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Monday, December 10, 2057

Countries Visited ... So Far ... 41 And Counting!

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 List (Alphabetical)

 Bahrain – Kingdom of Bahrain
 Belgium – Kingdom of Belgium
 Bosnia and Herzegovina
 Bulgaria – Republic of Bulgaria
 Canada
 Croatia – Republic of Croatia
 Czech Republic
 Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaat/Grønland)
 France – French Republic
 Germany – Federal Republic of Germany
 Greece – Hellenic Republic
 Holy See
 Hungary
 India – Republic of India
 Ireland
 Israel
 Italy – Italian Republic
 Jamaica
 Japan
 Korea, South – Republic of Korea
 Luxembourg – Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
 Macedonia – Republic of Macedonia
 Malta – Republic of Malta
 Mexico – United Mexican States
 Micronesia – Federated States of Micronesia
 Monaco – Principality of Monaco
 Montenegro
 Netherlands
 Palau – Republic of Palau
 Palestine - State of Palestine
 Portugal – Portuguese Republic
 San Marino – Republic of San Marino
 Saudi Arabia – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
 Slovenia – Republic of Slovenia
 Spain – Kingdom of Spain
 Switzerland – Swiss Confederation
 Tunisia – Republic of Tunisia
 Turkey – Republic of Turkey
 United Arab Emirates
 United Kingdom – United Kingdom of Great Britain    and Northern Ireland
 United States – United States of America
 - Guam
 - Puerto Rico

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Title: Countries Visited ... So Far ... 41 And Counting!

Key Words: countries, country, nation, capitol, Google Maps, Google, map, maps, city, state, world, earth, visit, visited, traveler, 44, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, Yelp

Sunday, December 10, 2056

Why Should You Read My Reviews And Subscribe To TravelValue?



I served my country in the United States Air Force for over 20 years and have visited 44 countries over the last 35 years, all without spending over $75 per night for a nice hotel room and dining in excellent restaurants for well under $25 per person. How do I do it? Through diligent research, exploration, trial and error, and tapping local knowledge.
Would you like to stay in a central, 3-star hotel in a major city for under $20 per night? How about a room with a balcony and view of the Himalayas while attending teachings with the Dalai Lama for just $5 per night? Or a beachfront hotel for $13 per night? Maybe a meal prepared by a 5-star chef for less than $20? Well, you have come to the right place ...


Having several popular travel blogs CombatCritic.com and received numerous accolades from several of the top travel and restaurant websites/apps (Yelp, TripAvisor, Zomato, Tabelog, Booking.com), you can trust my opinions. 

Unlike many reviewers who are either afraid to tell the truth or have personal relationship with businesses and biased views, I reserve 5-stars (10 Bombs on my blog) for only the most flawless restaurants, accommodations, businesses, attractions and destinations, those where you absolutely and without a doubt get the most “bang-for-the-buck”. 
CombatCritic.com

I try to remain as objective as possible in all of my reviews, providing the pros and cons as I see them and a rating based on the overall “value” as compared to similar entities in similar locations. I accept no "freebies" and only identify myself as a critic after having been a customer and paid the bill, so you can trust my reviews.

Here is a breakdown of my ratings both on my blogs (where I use a ten point scale) and on travel and dining websites (that all use 5 point Likert-type scales) ...

If I hate a place, they get 1-2 Bombs (1-star)

If so-so with numerous”issues", they get 3-4 Bombs (2-stars)

If average (the vast majority of businesses fall into this category if you look at the distribution of my ratings), they get 5-6 Bombs (3-stars)

If above average, they get 7-8 Bombs (4-stars)

If they are one of the very rare “best of the best” values in my experience, they get 9-10 Bombs (5-stars – I always round up from bombs to stars because I use a 10 point Likert-type scale in order to be more discernible). 

Now that you understand my philosophy and ratings, on to my reviews …

CombatCritic

The Leader In Getting Travelers The Most "Bang-for-the-Buck"

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Title: Why Should You Read My Reviews And Subscribe To My Blog?

Key Words: combatcritic, travelvalue, travel, value, combat, critic, review, reviews, objective, restaurant, hotel, attraction, destination, Italy, USA, India, Asia, Europe

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Loule, Portugal: Yawning At The Unprofessionalism Of This Awning Company

Toldos - EtapaVeloz LDA
N396, Portugal
+351 960 161 417
Prices: €€€€

I was somewhat impressed at first because they came to our home on March 14th, took measurements, and provided a, relatively, on-time quote. They promised that I would have the quote by that evening, but I had to prompt them the following day and it was finally provided 24-hours late. 

