Real - Rustic - Relaxed

sao marcos da serra, park

Wintertime - Time for Tea

Posted by Marianne Hoesen on Tuesday, December 6, 2011 In : nature 

While the winter months arrive, many people love to drink a nice hot cup of tea to warm up. The people in the area of São
Marcos da Serra love their teas. And they don´t only taste good, but they are also great for your health. Here are 2 of their favorite ones:

                                   

Chá Bela Luisa or Lúcia Lima (Aloysia triphylla)
This plant is native in South America and. The leaves of this plant are used (preferably fresh from the garden) to brew a lovely calming tea. The Por...

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The Palm Tree Killer

Posted by Marianne Hoesen on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 In : nature 
             

                               

Since last year the Red Palm Weevil (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus), called Gorgulho Vermelho in Portugal, has appeared in São Marcos da Serra as well. Anybody loving his palm trees should watch out!


This pest originated in India in 1891 and spread through Egypt to Spain in 2004. Since 2007 this beetle has entered the Algarve. At first it was only active at the coast, but  it is spreading rapidly inland. It now has reached the border to the Alentejo. Th...
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The Chestnut Of The South

Posted by Marianne Hoesen on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 In : food and recipes 
                                      
In Portugal the acorn is so important that they have a different name for each type of acorn. The acorn of the cork oak (sobreiro) is called a lande (or landre) and the acorn of a holm oak (azinheira) is called a bolota (or boleta).  The acorns mainly serve as food for the pigs, but the bolota also used to be a very important source of food since the ancient Lusitanian people populated Iberia. It was a welcome addition to the shortage of cereals in the w...

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Mushroom Season in the Serra

Posted by Marianne Hoesen on Friday, November 11, 2011 In : nature 
                             


After the first rains of the autumn visit the Algarve, the mushroom season starts. Of course you have to make sure that you know exactly what you are doing, otherwise leave them alone. Each year there are people dying because they made a mistake with mushrooms in the wild. So be careful!

This mushroom for instance is a Parasol (Macrolepiota procera), Roco in Portuguese. It is a very common mushroom here and many people go into the serra to look for them now. If you...

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Footballization of a Society - The Importance of a Game

Posted by Marianne Hoesen on Friday, October 14, 2011 In : sport and entertainment 
                                       

Football is omnipresent in Portugal, you might even speak of "footballization" of the Portuguese society. This also goes for São Marcos da Serra. Here the football-a-holics are divided between the clubs of Benfica and Sporting (or should I say Sporting and Benfica?). Anyway, the third important national club, Porto, is out of the picture here.

A little bit of history 
Football was brought to Portugal in the late 19th century by Portuguese students who ret...
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New Village Café

Posted by Marianne Hoesen on Thursday, October 6, 2011 In : news and information 
                                  

There is a new place to be in São Marcos da Serra and it is called Snack-bar Arco-Iris, arco-iris meaning rainbow.
The new owner Jorge Gonçalves Pereira is running the place and he is doing very well.

Here you can enjoy a good coffee, a nice cool beer or even a great caipirinha  either inside or ouside on the shady terrace. Snacks such as tosta, cakes, meats or bifanas are also available.


Café Arco-Iris is located in the Rua de Fabrica, next to the Drogeria N...
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Time for harvesting olives - things you need to know

Posted by Marianne Hoesen on Friday, September 30, 2011 In : food and recipes 
                                      

 
The olive tree is the oldest cultivated tree in the world and also the people of São Marcos da Serra love its fruit.  They have been milling it for decades to obtain a high quality rich oil. There were 3 olive oil mills (lagar de azeite) in the village, but unfortunately they all had to go for environmental reasons. Now you have to bring your olives to the mill in Messines. 

The olive tree flowers in May and the fruit can be picked around October (depe...

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Another creepy crawler

Posted by Marianne Hoesen on Thursday, September 15, 2011 In : nature 
                           

You really don´t want to bump into these innocent looking little guys!  They are pine processionary caterpillars (Thaumetopoea pityocapa) and live in pine trees.  
 
In the adult phase they are a simple and unremarkable, short lived moth which emerge in the summer and fly at night. A single female can then lay up to 300 tiny eggs which she attaches in a mass to a pine needle. Around one month later these eggs hatch into minute caterpillars. These very social caterpil...

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Watch Out For The Centipede !!

