Charity Christmas Cards

An unashamed plug here!

SOS Algarve Animals Charity logo

They’re here! I am very proud to share these Christmas Cards with you – they are all printed and ready for you to purchase … and all the profits go straight to the SOS Algarve Animals Charity which is the charity we have chosen to sponsor this year. I was delighted to be asked to design their Christmas Cards for 2014 .. and hope you like my chosen designs! Both are Pet Portraits of rescue animals that the charity have been able to re-home .. with a little festive addition!

The charity relies entirely on donations and support for their much needed sterilisation campaigns to street animals and animals at risk of getting pregnant. They also operate a re-homing centre and have dogs, puppies, cats and kittens all in need of new loving forever families. They are a registered charity here on the Algarve doing valuable work to protect animals – so you can rest assured that all the profits from the Christmas Cards will be well used.

SOS Algarve Animals Charity Christmas Cards The cards are large A5 size luxury cards printed on high quality paper with nice envelopes! There are 2 designs to choose from – Harvey the dog and Molly the cat!

SOS Algarve Animals Charity Christmas Cards


The prices are as follows:
1 card = €2.75
2 cards = €5
10 cards = €20

Postage costs will be added according to your location in the world. To order them you can just e-mail the charity direct and they will arrange payment and postage for you.

E: sosalgarveanimals@hotmail.com

Please feel free to share this post with your friends – and lets see if we can raise some funds for a worthwhile charity here on the Algarve.

 

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The People of the Silves Medieval Fair 2014

The Medieval Fair at Silves is a must-see on the annual Algarve calendar for us – and what makes it so special are the people that we meet there each year. Some of them have become like friends to us – and many belong the wonderful Viv’Arte troupe that deliver such authentic performances and bring such life to the Fair:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014

So we thought we would share with you this year many of the faces and characters of the Fair – starting with our friend Laura .. and some of her friends …

Silves Medieval Fair 2014

The age range of the group is very impressive:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014

From young – to slightly older – all working together to provide a great spectacle:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014

It’s all taken very seriously too!

Silves Medieval Fair 2014

And the costumes are stunning:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014

And very lifelike:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014

Many of the actors can be captured before they begin the nightly parade through the city:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014

They often seem to be lost in thought – and history:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014

They certainly brighten up the place with their costumes!

Silves Medieval Fair 2014

Although this guy always seems to have the brightest outfits – and the heaviest headgear!

Silves Medieval Fair 2014

Here’s the lovely Laura with another of her friends:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014

The cast aim to recreate the historical events of the city between 1053 and 1246. In 1053 Silves was conquered by Al-Mu’tadid, the king of Seville, and the city was filled with poets, music and feasting, and wealthy merchants, a life illustrated most notably by the local poet Ibn Ammar, in his ‘Homage to Silves’.

In 1189 the city was attacked by Don Sancho I of Portugal, with the help of the knights of the Third Crusade, and the Muslims surrendered. Many battles and ‘changes of ownership’ ensued, until 1246 when the city was finally conquered by D. Afonso III who granted the city its first charter.

A rich history – full of colour, pageant and battles – and all brought back to life for 10 days each year!

Silves Medieval Fair 2014

Each night reflects a different section of the city’s history and story:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014

And each year a different part of this rich history is given a special focus, complete with drama and rich costumes to match:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014

The attention to detail is most impressive.

Silves Medieval Fair 2014

And all overseen by the watchful eye of ‘The Boss’ of the troupe – who is most elusive when there is a camera around!

Silves Medieval Fair 2014

But it’s not just the Viv’Arte group that dress up – the stallholders all enter into the spirit of the show with elaborate costumes and brightly decorated stalls:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014

Our favourite is always the engaging and delightful Sergio Silva – now that man knows how to pose for the camera!

Silves Medieval Fair 2014

There are also street musicians to entertain you – in traditional period costume playing folk and medieval music like the Al Medievo group:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014

There is music and dancing almost on every corner for you to enjoy:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014

And the musicians seem to enjoy the event as much as the crowd:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014

You can turn a corner and find yourself enthralled by a dancer:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014

Or wait on the steps of the Cathedral for a performance to begin:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014

This is the wonderful Eduardo who together with his group, plays for the Oriental belly dancers – he is such a gifted musician and such a humble gentle man:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014

The Escola de Dança Oriental – led by Denise de Carvalho –  are a vibrant, energetic and wonderful group of dancers:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014

So much colour and movement to enjoy:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014

And so much emotion is portrayed:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014

As an artist – I found them very inspiring!

