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The Venue

Dyalog '22 will take place at The Real Marina Hotel link. The Real Marina Hotel is located in Olhão in the Portuguese Algarve, just 15km east of the city of Faro (which has an international airport) and has a view over the Ria Formosa National Park link, one of Portugal's seven Natural Wonders.

hotel

Check In and Check Out

The hotel reception is always open. You can check in from 15:00 on the day of arrival and will need to check out by 12:00 on the day of departure. You can leave your luggage at reception between checking out and departure.

Internet Access

Free WiFi is available throughout the hotel; log-in details will be provided when you check in. There is a room near the hotel reception with a PC (with a Portuguese keyboard!) and printer that is available for use by all delegates. Please ask at the hotel reception desk if you need help.

Hotel Facilities

All hotel bedrooms have a balcony, TV, desk, fridge, hairdryer, en-suite shower room, and Nespresso coffee machine (pods are chargeable); a kettle is available on request (subject to availability so you might want to bring one with you). The hotel has a Fitness Centre on site with a fully equipped gym; it is free to use, as are the indoor and outdoor swimming pools. Use of the on-site spa is not included in the user meeting fee. There is a bar near the outdoor swimming pool – please remember to settle your bar bill when you check out.

Opening hours:

  • Gym: open 08:00 to 20:00
  • Indoor pool: open 08:00 to 20:00
  • Outdoor pool: open 06:00 to 20:00
  • Outdoor pool bar: open 10:00 to 23:00
  • Spa: open 08:00 to 20:00

Smoking Policy

Although smoking is not permitted anywhere inside, it is permitted in all outside areas and on bedroom balconies (please ask for an ashtray at reception).

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Local Area

Thinking about staying on for a few days after the user meeting? If so, there's a lot on offer. Information on the attractions in the surrounding area is available in the hotel's reception...here's just a small selection to whet your appetite.

Olhão

Explore the town and enjoy the many bars and restaurants that are within a 10 minutes walk of the hotel. Investigate Mercados de Olhão link, a vibrant bazaar on the seafront, or take a boat trip in the Ria Formosa (details and booking in hotel reception).
Wikipedia link TripAdvisor link 18 Best Things To Do in Olhão link

Tavira (25km NE of Olhão)

Visit Tavira for a medieval castle link and a historic centre featuring cobbled streets and Moorish remains; its islands have sandy beaches and salt pans for birdwatching.
Wikipedia link TripAdvisor link Tavira Guide 2022 link

Vilamoura (33km NW of Olhão)

This glamorous town has several golf courses and the Roman ruins of Cerro da Vila link in addition to extensive shopping opportunities.
Wikipedia link TripAdvisor link My Guide to Vilamoura link

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Tips from a Local

Rodrigo is our Man In Portugal, and has written some handy tips and suggestions for your time there.

Tipping

This webpage accurately describes the tipping culture in Portugal. Good service is the norm, and we don't typically tip for that; in general, we only give tips for exceptional service. As a Portuguese, I ever only tipped at restaurants. If I tip 10%, I will be seen as very generous. Sometimes I also tip taxi/uber drivers and food couriers, and typically less than 10%. Any tips you leave will be appreciated, but remember that you are under no obligation to leave a tip, ever.

Communicating and Interacting with others

We are very relaxed and warm people. We tend to be physically close to the ones we are interacting with, so please prepare for that and do not take offence if you feel that your personal space is being invaded. People in the Algarve are very used to dealing with tourists. Many Brits retire there, so even those who are not fluent in English are used to making themselves understood in English. We also understand Spanish very well. However, the average Portuguese can only pretend to speak Spanish, so unless you are fluent in Spanish, I'd not recommend it. (This is quite an interesting phenomenon, I'll be happy to talk about it in the user meeting!). When dealing with waiters, some are more talkative than others, but we tend to relate informally with the customers given our relaxed nature...unless you are at a very high-end place.

We are particularly fond of tourists who try to say the basics. For example:

Protecting yourself from the Sun

The sun shines brightly in Portugal, and you can easily get sunburnt even in October, especially if you have a light skin tone/come from a cloudy country. Get sunscreen at any supermarket and apply it daily.

Restrooms

Public restrooms are uncommon and typically their use is not recommended. I suggest you walk into a restaurant and ask politely to use the restroom (entering a place where you are not a customer, going to the restroom without asking, and then leaving, is a practice that is frowned upon).

Eating

The average Portuguese will start lunch at 13:00/13:30 and dinner at 20:30/21:00 during the week. At the weekend, lunch will start anytime from 13:00 to 15:00, and dinner from 20:30 to 22:30. If you want to see where the locals eat, don't start eating too early!

We also take our time with our meals, so it is common for a party to be at a table for 90 minutes or more, especially at the weekend. For us, eating is a social event and not just a biological need that must be satisfied. If you want to impress a waiter, ask for the check in the true Portuguese way: wave at a waiter and when you establish eye contact, move your hand in the air as if you were holding a pen and writing your signature.

Food

If you are open to trying it, Portuguese food is quite nice. While in the Algarve, try to have seafood and fresh fish often. Don't be afraid to ask a waiter to teach you how to handle the fish bone or the sea food.

My favourite places are the restaurants with brick grills outside, where you can get fresh fish or meat grilled in front of you. Taverns and simple-looking places are typically where the best food is. However, if you are vegetarian/vegan, taverns are less likely to have good options for you.

If you have a sweet tooth, look out for things like the pastel de nata (a kind of small custard pie, ask for cinnamon and sprinkle some on top!) or the regional sweets from Algarve, very common in pastry shops and cafés. Portugal also has a lot of typical desserts that are commonly referred to as conventual sweets*, which consist mainly of egg (yolks). Ask for them, and give them a try, especially if they are homemade!

* In the Middle Ages in Portugal, convents were where you could find chickens, so nuns had lots of eggs and they had to use them. They used egg whites to iron their clothes, and the egg yolks were used to make sweets. Delicious!

Drinks

Tap water is safe to drink by default. If it is not, there will be a very clear sign letting you know of that. Not many places will automatically serve a jug of tap water, but it is common to ask for a glass of tap water and not be charged for it.

Our wines are also quite good (or so they say, I am not very fond of wine!) so go ahead and ask your waiter what wines they have. I do appreciate a nice Port wine with dessert, though.

Visiting the rest of Portugal

The Algarve is a major tourist destination in the South of Portugal, where Olhão is. Lisbon is in the centre and it is the capital city. Porto is another well-known city in the North of Portugal. Tourists are very common in these three regions and these are regions well worth visiting. However, almost everything else is also quite worth visiting. We have 900 years of history and the landscape is very diverse, despite being a small country.

Taxis and Ubers

Not all taxis accept credit cards, so make sure you have cash on you (or check with the driver before setting out!).

If you have the app, you can call an Uber.

Travelling between Olhão/Lisbon/Porto

If you come to Portugal early (or leave late) to visit the country, excellent idea! You are welcome to rent a car. It takes 2 hours and 40 minutes to drive from Olhão to the centre of Lisbon, and 5 hours to drive from Olhão to the centre of Porto.

Unless you really need to be incredibly independent, major cities like Lisbon and Porto have a very good public transport network, and it is considerably cheaper to take a train to/from Olhão and then use public transportation in Lisbon/Porto to get around. In Lisbon and Porto, Google Maps does a really good job of telling you how to get around by public transport, so you can rely on that.

 

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