This was my prompt with additional questions:
--------------------
- I still have not receive the promised quote. I’d like to make a decision and have the awning(s) installed as soon as possible.
 
I also have some additional questions:
 
- How soon could the awning(s) be installed?

- Will installation be included in the quote/price? VAT?

- What forms of payment do you accept? Credit card?

- How long is the warranty and what does it include? Parts? Labor? How long?
 
Again, thank you and I look forward to receiving your quote soon so I can make a decision.
-------------
Only two of the four questions were answered and I still did not know how soon the awnings could be installed or what form of payment they accepted.

I should have taken my business elsewhere immediately, but I wasted another 10 days, sending questions that were either ignored or partially answered. It seemed as though the writer, who never identified him or herself, did not have the capacity to deal with more than one question at a time.

The final straw came the day before our appointment to go to there business and pick the fabrics, having decided to purchase two awnings for a total of €4182.

The companies website does not list an address, just a Google Maps location that looks like a junkyard. I inquired, for the second time, about their address, sending a photo of the location and asking if this was really the correct location. After all, we did not want to drive 30+ minutes and hope that it was the right place:


This was the response I received ...
-----------
'Yes, it´s photo of google maps is old, but the we warehouse is situated this address. 

I'm sensing a certain distrust on your part in relation to our work, I'm sorry, but feel free to choose whether you want the awnings or not. We thought it best to stop here, our company has been in the Algarve for 12 years and we have several residential and commercial clients.

Anyway, if you think you are going to waste your time, I come to say that your appointment has been cancelled.'
------------
He or she cancelled our appointment for this morning because I asked if the location listed was correct or not!

I wrote back and apologized, stating that there seemed to be a communication problem and telling he/she/they that we had no reservations and wanted to pick the fabric. He/She/They wrote back and confirmed that the appointment for today at 10:00 the next morning had in fact been cancelled, even though we had already made plans to have someone take care of our dog, who has cancer.

That was the last straw! These people neither know how to run a business nor interact with customers, so I told them we would spend our money elsewhere where we would, hopefully, be appreciated and treated with dignity and respect.

CombatCritic Gives Awnings EtapaVeloz LDA 0 Bombs Out of 10 and a spot on my 'WALL OF SHAME' ... More Bombs Are Better!

ZERO Bombs Equates To:
Translation for Civilians: "Fucked Up Beyond All Repair"









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Title: Loule, Portugal: Yawning At The Unprofessionalism Of This Awning Company

Key Words: Loule, Portugal, awning, unprofessionalism, Toldos - EtapaVeloz LDA
N396, Portugal, toldosetapaveloz.com, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, product, service, business, review, Yelp, Zomato, TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook


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Saturday, February 19, 2022

Southern Portugal: Daily, Weekly and Monthly Markets in the Algarve


Algarve Markets: By day
Monday

Algoz: 2nd Monday of the month  8 am – 1 pm
Aljezur: 3rd Monday of every month  8 am – 2 pm
Portimão: 1st Monday of each month  8 am – 2 pm
São Bartolomeu de Messines: 4th Monday of every month
Silves: 3rd Monday of every month  8 am – 1 pm
Vila do Bispo: Every Monday from  9 am – 1 pm

Tuesday

Albufeira: 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month  9 am – 2 pm
Alvor: 2nd Tuesday of the month  9 am – 2 pm

Wednesday

Quarteira: Gypsy market every Wednesday  8 am – 3 pm
Quarteira: Weekly Farmers market  9 am – 1 pm
Raposeira: First Wednesday of the month  9 am – 2 pm
Vila do Bispo: Weekly Farmers’ market  9 am – 1 pm
Lagos: Weekly (mainly organic) farmers’ market  5pm – 9pm
Thursday

Alte: 3rd Thursday of the month  8 am – 2 pm
Boliqueime: Last Thursday of the month  8 am – 2 pm
Boliqueime: 1st Thursday of the month  8 am – 2 pm
Vaqueiros: 2nd Thursday of the month  9 am – 2pm
Vila do Bispo: 1st Thursday of the month  8 am – 1 pm

Friday

Alcantarilha: 1st Friday of the Month  9am – 2pm
Guia: 3rd Friday of the month  9 am – 2 pm
Monchique: 2nd Friday of the month  8 am – 2 pm
Sagres: 1st Friday of the month  9 am – 2 pm
Vila do Bispo: 1st Friday of the month  9 am – 2 pm