Silves Medieval Fair 2014

And all around are actors and dancers and musicians to entertain you and fill the streets with colour and life:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014

Even the statues in the water are given a make-over:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014

So to everyone that helps to make this the wonderful, vibrant and enthralling spectacle that it is each year – we thank you!

Silves Medieval Fair 2014

Until next year!

If you have enjoyed this post – you might also enjoy seeing more of the Stalls and Shopping from this year’s Fair … and we will be adding another post soon!

For more stunning shots of the People of Silves Medieval Fair – you might also like to check out Dave’s Photography website:

Feira Medieval de Silves – the People Shots!

Silves Medieval Fair 2014

Posted in Events, Places to Visit | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Shopping at the Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Market Stalls

It’s our favourite time of year again! The Silves Medieval Fair is in town and the beautiful city of Silves has been transformed:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Algarve Blog

We have blogged about this wonderful extravaganza for several years – here’s last year’s post Spectacular Medieval Fair at Silves and here was our post from 2011 Silves Medieval Fair

This year the tickets are even cheaper – just 2 Euros will get you in for the evening – and 4 Euros will buy you a Pulseira wristband that will get you entry for all 10 nights of the Fair. Shows are extra but still only 5 Euros for a ticket – it’s great value for money!

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Stalls Algarve Blog

For the first of our posts this year, we thought we would focus on the shopping and market stalls that are proudly displayed all through the fair – this really is a shopper’s delight, with a myriad of different products and good quality crafts for sale – here are a selection for you starting with the colourful belly-dancing clothing:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Stalls Algarve Blog

Fantastic brightly coloured lanterns:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Stalls Algarve Blog

and wall lights beautifully displayed:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Stalls Algarve Blog

There is so much pottery to choose from:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Stalls Algarve Blog

and leather goods and bags:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Stalls Algarve Blog

glassware and ornaments:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Stalls Algarve Blog

and a rather fetching set of chairs – perfect for the conservatory!

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Stalls Algarve Blog

The selection of dried fruit and nuts are lovingly arranged:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Stalls Algarve Blog

and rather tempting too!

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Stalls Algarve Blog

The sandals are piled up;

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Stalls Algarve Blog

and the sun is so bright on the jewellery that it’s hard to capture:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Stalls Algarve Blog

There are lots of old-fashioned children’s toys:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Stalls Algarve Blog

and marble carvings:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Stalls Algarve Blog

and sandals on display:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Stalls Algarve Blog

The material laid out is so colourful:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Stalls Algarve Blog

and the home-made candles made us smile:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Stalls Algarve Blog

The cork bracelets are always a favourite:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Stalls Algarve Blog

And if you fancy an elegant afternoon tea we know just the accessory you need:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Stalls Algarve Blog

A girl can never have too many handbags!

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Stalls Algarve Blog

There are also more unusual items for sale like these African masks:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Stalls Algarve Blog

and African prints:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Stalls Algarve Blog

One of our favourite things was this model’s head which seemed to be suspended in mid-air …

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Stalls Algarve Blog

You can pay a lot – or a few Euros – for your jewellery depending on the style and quality of the piece:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Stalls Algarve Blog

And even buy a plate from Queen Nefertiti!

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Stalls Algarve Blog

Our favourite stall-holder Sergio Silva is back with his wonderful handmade swords:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Stalls Algarve Blog

we are loving his shop sign!

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Stalls Algarve Blog

Although round the corner is an altogether more dangerous set of tools! Can’t imagine Health and Safety in Britain letting these be sold!

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Stalls Algarve Blog

Alyson has got her eye on one of these lovely ceramic fish – think it will look fab hanging in the studio!

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Stalls Algarve Blog

and if your feet start hurting – you could always buy a pair of sheepskin slippers!

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Stalls Algarve Blog

And accessorise it with the latest in Medieval fashion:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Stalls Algarve Blog

The pottery is everywhere – even on the ground where you walk:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Stalls Algarve Blog

And if you start to feel tired of all that shopping – the comfy sofas are going to look very appealing!

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Stalls Algarve Blog

So why not book a reservation at one of the many restaurants that line the square and enjoy a meal whilst you look over all your purchases – although it is only fair to warn you that so far all of these shots have been taken from the entrance of the Fair to the City Gate … there are as many stalls again up and around the Cathedral to enjoy … but perhaps we’ll save those for another post!