Posted by Marianne Hoesen on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 In : nature 
                                    

Living in the rural Algarve brings you into close contact with nature, which normally is wonderful.  But sometimes some weird creatures can cross your path, such as this little fellow: the Megarian banded centipede (Scolopendia cinglulata centipede), or in Portuguese: centopéia.

Centipede, means 100 feet, which is little overdone.  Most of these centipedes have about 40 legs, 2 per body segment. The Megarian banded centipede has alternating bands of black a...
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Market day in São Marcos da Serra - 15 September

Posted by Marianne Hoesen on Monday, September 12, 2011 In : festivals and fairs 


September 15 - Market day in São Marcos da Serra, near the cemetery.

Do your shopping, watch the people and enjoy the summer wiht some grilled chicken and wine or beer.
 
 

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Save The Gecko - Salvem As Osgas !!

Posted by Marianne Hoesen on Monday, September 12, 2011 In : nature 


This is a gecko, or in Portuguese: a osga, a harmless and very useful type of lizard that lives in all kinds of warm areas in the world.  It is famous for its special toe pads, that enable it to walk on smooth and vertical surfaces and even to cross ceilings with ease.  A gecko is unique in its vocalizations, making chirping sounds in social interactions with other geckos.  They are extremely useful to people because they feed on insects and mosquitoes.

It is hard to understand why the people ...

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Sport for Seniors season 2011/2012 starts September 19

Posted by Marianne Hoesen on Tuesday, September 6, 2011 In : sport and entertainment 



The new schedule of the project Sport Senior, season 2011/2012, will begin next September 19. This project activity is promoted by the Municipality of Silves (CMS), through its Sports sector, and directs people aged over 55, resident in the county. All those wishing to register may do so in first class, free of charge, one of 21 classes in Alcantarilha, Silves, Loving, Armação de Pêra, Azilheira , Enxerim, Pear, Poço Barreto, Portela de Messines, Sao Bartolomeu de Messines, São Marcos da...

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Alfarroba - About Chocolate, Gold And Cola

Posted by Marianne Hoesen on Sunday, August 28, 2011 In : food and recipes 


The carob tree or St. John´s bread tree, is typical for the Algarve.  In Portuguese the tree is called Alfarrobeira and the fruit of this tree is called Alfarroba (al-harruba in Arabic).
            
The carob tree is a member of the legume (pea) family. It is a large tree and grows to 15m in 50 years. It produces no fruit for the first 15 years of its life, but will fruit well into its old age. A large tree can produce one ton of beans in one harvest.  Contrary to the orange trees, carob tree...

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Ugly But Highly Appreciated

Posted by Marianne Hoesen on Saturday, August 27, 2011 In : way of life 


This chick was not caught by a dog or cat and it is not sick either, nor is it a kind of turkey.  No, this young hen is a true breed with an impressive French name:  Cou-Nu, meaning "naked neck", which is exactly what they have. 

These kind of chicken can be found at many farms in the serra.  Originally this breed comes from France and has a reputation of being hardy.  They are great for breeding because they are excellent mums, but they are also appreciated for their high quality and tasty me...
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Yesterdays Motorcycles Still Running Strong

Posted by Marianne Hoesen on Saturday, August 27, 2011 In : way of life 


Who needs a new one, when these old beauties still perform so well?  

Yesterdays motorcycles still run well here in the countryside of the rural Algarve.  Plenty of people are the proud owner of an antique bike, sometimes pasted together from several other motorbikes.  They are easily maintained, can be repaired by themselves and are a perfect means of transportation.  If you pay attention you can spot some special ones.

 
 

 

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Festas de Verão - São Marcos da Serra - 13, 14 & 15 August 2011

Posted by Marianne Hoesen on Wednesday, August 3, 2011 In : festivals and fairs 



The Serrano Futebol Clube hosts the Festas de Verão (Summer Party) near the football stadium in São Marcos da Serra on August 13, 14 and 15.

In the evening there will be live music and dancing, Bifanas and Chicken BBQ.  You can make reservations for a table for €5 each at the Serrano Futebol Clube in the village.

