, Portimao / Praia da Rocha.

The plans as published are extensive and will inevitably alter the nature of the place - probably irrevocably.

I suppose that it's part of Algarve's strategy to attract a wealthier sort of tourist: certainly, the sort of folk who own or rent large boats are likelier to have more money than the rest of us...

The trick is to keep them returning, of course. And one thing I've noticed about ships (or boats or whatever they're called) is that you can take them anywhere that has water.

I suppose the credit crunch is going to result in less visitors to Ferragudo in the next few years, but will the sailors it hopes to attract (if and when the marina is complete) repay the vast amount of money it'll cost?

Answers (if you're a trained economist) on a postcard to Algarve Beach Life - and thank you in advance for sharing your knowledge.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Tourist Blues

I keep reading different accounts of what's going on in the tourism world, now that the Credit Crunch is a reality on both sides of the Atlantic.
One camp has it that Algarve Tourism is likely to suffer badly because of the Pound Sterling's slide against the Euro (15% in the last year!)
The other body of opinion is that the fuel surcharges will slam transatlantic flights, affecting Brazil, Venezuela, California and Florida among other popular destinations.
Rather like when the next General Election is going to be held, or whether the banks will increase interest rates or reduce them, there seem to be as many shades of opinion as there are grains of sand on Algarve beaches.
One thing's for sure, there must be some real bargains to be had out there, if those villas, apartments and hotels aren't getting their quota of tourists. Could be just the time to bag a great value Algarve vacation!

Monday, December 24, 2007


Full-speed, backwards?

I should start by pointing out that I'm all in favour of ending discriminatory practices in the workplace but, it seems, the politicos, as usual, have managed to take things to extremes. Even to the extent where it works to the disadvantage of females - though I bet they won't admit it.
When they enact the latest bit of Euro-legislation around about now, it will "prohibit the direct or indirect sexual discrimination with regard to the provision of goods and services". So, what's wrong with that, you might ask...
... Well, for starters it will mean that women will no longer receive cheaper quotations for vehicle insurance on the grounds that they're safer (and better) drivers than men. Someone please explain to me how that's helpful?
I'm sure the members of European Commission (yet again the genius(es) behind this latest master-stroke) actually mean well. It's just that they don't seem able to think things through to a logical conclusion. Otherwise they'd have excluded such obvious reverse-discrimination from the legislation.
What we patently need is more females in the European Commission (to increase the chance of common sense prevailing) but this legislation will probably prevent anyone trying to bring that about as it would be sexual discrimination.
To paraphrase that ad for the movie 'Alien': In Euro-land, no-one can hear you scream.
(Which is just as well, really).

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