Algarve has Perfect Weather for a Convertible

Time to get your top down!

Honda S2000 in the Algarve

300 days of sunshine each year in the Algarve make driving a convertible a real pleasure. Though I have to say when we lived in the Algarve full time during July and August the top only came down for half an hour or so then up it went and airco on. Those months are just too hot to drive without airco! The rest of the year though is perfect and now that we only spend winters here we take every opportunity to zip around the twisties here in Monchique with the wind in my grey hair! 2009 Euromeet S2000

We also try to get away for a few days here and there, New Year in Cadiz Spain, the weather was glorious with temps in the high teens, no rain and blue skys a great trip only spoiled by the rudeness of the local Spanish people. Well there you go symptoms of Brexit perhaps?

We love to tour Portugal there are so many interesting places to visit, stacked with culture, history and excellent food, any excuse we off to somewhere and above all the people are polite and friendly, England’s oldest ally!spain8o2o5011 One of our favourite places to visit is Tomar, it has a Monastery and castle of the Knights Templars well worth seeing, the town is picturesque with great restaurants.

Our Honda is popular with the wildlife too, this Javali, (wild boar) was inquisitive and kindly left his muddy nose print on my car door, bless him!

Slalom at one of the Portuguese Honda S Dois Mil weekends in the north of Portugal.dsc_6694-25 A typical winters day on the west coast of the Algarve.IMG_20181223_135042_resized_20190131_032626475.jpg

 

Villa Vida Nova receives coveted Certificate of Excellence!

User-added image
(24 October 2018)
Algarve property Villa Vida Nova receives coveted TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence
TripAdvisor has given Nigel Stringer and Beverly Herrington-Stringer, owners of Villa Vida Nova, its exclusive Certificate of Excellence accolade – presented to the best of TripAdvisor Rentals’ hundreds of thousands of homes.

The Certificate of Excellence is given annually to those properties that provide consistently outstanding experiences and whose owners offer first-class customer service to their guests.

Owner of Villa Vida Nova, a home that received the accolade, Nigel Stringer said that he is thrilled with the recognition.

“We are very pleased to earn the Certificate of Excellence for our property Villa Vida Nova. We have listed with TripAdvisor Rentals for eight  years and we always strive to provide great customer service. It’s great to be rewarded by TripAdvisor Rentals after all of our hard work and it’s wonderful to know that our many guests over the last years have really valued their stay.”

Laurel Greatrix, Communications Director, TripAdvisor Rentals, said: “We’re excited to recognise and honour the top homes and homeowners on our site. This is a hard-earned accolade, and we’d like to thank these property owners for their dedication to providing travelers with consistently outstanding experiences.”

Villa Vida Nova is available to book directly or through TripAdvisor Rentals  if you prefer where travelers can search, compare and book hundreds of thousands of properties worldwide. Choose properties with Payment Protection to enjoy safe and secure payment.

The Certificate of Excellence recognises properties that meet strict criteria, which take into account customer service as well as quantity and quality of reviews. 

About TripAdvisor Rentals
TripAdvisor Rentals is the holiday rentals branch of TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site. Travelers can search, compare and book hundreds of thousands of rental properties worldwide on TripAdvisor Rentals, including beach houses, ski cabins, private islands, treehouses and city apartments. Feel confident in your decision with our Payment Protection. For more information, please visit: TripAdvisor Rentals.

Villa Vida Nova
Villa Vida Nova villa rental Algarve Portugal book direct and save weeks from Euro 595

Portugal on track for biggest property price rise in Europe

Source: The Portugal News Online  NEWS · 06-09-2018 09:39:00 ·

Strong national and international demand for property coupled with a housing shortage have put Portugal on track for a forecast 9.5 percent rise in property prices this year, which means Portugal, along with Ireland, will be the European country with the sharpest increase in real estate prices, among the 10 countries analysed by the US financial rating agency S&P.