Saturday

Alvor: 1st Saturday of the month  8 am – 6 pm
Azinhal: Last Saturday of the month  8 am – 2 pm
Benafim: 1st Saturday of the month  9 am – 2 pm
Castro Marim: 2nd Saturday of the month
Lagos: Weekly Farmers Market  8 am – 2 pm
Lagos: General market first Saturday of the month
Loulé: Gypsy market and farmers market every Saturday of the month
Monte Gordo: 4th Saturday of the month from 10am
Olhão: Every Saturday morning  9 am – 1 pm
Paderne: 1st Saturday of the month  9 am – 1 pm
São Bras de Alportel: General market every Saturday of the month  8 am – 1 pm
São Marcos da Serra: 1st Saturday of the month  9 am – 2 pm
Tavira: 3rd Saturday of the month  9 am – 1 pm
Tunes: 4th Saturday of the month  8 am – 1 pm
Vila Real de Santo António: 2nd Saturday of the month from 10am
Vila do Bispo: Farmers market  9 am – 1 pm

Sunday

Almancil: 2nd Sunday  8 am – 1 pm
Almancil: General market 1st and 4th Sunday of the month from 10am
Almancil: Flea market 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month  7.30 am – 2 pm
Azinhal: 1st Sunday of the month  8 am – 1 pm
Cabeça Gorda: 1st Sunday of the month  9 am – 2 pm
Barão de São João: Flea market 4th Sunday of the month
Espiche: Every 3rd Sunday of the month
Estoi: market every 2nd Sunday of the month  8 am – 3 pm
Faro: 2nd Sunday of the month  8 am – 4 pm
Ferragudo: Flea market on the 2nd Sunday of the month  8 am – 1 pm
Lagoa: 2nd Sunday  8 am – 1 pm
Lagos: 1st Sunday of the month
Moncarapacho: Market 1st Sunday of the month  8 am – 1 pm
Portimão: 1st and 3rd Sunday of each month
Pereiro: 4th Sunday of the month  9 am – 2 pm
Santa Catarina da Fonte do Bispo: Flea market every 4th Sunday of the month  8 am – 1 pm
Vila Real de Santo António: Every 3rd Sunday of the month  8 am – 1 pm
Vila Nova de Cacela: Every 3rd Sunday of the month

Algarve Markets: By town
Eastern Algarve

Monte Gordo: 4th Saturday of the month from 10am
Olhão: Takes place every day with a larger market (including a gypsy market) on Saturday mornings
Tavira:  3rd Saturday of the month  9 am – 1 pm
Vila Real de Santo António: 2nd Saturday of the month from 10am and  Every 3rd Sunday of the month  8 am – 1 pm
Vila Nova de Cacela: Every 3rd Sunday of the month
Central Algarve
Albufeira: 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month  9 am – 2 pm
Alte: 3rd Thursday of the month  8 am – 2 pm
Armação de Pêra: Monday to Saturday  7 am – 1 pm
Carvoeiro: Monday to Saturday  8:30 am – 2 pm
Faro: 2nd Sunday of the month  8 am – 4 pm
Lagoa: 2nd Sunday  8 am – 1 pm
Loulé: Gypsy market and farmers market every Saturday of the month
Quarteira: Gypsy market every Wednesday  8 am – 3 pm
Silves: 3rd Monday of every month  8 am – 1 pm

Western Algarve

Aljezur: 3rd Monday of every month  8 am – 2 pm
Alvor: 2nd Tuesday of the month  9 am – 2 pm
Lagos: Weekly Saturday Farmers Market   8 am – 2 pm 
Monchique: 2nd Friday of the month  8 am – 2 pm
Portimão: 1st Monday of each month  8 am – 2 pm and the 1st and 3rd Sunday of each month
Sagres: 1st Friday of the month  9 am – 2 pm
Festivals

Algarve has numerous religious, musical, gastronomical, and historic festivals throughout the year. Here are some of the biggest: 

February/March:

Carnival takes place across the Algarve on Shrove Tuesday and the preceding weekend

Easter

Flower Torches Festival in São Brás de Alportel on Easter Sunday - a must see by its amazing displays of flower arrangements

Folar (Easter cakes) Fairs take place across the Algarve with music and entertainment and a chance to try the traditional cakes

Feast of The Sovereign Mother of Loulé - a tradition dating back to the 16th century

May

Seafood festival in Tavira

June

The Saints Festivals take place across the Algarve:

St. Anthony (13th)
St. John (24th)
St. Peter (29th)

Festival Med (LINK) in Loulé- Mediterranean music, food and crafts

July

Loulé Handcraft Fair

Algarve International Motorbike meeting in Faro

August

Seafood Festival in Olhão - a major event with live music every night

Medieval Fairs in Silves and Castro Marim

October

Sagres Bird Migration Fair – exhibitions, talks and field trips to see the great migration of birds of prey

Portugal Masters in Vilamoura - for the golf enthusiasts

Mediterranean garden fair - sale of plants suitable for the climate of Algarve










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Title: Southern Portugal: Daily, Weekly and Monthly Markets in the Algarve

Key Words: Southern Portugal, weekly, monthly, market, Algarve, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, flea, organic, fruit, vegetable, antique, Faro, Olhão, Portimao, Loule, Yelp, Google


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Friday, February 18, 2022

Olhão, (Faro) Portugal: Hippocratic Oath? No Such Thing With This Local, Family, So-Called Doctor!

