After a long cold winter and a wet cold spring, we decided enough was enough and a bit of sun and warmth was needed. So Di was on the case and found a great little appartment in Madeira.
Bags packed, we flew off with Monarch Airlines to what was reported as a breezy Madeira. What this really meant was that the pilot would "have a go" at getting us on the runway, but if the wind got any stronger we would be diverted to a nearby island (3 hours by ferry). Luckily, Captain Rupert did have a go and after an aeriel U turn got us down on what looked like a very narrow, short runway!
We were greeted by the anticipated warm sun and blue skies and sped off on the Island's only dual carriageway to Funchal.
One of the parks near our appartment, where we spent time people watching, looking out over the harbour, and enjoying an occasional ice-cream.
True to tradition, we set off on a long walk on our first full day, and quickly discovered that level walks and Madeira do not coincide! By the end of the week our calves could compare favourably to those of Chris Hoy!
But nevertheless we soon got into hill walking mode, surely walking is the best way to see a place.
We also discovered great public transport opportunities with busses driven by skillful drivers who seemed the know the width and length of their vehicle to the last millimetre!
One of our bus rides took us to the gardens in the mountains overlooking Funchal.
The views from the gardens were fantastic, overlooking the harbour at Funchal.
And of course the flowers were spectacular!
But some more than others!
We were told of a bus that ran from Funchal to the top of the island, driving across the central mountains and back down to the coast at Porto Moniz.
A view from the central mountain towards the North of the Island.
After a 3 hour ride we arrived at Porto Moniz, to find spectacular waves and a tidal pool, as well as natural rock pools. A shame we didn't know about that otherwise cozzies and towels would have been packed!
Glad to see the Lifeguard is being kept busy!
It's that woman again!
Some old geezer with too many things around his neck!
One of the few examples of wildlife seen on the Island. Most of the birds, apart from Sea Birds are Blackbirds, introduced by the Europeans.
Later in the week we joined a walking tour of the Levadas in the mountains at Casa do Rabacal. There were about twenty of us on the walk, enjoying the views and peace of the mountains.
Levadas were dug out (probably by slave labour) as irrigation channels taking water from the mountains to the crop fields below. I was expecting a rushing torrent, but you can hardly notice the water moving.
During the walk there were many waterfalls of sparkling fresh water, no need to take drinking water, it doesn't come much fresher than this!
Another spectacular waterfall
A great day spent on the mountain, picnicing on the rocks at the base of a waterfall with stunning colours of the rocks and plants.
Fresh fish, fruit, spices and flowers all for sale at the market in Funchal
Here's to the next one!!