“Mega” Bolo Rei
What is described as a “mega” Bolo Rei is being prepared in Câmara de Lobos in anticipation of the tradition of the Epiphany. The event, promoted by the local authority, is open to the public. Last year the completed “Kings Cake” was 70 metres in length and weighed 150 pounds, whilst this year the target is an ambitious 140 metres and 220 pounds. Bolo Rei is generally eaten in Portugal between Christmas and the Dia de Reis (a reference to the Three Kings) on January 6. I seem to recall a similar project in the Praça do Municipio in the centre of Funchal some years ago – don’t know if they still do this?
Near zero inflation for 2015
Portugal’s government has estimated that this year will see prices rise by an average of 0.7% in comparison to 2014. This is lower than the initially-predicted 1% increase, leading to a series of forecasts pointing to effectively zero inflation for the coming year. In a report accompanying the Portuguese Government’s 2015 State Budget the calculations were drawn from “a context of absence of inflationary pressures – or deflationary – in international markets.”
Electricity prices are expected to rise slightly (I saw a figure of 4.2% somewhere for Madeira?), with a 2.9% increase in tax on beer and spirits, and 0.7% increase in the cost of public transport. Tobacco taxes are to be widened to include electronic cigarettes.
Cheaper holidays for Brits in Europe
A number of UK newspapers reported last week that UK holidaymakers can expect to pay considerably less when traveling to European destinations including Madeira in 2015. January is one of the busiest months for bookings, and the Telegraph conjectured that “holidaymakers can expect to save anything between five and 15 per cent on the cost of travel and accommodation booked this month, and pay almost 20 cent less than last year on expenses such as eating out”.
Sterling is trading more than seven per cent higher against the euro in comparison with last spring and close to the highest level against the single currency for more than six years. A euro is now worth just over 78 pence, compared with almost 84 pence in March.