Portugal on track for biggest property price rise in Europe

This forecast, according to a piece by business and economy site Economia Online, is made in the ‘Europe’s Housing Market’ report published on Monday by S&P.
In the report, the agency analyses real estate price developments in Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
S&P predicts only in the UK will prices remain unchanged this year, with increases in all other cases; up until 2021, Portugal will remain among the countries with the highest increases.
As a result of strong demand, both domestic and international, and supply shortages, prices are expected to increase by 9.5 percent this year, slowing down to seven percent in 2019, six percent in 2020 and 5 percent in 2021. This, after last year, having already increased by 10.5 percent, and another 7.7 percent in 2016.
Nonetheless, S&P believes that the Portuguese market “remains affordable”, with “a price-earnings ratio still seven percent below the long-term average”.
In any case, S&P points out, “limited supply coupled with strong domestic and external demand is fuelling house price inflation”.
Bolstering this demand is “robust economic growth, job creation and low interest rates” as well as falling unemployment and “special incentives” such as the granting of gold visas and the programme for non-residents.
In this context, the agency anticipates that Portugal’s economic growth will remain “solid” this year, despite a slowdown compared to 2017, pointing to an increase of 2.3 percent of GDP.
Thus, the Portuguese real estate market should “remain dynamic over the next few years, supported by job creation and increased incomes, as well as by external demand”, S&P concluded.
The gap between supply and demand is also expected to continue over the next few years. This is because the number of properties under construction is increasing, but still small, so it will likely not keep pace with the growth of demand.

A few Interesting facts!

Portuguese are the best English speakers in southern Europe

With tourism reaching peaks of demand from the all four corners of the world, it is not surprising that Portugal is well classified in the ranking of countries that best know English as a second language. According to the English Proficiency Index prepared by Education First, Portugal comes in first place in Southern Europe and 18th worldwide, set at the “High” level of knowledge of the English language.

Tourism weight in economy increases 47% in eight years

According to data from the National Statistics Institute (INE), holidaymakers spent more than €23 billion in Portugal in 2016. Over 28 million visitors entered the country. The number of overnight stays exceeded 144 million. Tourism is growing four times faster than the rest of the Portuguese economy and represents 7% of the gross domestic product.

Lisbon and Porto among the most popular European tourist destinations

Lisbon was the fifth most popular destination for European holidaymakers in 2017, registering a 17% jump when compared to the year before. Porto came in ninth place, 12% above 2016. Registering a 24% increase, London was the first choice for European tourists, followed by Barcelona, Mallorca and Paris.

Source – Nalle.pt

Cowichan Valley Seasonal Contrasts

Different moods for different seasons

IMG-20170626-WA0001

One June evening in the summer of 2017 we were blessed with this awesome sunset whilst sitting on our deck with a glass of wine. We live for the best part of the year in British Columbia Canada, on Vancouver Island in the Cowichan Valley. Our house sits in an elevated position on terraced land with views over lake Quamichan to the mountains beyond.

It is early May now and the last of the snow has melted from the top of that mountain in the photograph, temperatures here are warming up with averages of about 15 or 16 deg C and highs of 24.

By contrast here is a photograph of the same view in winter.

DSC_2365

And here is an early morning summer photograph not a breath of wind.

DSC_1080

And by way of even more contrast an early morning autumn mist covers the lake.

DSC_1079

Same view but different moods for different seasons!

Strange Aloe type plant near the Villa

In the small lane that leads down to our villa this Aloe type plant is just growing wild at the side of the road. We had never noticed a plant growing there but now it is flowering it is very noticeable, the flowers are opening up from the bottom a few more inches every day. To give a perspective the flowering part is about 6-8 foot long.

We suspect that a seed has been dropped by a bird and taken root. We have not seen one like this on our travels  in Portugal or Spain so wonder if it has come from Morocco and the Sahara. If any one knows more about this mysterious plant please let me know.

The trees in the back ground, by the way, are Cork Oaks. The cork has been stripped off part way up the trunk. When the cork has been stripped the trunk underneath is dark orange but turns black after 6 months or so. The cork will grow back and be ready for stripping again after a minimum of  9 years.