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Stalls Algarve Blog

Next time we will be blogging about the wonderful people and faces of the fair .. so watch this space for more later this week!

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Stalls Algarve Blog

Although we’ll try and make sure that they are a bit more lively than this pair:

Silves Medieval Fair 2014 Stalls Algarve Blog

If you have enjoyed this post – you might also enjoy finding out more about the beautiful city of Silves here:

Castle, Cathedral, Cobbles and Medieval Charm

Posted in Algarve, Eating out, Events, Places to Visit | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Classic Cars in the Algarve

As is often the way in the Algarve, you happen to stumble upon something that you haven’t seen advertised anywhere! This was the case for us last Thursday when we went up to Monchique for an afternoon stroll and found ourselves surrounded by old 2CV cars!

Classic cars Algarve Blog

The posters suggested that something was happening! The event was organised by ‘The Marafados’ club which brings together 2CV lovers all over the Algarve – and reports suggest that over 100 cars from Portugal, Spain, France and the UK were at the event, which included talks, live music and lots of food over 3 days!

Classic cars Algarve Blog

It was lovely to wander round and enjoy seeing so many shiny well-loved old cars parked in the sunshine:

Classic cars Algarve Blog

Some of them were very funny too … spot the man’s arm hanging out of the bonnet!

Classic cars Algarve Blog

Many were obviously beautifully restored and looked after:

Classic cars Algarve Blog

The lining on the inside of this car made me smile:

Classic cars Algarve Blog

The attention to detail and extra touches on some of the cars was extraordinary:

Classic cars Algarve Blog

My favourite was this adapted 2CV which looks like it goes camping a lot!

Classic cars Algarve Blog

Next time we’ll look out for the signs to an event more carefully!

Classic cars Algarve Blog

On Sunday we were luckier to have been given a heads-up about another classic car event, as our friends were taking their beautiful Bubble car to a classic car rally being held at Armação de Pêra – which turned out to be a nice chance to catch up with our dear friends and admire some seriously shiny and some not so old cars!

Classic cars Algarve Blog

This Citroen was like an old gangster movie car:

Classic cars Algarve Blog

And every classic car collection should include a shiny red Lotus!

Classic cars Algarve Blog

The problem comes when you go to an event with ‘classic cars’ and Dave says “I used to have one of those” … (Ford Capri on the right!) .. and worse .. remembers that the Ford Escort on the left was one of his first Police cars! oops – suddenly you feel a bit older!

Classic cars Algarve Blog

I decided that the nicest cars were definitely the Mercedes – such classic styling and elegance:

Classic cars Algarve Blog

But our favourite was obviously our friend’s Isetta Bubble car – which drew many an admiring glance and a photo opportunity, it is such an unusual and gorgeous little thing – quite the little star!

Classic cars Algarve Blog

If we’ve whetted your appetite for more cars to see on the Algarve, we’ve managed to find out about the American Cars in the Algarve event to be held on the 6th September in Faro – you can click the pic below to go to the Facebook Event for more information:

American cars poster

And do let us know of any more similar events – before they happen!

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Organic Produce in the Park

Organic produce market Portimão

Following on from our recent blog post about Yarn Bombing in Portimão in the small but pretty Largo December 1 gardens in Portimão, we were contacted about an organic produce market that takes place there every Saturday from 9.30 to 2pm. We were intrigued, and so the next free Saturday morning that we had, we went over to Portimão to have a look.

Organic produce market Portimão Algarve Blog

We were greeted by two small but thriving stalls set up in the middle of the gardens – a perfect setting under the trees in the dappled shade.

Organic produce market Portimão Algarve Blog

Welcome signs and a bustling sense of quiet pride in the stalls and the produce greeted us – there were lots of people coming and going – mostly locals, with a few tourists:

Organic produce market Portimão Algarve Blog

The produce was beautifully presented, with clear pricing and a very wide selection of organic or ‘bio’ produce for sale:

Organic produce market Portimão Algarve Blog

Lots of fruit and veg, and also nuts, seeds, bean-sprouts, soft fruits, and dried fruits:

Organic produce market Portimão Algarve Blog

The stalls were nice and busy – we have been told that they often have jams and preserves as well – but there was certainly enough selection here for us to enjoy:

Organic produce market Portimão Algarve Blog

Pricing was very reasonable for organic food, and compared favourably with supermarket organic ranges – it was also nice to be able to pick exactly how many of a product you wanted – we bought 6 large tomatoes for 1.29 Euros and a nice lettuce for 0.60 cents.

