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This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Tuesday 10 November 2009

Where Low Season Warms

Last week – well, in the North West at least – Autumn drove in with a vengeance: every day it rained, and the wind blew much of the remaining leaves off the trees. The nights have gone cold, and the daylight retreats steadily. The decision was taken for Zelo Street to migrate temporarily to somewhere with more warmth and daylight.

So, after the last EasyJet early afternoon flight from Liverpool to Faro of the current season (filled partly with Benfica fans returning the long way from Liverpool to Lisbon), and a quick spin round the resorts by shuttle bus, I’ve arrived at the crossroads between new and old in the Algarve – at Albufeira. This evening, despite the steady breeze, the temperature is in the high teens, and this afternoon was in the low 20s.

So it might have been expected that the place would be buzzing. It is not. Overprovision of accommodation – which means that a pleasant apartment can be had for just under fifteen pounds a night – and the poor exchange rate is not encouraging Brits to visit. So when the receptionist told me that the bar was closed, because it was low season, it wasn’t totally unexpected.

That, of course, is relative: if those temperatures were recorded in the UK, it certainly wouldn’t be low season. But here in Albufeira, restaurants are struggling for custom, and empty bars blare out their sounds in the hope of drawing in folks to watch the football. In the meantime, I passed by all of these to revisit a little restaurant called O Zuca, at the foot of the Travessa de Malpique, which I last visited almost thirteen years ago, where locals hang around the bar, and the TV shows one of the national channels. This evening featured the Portuguese version of Pop Idol, and I can confirm that the supply of hopefuls whose ambition exceeds their ability is as plentiful as in the UK.

Updates as and when over the next two weeks ...

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