The Arade River (Rio Arade) runs through the beautiful town of Silves and there is a new park on its banks in the area surrounding the municipal swimming pool. The trees haven't grown very big yet but there are lawns, wide paths for walkers, picnic areas, a children´s playground, as well as an area specifically designed for physical exercise. It's a very pleasant place to visit.
This winter motor homes have invaded the enormous car parks on both sides of the swimming pool. Their owners come mostly from Northern Europe to enjoy the Algarve's mild winter (not actually as mild as usual this time).
Over recent years they have been shooed from place to place by the local police and many people resent their presence. Some call them freeloaders or eyesores, others are resigned to those houses on wheels, others see advantages to their visits.
I occasionally walk my dogs by the river and the vistors don't bother me at all. They are friendly, don't litter the place and I'm sure the local shopkeepers and restaurant owners are very happy to have them as customers.
But judging by the letters to the editor of The Portugal News in recent editions, opinions among resident ex-pats are divided and somewhat heated.
Perhaps the Silves Council should provide the necessary facilities so that chemical toilet waste doesn't go down storm drains (if indeed it does?) and keep the town motor home friendly, thus encouraging tourism and bolstering the local economy.