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Friday, July 23, 2010

Madeira Hike Levada Caldeirao Verde 21 July 2010

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At 0800 hrs we left the Quinta do Lorde marina with Leonard and Carola from S/V Arearea in their hire car direction Queimadas near Santana, one of the starts of the beautiful Caldeirao Verde Levada walk.
Madeira, being a very mountainous island with peaks over 1800 metres high, has extremes of climate across the island.

The west/ northwest of the island has plenty of rainfall giving rise to luscious green rainforests, whereas the southeast is arid and desert-like.

From the 16th century up until the 1940's, an elaborate network of aqueducts , known as Levadas, has been constructed, contouring around the sheer mountainsides to bring the abundant rainfall in the northwest to the southeast of the island in order to irrigate the land.

The often dangerous construction work to carve the levadas out of sheer cliffs and tunnel through the rock was sometimes carried out by slaves and convicts.
 The result is an amazing network of walking routes crisscrossing the island in otherwise almost impenetrable areas.

This walk is some 14 kms long with almost no gradient and took us around 4 1/2 hours to complete.

The day started with a light drizzle but later cleared up. All in all, a magnificent walk.

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