Organic produce market Portimão Algarve Blog

We also met the two owners of the stalls, the quiet and very polite Miguel:

Organic produce market Portimão Algarve Blog

And the bubbly and lovely Carla, whose sister made all the posters for the events:

Organic produce market Portimão Algarve Blog

Carla represents the Horta da Torre organic farm in Silves, and is passionate about promoting organic produce to the Algarve:

Organic produce market Portimão Algarve Blog

We were so impressed with this little market and its ethos – and it’s amazing range of fresh produce:

Organic produce market Portimão Algarve Blog

It was so nice to meet such passionate and friendly people promoting good honest organic produce – which also tasted delicious! – we will definitely be back for more! And thank you to Maryanne for letting us know about it and taking the time to send us the flyers and information.

Organic produce market Portimão Algarve Blog

Carla also has another market stall on Wednesdays in Almancil – the details can be found in the poster below:

Organic produce market Almancil

And those of you in and around Albufeira need not miss out as she also has an organic basket service on Thursdays:

Organic produce baskets Albufeira

 We wish them all every success with this venture.

Posted in Businesses, Portimão, Shopping | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

Keeping cool on a hot day in the Monchique

The temperature here has been soaring lately – it’s regularly 32 – 34 degrees – and it’s only the beginning of May!

Sometimes it can be nice to go and lie on a beach and enjoy the sun – but equally it can be a real treat to find somewhere cooler to go and relax for while. When the temperature starts to soar, you can usually find us in our car driving up to Monchique to cool off a bit! I’ve previously blogged about the town of Monchique before – you can read about it here Spotlight on Monchique

Algarve Blog Caldas de Monchique

This time we decided to drop off at Caldas de Monchique on the way, and avoiding the usual tourist venues, we walked up to the peaceful and tranquil wooded picnic area above the main square.

Algarve Blog Caldas de Monchique

The air here just seems fresher and cooler, the area is not huge, but it has so many wonderful ancient trees that the canopy just seems to cool you as you walk up the stone steps and start exploring.

Algarve Blog Caldas de Monchique

There are lots of twists and turns and tucked away corners to explore – and always another enticing set of steps calling you forward:

Algarve Blog Caldas de Monchique

The area is mostly occupied by local people at the weekend, all with their own picnic – often complete with portable charcoal barbecue – with children running around freely and exploring. During the week, it is a much calmer and more tranquil place.

Algarve Blog Caldas de Monchique

There are so many pretty little sights to enjoy, it’s a place that makes you want to slow down – or even stop completely – and just relax, listen to the trickling water, and watch how the light changes and highlights even the smallest things.

Algarve Blog Caldas de Monchique

There is also a very nice pond, where the light always seems to reflect the foliage so beautifully, and where the white lilies grow in abundance:

Algarve Blog Caldas de Monchique

The area is scattered with natural stone and wood seating, ideal for a picnic or even just a rest and a slurp of cold water from the Monchique spring fresh water outlet tucked away in the hillside!

Algarve Blog Caldas de Monchique

The trees here really are spectacular, soaring into the sky, with enormous solid trunks – look out for the most impressive one that curls right over:

Algarve Blog Caldas de Monchique

And after you have explored and enjoyed the greenery and peace, it’s time for a cold drink – we went to O Tasco – it’s always a challenge to balance on a tree trunk and have a drink whilst still trying to muster a modicum of poise!

Algarve Blog Caldas de Monchique

Our favourite restaurant was unfortunately closed (on a Sunday!) – we love sitting under the parasols at Restaurant 1692 and watching the world go by – the chairs are comfier too!

Algarve Blog Caldas de Monchique

And then it was time to head off up to Foia – another favourite spot for us when the temperature is soaring – there is always a breeze at the top, and with such spectacular views from the summit, it’s always worth the drive:

Algarve Blog Foia

It’s also fun to look back down on Portimão and the surrounding area, and think ‘our house is down there somewhere!’

Algarve Blog Foia

The area is covered in small stone statue sculptures – this really seems to have taken off in the last year or so, and the area is covered with them now – I love spotting ones that remind me of someone or something – this one in the middle here instantly made me think of Bungle from Rainbow – that’s just aged me nicely hasn’t it!?

