Tavira Views Archive

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Songs of Friendship
Cantares de Amizade

A celebration of music from Sweden and Scotland in aid of local families affected by the fire took place on Tuesday 16 October 2012 in the Misericórdia Church
Tavira, Portugal.

The church was full to overflowing with a mixture of resident non Portuguese and Portuguese to listen to a performance by the two choirs. This was a reunion of two groups of singers who first got together when Sollerökören , a choir from Mora, near Sollerön visited Helensburgh in Scotland in 2009.The St. Columba Family Singers were formed in 2010 to made a reciprocal visit to Sweden later that year.They have met on a regular basis since then.

The music performed was a blend of Swedish and Scottish folk songs together with classical numbers beautifully arranged by the two choirs. The setting of the Misericórdia Church provided a perfect venue with the great acoustics highlighting the wonderful qualities of the singers.

As stated earlier, this was an opportunity for the local community to raise funds for those families affected by the devastating fires in the Tavira area this year. It was wonderfully supported and many thanks must go to Fernanda Alegria for bringing it all together. A wonderful evening in aid of a great cause.

No football in Tavira

To say I was devastated when I heard our local Football team Santaluzienze would not have a team in the Algarve league this year would be an understatement. Since living in the village and on my visits before I would go down to the local football stadium and thoroughly enjoy the games. I even went to away games. But after speaking to a local friend I heard the sad news. I have tried to understand what the reasons are behind this. It appears that the Algarve FA have indicated that they will no longer accept the surface on which our local teams plays on. This is a shale/sand surface and of course is not the pristine green coloured grass that is the usual surface.

This seems a bizarre reason. I went to a game played in Olhão last year where the surface was synthetic. The bounce was poor and the resulting quality of play reflected this. I presume that this is acceptable to the Algarve FA.

What is even more astonishing is that the other team that played in Tavira on a grass pitch will also not be performing in the league this year.

I am sure there is more to this subject than meets the eye but if anyone has some insight into this subject please let me know.

I am now looking for another team to watch this year. It will not be the same as the enthusiasm and vitality of the play and the support at Santaluziense was amazing.

I am sure I will not be the only one missing the bi-weekly matches down the road!!

Tavira Summer of 2012

So Tavira the sleepy little city in the East of the Algarve region of Portugal. It promotes itself as a City of Culture and this it certainly is. Sleepy it certainly isn´t especially in the summer months.

This has been a particularly challenging year for Portugal and the impact on Tavira is no less than the rest of the country. If anything the fears have been greater. Tavira has an impressive history as a trading and sea-faring port. It has always been associated with the sea although this belies what goes on in the hinterland in places like Cachopo and Santa Catarina. Nowadays there is a fishing fleet but nowhere as big as the city down the road Olhão. Tourism is the bread and butter for this City and the council is fully aware of this.

Restrictions on budgets, both for the City and the Algarve region has impacted on direct financial support for the tourist industry. Draconian financial measures such as a huge increases in IVA (Vat) up to 23 percent have hit Restaurants and Golf courses alike. The despised tolls on the A22 motorway that runs from Spain and across the Algarve and the appalling way the central Government has managed the toll implementation all led to voices of doom emanating from every nook and cranny. The Portuguese like the British excel at drinking out of half full glasses.

So has all the predicted doom and gloom come to fruition? Probably too early to say until accurate statistics are available. But on the ground and living in this area my feeling is that after a slow start in Spring the summer months have been full to overflowing with tourists. The local restaurants seem to be doing well and occupancy rates in the apartments looks good. From the number of Spanish cars on the road the tolls have not deterred our neighbours from coming to this wonderful part of and this certainly was a big worry. The French seem to be here in big numbers as well although the number of French registered cars can be deceptive with so many Portuguese living in that country and coming back home for their holidays.

I think a great deal of credit must go to the local Tavira Council and the surrounding Fregusia. There have been events throughout the spring and summer months to go to in Tavira itself and every village seems to be holding a fair or event every other week.To walk through the centre of Tavira on an evening is quite an eye opener. There are so many people milling about, looking at the various stalls at the Artisans and Antiques fairs or looking at the books when the Book fair was on. There has been Fado nearly every week somewhere in Tavira. The locals love their Fado and are very knowledgeable but the tourists also seem fascinated by this uniquely Portuguese form of music. And the performers are nearly all local.

A few weeks ago we had the Festas dos Pescadores in our village of Santa Luzia and we were amazed at the number of people attending. The music arranged by the Fregusia was excellent and going by the numbers there on the final night the locals and tourists had a great time. There also seems to be an increasing number of new clubs cropping up,providing a variety of music ranging from Jazz to Rock to Fado and of course the ubiquitous Dance music in it´s various forms for the younger elements of the community and visitors alike.

What do you think? Does the Council do enough on their limited budget? Should monies be spent elsewhere? How do you see the future for this area?

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