Programme:

13 August:
17.00 Football tournament
21.00 opening of the fair
21.30 dancing - music by the Irmãos Cabanas
00.00 music and dance with the Grupo Marvilhas do Alentejo

14 Augus...
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nothing beats the plop of a real cork stopper

Posted by Marianne on Saturday, July 30, 2011 In : news and information 


The use of cork dates back to the ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks, but the father of cork is Dom Pérignon who started using cork to seal his sparkling wine bottles in the mid-1600s. Pérignon was a French Abbot residing at the Hautvillers monastery who was trying to find a new sealing solution to replace using wooden bungs wrapped in hemp to seal bottles. His innovation launched a new industry which today employs 100,000 people in the Mediterranean. Large scale cork production was first...
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Gardening By The Moon

Posted by Marianne Hoesen on Saturday, July 23, 2011 In : nature 
                       

A lot of people in São Marcos da Serra deal with gardening based on folklore and superstition.  But some of this old wisdom now has been proven scientifically correct!  It is e.g. proven that seeds will absorb most water at full moon. According to many gardeners the phases of the moon are of the utmost importance.  If you consider that the moon is responsible for the low-tide and high-tide in the oceans of the world, and that plants consist for a majority of water, you...
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about honey and água-mel

Posted by Marianne on Thursday, July 21, 2011 In : food and recipes 
                       

The area of São Marcos da Serra belongs to the protected region of "Mel da Serra de Monchique".  The honeybees of the serra produce a very high quality dark yellow and smooth honey. The quality is so high because of he great biodiversity and the pure and clean air here.  The bees visit the flowers of rosemary, eucalyptus, heather, orange tree, lavender, cistus, prunus etc.  One hive gives on average 25 kg of honey per year. Did you know that 1 honeybee makes about 1 tw...
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sweet potato vines

Posted by Marianne Hoesen on Saturday, July 16, 2011 In : way of life 


Most people think of sweet potatoes used in cooking and baking, but this healthy food, loaded with vitamin C and beneficial carotene, also makes an eye-catching plant!  The fast-growing vine makes a gorgeous green house plant, and is easy to care for.  This is done frequently by the women of the serra.  It is easy, cheap and ornamental.  This is how it works:

First choose a sweet potato with several buds, or "eyes." These are spots that are starting to sprout. You will often see these on potat...

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Party time in Fitos (Santana da Serra)

Posted by Marianne Hoesen on Thursday, July 7, 2011 In : festivals and fairs 


Summertime is partytime !  
 
16 July there is a traditional Festa Popular with music, dance, sardines and drinks in the hamlet of Fitos (Santana da Serra), next to São Marcos da Serra, 
 
Join in as of 1800 hours and enjoy the food, the people and the music by Neuza Guerreiro.

 

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Censos 2011 - the numbers

Posted by Marianne Hoesen on Thursday, July 7, 2011 In : news and information 


São Marcos da Serra lost 169 souls during the last 10 years.  The total amount of residents counted in the Censos 2011 was 1366 (1535 in 2001).
 
For the total Algarve region there was an increase of residents of 13,9% to 450.484.  The parish of Alcoutim lost the most inhabitants, namely 23,2%.
 
The council of Silves as a whole now has 37.087 residents.
  


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Feira do São Pedro - São Marcos da Serra - 28 June

Posted by Marianne on Saturday, June 25, 2011 In : festivals and fairs 


There is a large market down at the cemetery on the 28th of June, the day of São Pedro.

Do your shopping and eat some grilled chicken while you enjoy the atmosphere.                                                             
 

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Medieval Fair in Silves - 19 - 15 August 2011

Posted by Marianne on Wednesday, June 22, 2011 In : festivals and fairs 


It is a great experience to see how the historical centre of this ancient little town is transformed into medieval times. Everything is in style, including the clothes the stall holders wear and you really can imagine how life must have been a couple of hundred years ago.  There are many performances to see, there is no entrance fee, the food is great and there are many nice things to buy.  You can even participate yourself by renting (for a symbolic price) a costume and walk around dressed u...

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Festivities of the Popular Saints in Messines

Posted by Marianne on Wednesday, June 22, 2011 In : festivals and fairs 
In the neighbouring parish of Messines the "Festas dos Santos Populares" take place between 23 and 28 June 2011.

The festivities take place next to the Casa do Povo of Messines, near the Junta de Freguesia every day between 19.00 and 24.00 hours.  There will be sardines, snacks, regional products, parades and musical entertainment. 

The programme:

23 June - Parade and dance

24 June - Pig on the roasting spit and ball with João Paulo Cavaco

25 June - Pig on the roasting spit and ball with Kavaidis...


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