Algarve Blog Foia

And now it’s time to share a secret with you … our favourite place in the whole of the Algarve to enjoy piri-piri chicken … an unassuming little restaurant just below Foia called ‘A Rampa’

Algarve Blog Foia A Rampa

In the summer months you can sit out on their little terrace and unwind with a drink and couvert whilst your chicken is cooking – the cheese is delicious:

Algarve Blog Foia A Rampa

And then the main event arrives – piri-piri chicken that is so delicious and juicy it is a marvel and a delight to behold:

Algarve Blog Foia A Rampa

Yes – hang on a minute – I know what you are thinking – there are only 2 of you … yep – that’s right – that whole plate of chicken is for 2 …

Algarve Blog Foia A Rampa

And as you can see – it all disappeared too!

Algarve Blog Foia A Rampa

The view from the terrace is spectacular as the sun sets – and the perfect place to sit back and relax – and after eating all that chicken – that’s about all you can do!

Algarve Blog Foia

Although strangely enough – there always seems to be room for a pudding too! This one is a local treat – made of Bolachas (biscuits) and cream – outrageous!

Algarve Blog Foia A Rampa

All that – including couvert, drinks, main course and desserts for 2 people, for 34.50 Euros. Without the couvert, the main course of piri-piri chicken is 9 Euros a head.

After that it was time to wend our way home, watching the sun set as we drove back down the hill. The prefect – cool – day out!

Posted in Algarve, Eating out, Places to Visit | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Yarn Bombing in Portimão

We’ve been meaning to head over to the garden ‘Largo December 1′ in Portimão – it’s the one in front of the municipal theatre – to have  better look at the ‘Yarn-bombing’ that took place on the 21st March to herald spring.

Yarn Bombing in Portimão, Algarve Blog

The pretty gardens have been transformed by the most amazingly colourful and vibrant display of crochet and sewing, wrapped beautifully around the trees:

Yarn Bombing in Portimão, Algarve Blog

Luckily the weather hasn’t affected the display, which is still there in all its glory. Over 150 senior citizens and 200 schoolchildren took part in the project, and each tree has a sign displayed showing which group or organisation dressed each tree:

Yarn Bombing in Portimão, Algarve Blog

As well as the main trees which are wrapped in colourful blankets, there are also some delightful smaller birds and objects nestled amongst the trees and bushes:

Yarn Bombing in Portimão, Algarve Blog

The colours are fantastic, and only seem to make the park seem even more pretty than usual:

Yarn Bombing in Portimão, Algarve Blog

One of my favourites was the cockerel hanging from a branch:

Yarn Bombing in Portimão, Algarve Blog

Even the flowerbeds have been transformed with crocheted flowers .. shame they couldn’t add the grass too!

Yarn Bombing in Portimão, Algarve Blog

The detail is most impressive, some of these must have taken hours to make:

Yarn Bombing in Portimão, Algarve Blog

Yarn bombing seems to have taken the world by storm – I think this is the first time it has reached Portimão though! It seems to sit nicely against the backdrop of the local café, and the gardens are full of both locals and tourists taking photographs and exploring.

Yarn Bombing in Portimão, Algarve Blog

It really is a wonderful thing to view – and it’s worth taking your time to wander around the gardens several times – each tour will reveal something new to delight you:

Yarn Bombing in Portimão, Algarve Blog

The gardens themselves, although small, are very pretty, with tiled seating areas illustrating the history of Portugal, and contain a pretty fountain where the birds can be seen having a bath!

Yarn Bombing in Portimão, Algarve Blog

The seating areas have also been transformed with birds and flowers hanging from the arbours – there is so much to see and enjoy in such a small area:

Yarn Bombing in Portimão, Algarve Blog

The flowers are everywhere:

Yarn Bombing in Portimão, Algarve Blog

One of the real delights for me was suddenly looking up into one of the trees and seeing a beautiful series of felt birds hanging from the branches:

Yarn Bombing in Portimão, Algarve Blog

And then to spot the most intricate bird feeder – complete with bird of course:

Yarn Bombing in Portimão, Algarve Blog

Even the real birds seemed quite at home with it all too!

Yarn Bombing in Portimão, Algarve Blog

The walkways have even been transformed by paper flowers nestled into the grass:

Yarn Bombing in Portimão, Algarve Blog

So if you are near Portimao – head over to the garden and enjoy the yarn-bombing while it lasts!

Yarn Bombing in Portimão, Algarve Blog

And well done to Portimão Council and all of the agencies, groups and schools that took part in this unique and special event.

 

Posted in Algarve, Events, Places to Visit, Portimão | Tagged , , , | 15 Comments