Consultório Médico Mata Arthur (Dra. Maria Mata Arthur)
R. do Comércio n.º 121 - 1º andar
8700-427 Olhão, Portugal
Phone: +351 967 660 530
Prices: €€€€
I saw the glowing reviews about Dra. Maria Mata Arthur and how caring she was, making house calls and charging fair prices. We were new to Olhão and her office is a five minute walk from our home, so we decided to make her our family physician.

At first, she was very nice, caring and thorough, charging €35 for an office visit. Her hours were a bit odd, but being retired, it was not an issue for us.

I am a disabled combat veteran with several physical and mental disabilities, having served 20+ years in the military and over two years in combat zones - Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. 

In April 2021, I developed long-haul COVID symptoms, the most debilitating of which, and still is, cognitive impairment - brain fog. I have trouble focusing and concentrating, bringing about a great deal of frustration as I have a very high IQ. I now have difficulty adding simple, one-digit numbers, having been able to do complex equations in my head, not on paper, before this disease came along and having been an excellent speller, I have problems spelling the simplest words.

My wife and I go to a US military hospital in Spain every 3 months because we were not residents for quite a long time (due to COVID SNS and SEF shut-downs) and care there is free for us. My doctor there could not figure out what was causing my cognitive problems, so he referred me for a brain MRI with contrast, which I got in Faro in October 2021, to rule out brain tumors and the like.

The results were in Portuguese, obviously, and my American doctor could not translate it, so I asked Dra. Maria Mata Arthur if she could translate it for me because I was obviously very concerned about what they had found.

Dra. Mata Arthur told me there were no tumors, but that I had some very small lesions. I replied, asking a question about the lesions and inquiring about if she would mind translating the whole document for me, a task I told her I would gladly pay her for.

I did not hear anything back for a few weeks, but she is not very good about answering emails, phone calls, or SMS messages, so I gave it some time. Weeks turned into months and I tried to find out where she went, what happened to her, thinking maybe something horrible had happened to her, her husband, their new twins, or the entire family! Why else would our family doctor just disappear?

Finally in January, my wife stopped by her office and found her present. She told Dra. Arthur how concerned we had been about her and her family, but Dra Mata Arthur began yelling at my wife, telling her how she did not think she wanted to be our doctor anymore because I 'asked too many questions'. There was nothing wrong with her or her family, she simply decided not to respond to my inquiries while I was dealing with this very debilitating brain disorder! Can you believe it?

So, I still do not know exactly what the MRI report says and I have no doctor to manage my care or refer me to a good neurologist based on the recommendation of my doctor in Spain back in December. I am not getting the care I so desperately need because Dra. Maria Mata Arthur neither wanted to bothered by me any longer nor simply contact me, tell me she thought I should get another doctor, and refer me to someone competent and close by.

Her behavior was and still is unconscionable. What about the Hippocratic Oath - 'Do No Harm'? She has harmed me greatly, delaying my care and making my life miserable, unnecessarily, for over four months now. She should be reprimanded for her unethical behavior and I am considering filing a formal complaint with the Ordem do Medicos. She should not be allowed to practice medicine.

CombatCritic Gives Dra. Maria Mata Arthur 0 Bombs Out Of 10 And A Spot On My 'WALL OF SHAME' ... More Bombs Are Better!

Zero Bombs Equates To:
Translation for Civilians: "Fucked Up Beyond All Repair"
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  • Over 1.4 Million Views A Year
Read Chris S.'s review of Consultório Médico Mata Arthur on Yelp

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Tabelog - Official Judge - "Silver"

Booking.com - Frequent Traveler "Genius"


Google Maps - "Top Photographer" With Over 3 Million Views!

View my food journey on Zomato!

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View my food journey on Zomato!

... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube and our sister channel, CombatCounselor Chronicleswith Over 1,250 Subscribers and 1,000,000 Video Views ... HOOAH!

Title: Olhão, (Faro) Portugal: Hippocratic Oath? No Such Thing With This Local, Family, So-Called Doctor!

Key Words: Olhão, Faro, Portugal, Hippocratic Oath, hippocratic, oath, doctor, physician, medical, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, service, business, review, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook

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