Carnival dates. Reids Michelin Star. Agricultural growth.

Festa dos Compadres to start the Carnival Season for 2017

Carnival dates releasedThe Festa dos Compadres, is traditionally the event that opens the carnival season in Madeira. Although officially Carnival celebrations in Funchal will begin this year on February 22nd, it will as usual be the Festa dos Compadres in Santana that will kick off the carnival season on the island, starting on the 16th of February. The dates have been confirmed in today’s Diario, and the full program will be posted here nearer the time us usual. Carnival in Funchal lasts until 1st March this year, with the main parade on 25th and Fun Parade 28th February. The dates are quite a bit later than last year when Festa dos Compadres started on the 28th of January, with events in Funchal starting with the Allegorical Parade on 6th February.

Reid’s Palace’s Michelin Star

Reid's Palace restaurant staffReporting on the Il Gallo D’oro at the Cliffe Bay winning its second Michelin Star at the end of last year, it was largely overlooked that the restaurant at Reid’s Palace, “William”, was distinguished with a single Michelin Guide star for the first time.
The 2017 edition places this restaurant among 21 Portuguese haut cuisine establishments awarded with the star. The gourmet restaurant is led by the Madeira born chef Luis Pestana and supervised by chef Joachim Koerper,

Agricultural growth

Agricultural terraces of MadeiraToday’s Journal reports that the National Statistics Institute have (rather belatedly) released the 2015 data from the Regional Economic Accounts for Agriculture (CEAREG). In the whole of 2015, agricultural production in the Autonomous Region of Madeira was valued at €104.4 million, an increase of 14% on the previous year. It is too easy to say that the island simply depends on tourism, but the contribution of agriculture to the local economy is not to be under-estimated.

20 facts you didn’t know about aircraft

Monarch aircraftInteresting article on a recent Monarch “blog” (a blog that seems to be running out of momentum, judging by the frequency of the posts) entitled “20 facts you didn’t know about aircraft”. Interesting that with all the technology, including 200 computers on-board each plane, there are still the old superstitions – thus no Row 13. I don’t recall if this is the case with other airlines?

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Santo Amaro. Toboggan murder.

Festas de Santo Amaro

The religious festival of Santo Amaro began low-key yesterday, culminating 15th January. The festival traditionally marks the end of the festive period, where people “clean out their cupboards” and is particularly associated with the village of Santa Cruz – details below (use CTRL+/- to zoom in/out on a PC).
Rolling out the itinerary, Filipe Sousa, the mayor of Santa Cruz, emphasized the “spirit of collaboration” between different institutions contributing to the program, highlighting the concert scheduled for tonight which features a Queen tribute band from the mainland. He did however admit that the area next to the Municipal Market “is a small space” for this type of event – so get there early! The local parish priest, Cónego Agostinho Carvalho, highlighted the “sense of devotion” that the patron saint attracts.
The mayor estimated that the Santo Amaro Festival will cost around €15,000, 20-25% more than previously, but was a good investment in terms of the additional revenue it brought into the area.

Don Amaro festival itinerary

Murder in Monte after toboggan feud

Photo of the dead manCorreio da Manhã reported on Wednesday that a 52-year-old man had died in the parish of Monte, Madeira, after being shot in the wake of an argument. Norberto Gouveia was President of the “Monte Trail”, which is the organisation controlling the drivers of the toboggans that are such a tourist attraction. The suspect was arrested at the scene and offered no resistance. A police spokesman said he was unaware of the reason for the incident, nor how many shots were fired or what gun was used, but there are reports of a feud with another colleague. The incident occurred at the beginning of the toboggan route in Monte – there were unsuccessful attempts to revive the victim.

Six murders in three years

Copy of the front page of today's DiarioThe toboggan route was closed yesterday, as was the café that is popular with the drivers. The Diario reported again from the scene and found an “atmosphere of dismay”, with colleagues in their usual outfits refusing to talk about what has been behind events.
Today’s headline in Diario shows that in the last three years six felonies have been tried in Madeira, four of which have already been convicted. Whilst the number of homicides has not increased, the type of weapon used has changed, with firearms replacing knives. Another follow-up by the paper from Monte reports that “there is a mixture of revolt and fear among those who work there”.

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Soares dies. Bolo-Rei. Madeira Regency Palace

Father of the Portugal’s modern-day democracy dies

SoaresPortugal is mourning the death of former President and Prime Minister, Mário Soares, a central figure in the country’s return to democracy in the 1970s after decades of right-wing dictatorship, aged 92. Soares is regarded as being central to Portugal’s return to democracy and was Prime Minister three times and President for ten years. He also spearheaded Portugal’s entry into the EU and later became a European lawmaker
“Today Portugal lost its father of liberty and democracy, the person and face the Portuguese identify most with the regime that was born on 25 April, 1974,” the Socialist party said in a statement. Portugal’s “Carnation Revolution” took place on 25 April 1974 and was the day when the dictatorship that had been headed by strongman António de Oliveira Salazar was overthrown. Soares headed the country’s first democratically elected government in 1976.
Three days national mourning have been declared, and sessions of the Regional Parliament scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday cancelled. The Diario comments that Soares leaves Portugal stronger.

Mega Bolo-Rei

Bolo-ReiThe annual Mega Bolo-Rei event in Câmara de Lobos proved to be a success again at the weekend. The Mayor declared himself delighted with the number of visitors to the Praça da Autonomia to view the “kings cake”, 130 metres long and weighing in at 250 kilos. This celebration of the Day of the Kings is becoming well established in Câmara de Lobos and attracts more tourists each year.

“Sunshine Saturday”

sunshine graphicsA couple of days ago saw what the UK holiday industry traditionally expects to be the busiest day of the year, with sales peaking as Brits tire of the grey, cold winter and dark evenings. More than one million people are expected to go online or visit their high street agents based on booking patterns over the last five years. Saturday January 7 was predicted to be their busiest day of the year for according to Thomson and First Choice. Apparently they are expecting a massive rise in all-inclusive holidays as Brits look for value for money following the effect of the Brexit vote on the pound. In-store activity peaks in the early afternoon, with online bookings at their height mid-evening.

Madeira Regency Palace

Madeira Regency PalaceA recent spate of activity has seen the number of Comments on the original blog post on the closure of the Madeira Regency Palace rise to over 450. From the latest Comments it appears that some contributors are becoming concerned about the activities of a Facebook group that was set up at the time to try to co-ordinate the efforts of time-share members to recover their money. As the Facebook group is “closed” it is not possible to view if you are not a member.

Ronaldo wins FIFA World Best Player Award

Monday night saw CR7  receive FIFA’s best player award for the fourth time after Portugal and Real Madrid won both major European titles in 2016. He beat runner-up and great rival Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann to complete a sweep of top individual awards. “2016 was the best year of my career,” Ronaldo said in Portuguese in his acceptance speech.
One UK newspaper described Ronaldo as “quite vain – but then  he has a lot to be vain about”.

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